Black Friday Breaks Records
The big web news over the last week was something of a crossover between the web and the real world; Black Friday. A regular feature in the US for some time, it has started working it's way into Europe thanks largely to the Internet, falling on the Friday before Thanksgiving. Far from referring to some stock market crash, Black Friday is all about amazing deals on retail prices, with many online and real world stores offering huge discounts on products to kick off the Christmas shopping season.
Increasingly the day is becoming associated with tech products and services, especially because brands like Amazon and Apple have pushed it internationally, but really it can apply to any retailer, large or small business; even some service industries offer deals.
Plenty of typical retailer tricks can apply around Black Friday which prevent it from being a way to reduce profits, and a great opportunity to raise awareness and attract customers; hook people with loss leaders and provide peripherals at regular or inflated prices, limit stock availability so you get people coming back next week and paying regular prices, or simply raise awareness of your business and products in a way that encourages a positive impression of you offering great deals.
Very few medium or small businesses seem to get involved in Black Friday deals at the moment, so it's a great time to adopt it and give yourself a lead over competitors, in the US many companies are now running a "Gray Thursday" the day before to get a head start, and web based retailers often run a Cyber Monday just after the weekend to stand out, in Europe and many other regions it's still a new enough thing to stand out playing it straight on the Friday alone.
Something it would be great to see coming this side of the Atlantic is Small Business Saturday though, the same Thanksgiving weekend and strongly encouraging people to shop from small, local retailers supporting that important section of the economy. It also helps remind people that you can get an awful lot of what you want, plus some more unusual products, from the smaller business.
With Christmas shopping increasingly competitive, and disposable incomes increasingly low, these kinds of approaches can make a difference to income over the period, figures just in for Black Friday 2012 report that over $1bn was spent in online purchases in the US alone; that's a big number and great encouragement to give it a try in 2013 with a local marketing campaign and a couple of little adjustments to your web design.