The holiday sales season is nearly here, which means many small businesses are gearing up for a busy time with increased customers and orders. Major events like Black Friday and Christmas make or break your success during this critical sales period.

I had an insightful discussion with Catherine Erdly, founder of the Resilient Retail Club, on my podcast Start, Scale, Succeed to get expert advice on preparing for holiday sales as a small business. With over 20 years of retail management experience at major brands like Laura Ashley and Paperchase, she shared fantastic insights on getting holiday-ready.

Should Small Businesses Offer Black Friday Deals?

Getting ready for Black Friday

Black Friday has become a massive shopping day, but you should carefully consider if it truly aligns with your business before jumping in. 

Catherine recommends asking yourself:

  • What does my business need from Black Friday?
  • Do I need to offer deals to clear old stock?
  • What type of discount or offer makes sense financially?

Don’t get caught up in the hype if heavy discounting doesn’t make financial sense.

Avoid getting caught up in the marketing noise and giving too much margin away. Any promotion should strategically meet your business needs.

Consider other options, for instance using Black Friday to clear “brown bananas” – stock that will be unsellable after Christmas. Offering a 20% discount on these items now is better than a 50% clearance sale later. This allows you to sell at a lower but still profitable margin ahead of Christmas.

Or if you don’t want to discount, why not look at alternatives like free shipping, gifts with purchase, special bundles or even charitable donations tied to sales? There are all sorts of clever ways of making the most of this marketing and sales opportunity.

The key is planning your Black Friday approach instead of last minute reactions.

Getting Your Business Christmas Ready

Getting ready for Christmas

To maximize holiday sales, you need to be organized and ready to solely focus on selling/shipping for those vital final weeks. Plan ahead and tick these tasks off now:

  • Complete administrative tasks and paperwork ahead of time so you can concentrate solely on customer orders
  • Communicate order cutoffs, shipping deadlines and holiday hours clearly to customers across all channels
  • Have your order fulfillment operations neatly setup with all needed supplies and materials
  • Consider taking on extra temporary staff to assist with managing increased order volumes
  • Plan week-by-week holiday marketing messaging and tactical promotions to drive sales
  • Prepare social media content, emails, ads etc. in advance to save time when business is at its peak

Top Tip: Do an order volume estimate for the holiday season so you can accurately assess if your fulfillment capacity is sufficient or if you’ll need to expand with extra help and resources. Don’t get overwhelmed in the moment – plan ahead.

The holidays mean crunch time for small businesses. Following this advice will help you enter the season with reduced stress levels,  prepared and ready to profit from increased consumer spending. 

Let me know if you have any other tips for small business holiday sales success in the comments below!

For more in depth information listen to the full podcast episode here.

I hope that this post helps you to continue on your journey to success and if you need any extra support then check out my free resources on my website, follow me on Instagram, subscribe to my monthly newsletter or get in touch at Book a free discovery call to see how we can work together and how I can help you with your business or idea Book a power hour with and get the clarity of what your next steps need to be and your questions answered.

The Buyer and Retail Coach is a global retail expert with over 18 years experience working in the industry as a buyer and head of buying for companies such as Primark, M&S, and George at Asda, developing and sourcing a broad range of products from Lingerie to Health & Beauty and driving strategies and innovation. 

Having worked for the big blue chips, Nicole Higgins now brings that expertise and experience to entrepreneurs and SME’s to help you make your product ideas a reality, scale your business, and increase your bottom line and profits.