A small business guide to Black Friday

Black Friday originated in America and follows on from Thanksgiving, marking the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. Black Friday has now turned into an international sales frenzy that lasts days, with research revealing that Brits will spend £275, on average, this year¹.

Joining in the Black Friday buzz has become crucial for businesses everywhere, but it isn’t just the big retailers that are able to cash in. After the pandemic, small businesses and local retailers are likely to benefit from a permanent change in shopping habits. With more consumers trying to shop small in an effort to support their local businesses, Oliver Prill, Tide CEO has revealed his top tips for how small businesses can join in the Black Friday hype. 

  1. Understand your objectives

Preparation is key. Understand what you want to achieve, for some this will be increasing sales, for others, it will be aiming to increase their profits or simply gaining new customers. By understanding your objectives, you can align your offerings and marketing across your communication channels. 

  1. Online presence

Research¹ suggests that 44% of UK adults are going to be shopping exclusively online this Black Friday, compared to just 17% who shop exclusively online outside of the festive period, so it is important your website is up and running effectively.²  Oliver suggests “do a virtual walkthrough of your website, make a purchase and explore how you can make the experience as easy as possible to minimise people abandoning their cart.”

  1. Mailing lists

If you have a mailing list, consider sending out your Black Friday deals ahead of time. Oliver explains: “This allows your loyal customers to be prepared and get what they want from the sale. It also increases customer loyalty, as telling them your deals ahead of time makes people feel valued.”

  1. Social media listening

Consumers are on social media days, even weeks before Black Friday, searching for deals and talking about what they’re looking for in the sales. Oliver suggests: “Consider setting up a social listening centre for people in your local area to see what they’re posting about. This will give you insight into the types of products people want to see. You can also get involved in the conversation and talk about what you have on offer.”

  1. Check your stock

Once you know what your potential customers might want, ensure you can accommodate the demand and be prepared when it comes to stock. However, be careful to not over order on certain items. Black Friday is, for many businesses, a great chance to clear any unwanted stock ahead of Christmas.

A man wearing a denim shirt hands a lady a bag at the payment counter of a retail store

  1. Get people excited

Use your social media channels to get people excited about your Black Friday offerings. Oliver says “Give people sneak previews of your deals and build momentum ahead of the big day.”

  1. In-store experience

While a lot of customers will be online this year, don’t forget about the in-store experience. Ensure people know you’re participating in Black Friday by transforming your storefront and window displays to showcase the deals and the products you have on offer to entice people in. 

Small, local businesses have the added benefit of their local community, so reach out to other small businesses in the area to see what their Black Friday plans are and work together to create a local shopping experience. This might include staying open late to give shoppers more opportunities to buy.

Oliver suggests “be prepared to be busy and ensure you have COVID measures in place, this might entail putting tape on the floor to navigate customers and hand sanitisers at the door and till.” As the contactless pay limit has increased, it is now easier than ever for customers to pay, reducing queues. 

  1. Sharing

When customers make a purchase in-store or online, consider asking if they could spread the word or even share their purchase with their followers, writing a review, or geo-tagging the store. Oliver says “Since the pandemic there has been a surge in support for shopping local and supporting local businesses. Take advantage of this! People often love to share their purchases from local businesses and many customers will be more than happy to help out a small business, so it’s always worth asking.”

  1. Stay true to your brand

Remaining true to your brand is crucial and shouldn’t be compromised, especially for a quick sale or in trying to keep up with big brands. Small businesses offer perfectly unique products, branding and customer experience, and this is key to having a successful Black Friday. Keep all communication in line with your brand values and ensure the way you communicate with your customers is authentic. In fact, a study showed that 88%³ of consumers said authenticity is important when deciding what brands they like and support.

  1. There’s always Cyber Monday

Thankfully, if you do miss out on Black Friday this year, the sales continue through the weekend and into Monday, also known as Cyber Monday, so there are plenty of opportunities to further increase your sales. 

While we have shown the ways small businesses can get in on the Black Friday action, it’s important that small businesses don’t try to directly compete with larger rivals. Small business owners should be thinking about their unique offering and what they can offer consumers that big businesses can’t. It isn’t just a battle of price, in fact, shoppers are also driven by incentives such as unique products, loyalty, referral bonuses and extended returns.

We hope these tips help small businesses to consider getting involved in the action of Black Friday this year, as more people are looking to spend their money locally.


  1. https://www.finder.com/uk/black-friday-statistics
  2. According to YouGov 2021
  3. https://stackla.com/resources/blog/consumer-behavior-stats/

Sarah Penney

Sarah Penney

PR and Communications Manager

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