Updated: Aug 17
WE are exactly 60 days away from Black Friday, followed by Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday 2020. This is always a busy shopping season, a prime opportunity for Black entrepreneurs can make up for profits that may have been lacking throughout the year.
This year has been one for the history books and there are still 3 months left. After losing Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, as his presidential nominee, Joe Biden chose Kamalah Harris as his VP running mate, and we collectively had to endure the loss of Chadwick Boseman. Interwoven between these events, we have watched civil war break out in Portland, Oregon, and BLM protests erupt across the globe after the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor in response to police brutality and racial injustice.
Most notable for 2020 is the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. On January 9, The World Health Organization announced a deadly virus had been found in Wuhan, China and within 3 months, the virus had spread worldwide to more than 20 million people, resulting in at least 751,000 deaths, 205,000 in the United States alone and counting.
The impact has continued to devastate business owners with pandemic resources made available, but out of reach for many Black business owners. Yelp Inc., the online reviewer, has data showing more than 80,000 permanently shuttered from March 1 to July 25. About 60,000 were local businesses, or firms with fewer than five locations. About 800 small businesses did indeed file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy from mid-February to July 31, according to the American Bankruptcy Institute, and the trade group expects the 2020 total could be up 36% from last year.
Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday can turn the tide for drowning businesses. Here are 7 tips to help Black-Owned Businesses make the most of this holiday season despite social distancing and quarantine orders.
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#1 - Track previous holiday sales
Take a look at last year's and let that be your guide to developing this year's holiday sales approach. This will help you determine what has worked and what hasn't worked before. Rather than trying to build your strategy from memory, take detailed notes of pricing, promotions, and products sold specifically during the holiday season. Try a Holiday Sales Journal.
#2 - Find ways to stand out with vendors and partners!
Don't overlook the value of your vendors and partners. Inventory is low everywhere, from groceries to lawn care making it impossible to keep shelves stocked and acquire essential ingredients for handmade products. As time goes on, something as simple as a greeting card or a fruit basket to your vendor will enable you to be an initial contact when your vendors receive new products to inform you first before your competitors. The same gesture goes a long way with your accountant, the law firm you have may have on retainer, videographers, photographers, graphic designers, stylists, MUAs, etc. These people are part of your team! Show them you value them and your business relationship.
#3 - Prepare for delivery delays
Post on your website and on your social media what, if any, shipping delays your customers can expect. Contact your vendors and drop shippers to determine the specifics of how and through what means your products are being shipped. If you are not offering to track packages, this is a fine to start.
#4 - Pay for targeted marketing
Paid traffic is always beneficial and should be apart of your overall promotional strategy. Google Ads and Facebook Ads are great for advertising to your specific audience and drive traffic to your site and brick and mortar store.
#5 - Delegate Duties Temporarily
If you plan on being aggressive this holiday season, there is no need to become overwhelmed. This is the prime time to hire family and friends as seasonal workers to help fill orders, run errands, answer the phone, respond to emails, schedule social media posts - anything you may need assistance with.
#6 - Rebrand for the holidays
A sensory experience makes making a purchase irresistible, influencing customers to purchase products. In-store holiday decor has a similar effect when you also rebrand your e-commerce site. Seeing holiday-themed signage, social media and newsletter rebrands create the "holiday spirit" and invite your customers to spend money.
#7 - Be intentional about scheduling content
Use content that is educational, inspirational, which also includes a call-to-action, driving sales during the holidays’ sales season. To do this, create a content calendar of ads, emails, and social media posts, all of which begin to tell a story. Reach out to online influencers early to help to spread messages about your products to create conservation and engagement.
Don't get discouraged by COVID-19 despite the number of people unemployed, having lost loved ones, and how that will impact how much they will be spending this year. You can still turn a profit and use your brand to spread some holiday magic around! These tips can be done without breaking the bank yourself. If you need additional tips, check out my post from last year, Black Business Owners: 9 Tips to Increase Holiday Sales for more ways to meet your sales goals.
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