Black Friday will be in full swing on Friday 24th November. Amazon opened its doors to the discount mayhem a week early but the main event is still to come at the end of this week.

But is being part of this annual event right for your business?

Think before you put that irresistible offer to your customers

It can be very tempting to look at the Black Friday event and want to get a piece of the action. Whether you offer products or services, it is a no-brainer to offer discounts and open up the floodgates for more sales. Or is it?

It is quick and easy to think of an offer, create a flyer or landing page and point your audience to it. But there are some things you need to consider before you put your offer together.

When selling physical products plan for the additional stock you need to meet the demand your flash sale will bring. Additional stock will have storage implications or an impact on your supply chain who will need to be able to meet demand. You should also factor in the cost of delivery. And then there is the cost of additional resources – bodies on the ground to take the orders, pack them up and send them on their way.

If you are in the service industry there is still the opportunity to offer discounted access to your services. But you need to take into account that your time is money, and opening up your time at a discounted rate can mean less time to work at your full rate. And the impact of your decision to offer a reduced service rate might not be felt immediately. If you don’t introduce ‘use by’ criteria you might find yourself trying to balance reduced-rate work with your full-rate work, and over stretching yourself. And under delivering.

Some big names are not taking part in the bargain mayhem

You may be surprised to hear that there are some big brands out there that will not be taking part in the Black Friday promotions. Selfridges, Ikea, Primark and Asda are just some of the companies who will be opening their doors on Friday without the sale banners. Their reasoning is varied. For retailers like Ikea and Primark who already differentiate themselves on value for money, Black Friday just doesn’t fit with their overall story. After all, we have come to expect value for money all year around.

There is a lesson here. Know your values and what you stand for. And know what your customers are expecting.

If you offer a bespoke and exclusive service, your customers may be surprised to see you offering discounts. And the same goes for the other end of the market. If you are offering everyday value for money, your customers might be disconcerted to find that you can drop your prices even further.

Build Black Friday into your operational plan from the start

There are many reasons why running a Black Friday promotion could be good for business.

Your offer could allow you to tap into a new market. Buyers who have been sitting on the fence may be convinced to hand over their cash. And it can help you to test the market to see what the appetite for your product or service is, and at what price-point. But it pays to put your offer together after careful planning rather than a spur of the moment decision.

Take a good long, hard look at the way you are currently operating. If your processes and systems are creaking under the strain of your current orders can you really take on a whole deluge of new orders?

Shoppers are being warned that Black Friday deals may not be all they seem. Be warned, they might not be the best move for your business either. Proceed with caution.