Black Friday is a term that is well known throughout the retail industry and consumers alike, and it means one thing - slashing prices. We’ve all heard horror stories about Black Friday events in the past, with consumers leaving their dignity at the door to get their hands on a bargain, but is Cyber Week right for every business? This annual event is adhered to by many retail goliaths and certainly puts pressure on small businesses to join in the chaos.
So here is an exploration of whether or not participating in Black Friday is right for your business.
Throwing your hat in the ring - or not?
Being an omni-channel retailer in the luxury sector, our business must consider whether our participation in such an event would be a fruitful venture. Black Friday undoubtedly brings a surge of consumer interest, yet it's essential to ask: at what cost to our brand's perception? As purveyors of luxury, slashing prices - even for a brief period - risks diluting the very core of what our brand signifies.
We strive to ensure we work with the right materials that are beautiful, ethical, and sustainable while aligning with our brand and moral standing in an industry that has not always been on the same page when it comes to transparency of these aspects.
This being said, businesses should consider not only their ethos and brand positioning during Cyber Week, but the additional costs they could potentially incur (be it tangible or intangible) as a result of their participation.
For us, offering discounts to such a level expected by the customers would take away the once-in-a-lifetime purchase that is our specialty and the product that we’ve lovingly created. This outlines that Black Friday is a tool for high-volume retailers to shift stock but for luxury brands, it certainly feels misaligned with our ethos.
Cyber Week and your digital marketing strategy
The advertising realm becomes immensely competitive during this period. The spike in pay-per-click prices can be exorbitant, making it a challenging landscape for SMEs to navigate. In an already incredibly competitive sphere, can small businesses truly compete with the likes of global brands in the busiest shopping week of the year?
This time may seem crucial to increase marketing budgets and stretch resources to create your best-ever content for digital marketing. With so many businesses battling the algorithm to be featured on consumers' feeds, it’s essential to tailor your advertising strategy to ensure your increased spending is not wasted.
Gaining organic reach during Cyber Week is pivotal if you want to join the race for increased sales - but if you were to delve into the numbers, would a small business reap the rewards and return on investment they were hoping for? Even if the figures add up, much consideration is still needed before progressing. Think carefully about which digital advertising platforms will be the most effective when executing your strategy, and how to gain the most competitive advantage.
Understanding your margins
It's imperative for any business, large or small, to have a full understanding of their margins. Before diving into the world of discounts, you should take a moment to calculate the actual costs. More often than not, slashing prices might be tantamount to operating at a loss when you account for heightened advertising spend and other ancillary costs.
On the other hand, using a sale as an opportunity to move legacy stock and refresh your offering can be an incredibly useful tool for luxury brands. It’s just important to think about how you can do this in the right way and at the right time while maintaining your brand’s integrity and not devaluing your high-end products and services.
Carrying out an in-depth analysis of your profit margins and sales data will influence your strategy for executing discounts, sales, and promotions that work best for your business and your cash flow.
Knowing what’s right for your business
While Black Friday might be a staple for many, it's not a one-size-fits-all strategy. As business owners, it's crucial to align promotional strategies with brand ethos and economic prudence.
If you have a strong business ethos and a great product, remember that you don’t need to follow the crowd. With a loyal customer base and strong brand positioning, not participating in Cyber Week could further strengthen your business and consumers' trust in your products and services.
You could choose to address with your customers why you don’t participate in Black Friday events, or use it as an opportunity to run a campaign that your customers haven’t seen before and might find refreshing in a sea of similarity.
Ultimately, you know your business best. Don’t let the pressure of discounts for discount's sake force you into a business decision that doesn’t work for you.
About the Author
Jessica Flinn-Allen is the CEO and founder of Jessica Flinn Fine Jewellery, running two small businesses based in Sheffield. Established in 2010, Jessica Flinn Fine Jewellery specialises in unique ready-to-wear and bespoke engagement and wedding jewellery, both online and in their showroom.