Black Friday in the Time of COVID
As with everything this year, Christmas shopping will have to come with a difference. With many European countries going into a second lockdown, some retailers may even have to close amidst what is usually their busiest period. With COVID having left a major dent in the world’s economy that is and will continue to deepen, the concept of Black Friday brings with it a dilemma and it’s slowly approaching. To put it simply, whilst the massive crowds Black Friday attracts each year could mean a clear social distancing breach, it would also mean a much needed economic boost. It also is a welcome day, this year more than ever, as many struggle to afford Christmas presents as a result of redundancies, pay cuts or reduced working hours. Black Friday is especially important for small businesses who cannot compete with bulk pricing of bigger franchisers, who get a much needed boost from sales.
The dilemma, therefore, lies in maintaining the economic boost which Black Friday usually brings, whilst doing it safely. We looked at the current trends this year being adopted by both big brand names as well as smaller businesses. Here are the top Black Friday strategies for 2020:
Offer Online Sales
The most popular means of operating Black Friday this year is online, making it more of a combination of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. With many stores having had to close back in March and April at the beginning of the pandemic, most have already invested in an online sales platform. If you haven’t invested in an online setup yet, now is the time to do it. For those who already have a platform set up, it’s important to make sure that the software in use can keep up with the large amount of demands around the Christmas period. In order to incentivise online shopping, many are either having bigger sales online than instore, or making sales available earlier.
… and Delivery
With online sales, comes an investment in delivery services. Despite this, other options also include instore pick up which can be spread out and assigned to specific days.
Extend the Sale Period
Instead of having crowds looking for sales all on one day, many are instead spreading out their Black Friday sales over a number of weekends, weeks and even over the whole month.
If you’re going to spread out a sale period (which usually takes place on one day) over a number of weeks, you need to think ahead. Many stores are starting their sales earlier rather than later, and in the USA, sales started as early as October. Make sure you don’t leave it too late, otherwise shoppers would have already got their Christmas gift shopping done.
Another way of extending the sale period is by offering discount vouchers that can be used over an extended period of time, even up to six months or a year. This way the enterprise will still be able to make its Black Friday profits but shoppers will be spread out over a longer period of time.
Black Friday… by appointment
Another way to control the crowds is to promote pre-scheduled shopping slots. Some stores are asking for a deposit to secure the appointment which will be redeemed in items purchased. This would control the instore crowds without losing out.
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