Make the Most of Black Friday: 5 Ways to Kick Off the Holiday Shopping Season











It’s that time of year! It’s time for the sound of jingle bells, the sight of snowflakes floating in store windows…and the smell of the money that retailers will spend on Black Friday to kickoff the holiday shopping season.

Black Friday is serious business for retailers. Customers line up earlier and earlier (sometimes even on Thanksgiving now), and the deals get bigger and crazier every year. So, that begs the question, “What is YOUR business doing for Black Friday?” Want to begin the season with a burst of energy, but still not sure how to do it?

We’ve scoured the sale papers and patrolled the Internet for a few ideas that could spark your next big Black Friday idea.
Start early

Many retailers are stretching out those big “door-buster savings” in an attempt to beat out their competitors, offering Black Friday deals as early as the weekend before and week leading up to Thanksgiving. If you’re looking to go toe-to-toe with competing stores in your area, being the first one on your block to give the biggest deal could be your key to success.

Offer price matching

Last year, reigning Black Friday royalty, Walmart offered to match any local competitor’s price on an identical product…purchased any time between Nov. 1 and Dec. 24. Of course, it was for selected products typically sold on Black Friday. But this tactic effectively created a WOW factor…and drove customers in their door throughout the holiday shopping season.

Many local businesses won’t be in a position to hit that lowest common denominator of price during the holidays — big boxes are often better poised to bottom out — but, with the right restrictions, you could find a way to make a price matching program work for you.

Create a memorable incentive

There are plenty of ways to incent your customers to visit on Black Friday and throughout the busy holiday season — beyond great discounts and promotional pricing. Consider door-buster giveaways, gifts with purchase or special treatment for loyal customers! They key is to let people know about your promotion well in advance.

Make ’em laugh

Even if you aren’t unlocking the doors at the crack of dawn, there may be an opportunity to capitalize on Black Friday madness. Chicago-based online deal website Groupon takes to social media in the wee hours of the morning to delight and entertain people shivering and waiting in line for the sales.

Whether you’re poking fun at the insanity of stores opening at 3 a.m. or trying to encourage people to stop in at your crazy-early sale, giving them a reason to smile when they’re already going to be awake (and potentially irritable) is a perfect opportunity to gain a happy customer!

Resist the Christmas creep

Harking back to simpler times — before the holidays were all about the consumerism — is a marketing strategy in itself and one many customers respond to and appreciate.

For example, Nordstrom, traditionally waits to deck their retail halls until the day after Thanksgiving, unveiling a visual spectacle and sale pricing ON Black Friday. Throughout fall, they often post signs letting customers know that they prefer to celebrate one holiday at a time — so they won’t be decorating, offer special pricing or otherwise encourage that well-known Christmas creep…until the day after Thanksgiving. It’s a strategy that works famously for Nordstrom and creates true drama and excitement each year.

These are just a few ideas to inspire your plans. After listening to your customers all year long, it’s time to cash in on the intelligence you’ve gathered! If you create Black Friday and holiday incentives your shoppers truly want — not just based on what might work for others — you’re much more likely to end the Christmas shopping season in the black.

How are you capitalizing on the start of the holiday season? Leave a comment and tell us your plans.