Black Friday: Our Business Tips

Black Friday: Our Business Tips

Simon Leather, Head of Connectivity Portfolio

Simon Leather, Head of Connectivity Portfolio

Business tips for Black Friday and Cyber Monday

When it comes to Black Friday, business owners should understand that Black Friday requires proper planning and adequate resources. This doesn't just mean hiring more staff or even bouncers to manage crowds of excited shoppers clamouring for cut-price bargains. It also includes investing in robust networks that can handle additional traffic and the increased pressure on internal networks.

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While Black Friday was originally an import from the US, falling the day after Thanksgiving, it has become firmly established on high streets and online platforms across the UK. Kicking off the Christmas shopping season, retailers as well as e-tailers from fashion to electronics have provided cut price deals to lure in shoppers looking for a bargain. More recently, the ever-accelerating rise of online shopping created Black Friday's online version, Cyber Monday, when internet and multi-channel retailers kicked off their online sales (although, in reality, most now have offers that run throughout the weekend as the two shopping days merge).

Starting with large US retailers, Black Friday crossed the Atlantic and became a part of the UK retail landscape. Most UK retailers will have their own sales for Black Friday and Cyber Monday again this month. This is hardly surprising as last year Brits spent around £2.9 billion over the Black Friday weekend.

The evolution of Cyber Monday as a major retailing event, as well as Brits' enthusiasm for online shopping, has meant that the shopping weekend now causes online traffic to spike by 60 percent compared to an average day. That is why it's not just shops and store managers who need to be prepared for the weekend of sales and special offers anymore. It's as much a technical and an IT issue as a logistical one, and plans for the weekend must be robust and able to take the additional strain into account.

Moreover, even small businesses are now expected to take part and provide sales of their own. After all, SMEs do not want to be left out of the buying bonanza that the big brands have started.

Clearly though, SMEs need to ensure that they are suitably prepared for the big day to ensure they don't face an embarrassing loss of service. Even big brands can have their systems fail on Black Friday because of poor preparation. Here our top tips for getting your small business ready for  Black Friday and Cyber Monday:

1. Payments are vital
Your small business needs to be able to process all the payments made during the peak trading days of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. By having the right systems in place and using smarter networks to prioritise mission critical traffic, SMEs can avoid the worst-case scenario of having to turn customers away.

2. Make sure you have the right internet connection
With more customers, both online and in store, your small business needs to ensure it has the bandwidth it needs to handle an influx of shoppers. What might work on your average day might not during peak trading for this online shopping phenomenon.

3. Get your telephony ready
Whether your small business is based primarily in store or online, you'll likely be expecting more calls as people look for customer support, opening hours, or even to place orders. If your business is already using IP Voice telephony you'll be able to add new lines in a matter of hours, scaling up your capacity right up to the day of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

4. Expect the unexpected
Finally, small businesses need to ensure that they plan for the unexpected. Having the right tools available is important, but so too is having networks flexible and reliable enough to handle expected bumps in the road during the Black Friday weekend.
The Black Friday weekend presents huge opportunities for small retailers, but there are also a huge number of potential pitfalls. Get things wrong, and your small business can risk becoming irrelevant, or even worse, frustrating and annoying to customers. Having the right connectivity in place ensures that retailers of any size have a Black Friday sale that drives purchases and creates happy and loyal shoppers for the future.

If you're thinking about how you can prepare your business for the most lucrative weekend of e-commerce why not check out our great Black Friday offers here.