Black Friday is the biggest retail event of the whole year, with 2014’s online sales totalling £810m. Popular brands such as John Lewis, Argos and Tesco substantially lower their prices for this limited 24-hour period causing residents of the UK to become determined (and sometimes ferocious) bargain hunters. It’s no wonder really, considering people can get Christmas presents including, technology, clothing and homeware at a fraction of the cost.
This year, Black Friday which will be on the 27th November, is predicted to be even more popular, bringing in a record-breaking £1billion online. According to the Telegraph, this is going to be the most profitable 24hours in UK history.
Black Friday originated in America and is the first Friday after Thanksgiving. Although the day isn’t recognized as a holiday, according to BlackFriday.com many people in the US do in fact take the day off work… brave shoppers! The concept is fairly new to the UK but it looks as if it’s here to stay, it’s drastically increasing in popularity each year as more big brands get involved.
Is the day good?
Whilst this day is a perfectly timed consumer heaven, there are some that it impacts in a negative way… small businesses. Large brands have the option to lower their product prices a significant amount but small independent retailers just can’t do this without seriously harming their profits.
So what can they do?
Large chains are bold and unrelenting competitors to go up against, however, it can be done because many consumers actually prefer shopping locally. Play to your strengths.
Put on manageable sales which will entice people to your shop but not put you out of business. According to Retail Merchant Services (RMS), “any form of promotion is a great way to attract new shoppers who are lured in by a good deal.”
If you’re a business owner, make sure you also advertise and market your intentions to potential customers. Large brands such as John Lewis have millions of pounds to spend on publicity, even investing in a dedicated ‘Black Friday’ website. However, you could argue that this is completely unnecessary and not something really needed. Through simply posting statuses detailing your plans on social media, emailing your regular customers and putting posters up in the front of your shop, people will take notice of your business and make the effort to stop by.
People love supporting local companies so use this to your advantage. Give people a personal, friendly and intimate experience that big brands won’t be able to do on this hectic day.
Do you know about Small Business Saturday?
Small Business Saturday is just after Black Friday on the 5th December. It’s a day where people all over the UK are encouraged to celebrate the successes of local companies and make a purchase from them.
Small Business Saturday has accomplished a lot since it was first introduced. In 2014, “16.5 million people shopped in a small independent business on the day, representing a 20% increase in footfall on 2013 or 2.7 million more shoppers.” Also, #SmallBizSat trended on Twitter the whole day according to SmallBusinessSaturdayUK.com. Evidently, the campaign is a fantastic way of gaining recognition for those who are sometimes overlooked because of the powerful presence of large chains.
Just like Black Friday, Small Business Saturday originated in the US before being introduced in the UK some years later. Since its inception, it has greatly improved consumer’s awareness of small businesses. It’s no surprise that people are eager to support such an important cause when according to the Federation of Small Businesses, “SMEs employ 15.6 million people” as of the first quarter of 2015. Many of our friends and family are hired by, or own a small business.
Is the day good?
The day is extremely good. Unlike Black Friday where small businesses have to fight for sales, this day is all about them. Not only is the day focused on retail too, but all different types of businesses; from hair and beauty establishments, construction firms and restaurants.
How can I get involved as a business owner?
Well, first of all take a look at their website, www.smallbusinesssaturdayuk.com. They have a lot of great ways for you to get involved. You can download a marketing pack which includes postcards with their logo on. Upload these to your social media accounts to show your support or print them out and hang them up in your window!
You can also sign up to a great tool on their website, you type in a few details about your business and select its location and you, along with everyone else supporting this day, shows up on a map which consumers and other businesses can view. This is a great way for you to collaborate with other supporters in your area and also get some free advertising too. The tool is called Small Business Finder and you can be a part of it by registering your information on the website.
There are also great free events organised by Small Business Saturday which you could attend to further your business knowledge.
How can I get involved as a consumer?
First of all, when did you last visit a small business? Make it your mission to start frequenting them more often. Every employee of Capify UK has decided to make a pledge for the big day where we will all spend a minimum of £10 in a small business, it’s not hard but will earn owner’s lots of extra money!
Show your appreciation for the hard work and dedication of business owners by supporting Small Business Saturday, Tweet, Facebook, tell friends and family. The more people that shout about this great day, the more traction and recognition it will gain for owners all around the UK.
Capify is a provider of business finance to small and medium businesses. We are based in Altrincham Town Centre which is just outside of Manchester and have a team of 60 people working to bring entrepreneurs the best funding solutions for their company.
Not only do we help SMEs with our innovative finance options though, we also aim to support them in other ways. Small Business Saturday is something we feel passionately about so as part of this day, which is happening on the 5th December all Capify UK employees have made a pledge!
I, employee of Capify UK, pledge to buy locally from at least one small business on the weekend starting Friday 4th December.
If each person spends just £10 in a shop (and this is the minimum required) then £600 will be landing in the pockets of small business owners or their employees!