Seven ways SMEs can get their businesses ready for Black Friday

SMEs should not let the flurry of sales on Black Friday distract them from the long-term benefits of Black Friday for their businesses. Picture: Freepik

SMEs should not let the flurry of sales on Black Friday distract them from the long-term benefits of Black Friday for their businesses. Picture: Freepik

Published Nov 22, 2023


In recent years, South Africa has embraced the global phenomenon of Black Friday.

Palesa Mabasa, Business Development Head: SME Funding, FNB, said that while it is tempting for businesses to focus on the immediate potential that this increase in buying activity presents, SMEs should take a long-term view of Black Friday and understand its real potential to underpin long-lasting growth.

Mabasa shares seven steps that South African SMEs should take to capitalise on Black Friday.

Make your marketing unforgettable

Slick marketing for any business is integral to a successful Black Friday campaign.

SMEs should study customer data from previous Black Friday sales to find out which marketing platforms got the best results and then create messages tailored for those platforms.

Your SME’s marketing strategy should have a memorable hook that targets the wants and needs of the consumers you want to attract. The right message at exactly the right time can significantly boost your sales and brand.

Choose the right products to sell

According to Mabasa, it is essential that SMEs align their inventories with the demands of consumers.

SMEs should study market trends and sales data from the previous years to identify which items were popular with consumers, investigate why those items were popular, and determine whether they will be a hit with consumers again.

Mabasa said: “Remember, consumer behaviours in 2023 may be affected by current economic factors such as higher interest rates and lower disposable income, so a well-researched inventory can save you from costly overstocking or even the lost opportunity of understocking.”

Polish your online presence

Your website is essentially your second storefront, or your first in many cases, so your Black Friday promotions should be prominently displayed.

Mabasa emphasises the importance of prioritising the user experience during the busy Black Friday shopping period.

“Don’t overload your site, or your users, with Black Friday information and a mass of deals that make the site difficult to navigate or use. Remember to consider the mobile site experience as well, since many of your prospective customers will be doing their browsing and shopping there,” Mabasa said.

Prioritise flawless logistics

The customer experience extends to every point of contact that each customer has with your brand, including how efficient your staff is and how quickly you can deliver the product to them.

Mabasa said that an SME’s logistical operations need to be smooth and seamless, from the ease of online shopping to in-store experiences and finally to the delivery of the product.

This means that you need to stock up on popular items and have enough trained staff to handle the increased customer volume, both in physical stores and online.

Be smart with inventory

For SMEs, inventory is a big investment, and optimising it for Black Friday is crucial. SMEs should use demand forecasting techniques that take into account both historical sales data and upcoming market trends.

Mabasa said: “Then, use real-time tracking that’s available on most good inventory management software to keep your finger firmly on the pulse of stock movements.”

Owners of SMEs should also build strong relationships and maintain open channels of communication with their suppliers to make sure that they can make quick and informed decisions in order to balance supply with demand.

Speak with your bank early on

Building a good relationship with your bank can offer SMEs a valuable safety net for their Black Friday preparations.

Your bank is your ideal business partner, whether you need to boost your inventory or improve your operational capabilities.

“Remember that having early Black Friday discussions with your bank can pave the way for better financial planning, risk management, and cash flow when things get busy at sale time,” Mabasa said.

Leverage Black Friday for the long term

The emphasis of Black Friday is often on immediate revenue; however, SMEs should not overlook its potential for long-term growth.

Mabasa said, “It’s a golden opportunity to attract new customers that you can then retain through targeted marketing and loyalty programmes going forward.”

“Black Friday can also serve as a valuable, real-world testing ground for new products and marketing tactics, particularly as we enter the festive season.”

IOL Business