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5 Ways SMBs can Compete with Big Brands this Black Friday Weekend

For many SMBs, the Black Friday Weekend is a difficult sales holiday, not least because of the challenge of competing against the larger eCommerce players. Realistically, most SMBs cannot afford to match their price cuts and deals, nor gain the same levels of increased traffic over the weekend.

However, this does not mean you should disregard the Black Friday weekend – it just means you'll have to come up with imaginative and well-considered strategies to make sure you stand out from the crowd. So how can you nail Cyber Weekend 2017?

1.  Optimise your email strategy

Email marketing continues to be one of the most effective marketing tools to date. In fact, 89% of marketers say that email is their primary channel for lead generation. To take advantage of this, you should start sending out emails a couple of weeks in advance of Black Friday to create a sense of build-up, perhaps also creating a countdown till your sales begin.

It is also important to personalise your emails as much as possible - simply personalising subject lines increases open rates by almost 30% on average. To take this personalisation a step further, you could utilise targeted email remarketing. Gathering customers’ behavioural and purchase history data, your emails can contain personalised product recommendations that are more likely to engage the recipients – and so drive them to convert.

2.  Spread sales over a longer period of time

It's now standard for major retailers to not confine their major Cyber Weekend sales to Friday through to Monday. Instead, the sales holiday is largely spread over a 5-day period, including the Thursday before Black Friday.

SMBs should follow their lead, but bring it forward even further. This way they can benefit from awareness to the event as excitement and interest builds, whilst getting ahead of the larger competitors who will typically wait until later before releasing their deals. This will also benefit those businesses with limited resources, helping to prevent a sudden rush of orders over a short period.

3.  Consider selling via online marketplaces

Many SMBs are wary of entering online marketplaces, but they may actually be the perfect eCommerce platform during the Black Friday sales.

Online marketplaces like Amazon and eBay are growing at huge rates. By 2020, global online marketplaces are expected to own almost 40% of the global online retail market. Such high levels of sales and traffic on these sites could definitely be taken advantage of during Black Friday when these levels rise even higher. It’s also important to note that less well-known SMBs can gain credibility and build trust by selling on these recognised platforms.

4.  Be proud to be small this Black Friday weekend

You may be striving to grow, wanting to expand your customer base, product range and sales. However, don’t be afraid to show that you are a small business – in fact, it may be effective to celebrate it with your customers this Black Friday.

Many customers are turning away from the mass production of large companies in search for more niche items, such as bespoke clothing and gifts. Use your small size as a selling point during this sales holiday, emphasising to your customers that your products are exclusive, handmade or just less available than the mass production of larger companies.

5.  Ensure your site is responsive across all devices

In today’s eCommerce world, an optimised desktop/laptop website is just no longer enough. Mcommerce has become too big. According to data provided by Google Analytics, a huge 34% of online purchases now occur on mobile devices. And even if the customer isn’t buying on their mobile, 82% are researching potential purchases on it.

In light of this, mCommerce is sure to take centre stage this Black Friday, so if SMEs want to stand the best chance of competing with larger companies, they must follow their lead and ensure their mobile sites are fully responsive; from product images to checkout. This guide will help you to achieve this.


With Black Friday only recently exceeding the £1bn mark for the first time in history, the drawn-out Black Friday weekend provides too great an opportunity for SMEs to ignore. If you follow the above tips, you will be well on your way to contributing to this stat, and making Black Friday 2017 even bigger and better for your customers and your brand.

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Posted by Ellie Hubble

Ellie is a Content Manager and spends her time reading, writing and getting excited about all things UX, digital and technology.