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How to navigate Black Friday as an SME business owner

As the festive period draws ever closer, sales will be cropping up here, there, and everywhere as companies look to get customers buy in, with the first big 2019 holiday season money-off event hitting this week.

Traditionally, Black Friday was the shopping day after Thanksgiving in the US, and in recent years, it has made its way across the pond, with many well-known UK companies now offering bargains aplenty on the last Friday of November.

With this year’s deal day taking place on 29th November, and Cyber Monday three days later on 2nd December, it isn’t just for the big corporations, it can also provide profitable opportunities for SME businesses. If you’re a broker, these are the questions you may want to ask your clients ahead of Black Friday, or if you’re a SME business owner, you might want to consider the following tips.

What makes you unique?

From microbreweries to independent jewellers, the UK SME market is diverse, so show what you have over the big brands. Are your goods handmade? Are they sourced locally? People are not only looking for a great price, they’re often looking for something special for that someone special. You know what you do best – let your uniqueness shine so you stand out in all the Black Friday chatter.

Have you got the word out there?

Now you’ve nailed your unique selling points (USPs), it’s time to get the word on the street. But don’t wait until the day of or day before Black Friday to start the conversation. In the run up, use all the channels at your disposal – your website, emails, social media, window displays, flyers and posters – to create a buzz.

Social media and emails, if you already have an email marketing system, can be cost effective ways of spreading your message. If you want to attract people in exact areas or with specific interests, you could also look at boosting your social posts or paying for an advert on your social media channels to get in front of your target audience.

However, you don’t want to inundate the same people every day, as it may have the adverse effect and turn them off, so try a blend. You’ll soon work out which avenues your customers are tuned into.

Are you offering something tempting?

Consumers will be bombarded with discounted offers for Black Friday and Cyber Money, with everyone looking for the best deal. However, money-off isn’t the only way to offer your customers value for money.

You could also try creating a bundle, combining two or more of your bestselling or complimentary products and selling them at a reduced price when they’re bought together.

Along a similar vein, you could look at adding in an extra product when someone buys a particular item or spends a certain amount, so they’re getting more bang for their buck.

Why not host a Black Friday event and invite your local community to come in and get a taste of what you offer? Those that attend could receive an exclusive discount, gift or add-on product.

Is your website ship shape?

If you’re going to be advertising an online offer, the last thing you want is for your website to crash or the discount code not to work while customers are ordering. Now is the time give your website a full MOT and check that everything is in working order. We’d also suggest looking at your servers to make sure they can cope with the influx of traffic.

Have you taken stock?

If you’re going to be offering a discount or deal on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, make sure you’re ordering or producing extra stock to keep up with the additional demand.

You’ve increased your goods ready for the influx of sales, tick. But have you checked your insurance? It is estimated that 50% of UK businesses are underinsured, and with companies likely to be increasing stock levels at this time of year, it is ever more pressing.

Remember, your sum insured needs to cover the maximum possible loss you could suffer. So, if you’ve put in a larger than normal order or production line ready for 29th November, we’d urge you to check your insurance provider whether they increase your sum insured to take seasonal increases into account. If they do, is this automatic or do you need to notify them? If they don’t take periodic changes into considerations, we’d recommend speaking to your broker to help you get the best cover for your business.

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