Before 2010, Black Friday existed only in the United States. Now Black Friday kicks off a worldwide shopping week. If you’re a business owner this fact can’t be ignored. Black Friday is one of the most profitable days of the year. In 2016 US consumers alone spent $1.66 billion.
Black Friday occurs both in-store and online on the day after Thanksgiving. Small Business Saturday launches the following day to drive money to local businesses. Cyber Monday is all about finding the best online deals. And on #givingtuesday, people celebrate their new goodies with a little philanthropy.
Black Friday sales are an opportunity for retail success. As a business owner, you have to get in on the action. But how do you guarantee a successful business day on Black Friday? Here’s eight tips to help you out. Get ready for huge Black Friday sales with this checklist:
1. Appropriate pricing and promotions
Customers want some amazing deals, otherwise they’ll feel like your sale wasn’t worth it. Give them what they want and profit!
Your goal is to offer discounts that bring in new customers, while keeping your business out of the red ink. The exception to this rule is if you’re promoting a deep-discounted loss leader. You’ll make up for it by selling high margin items in greater volume that day. Here are some unique Black Friday Promotions to try:
- Offer free samples and bonuses for a high value ticket item
- Offer a bonus gift card for purchases over a certain amount
- Bundle products and digital products at discount (if possible)
- Have a giveaway for customers sharing deals on social media
2. Plan inventory with suppliers and your manufacturing team
Major retailers prepare their inventory months before the holiday shopping season. Your goal is to make as many sales as possible without having excess inventory when the sales are over. Stay on top of your supply chain and guarantee that you can get enough stock. Here are some ways to determine how much of a product you’ll need stocked:
- Check previous years sales and set a goal
- Review last year sales of a competitor (if possible)
- Factor in market conditions and economic trends
After looking at previous sales history, ask yourself where you can improve this year. Set your goal, then plan your inventory. Get all of your staff committed to hitting your numbers.
3. Optimize your website
What’s the worst thing that can happen to you as an online retailer during Black Friday and Cyber Monday? If you guessed, “having your website crash,” then you’re exactly right.
It’s definitely not fun for anyone. I’ll complain on Twitter about not buying a new Xbox, and you’ll lose money every hour. It’s an epic fail that will forever live on the web. How do I know? Just ask Kohl’s about their website errors in 2009 and 2012.
But crashed sites aren’t the only problem online retailers face. Even slow sites lose customers. Luckily, these problems are preventable with a little preparation. Here’s how you can optimize your website for Black Friday visitors:
- Review your hosting
Wondering what’s to blame for a website crash? The answer: too much traffic. Double check with your hosting company that your site will be able to take the traffic.
- Test your website speed
Test your website using a service like loadimpact.com. They use virtual bots to browse your website and determine the site speed.
Test this before Black Friday to discover any website bottlenecks. Then have your IT guy fix all the problems. That way you’re prepared when real visitors rush to your site.
- Integrate live chat
Customers want personable service, even when they’re shopping online. One way to increase your chances of making an online sale is by integrating live chat on your website. Live chat resolves customer issues in seconds. Those few extra seconds might be enough for a customer to bounce to your competitor. Plus, live chat is worthwhile – one staff member can speak to multiple customers at once.
4. Optimize your warehouse
The sale period, by itself, is stressful. But things can go from good to bad if things go wrong in the warehouse. Late shipments, low inventory, and bad processes in the warehouse cause problems. Deliver your products late or fail to pack items well and you’ll face backlash and returns. Take care of these issues by:
- Organizing your warehouse and inventory properly
- Educating warehouse staff where items are located
- Managing inventory levels
- Having enough shipping supplies
- Scheduling enough staff to get products shipped out on time
Addressing these issues ahead of time will resolve any problems you have with delivering your customers holiday orders on time.
Marketing & Creative Graphics
5. Create branded product graphics
Start taking and editing product images after you’ve decided on your promotions. Your creative team can use these photos for website and promotional ads. Once you have your product images, your marketing team can start building buzz about your deals as soon as possible. Advertise your best deals to draw in customers to your sale.
6. Write your ad copy
Ideally this has been done early however, start preparing ads and marketing material as it gets closer to Black Friday and Cyber Monday. To do this, have marketing staff build custom ads targeting your different customer segments. Approve the ad copy and have your marketing team create ads that produce buzz around your brand.
Completing ad copy early leads to smooth marketing. Schedule future ads, social media posts, and promotional activities. Done right this will build interest in your business the weeks before your holiday sales.
7. Build your email and social media campaigns
Email marketing is a powerful tool you can’t ignore. This is especially true before Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Once you have copy for your email campaign, schedule your emails. Use MailChimp, AWeber, or whatever you like using best to send emails to your list. Draw attention to special sales items to hype up special deals. Promote the right items on both social media and in email and you’ll see high open and engagement rates. Here’s how to create great email and social media campaigns:
- Schedule promotional emails
Surprise customers with your upcoming Black Friday deals but don’t give too much away in the process. You don’t want to accidentally discourage customers from buying now because their favorite item will be on sale on Black Friday or Cyber Monday. Instead, leave hints about what you’re going to offer.
- Sprinkle in enough follow up emails
Not every email will be promotional in nature, so make sure you’re creating an avenue for discussion about your business with follow up emails. This is also a good time to build hype about promotional announcements in upcoming emails.
- Establish retargeting email ad campaigns
Set up email retargeting to advertise to your repeat customers. It’s much less expensive to keep an old customer than it is to buy a new one. Your customers should see ads from your company reinforcing your best Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals.
- Prepare your social media posts
Schedule your social media posts to correspond with promotional emails. You’ll create buzz and even add social media fans to your email list. Automated this process with a service like Hootsuite or Buffer, just like you did with your emails.
8. Track your results!
Increased sales and visitors to your eCommerce store lead to important business data. Make sure you’re collecting and tracking everything. After your sale is over, take a look at what products performed well and what didn’t go according to plan.
Here are some things you should be tracking:
- The number of sign-ups to your mailing list
- How many new customers purchased from you during the holiday sale period
- Your traffic increase
- Where your visitors originated
- Returns and exchanges
- New social media followers
- User flow and where visitors dropped off the sales funnel
This information is going to be helpful for your business next year. Use this data to plan a better Black Friday and Cyber Monday next year, and focus on everything you learnt to increase your profit even more. Remember, your bottom line isn’t the only benefit of promoting sales on Black Friday. What lifetime customers did you gain? How much will they buy from your business next year? These are exciting questions you get to discover.
I hope this checklist helps your business achieve holiday sales success. Don’t forget to share your thoughts and any helpful tips below. Now go out there and crush your sales goals!
If you need any last minute help getting your product images ready for the holiday period, Pixc is here! See what we can do for you with a free photo edit today.