A 2016 survey found that 66% of Nigerians shop online every few months, compared to 60% of South Africans and 45% of Kenyans. This should be music to retailers’ ears as they gear up for Black Friday (29 November) and Cyber Monday (December 2), which mark the start of the holiday season shopping frenzy. But while local retailers have access to a bigger pool of retailers who are comfortable shopping online, competitions for those customers will be fierce.
Many of the big players – including Jumia, Konga, Slot, Kaymu, Dealdey and Yudala – are not taking any chances and kicked off their Black Friday promotions on 8 November and plan on continuing them until 13 December. Smaller retailers could be wondering how to compete against this massive push from the big guys but with a little creative thinking, any industry – from mining and manufacturing to agriculture, construction or even the local bakery – can take advantage of consumers’ appetite to spend.
Here’s how you can prepare your small business to take advantage of black Friday sales and survive the rush
Start Early and Market
Consumers start researching Black Friday deals weeks in advance to ensure they know where to find the best ones. Why wait until D-Day? Take Jumia’s lead and start early. With less than two weeks to go, start advertising your specials now – and include daily teasers. Black Friday is an opportunity to gain loyal customers and your marketing should be optimised around this goal. Think of it as an advent calendar that gives customers something to look forward to every day, in the run-up to the main event. Consider creating a unique hashtag and reward customers who submit the best product selfie, for example. Or offer discount vouchers on future purchases if shoppers sign up for your newsletter. Create cart abandonment emails to encourage customers to return to check out.
People are already talking about Black Friday. Tune into the conversation to understand what your target market is hoping to find deals on and how your products and services meet these needs. Ask your customers to “write to Santa” and submit their Black Friday wish-lists, so you know what they want.
Stock will fly off the shelves over the Black Friday weekend so it’s important that you are able to update stock levels in real-time, to avoid disappointing customers at check-out. Adopt an online solution that tracks inventory and sales and gives you insights into the products that sell well. This buys you time to adequately stock your shelves with in-demand products in time for the festive season.
Make sure your website can handle the expected increase in traffic. Black Friday is all about speed and nothing will send customers away faster than a slow website.
Bolster your resources to cope with the high demand. Ensure your logistics partner can handle increased deliveries and, if not, outsource the surplus. If you’re a distribution company, create your own Black Friday deal for customers, offering discounted rates or round-the-clock deliveries on the day. And, if you suspect you might be under-staffed, hire unemployed youths and give them work experience to put on their CVs.
Focus on the experience
Small businesses can offer a more personalized shopping experience than large businesses – especially on Small Business Saturday – an offshoot of Black Friday and Cyber Monday that encourages people to visit and support small businesses in their areas. Create a relaxed shopping environment amid the shoving and elbowing that is synonymous with the day – even if that means limiting the number of customers in your store at a time. By delighting customers, you win their loyalty.
Offer a variety of payment methods
On Black Friday, customers want to bag their specials and move on to the next store as quickly as possible. Your payments system needs to be able to handle higher transaction loads with minimal delays – whether customers decide to pay online or in-store. Nigeria has a low penetration of bank cards, with only 36.3% of Nigerians having access to a formal bank account. This means cash on delivery is still a popular payment choice and should be one of your payment options this Black Friday.