Black Friday, an iconic day synonymous with long queues outside department stores and eager, frenzied shoppers, seems an unlikely fit for the world of B2B commerce. In this domain, transactions are often characterized by meticulous planning and deliberate decision-making, making it tempting to dismiss the significance of this annual shopping event.
Yet, it is a misconception to assume that business customers are immune to the allure of a good deal. Black Friday, with its history of substantial discounts and attractive offers, provides a unique opportunity for B2B merchants selling the right products to stand out from the competition, boost sales, and acquire new customers.
An unconventional B2B opportunity
Black Friday has traditionally been an unconventional choice for B2B merchants. However, recent years have seen a gradual shift, with B2B merchants in select verticals exploring the potential of participating in Black Friday sales. While obtaining comprehensive data on the precise impact of Black Friday on B2B sales remains a challenge, limited surveys have started to illuminate the untapped value that this retail phenomenon can offer to B2B businesses.
One notable source of insight hails from Europe, where Hopp, a Berlin-based market research company, surveyed 100 German B2B online retailers. Their findings revealed that approximately 70% of the surveyed participants attracted new customers during Black Friday, leveraging discount promotions as a powerful customer acquisition tool. Moreover, 75% of these businesses reported experiencing a substantial surge in sales during this period. What’s more, about one-third of the retailers recognized Black Friday as a valuable opportunity to engage more closely with their customer base. These insights underscore the potential for B2B merchants to harness the power of Black Friday to increase sales and attract new customers.
B2C Vs B2B: Same but different
When it comes to exploring B2B and B2C buyers, much of the talk tends to revolve around their disparities, and there is no denying that such differences exist. Typically, B2B buyers are characterized by a tendency for rational decision-making, the involvement of multiple stakeholders, and an emphasis on cultivating long-term business relationships. In contrast, consumers often rely on more emotionally driven decision-making processes and engage in comparatively shorter, more straightforward buying cycles.
Nevertheless, it’s crucial to recognize that beneath these stereotypes, B2B buyers are fundamentally human, and, like their B2C counterparts, they appreciate value for money and a good deal. B2B merchants operating in the right verticals, offering the right products, and employing the right strategies can leverage this fundamentally human inclination to achieve great results during this year’s Black Friday sales.
Key tips for B2B merchants
Choose the right products
Not all B2B products are ideally suited for Black Friday promotions. It’s best to steer clear of products designed to address specific, time-sensitive needs (e.g., spare machine parts) or those of a complex nature that necessitate approval from multiple decision-makers. Instead, it’s best to sell products that are in high demand and can be easily purchased by a single decision-maker.
Below are a few specific product categories well-suited for Black Friday promotions. These are categories shoppers expect to see promotions on as consumers. Merchants can capitalize on heightened consumer interest and traffic during Black Friday sales to extend attractive offers to business customers as well.
Office supplies and equipment: Office supplies and equipment are relatively low-cost items often purchased in bulk by businesses. This makes them a good fit for Black Friday promotions, as companies can save money by stocking up on these items during the sale.
Electronics: Electronics are another popular product category for Black Friday promotions. Businesses often need to upgrade their IT equipment regularly, and Black Friday can be an excellent time to get a good deal on new electronics.
Workwear: B2B merchants that sell uniforms, safety gear, and other types of workwear may want to consider offering Black Friday discounts. Workwear can be a good fit for Black Friday because these products are in high demand and used by businesses of all sizes. Workwear is also often purchased in bulk.
Consumable goods: Goods such as food, beverages, and cleaning supplies are also a good fit for Black Friday promotions. Businesses need these products often and can save money by stocking up on these items during the sale.
Create a sense of urgency
Limited-time offers are a powerful tactic for instilling a sense of urgency and motivating business customers to make purchases during Black Friday sales. Merchants can implement various strategies, including quantity-based discounts (e.g., buy 10, get 1 free), time-based discounts (e.g., 20% off for the initial 24 hours of the sale), and limited offers (e.g., only 1000 units left in stock).
Offer competitive discounts
B2B customers are known for their discerning shopping habits, and Black Friday is no exception. It’s crucial to offer competitive discounts that capture their attention and prompt them to choose your business over competitors. To achieve this, it’s important to benchmark discounts against industry rivals, ensuring offers are not only competitive but also compelling, making them irresistible to prospective customers.
Promote Black Friday sales early
It’s crucial not to leave promotion until the last minute. Instead, initiate marketing efforts several weeks in advance to ensure customers are not only aware but also eagerly anticipating the event. Utilize a multi-faceted approach, spanning your website, company emails, social media platforms, and targeted paid advertising, to generate buzz and excitement surrounding the upcoming Black Friday deals. Adopting this proactive strategy enables merchants to capture potential customers’ attention, foster anticipation, and maximize the chances of a successful Black Friday.
Make it easy for customers to buy
There’s nothing worse than putting all the effort into guiding a customer to the checkout, only to witness them abandon their purchase due to a complex or cumbersome checkout process and lack of payment options. To prevent this, merchants must ensure their website is easy to navigate and the checkout process is smooth. In addition, it’s critical to offer the right mix of payment methods.
B2B merchants can benefit from providing Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) options during Black Friday sales in several ways. BNPL allows business customers to purchase more goods than they could afford to pay for upfront, which can lead to increased sales. BNPL can also help to reduce cart abandonment rates and improve customer satisfaction by giving customers more flexibility and control over their payments. Additionally, offering BNPL can give B2B merchants a competitive advantage over other merchants who do not offer this payment option.