Last year, Black Friday shoppers spent $7.4 billion online – the second largest online sales day ever. Couple this number with the $470 million spent on “Small Business Saturday”, and it’s evident that this weekend is extremely important for businesses, big or small.
With Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday around the corner, how can you prepare your store for eager shoppers? Here are a few tips on how you can set up your small rental business for success and make the most out of Black Friday.
1. Listen to customers on social media
To make your Black Friday sales a success, you first need to figure out what your customers want. For example, if you’re running an AV rental business, demand for video cameras or projectors might increase during the holiday season, with people wanting to revisit old memories or record new ones.
To find insights like these, one of your most valuable resources is social media. Find discussion groups on Facebook where people talk about the gadgets or event items they’re looking to rent for the holiday season. Prioritize checking social media during this time to gain valuable insights in real-time.
2. Study big companies and replicate
Another simple and effective way of figuring out what your customers want is by looking at what some of the bigger companies are doing. Of course, this doesn’t mean your small rental business should spend huge amounts of money trying to emulate their strategy, but you can study them to gain more insight into why customers respond to their promotions.
Definitely look at what these companies are doing right, but also keep an eye out for things they may be doing wrong. You can then adapt and improvise before applying all your learnings to your own holiday strategy on a smaller scale. All this will also help you learn more about the types of promotions your own customers might respond better to.
3. Offer promotions and special bundles
You can offer special Black Friday promotions to get people excited and to increase sales. Promotions don’t necessarily have to be complicated. You can offer simple promotions such as 10% off on all rentals for the day, no delivery fee, and so on.
Not all the items you stock are going to rent as well as others. While some items are in high demand, others are rarely rented out and only keep increasing your storage and maintenance costs without bringing in much revenue. Black Friday promotions and bundles are a great way to bring attention to such items.
You can simply bundle these items together with ones that are more sought after. For example, your AV rental store stocks Nikon D3500 DSLRs as well as its accessories, such as the 50mm portrait lens. While the camera itself is doing great, especially during the holiday season, customers don’t rent out the lens as much. You can simply bundle the items together, along with some others such as batteries and a tripod, and rent it out to customers as a whole “Holiday Special” discounted bundle.
This way, the idle piece of inventory also brings in some money.
4. Get active online
Putting effort into your Black Friday sales is futile if your target market doesn’t hear about it. Unless people know about your small rental business, they won’t buy what it offers. So make a smart and sustainable online marketing plan.
Depending on your budget, here are some things you can try:
- If you already have a website, give it a fun redesign that is aligned with the holiday theme. Mention all the upcoming sales and discounts to get customers excited and keep them coming back.
- Invite online visitors to sign up for monthly newsletters and offer them a sneak peek of the Black Friday promotional deals that are to come.
- Share your promotions on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. Use paid search advertising or get local influencers on board to promote your small rental business.
All this helps create a hype around your business, helping improve engagement and, eventually, sales as well.
5. Use Your Small Size to Your Advantage
In some ways, being a small rental business is an advantage during the holiday season. You can get personal and make your customers feel special in ways that bigger companies are not able to do.
Think of local events and traditions that you can incorporate into your Black Friday marketing. For example, you can offer free tickets to the local holiday concert to all those who visit your store before noon or rent out items greater than a certain amount.
You can also print tiny holiday cards to hand out to every customer and more such gestures to further add a personal touch to your business.
6. Consider hiring local help
In anticipation of the Black Friday rush, it’s best if you hire local help so you don’t find yourself short-staffed at the last moment. This is also a great way to support the youth of the community while simultaneously getting the word out about your small rental business.
7. Automate operations to keep up with the holiday rush
Lastly, and most importantly, consider adopting a rental software that can help your small rental business keep up with the influx of holiday orders. Such software will also make it easier to track and maintain your rentals, as well as charge for any damages or late returns. You can start by testing EZRentOut, a cloud-based equipment rental software. EZRentOut offers a host of beneficial features for small businesses These include asset tracking, seamless booking and check outs, a customized webstore, and much more. Try us out today!