Black Friday is getting closer, and as a consumer you may be looking forward to bagging some big discounts and getting things ticked off your Christmas shopping list!
But as a small business owner, you may be wondering what you should be doing and feeling concerned that customers are expecting big discounts whilst knowing you can’t afford to offer them. All against a backdrop of the cost of living crisis which is already pushing up your costs and threatening your business.
Well, here at The Buzz Hub Co we are championing small, local businesses and strongly believe you should be able to do your business your way without the pressure to compete with the big brands!
Disclaimer: we can’t take that pressure away completely (sorry don’t have that magic wand!) but we are here to build a community of local, small business owners who can show support to each other through the good and difficult times.
What is Black Friday?
Firstly let’s understand what it is… originally started in America, it’s the day after Thanksgiving where companies offer big, flash sales designed to sell products in the run up to Christmas. ‘Black Friday’ often actually lasts for the long weekend, as it is followed by Cyber Monday.
This year Black Friday falls on 26th November 2022.
Should I use Black Friday to get started on my Christmas shopping?
Maybe. This all depends on what you’re buying and who from.
Now is the time to start thinking about what you actually want to buy, and what your gift recipients will truly appreciate.
It’s easy to get drawn in by Black Friday ‘deals’ and making impulse buys because they are time bound offers. But before spending, do a check in with yourself that it is something you actually want / need. If it’s not, then even at 50% off, it’s still 50% more than you were planning to spend. A quarter of Brits surveyed said they regretted their Christmas Black Friday buys(source) and this year is certainly not the year to be regretting any spending!
We’re also strong advocates to “vote with your money” – where you decide to spend your money is important. By shopping with small, local businesses you are not only supporting someone’s dream & passion but also contributing to your local economy, whilst getting an original, quality gift with personal customer service. Black Friday and supporting small business is not exactly a good match…
Is Black Friday good for small business?
Generally (almost always) no. The competition from big brands is huge around Black Friday; they have much higher advertising budgets to push adverts out on various channels. Some big brands will offer discounts that actually make a loss; they do this as part of their marketing strategy as they know that customers will purchase other items (either at the same time or later down the line) that will be profitable.
Most (probably all!) small businesses cannot afford to make a loss, even as part of a longer term strategy.
The profit margins are small when it comes to small business, and with the costs of almost everything increasing currently these margins are getting tighter. Offering even a 10% discount for some businesses could be a step too far for the longevity of their business. We know this may sound dramatic, but in a recent poll, half of UK small business owners said they’re genuinely concerned that this will be their last Christmas trading(source).
So what should I do (as a consumer) this Black Friday?
There are two things we would LOVE you to do this Black Friday – that will be good for you, small business and our local community.
1.Be thoughtful about your spending
Consider what you’re spending your money on before Black Friday so you can be prepared for the many emails, social media posts and ads you will no doubt be bombarded with. Only buy things that are wanted.
2. Show Your Support for Local Independent Businesses
We would love you to use Black Friday (and the whole weekend) to show your support for our local independents. We love Holly Tucker’s Colour Friday campaign, and agree that we should turn grey to colour. You can support your favourites by:
- Engaging with their social media posts – like & comment on their content and share with friends & family
- Leaving them a review – if you’re not sure how to then drop them a message to ask, we guarantee they won’t mind!
- If you can, buy something – it’s ultimately the best way to support a business, but only do so if you can afford to and it’s something that is wanted
What should I do as a small business owner this Black Friday?
Firstly remember it’s your business, so it’s your rules. There’s no right or wrong decision here and it’s what is best for your business.
You may want to offer a discount, and if you can afford to then there’s no reason you shouldn’t. We know some businesses use Black Friday as the opportunity to hold a big sale and if that works for your business & customers then go for it!
If you don’t want to, or can’t afford to, offer a discount then don’t. Keep reading for some alternatives to Black Friday that you may want to get involved in instead.
One thing we encourage you to do is communicate with your audience. Whether you will be offering any discounts or not, let your customers know. Share your reasoning and, if taking part in any alternatives, let them know about it in advance.
What are some alternatives to Black Friday?
To counter Black Friday and the detrimental effect it can have on independent business, there are some alternatives that you could get involved in (as a consumer or small business owner):
We mentioned it earlier, the Holly & Co Colour Friday campaign is all about spreading awareness and promoting independent businesses across the UK. Find out more about it and how you can get involved here: https://holly.co/colour-friday-2022/
“If everyone who’d complimented our beautiful gallery had bought just a card we’d still be open”
This is the quote that led to the creation of the Just A Card campaign; they are on a mission to encourage people to support, value and buy from artists, makers, independent shops and small businesses. Every year they host ‘Indie Week’ – the colourful alternative to Black Friday. Find out more about Indie Week and the rest of the campaign here: https://www.justacard.org/
Give Back Friday
Instead of offering discounts, why not take part in ‘Give Back Friday’ by gifting a percentage of your sales to a charitable cause.
If you know of any other alternatives to Black Friday that we should be supporting, and could share with our community of local business owners, then do get in touch with all the details.
Let Us Know What You’ll Be Doing
If you’re a small business owner do let us know what you’ll be doing and how we can support you.
And if you’re supporting small, independent, local businesses this Black Friday do share on social media and tag us in so we can support them too!