Communication is Key

How to prepare your business for Black Friday and the holiday shopping season

By: Kelly Trevino

Black Friday and the holiday season are quickly approaching, which means many businesses will start advertising seasonal sales, discounts and specials to attract customers. According to the National Retail Federation, Black Friday is still the biggest day for holiday shoppers, and it continues to attract the biggest crowds. Last year, 86.9 million consumers shopped in stores and online on Black Friday.

As part of the Better Business Bureau’s (BBB’s) standards for trust, BBB accredited businesses are required to advertise honestly and follow BBB’s code of advertising. BBB’s code of advertising serves as a guide for businesses to ensure your advertising is fair and truthful and so that customers can have a satisfying shopping experience.

It’s also important for your business to advertise any special offers, like one-time-only coupons, and hours of operation since many businesses may be closed on Black Friday. Communication is key, so be sure to regularly update your customers on your website or social media sites of special offers and business hours.

When you prepare advertising for holiday sales on Black Friday weekend, BBB advises you to keep these sales terms in mind:

• Comparative price, value and savings claims: Advertisers may offer a price reduction or saving by comparing their selling price with their former selling price, the current selling price of identical merchandise or the current selling price of comparable merchandise sold by the advertiser or by others in the market area.

• Sales: The word, “sale,” should be used only when there is a significant reduction from the advertiser’s usual price. The “sale” must be for a limited time. If it exceeds 30 days, an advertiser should be able to substantiate that the offering is a valid reduction and has not become the regular price.

• Lowest price: Because prices fluctuate rapidly, sellers have a difficult time comparing their lowest price with all competitors. If advertisers claim to have the lowest price, they should have evidence to verify their claim.

• “Up to” savings: Savings or price reduction claims covering a group of items with a range of savings should state both the minimum and maximum savings without undue or misleading displays of the maximum.

• Free: The word, “free,” may be used in advertising when a business is offering an unconditional gift. If getting the free item requires a purchase:

– The advertiser must disclose this condition clearly and together with the “free” item.

– The normal price of the merchandise or service to be purchased must not have been increased or its quantity or quality reduced.

– The “free” offer must be temporary; if it isn’t temporary, it becomes a continuous combination offer.

Kelly Trevino is the regional director for the Corpus Christi office of Better Business Bureau serving Central, Coastal and Southwest Texas and the Permian Basin. She is available for media interviews and speaking engagements. You can reach her at 361-945-7352 or


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