How Small Business Owners Can Take Advantage of Black Friday

Editors Note: This is a guest article contributed by Mike Swanson.

Since the first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1924, the day after Thanksgiving, also known as Black Friday in the retail world, has been the unofficial start to the holiday shopping season. The day received its name from a long tradition of hand-logged accounting; on this day, the red ink—indicating a loss—was replaced by black, demonstrating businesses were becoming profitable again.

This Black Friday will mark the 89th since the first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and experts expect consumers to be out in full force. Some companies, like Walmart, are rolling out their Black Friday deals earlier this year in an attempt to capitalize on consumers’ festive spirits and free-flowing pocketbooks.

If you own a small business, you might feel like the Black Friday market is dominated by big-name businesses with marketing budgets that could buy out a small town. The truth is you can implement some of the biggest retailers’ holiday marketing strategies this season. Here’s a look at how some of the top companies attract customers, with a few tips on how to emulate their success.

Amazon: Customization

If you’re one of the tens of thousands of Americans with an Amazon.com account, you know how persuasive the online retailer’s email campaigns can be; the company is known for tailoring its marketing campaigns to each individual customer, offering just the right products to buy.

You might not have the ability to send each of your customers a customized holiday-deals list this year, but you can tailor your email marketing strategy to the types of services or products customers are more likely to jump on during the holiday season. A smart special-deals countdown to Black Friday page also highlights certain products in various categories, while reaching out to those who are getting a jump on their Black Friday shopping.

Macy’s: Limited-Time Specials

The classic department store Macy’s offers a preview to its Black Friday deals, which allows shoppers to develop a game plan before braving the crowds on Black Friday. Many Macy’s stores will open at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day this year, starting Black Friday just after the sun has set on Turkey Day.

Macy’s also is capitalizing on limited-time deals this season. With two-day specials and limited-time offers, the retailer is creating a sense of urgency that gets customers to act quickly. You can use the same strategy in your small business; offer a steep discount, but only for 36 or 48 hours, and make sure customers know about the deal.

Barnes & Noble’s: Reaching Beyond a Niche

Barnes & Noble, one of America’s largest booksellers, knows that one of the key secrets to success is reaching beyond its everyday niche of customers. Though the company has a loyal customer base who loves to read, the bookseller understands it needs to harness those customers as gift-buyers for others in their family.

By offering a selection of home decor gifts, kids’ games and toys, and music and electronics, Barnes & Noble pulls in existing customers while also offering gifts and ideas for non-readers. To steal its strategy, try branching out, or at least show your existing customers how your product or service would make a great gift for their kids, husbands, boyfriends or next door neighbors.

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Author Bio: 
Mike Swanson is an online retail expert and can’t wait for the holidays to be over.

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Posted: November 27, 2013