small business

What 2020’s Black Friday Shift Means for Your Small Business

In a year where nearly everything has changed and we seem to be making the rules up as we go, it should shock exactly no one that the holiday shopping season is going to look a bit different this year.

And by “bit,” we mean “a lot.”

The Black Friday we all knew and loved is all but gone this year. In its place is, to temporarily borrow Walmart’s term for it, “Deals for Days.” Instead of one day of absolute madness, the big-box store has spread their best deals out over three separate events. And other retailers are following suit.

Best Buy, for instance, began offering some of their Black Friday deals back in October, with additional deals becoming available throughout the holiday season. Target has designated the entire month of November as “Black Friday Now.” Macy’s began their Black Friday sales on Nov. 4 and Home Depot has announced that their Black Friday deals will run from Nov. 6 through Dec. 2.

Why is the shift happening, and how will it affect your small business and Small Business Saturday? Here’s the 411.

The Reason for the (Elongated) Season

The pandemic hasn’t gone away. Thus, it might not be the best time to pack hundreds or thousands of shoppers elbow to elbow in a cramped store as they brawl over an $88 TV.

Of course, the crowds probably wouldn’t come if you asked them. According to CNN, almost 51% of the population is anxious about in-store shopping this holiday season. By starting sales earlier and keeping them going later, businesses have a chance to capture more money over a longer period of time rather than putting all their eggs in one basket and betting on the traditional Black Friday numbers.

Then there’s the simple fact that online sales have only grown in popularity over the past few years. Let’s face it: In these socially distant times, most of us see the Amazon delivery person far more often than we see our own family and friends.

By offering the same deals online that they’re offering in-store, businesses can capitalize on the people who aren’t comfortable braving the crowds.

Should Small Businesses Follow the Leader?

That’s all well and good for big-box stores that can afford to experiment with something as important as Black Friday, but what does it mean for small businesses like yours?

In a nutshell: Quite a lot. The big-box stores are conditioning people to expect an entire season of deals, not just one day. When they skip Small Business Saturday and show up the following Tuesday, what will you have to offer them?

Should you still participate in Small Business Saturday? Absolutely. Should you also find a way to offer some deals all season long? Same answer.

Black Friday has become a marathon, not a sprint, so it makes sense that Small Business Saturday needs to follow suit. And when running a marathon, the most important thing is to pace yourself — a fact that will be even more important for small businesses with smaller bottom lines.

Consider picking one or two items per week as your “doorbuster” items. Maybe it’s umbrellas and raincoats next week and galoshes and gloves the week after. There’s no law saying you have to offer all of your Small Business Saturday specials all month long, but having a few rotating deals on hand will help.

And make sure you’re offering the same specials online so you’re not offending your more cautious customers!

Is This the “New Normal?”

It’s too early to tell if this is the wave of the future or a one-off response to the pandemic. All we know is what’s happening right now. Smart small business owners need to roll with the punches!

Need help navigating these uncharted waters? Let Mischa Communications take the helm. Let’s make a plan!