GET Advice – To Black Friday or not to Black Friday

 

Black Friday can be a controversial subject that divides businesses. For some it is a good opportunity to make huge amounts of sales but some cannot sustain a Black Friday offer due to small profit margins or having a made to order business model.

There are also some people that just don’t agree with the ethos of Black Friday and claim is encourages mass consumerism and greed. Whilst the giant corporations cash in on Black Friday and continue to push it to grow as an occasion in the UK, how does a small business keep up with the big boys. Is Black Friday changing our spending and shopping habits as a nation and should we as small businesses endeavour to embrace and take part. This year Etsy has encouraged sellers to take part not only in a Black Friday site wide sale but many other targeted discount campaigns throughout 2018. Is this right for a small seller, does it devalue our handmade, unique products.

We have asked our Glasgow Etsy members their thoughts on being encouraged to take part in numerous sales this year and what effect Black Friday has had on their small businesses and Etsy shops. We hope what they have to say helps you make the best decision for your business model and not feel afraid to buck the trend if it doesn’t work for you or embrace it if it does.

YES CAMP

I’m participating in the Etsy Black Friday sale only because I felt my shop suffered last year by not being included. Whilst I don’t sell to America I think U.K. expects it now. I’m putting a minimum spend on. Generally I tend to see an upturn in sales post promo rather than during so hopefully it has a positive effect one way or another.

I have a sale on in my Etsy shop at the minute, but honestly it’s because I feel I get pushed out of search if I don’t.

I tend to do Black Friday for one of my businesses where I have more control over margins and turnaround times on products, and can offer a deeper saving and fulfil orders quickly, and not the other, where we would only be able to take off a smaller amount. In that case it’s easier, and more consistent with our branding and positioning to opt out and lose a small number of potential sales, than participate and lose money and potentially run out of stock (which has a 4 week lead time) right before Christmas markets. We also participate in other sales which are more targeted to our customer base and those work out better financially for us.

I’m doing ‘mystery boxes’ again this year. It’s good for me to move any old stock or sample pieces without too much hassle and I love that my customers bag a surprise and a bargain as a thank you as I have never really run a ‘sale’ as such.and as a note, the last three years I’ve participated I’ve made 40- 50% of my ANNUAL turnover over that weekend, so it’s super important to my business.

I participate in a fairly token way with a small discount because I think you do suffer on Etsy search if you don’t take part in these set piece events. If it wasn’t for that I wouldn’t do it at that time. I prefer to have a rolling sale of items I update every month.

 

NO CAMP

Personally I feel sales events like Black Friday add to the undervaluing of products in general, my business is based on a buy less choose well ethos, so really don’t feel like it would fit with what I’m trying to do. Occasionally I do a sample sale to clear out items when necessary but in general I feel the value is the value, I don’t believe in fluctuating the price of my items as the same amount of work goes into them regardless of the time of year!

My profit margins are quite small as well so it really isn’t worth it to me to discount prices

I feel like Etsy make it hard to not – they push you to set up a sale, plus set up that specific “black friday sale” search. All very ethically gross imo but it really does feel like “do it or you’ll miss out” so I was considering a wee discount (I already offer free shipping) but when I’ve just clicked on the dashboard notice it says “recommended 20%” which is ridiculous?!?! I’d lose all shipping cover, plus a chunk of profit on so many of my items if I did that… Think I’ll just be pushing my free shipping & “orders over” discounts instead & put my support behind the indie alternatives.

Black Friday shoppers are looking for huge discounts, 50% plus is what they expect from the huge retailers. It’s completely unreasonable and unfair of Etsy to expect us to join in with that kind of silliness. For most of us it would mean working for nothing or at a loss, why would they want or expect us to do that? I refuse to be part of any Etsy sales events or their Free shipping push. The more of us resist the more likely they are to get the message!

It really is unreasonable! And to basically say “we’ll promote you more if you do this” is unfair to anyone who can’t do that. The free shipping push is annoying me right now too – I’ve had free shipping on my products for almost a year now because I found it worked better for me to include it in my pricing but they keep flagging up notices to offer free shipping anyway. That would’ve totally stressed me out to see that right before Christmas if I wasn’t already doing it, it’s v unfair to put pressure on sellers like that imo.

My thoughts on Black Friday is it should be left in the US. I’m not American, I don’t live in America, my business isn’t based in America, I don’t celebrate thanksgiving so why on earth would my business do Black Friday.

I have never done Black Friday and never will. My items are very time consuming to make and my margins are very small so I don’t them undervalued by customers waiting for a ‘bargain’. I prefer to reward returning customers all the year round.

I don’t do Black Friday as I’m a made to order business. I feel like I’m undervaluing my time and garments by offering big discounts on something that hasn’t been made yet. I prefer to reward repeat customers throughout the year. I’ve definitely noticed a big drop in November sales since Black Friday became a thing in the UK though.

I’ve not done Black Friday before and won’t this year however I did think about putting free postage on so might tie it in with Black Friday weekend? Like many I don’t have big margins and can’t afford the hit.

I don’t do Black Friday. I donate 10% of November’s sales to Clyde Cash for Kids instead. I object to Etsy pushing us to have sales. I really don’t think that people come to Etsy for a bargain. I get a much higher feel good factor from promoting GivingTuesday and I haven’t noticed a difference in sales from not joining in with Black Friday… yet! We’ll see what happens this year.