How to Prepare for Black Friday & Small Business Saturday, Plus 8 Marketing Strategies You can Steal

Consumers’ Black Friday shopping habits have changed over the past couple years, which means your store’s approach to the busy holiday weekend should as well.

While brick and mortar stores face more pressure from online retailer competitors who give shoppers the convenience they’re looking for, 70 percent of consumers look to buy local. The Black Friday and Small Business Saturday weekend is a great opportunity for retailers to increase brand awareness and boost sales.

Follow along this blog to ensure your inventory is optimized for sales and discover some easy Black Friday marketing ideas you can implement in your store.

Store employee preparing for Black Friday

Getting Your Inventory Ready for Black Friday Weekend

Even though the supply chain continues to present challenges for retailers, consumers expect convenience, availability, and great deals for the right products.

In order to maximize your holiday shopping season sales, optimizing your inventory is the first step.

View Your Performance from Last Black Friday

Most small businesses face challenges due to a lack of visibility in product performance and accurate inventory valuation.

Did you completely sell out of a product in 3 hours last year or did a seasonal product not perform as well as you expected? Did your previous Black Friday sale underperform?

Accurate sales and inventory reporting is critical to creating your Black Friday inventory and pricing strategy.

Shopventory’s powerful reporting capabilities guides users with the data to make informed product, pricing, and even staffing decisions for Black Friday.

Identify popular products and bump up your order quantity for Black Friday so you don’t risk running out. Also, hold off on re-ordering less popular products during the holiday season to increase display space for high demand ones.

Use sales reports to see what dead inventory you’ve been sitting on and create some unbeatable Black Friday sales to get them out the door.

Lastly, Shopventory inventory reports filter down to the minute so you can plan your staffing schedule around your busiest times from the last couple years.

Prepare for Longer Lead Times

Now that you know what to stock, it’s time to make sure you’re tracking order deadlines, shipping timelines, and changing product costs.

Proper vendor management is essential for any small business, especially during Black Friday.

Keeping notes throughout the year, like when you can get certain products at a discount or if a vendor offers 2 day shipping but takes 3 days to prepare an order, will help set expectations.

Most importantly, through Black Friday weekend strong vendor management will minimize expected supply chain disruptions so you never lose out on a sale because you’re out of stock. Having product availability is one of the best ways to gain loyal customers this holiday season and compete with other retailers.

Shopventory’s inventory management system helps small businesses automate vendor management. Bulk upload key vendor information, organize vendors with tags, such as “shipping discount,” and have instant visibility on how your vendors are performing during Black Friday.

Also, users save time re-ordering by accessing stock forecasting reports and automatically assigning low stock products to a purchase order. Then, simply send it via email to your vendor directly in Shopventory. That means always knowing exactly what to order and when to order for your Black Friday shoppers.

Business owner reviewing inventory

Complete a Cycle Count

We recommend completing a cycle count for your top selling products before the Black Friday shoppers arrive. Cycle counts ensure that your inventory records match what is on your shelves and in the back of house by counting small sections of your inventory and making any needed adjustments.

Inventory count errors are common, especially around the holidays when there are a lot of moving pieces.

However, without identifying and resolving any miscounts, you are more likely to run out of stock during a Black Friday sale and lose the customer to competitors.

Automate cycle counts with Shopventory’s Stocktake feature. Complete your count with a barcode scanner and Shopventory will sync updates to all your sales locations and channels at once.

To learn more about cycle counts and how to complete one, view our cycle counting guide.

Retailer adding a free gift to a purchase

Black Friday Marketing Ideas for Retail

Once your inventory is well-stocked and records are clean, the next step is getting potential customers through the doors with a strong Black Friday marketing strategy.

Consumers are hunting for the best Black Friday sales and are on product overload during the holiday season. Here are a couple of ways to make your store stand out in the crowd.

Use Email Marketing to Send Out Major Black Friday Deals

Skip the regular 10% off coupon and make a Black Friday promotion so irresistible and unique they’ll go straight to you. Attract customers with special discounts, exclusive deals, and limited time offers.

Some of our favorite Black Friday promotions for email include receiving a free gift at checkout or 25% off your order and the chance to win a grand prize.

Email is the one platform where you can connect directly with consumers, so create intriguing teaser emails and eye-catching email subject lines.

Local business owners meeting together

Team Up with Your Neighbors during the Holidays

The past few years have proved the power local businesses have when supporting each other. Your Black Friday marketing strategy should amplify that and aim to keep as much business possible in your community.

The simplest way of doing this is sending shoppers next door if you don’t carry what’s on their list. Chances are your neighbors will return the favor with new customers.

Want to team up with other local business owners to create a unique Black Friday marketing promotion? We’ve seen great success with streets creating punch cards that give the customer a free gift if they visit every participating store.

