Posted on: 16 November 2018

In recent times, shoppers have turned to Black Friday for big deals and early Christmas presents, but it also gives retailers – of all sizes and in all sectors - an opportunity to start the festive season on the right financial foot.

In fact, Black Friday kicks off the most important financial period of the year for retailers. A study in the US has found that 30% of annual retail sales take place from Black Friday and throughout the festive season, in the run-up to Christmas.

Is your business ready for Black Friday? Read our guide and see why you should be preparing for the biggest shopping day of the year.

What is Black Friday?

The term “Black Friday” was first used by US retailers in the 80s to mark the start of the busy post-Thanksgiving shopping period. This period would see many retailers start turning a profit. In order to get customers warmed up for the pre-Christmas frenzy (and to spread out festive spending), retailers rolled out “super sales” on the day after Thanksgiving. The concept has stuck ever since and, in the US alone, 2017 holiday sales totalled almost $8 billion.  

Now, retailers from across the globe use Black Friday as an opportunity to increase sales in the run-up to Christmas, offering huge discounts on a range of their best products.

In the UK, Black Friday is a relatively new phenomenon. In fact, retailers in this country only truly adopted the holiday in 2010, when it was introduced by e-commerce giant Amazon.

And, in the UK at least, figures suggest consumers tend to prefer surfing the net for Black Friday deals rather than taking to the shops in person – with £1.4 billion spent online in 2017 alone.

This is up over 10% on the previous year, with high street footfall down 3.6%. This suggests that more savvy spenders are flocking to take advantage of Black Friday bargains online and stocking up before Christmas.

When is Black Friday?

Traditionally, Black Friday begins the day after Thanksgiving in America, which is also the last Thursday of November. However, retailers have been known to kick some of their deals off early. Amazon, for example, has thousands of early Black Friday deals that start at the beginning of the month. Unlike many businesses, though, Amazon is able to extend its sales without having to worry about stock and staff issues.

This year in the UK, Black Friday falls on the 23rd November.

Preparing your Business for Black Friday Sales

Black Friday mega-deals and discounted goodies are something savvy customers aren’t going to give up without a fight. Quite literally. In 2014, a Mancunian woman was injured by a falling television amid Black Friday pandemonium, while others were hurt by bottlenecked shops and shop-front brawls.

As such, you should ensure you have a comprehensive business plan in place to make sure you can keep up with customers’ demands. Also it’s important to review the business insurance you have in place to protect you against the unexpected during the busy festive period. If you are storing an increase in value of stock to meet seasonal demand you will need to ensure your stock and contents cover is sufficient. A customer could injure themselves on your property meaning that public liability cover may be a lifeline should any claim for compensation be made. Whether you require shop insurance or e-commerce insurance we can help you review your business insurance requirements, speak to an advisor at Premier BusinessCare today.

Could you take advantage of the Black Friday sales to kit out your business?

While many businesses prepare their own offers and sales to increase profits in the run up to Black Friday, it’s also worth considering if you can use the sales to save money and contribute to your bottom line too. If you have large business purchases planned, it is worth taking a look to see if you can save big at some of the larger named retailers, specialist retailers or service providers for business. Here are some examples of previous Black Friday deals we have seen:

Technology

Electronics are one of the huge sellers in the Black Friday deals, so if you’re looking for some new equipment for your business, Black Friday will be a fantastic time to make those purchases. Last year, Currys PC World offered discounts off printers and money off selected laptops and tablets. Amazon also offered discounts on their assistant Echo products, which are ideal for helping you manage appointments, making calls or even just asking for information.

Also in 2017, Sky Mobile and Mobiles.co.uk were offering discounted Apple iPhone contracts, perfect for small businesses with a need for mobile phones.

Furniture

Although it is the huge offers on technology that send crowds into a frenzy, you can also pick up some great offers on furniture to furnish your office, shop or property.

Last year, office suppliers Viking held a Black Friday sale, which will have brought down the prices of their stationery and furniture, allowing you to build your dream office for a cheaper price.

The Black Friday sales at John Lewis and on Amazon also meant that businesses could take advantage of great deals on furniture

Marketing Materials

Are you looking to get a bit more of an edge with your marketing materials?

Both VistaPrint and Moo.com offered Black Friday discounts for their customers in 2017, there were discounts offered on print materials such as business cards and flyers.

Web Development

One of the more peculiar discounts available on Black Friday was at Elegant Themes, who offered a large discount on membership subscription in 2017. This was for anyone wanting to make a new website or to make changes to their current one.

Website creators, WordPress, were also offering discounts on some of their plugins and even offered a whopping 99% off some of their services!

Accounting

Online accounting software has proven to be a quick and simple method of keeping track of your finances, without having the expensive overheads of an accountant.

Last year, Xero offered a Black Friday half price introductory discount, whereas Quickbooks had a short sale with substantial savings on a subscription.

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