If you aren't already familiar with Black Friday, it is one of the biggest shopping days of the year. It originated in the 1960's and was used by a police department in Philadelphia to describe the Friday after Thanksgiving when everyone headed out to do their Christmas shopping.
2020 was our first Christmas as a business and our first Black Friday weekend and we made the decision that we should take part so that we didn't miss out on any business. Ever since that weekend though, it hasn't sat right and when it came to making the decision again this year, we knew we needed to stay away.
Taking part in something like Black Friday is a personal decision to each business, some will find it works really well, and of course we have our big ticket purchases that we have been waiting for Black Friday to purchase. So this isn't a blog going up against anyone else's decision, this is purely us explaining why it doesn't work for Loving Small Business.
1) It's Not Worth It
When we started out, we were of the opinion that all business is good business, but it turns out that isn't the case. We started doing monthly giveaways, discounts on bank holidays, all of which of course lost us money but was ok because we believed it was still a good marketing opportunity. We no longer do these things because the majority of giveaway winners are people searching for a freebee who you will never hear from again, and it goes the same for discounts. This means that not only are we selling products at a loss in some cases, but also our incredible loyal customers are then missing out on the opportunity to purchase when they sell out. And while there's nothing wrong with offering sales throughout off season, We've realised it's simply not worth having cheap promotions unless they are targeted towards your perfect customers - better to have less sales in the short term from our perfect customers where you can really make an impact rather than devaluing your brand every month because everyone else is doing it. Our most valued and loyal customers are going to be signed up to our newsletter and so this is where the majority of our offers and discounts can be found.
2) Black Friday Breeds Consumerism
Another reason for not participating is because it pulls in a different sort of customer. Throughout the year we attract people who are passionate about sustainability and supporting small businesses, and these shoppers are incredible and share our values as a brand and we want to make sure that we always put them first. Black Friday see's more people shopping for a cheap deal rather than shopping for things they really value and need. They aren't going to be our perfect customer and, we probably won't be their perfect business either! We don't want to be involved in people buying stuff for the sake of buying stuff. Instead, we would rather you shop with us when you have something specific in mind or perhaps you've been saving up for something special.
3) Black Friday Puts Small Businesses at Risk
One of our biggest challenges as a small business is staying competitive. You’d think that one of our best chances at levelling out with larger stores would be during an event like Black Friday, but you’d be wrong. The problem with a day like Black Friday is that it encourages consumerism and actively separates people from their money. And as a small business, we can't afford to offer discounts on stock which people can't ordinarily afford going forward. It would be counterproductive for us. We don't want to put ourselves in debt by selling goods on terms that are unsustainable.
It is much better for us to offer those of you who have signed up to our newsletter or who are current customers discounts throughout the year as you are someone who has shown a genuine interest in Loving Small Business and what we stand for rather than just looking to pick up a bargain.
If you want to support us this Black Friday, thank you! Our shop is always open! However we won't be offering any discounts beyond the ones we already do this weekend, and on the polar end we wont be making a stand by shouting about donating 10% of our profits from this weekend to charity...because we do that all year round already.
Small Businesses are for life, not just Black Friday.