Other local businesses advertise a Black Friday and Small Business Saturday event with live music on the block and free treats in all the stores to encourage holiday shoppers to stick around their street.

Curating local gift baskets is another unique Black Friday marketing idea. Design a gift basket with  a bunch of other businesses throughout your community and split the profit.

Is there a popular local business that doesn’t have a retail space in your neighborhood? Invite them to pop up in your store during Black Friday weekend and share customers. Or ask to pop up in other small businesses across town with some of your most popular products.

Online Black Friday sale

Optimize Your Online Store

Don’t forget about preparing your retail e-commerce store for your customers who prefer online shopping.

Increase online traffic with Black Friday advertising campaigns on social media and adding special offers to any products you have listed on Google Shopping. Ensure that your ad landing page loads quickly and highlights your Black Friday exclusive discount to increase conversion.

Once potential customers get to your online store, use pop ups or a website banner to promote your Black Friday sale.

Consider Black Friday promotion ideas for your online store that are different then deals happening in-store. This strategy encourages customers to shop in both places so they don’t miss out on any savings. For instance, on top of a 25% off sale storewide, run an early access campaign or flash sale.

Running a multi-channel Black Friday sale can seem intimidating, that’s why we recommend using an inventory management software. Shopventory automatically syncs your inventory for all your retail locations and e-commerce store. That means you don’t have to worry about overselling a product online once it sells out in store.

Promote Black Friday Gift Guides

Gift guides are an easy way to increase sales during Black Friday. Write up gift guides for your website and in-store print-outs to help potential customers find something for everyone on their list.

Keep your gift guides broad, for instance, “top Christmas gifts for dad” or for a specific target audience, like “gift ideas for the at-home car mechanic.”

Gift guides are also a great way to upsell and cross sell in your store by highlighting different product variations and complimentary gift ideas to increase average ticket sales.

Make it visual and share with your social media users and email list too.

Offer Free Shipping in Store

Now, consumers often expect free or 2-day shipping and during the holidays that can be a deal-breaker.

Consider offering free shipping for people shopping in-store but sending gifts elsewhere. If your customers know that shopping with you can be almost as easy as shopping online, they’ll be more likely to stop in.

Store gift-wrapping station

Create a Retailtainment Experience for Black Friday

Yes, retailtainment is a coined marketing term and refers to the combination of retail and entertainment. Hosting an in-store experience is a fun way to increase traffic, engagement, and build brand awareness, which leads to more sales.

Additionally, this is a great Black Friday marketing strategy to keep shoppers engaged, even in long lines. The key to retailtainment is making it interactive, unique, and instagrammable.

Here are a couple of our favorite retailtainment Black Friday marketing ideas:

  • Having an in-store gift wrapping station

  • Designing interactive displays for shoppers to pose in (bonus points if you have Santa)

  • Having holiday music karaoke

  • Hosting holiday shopping VIP events or pop-ups

Donate a Percent of Your Black Friday Profits to Charity

Instead of offering deep Black Friday deals to your customers, use the weekend as a chance to give back to your community. Customers are very receptive to supporting brands that give back, especially if it doesn’t drive up their prices.

Promote a Black Friday marketing campaign that donates a certain percent of your sales to a charity. Another idea we love is hosting a holiday food drive and giving participants a coupon for their next purchase.

Holiday gift basket

Curate Unique Gift Baskets

One of our favorite Black Friday marketing strategies is creating gift baskets that shoppers can’t find anywhere else. Your customers will love gifting a unique product and you can easily increase the average order value.

When creating your gift baskets, keep them themed for the holidays and in the same product category. Additionally, add in one or two slow moving products to increase movement with each gift basket sale.

Using an inventory management system that tracks bundles, such as Shopventory, means real-time inventory counts for all your gift basket components.

Black Friday Best Practices

  • Streamline your inventory management processes before the holidays so you can spend less time managing and more time with customers

  • Don’t end your Black Friday deals after the weekend, keep them going for a longer sales period

  • Ensure your Black Friday inventory plan aligns with your pricing strategy and product assortment strategy

  • Place your product orders well in advance and leave extra time before the weekend to receive product

  • Promote your Black Friday marketing strategy early with social media posts, email campaigns, store signage, and more to build up anticipation

Keep Black Friday Customers Year-Round

While a customer may have come for the unbeatable Black Friday deals, the holiday shopping season is long. Engage with them over social media and email or launch an appealing reward system to keep them interested.

However, we believe one of the best ways to turn seasonal shoppers into loyal customers is to show them what sets you apart and do the little things right. From adding gift tags to every purchase to offering set up support for your products, find ways for customers to remember you long after Black Friday.

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