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What does Black Friday look like for Creative Quarter businesses?

A special Black Friday blog – written by Ben Garry, Account Executive at Impression

Love it or hate it, Black Friday is increasingly becoming a major event in the calendars of British shoppers, but with a diverse range of small and independent businesses in the Creative Quarter, you’re bound to come across a wide variety of approaches to the infamous day…

“Tinkering with a system that shouldn’t be messed with.” Robin Pounder, owner of vintage shop Wild Clothing, made his position on the American-inspired Black Friday craze clear:

“We will be acknowledging it with cynicism and contempt […] we aren’t signing up to it. It just totally messes up the retail pattern – the way that it should be. Tinkering with a system that shouldn’t be messed with.”

The disruption that Black Friday causes in the run up to Christmas can’t be ignored. People buy Christmas presents that they probably would have bought anyway, but at lower prices, and retailers have to go through a lot of extra preparation to make sure their Black Friday campaign gets off the ground, all for potentially making a loss on the things they sell.

The pressure is higher on smaller, independent shops like those here in the Creative Quarter, as they often don’t have the same margins that larger businesses do, preventing them from offering the same kinds of deals. It’s no surprise that shops like Wild Clothing choose to stay out of Black Friday and keep things running as normal.

Wild Clothing
Wild Clothing

Opportunities for online businesses

Many businesses in the Creative Quarter, like Impression, either aren’t retailers, or operate exclusively online. However, that doesn’t mean that Black Friday doesn’t have anything to offer us. We set the wheels in motion for a Black Friday campaign weeks ago, recognising that there would be businesses out there that could benefit from our services as they look to build their online presence ready for the big day. To make the most of this opportunity, we created a series of whitepapers that we could use to share our knowledge and get our business in front of potential clients.

Other service-based businesses could go for a more direct approach, offering services or trials at lower prices than normal to attract new customers. The trick for all service-based businesses – and Creative Quarter businesses in general – is working out how to retain the customers that are attracted in this period to make the success more long term.

Impression's founders Tom Craig and Aaron Dicks
Impression’s founders Tom Craig and Aaron Dicks

Aiming for long-term benefit

Black Friday is problematic for many businesses, and even for those that embrace it wholeheartedly – as many around Nottingham will – the benefits will be limited if they don’t think on a bigger scale. Impression’s founder, Aaron Dicks, offered some advice for businesses trying to make the most out of the day:

“The real challenge is how to reap the long-term benefits and actually make good money from [Black Friday]. Spend time thinking about how you can keep customers happy, managing any issues like delivery delays through damage limitation. Then work out how you can delight and retain these new customers and keep them coming back for more long after Black Friday.”

Businesses that focus on their online presence can use Black Friday to attract new customers and to stay connected with them. Simple strategies such as asking for an email address to unlock deals or content – as we’ve done with our whitepapers – means that you can stay in touch with the people that find you. You can also use information about the people that come to your site for future ad campaigns.

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The truth of Black Friday is that it is never going to work for everyone. In the Creative Quarter, we have businesses like Wild Clothing that don’t want anything to do with it, and that works well for them. There will be other businesses that are also better off not getting involved.

For us here at Impression, as a service-based business, Black Friday is a chance to share our expertise with people who might not have found us otherwise, and for many other online businesses, it’s a chance to find new audiences and build relationships that they couldn’t before.

Find out more