Should Your Business Open on Black Friday? | Fora Financial Blog
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Should Your Business Open on Black Friday?
November 08, 2018
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Should Your Business Open on Black Friday?

In 2017, 174 million Americans shopped at retail stores on Black Friday weekend, with even more people shopping online. It’s one of the busiest shopping days of the year, however, many small businesses struggle to decide if they should remain open. While Black Friday can be a lucrative time for your company, it can also be a headache due to staffing and technical challenges. Plus, many shoppers flock to big-name brands, instead of shopping locally at independent businesses.

In this post, we’ll list the pros and cons of keeping your business open on Black Friday, so you can determine what’s best for your company, customers, and employees.

The Pros and Cons of Open on Black Friday

Pro: It’s an Opportunity to Make Additional Sales

Consumers want to spend money on holiday gifts during Black Friday, making it a great opportunity to earn their business. It’s important to let customers know you’re having a sale before Black Friday and keep them updated if store hours will be different than usual. To create hype before the event, put flyers in each person’s bag when they checkout at your store, and send an email to all your customers that previews the deals.

Con: Your Staff Probably Won’t Want to Work on a Holiday

Many people want to spend Thanksgiving weekend with their families, and your staff is no exception. Requiring employees to work on a holiday weekend might hurt company morale, especially if you give time off to certain employees and not others. If you decide to remain open, the SmartTalk HR blog suggests preparing your employees months in advance by setting clear expectations around employee schedules, and holding contests on Black Friday to motivate them.

If you want to give your full time staff time off, you can hire contract workers for the day. There are many people who look for seasonal work, so this could be an easy way to be well-staffed while also rewarding your regular employees with a break. In addition, you could host an online-only Black Friday sale. $5.03 billion was spent on online Black Friday deals in 2017, as many shoppers want to stay at home in their pajamas and avoid the crowds. You’ll only need a few customer service representatives to answer the phones and a webmaster on-call in case your website experiences technical difficulties.

Pro: You Can Clear Out Old Inventory Before the Rest of the Holiday Season

Providing discounts on old inventory is a great way to make room on your shelves for new items before the rest of the holidays. It’s a win-win situation for both parties because your customers get items at a discount and you get rid of old stock.

Con: Customers Expect Big Discounts

Consumers have been trained to wait for the deals on Black Friday, so they expect large discounts. If your profit margin is low and you can’t offer big markdowns, your customers might be disappointed. In that case, it might be better to keep your customer’s satisfied and try to earn their business during the rest of the holiday season.

Pro: You May Gain New Customers

By keeping your business open during Black Friday, you could potentially gain new customers. If they like your product or service, they may come back and make purchases when items aren’t on sale. To get new customers, you’ll need to make them aware of your business’s sales. You can set up targeted online ads a few weeks before the sale, use tools like Vyper to extend the reach of your offer, or leverage deal sites like Groupon or LivingSocial.

Con: Your Website Might Not Be Able to Handle the Traffic

Due to the increased traffic, many websites crashed on Black Friday last year including major retailers like Lowes and The Perfume Shop. SiliconRepublic suggests implementing scalable hosting solutions like Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, and Amazon Web Services to allow for increased traffic. Site downtime can lead to a poor customer experience and loss of revenue for your business, so you’ll want to ensure your website can handle more visitors.

In Conclusion: Make the Most of the Entire Holiday Season

While Black Friday is a large shopping event, it’s just one day during the holiday season. The National Retail Federation estimates that consumers will spend as much as $720.89 billion in November and December 2018, so you’ll have plenty of time to make holiday sales. If you decide not to stay open during Black Friday, you can always offer discounts on Small Business Saturday or Cyber Monday.

Fora Financial

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Fora Financial is a working capital provider to small business owners nationwide. In addition, the Fora Financial team provides educational information to the small business community through their blog, which covers topics such as business financing, marketing, technology, and much more. If you’d like to see a topic covered on the Fora Financial blog, or want to submit a guest post, please email us at [email protected].