What is Black Friday (and how can your small business benefit)?

8 min read
Shweta Saxena

Did you know, a small business owner can increase business profits with a ‘Black Friday’ sale? You may have heard about it and thought of it as only a western country affair or something that can only help eCommerce businesses that sell things online. Before discussing how ‘Black Friday’ sales can help any small business in India to make quick money, I would first tell you what is ‘Black Friday’ and how it came into being.

’Black Friday’ marks the start of the Christmas season in the West.

It is said that during the turn of the 20th century, there were several Santa Claus parades marking the commencement of the Christmas season in the U.S., on the day after Thanksgiving (observed on the fourth Thursday in November). A few big retailers started sponsoring the parade and advertising their business sales. From there on, this day became the day of discounts and deals.

But how did the word ‘Black’ get associated with such a cheerful day — when it’s a win-win for both the businesses and the customers?

Retailers used to record their losses in red ink and profits in black ink.

Since this single day used to convert their year-long-accumulated losses (in red) into profits (in black), this Friday became known as ‘Black Friday.’

9 keys to a successful ‘Black Friday’ sale

‘Black Friday,’ traditionally held the day after the Western holiday of Thanksgiving, can be just as successful in India as elsewhere. Here are a few tips.

  1. Create urgency.
  2. Suggest that supplies are scarce.
  3. Excite them.
  4. Have an irresistible doorbuster.
  5. Extend special favors.
  6. Start early.
  7. Enlist Google’s help.
  8. Go wider.
  9. Dig deeper.

Before we share our sale tips, let’s answer the question “Can ‘Black Friday’ succeed in India?”

What is ‘Black Friday’ like in India?

In a country like India, where companies run sales a dozen times a year (including the Independence Day and Diwali sales) does the strategy lose its charm? Does this mean ‘Black Friday’ sales won’t work in India?

Interest in ‘Black Friday’ deals in India have increased by 39% in the last five years.

It does work, because it’s not a plain vanilla sale but tagged to an event (that too a global one). Therefore, it works like a charm.

Shipping costs, duties and exchange rates do not deter Indian consumers from grabbing deals on ‘Black Friday,’ as the quality and availability of the top global brands make it appealing.

Let’s learn how your small business can maximize your profits this November by using these tips.

9 tips on how to launch a ‘Black Friday’ sale

Although ‘Black Friday’ originated in the West, Indian consumers are also looking for deep discounts and hot deals everywhere. Use the tips below to pitch your own ‘Black Friday’ offer.

1. Create urgency

We know that urgency is one of the most effective principles of persuasion. The whole concept of ‘Black Friday’ rests on the principles of urgency and scarcity.

Shoppers feel rushed to make a decision, for fear that if they wait all the items will be gone.

One way to do this is to limit your sale pricing to the week leading up to ‘Black Friday’ or even the 24-hour period itself.

You can further enhance the urgency by putting a countdown timer on your website’s home page or in your emails.

“Hurry up as the deal will disappear in 03 days 15 hours 40” seems more urgent than “Hurry up as the deal will disappear after Black Friday.”

2. Suggest that supplies are scarce

Robert Cialdini discussed the rule of scarcity as one of the six weapons of influence in his popular book Influence.

It says, “People seem to be more motivated by the thought of losing something than by the thought of gaining something of equal value.”

If you own a bakery shop or any offline store that sells physical products, then you can create stock scarcity.

Hurry — last 5 cakes left!

This single punch line, below your offer, kicks off the scarcity psychological trigger.

If you’re wondering whether an eCommerce business can create stock urgency, then here’s how they do it (and most probably you have seen this multiple times while shopping online).

What is Black Friday Scarcity Example
People interested in a product will buy more quickly if they think supplies are dwindling.

Keep in mind you can not only create the product scarcity, but also size/color scarcity.

3. Excite them

We already discussed that the whole idea of a ‘Black Friday’ sale is around creating two psychological triggers that work like magic in converting a cold prospect into a customer: urgency and scarcity.

But how do you differentiate your offer when everyone in the show is using the same trick?

Add third psychological trigger: suspense.

You can create suspense and build excitement around your offer by releasing a teaser before the sale begins or asking them to get on a VIP list. Give them some hint of what’s coming and the benefit they will have, but don’t tell them what the actual offer is. You can use distinctive hashtags to track the pre-sales response.

4. Have an irresistible doorbuster

Let’s say you own a small business that sells beautiful Christmas decorations such as candles, trees or incense.

What is Black Friday Red Sale Sign

You can bring more customers in the door by putting a terrific offer in the window. This works for any physical store, regardless of what it sells.

This is a great doorbuster strategy used by many big brands. Why not try this and invite people inside the store with a sale sign?

5. Extend special favors

Who doesn’t like to feel special?

And who deserves it more than your current customers?

Pamper your old customers by offering them deeper discounts or pre-launch your offer exclusively for them and you’ll get definite pre-sales. The goodwill you create just by showing you appreciate them will likely last well past the sale season and into the New Year.

6. Start early

Don’t wait for the day to arrive to start planning your offer.

If you haven’t excited your audience enough, you haven’t primed them for your offer.

Create social media posts and emails around:

  • How your business has grown over the years
  • What your satisfied clients say about you
  • How your ‘Black Friday’ sale is better than your competitors

Yes, this will take some effort so you need to start early.

7. Enlist Google’s help

If you’re banking on organic (in other words, free) traffic online, you must start as early as possible — in fact, at least three months before the launch date of your ‘Black Friday’ sale.

Most online searches go through Google, so it’s smart to speak Google’s language.

Start searching for keywords you would like to rank for (learn what this means and how to do this here). Take the help of free keyword tools like ‘Ubersuggest’ and ‘Keywords Everywhere’ and start creating good written and video content around those keywords now.

For example, since many customers may start thinking about buying Christmas gifts by ‘Black Friday:’

  • What is Black Friday BazaarYou could write blogs around “gifts for women” or “gifts for guys,” describing the items you sell that would be appropriate for each group.
  • Or you might write a blog or Facebook post about something related such as “gift wrapping ideas” to draw readers to your website. Be sure to mention your ‘Black Friday’ sale in your post.

Publish this content well in advance of your sale and when people start searching for ‘Black Friday’ deals online, your website could come amongst the top few.

Editor’s note: Don’t have a website yet? Put your business online in less than 5 minutes with Online Starter Bundle.

8. Go wider

Mere exposure effect is a scientific principle that says that people tend to develop a preference for things merely because they are familiar with them.

So, if you’re a restaurant, don’t hesitate to put the word out in the online world.

You can not only use social media for free but also run paid ads for the local audiences and campaigns on your page.

The more they see you, the more familiar they are with your brand.

9. Dig deeper

Don’t forget the diversity of India. While you may be running ads in English and Hindi, regional languages strike the chord like nothing else.

Consider making text and audio in regional languages and advertising locally.

You can also go one step ahead and partner with popular YouTube channels in that language to promote your offers. You could also organize local events and bring businesses and communities together for a cause.

To sum up

If you own a small business, your ledger book can also look black and you can become profitable this November.

In this article we discussed what is ‘Black Friday,’, its origins and how popular it’s becoming in India. We also provided nine practical tips on how to launch your own ‘Black Friday’ sale.

Wishing you a profitable holiday season!