Black Friday-style discounting a dangerous game for small businesses

Black Friday-style discounting a dangerous game for small businesses

Like many over-hyped things in America, eventually they found themselves on our shores. Black Friday seems to have crept up on us over the past few years, but this winter it properly landed with a huge splash.

Since then, it’s been good to see UK businesses being honest with their public views on how they think it went, and John Lewis and Argos bosses have been quite vocal in their negative feedback. John Lewis boss, Andy Street, said: “It is all very well making sales on Black Friday but you have got to be able to deliver and fulfil them.”

Discounting can be a highly difficult thing to judge, needing to balance enticement with revenue, and all the time needing to be ahead of competitors. The other problem is being able to cope with demand operationally. This balancing act is tough enough for huge multinationals with large cash and staffing reserves; some might just see it almost as a ‘loss leader’ and take the hit, but for smaller businesses, a successful sale can actually be problematic.

This is particularly the case for people providing services. When selling products, it’s relatively straightforward to recognise your lowest price point and stick to it, but when providing a service it can be tempting to cross that line until you find yourself almost (or actually) making a loss on each sale. This is obviously not a good situation to be in and can take months to recover from, particularly if the sale period does well in terms of numbers of bookings.

The concept of a ‘sale’ is known to make consumers go a bit crazy, but the same can also be true of businesses. It is incredibly important to remain rational, even when trying to outdo key competitors. Remember, the reason you’re in business is to make money, not a high number of individual sales.

If you’re looking to promote your business for whatever reason, contact Rosco Digital Media, who can help with everything to do with online marketing, whether it’s site design or e-mailers. We have years of experience and offer a friendly personal service. Contact us today.

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