Black Friday through to Cyber Monday are generally considered the biggest holiday shopping days of the year, so if you haven’t started planning and implementing your marketing and sales strategy yet, you’d better get involved before it’s too late.
Plan, research and be prepared!
Having a dedicated promotions strategy for the weekend will help when it comes to co-ordinating your marketing before and during your Black Friday sales. Are you planning on offering a blanket discount on all products? Or are you going discount items on an individual basis? The latter is a great strategy to drive traffic for highly sought-after items. And once you’ve got them through the door, customers are likely to shop around, so make sure you catch their eye with other offers.
As for products that haven’t been selling well, try bundling them together with more popular items, or giving them away as gifts with other purchases. Think about offering free delivery (if you don’t already) on Black Friday as a means of attracting even more customers. You could even offer this throughout the entire holiday season to bring in more sales. You could also think about offering gift cards or vouchers to get people interested – take a look at PetSmart’s strategy: they’re offering a $5 coupon with certain purchases, something you could think about doing.
Do some research and take a look at what your competition are offering. Chances are they’re already doing some kind of marketing, so see what they’re offering – you might be able to beat them on price.
Make sure you can meet the demand
You don’t want to find yourself scrambling around at the last second, desperately trying to restock your products, so make sure your suppliers know in advance your projected sales figures for Black Friday (and the rest of the holiday season) so that they can meet your expectations. You’ll want to ensure that you’ve got plenty of items in stock if you plan on promoting them heavily.
Think about automating some of the stock side of things with an inventory management software to keep things accurate. This way, your stock will automatically be updated and you won’t have to manually keep up with the influx of orders and changes to stock levels – this is especially handy if you’re selling on more than one channel and things get even more complicated. Something like Veeqo, which is an inventory management software that supports Shopify as well as Amazon, eBay and more webstores.
November and December are incredibly busy times for retailers. Think back to previous years and whether you might need to hire extra staff to help take care of the extra customers you can expect. Hiring temporary employees for the holiday season is not uncommon, and the extra hands can go a long way in helping you with answering phones, processing orders, and picking and packing.
Make sure you allocate enough time to train them in using Shopify and any other software you use before the shopping season hits, so they know what they are doing. You’ll probably be too busy to give much guidance, so make sure they feel confident that they can be left alone to complete tasks.
Market to loyal customers
Marketing to your existing and repeat customers is a lot less time and money draining that acquiring new ones, especially true during the holiday season when every one of your competition is pushing their sales.
Offering your customers highly personalized promotions and discounts can be an effective way of encouraging holiday purchases. You should also promote your loyalty schemes or newsletters during the weekend of Black Friday to keep your customers returning year-round. Toys R Us, for example, are allowing customers who are already signed up to their loyalty program early access to its Black Friday deals.
Tease your customers. Email them with a glimpse of what kind of great discounts they can expect from you, and rouse their curiosity a few weeks before your sales.
This is the best kind of time to utilise Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Spreading the word about your holiday incentives and sharing promotional material on social media gives you the opportunity to interact and engage with prospective customers who might be looking for a business like yours.
Sneak peaks always work well to give a taste of what is to come – like Best Buy have done here on their Twitter page.
Play on scarcity
Sales create a sense of urgency which allows you to play up to the scarcity of products. Make a point of showing how many items of each product you have in stock so you can make them anxious that if they don’t act immediately, they risk losing out – try the Stock Chart add-on for Shopify. Showing that there’s “only 1 left in stock!” may convince those undecided customers.
Make returns easy
Ordering online can make people a little nervous, especially when it comes to things like clothing. The concern that something won’t fit or look good on can deter people from buying, but if a sale alone isn’t enough to convince some people, having a simple and free returns policy – like Walmart’s – could go a long way in convincing them to order something they’re not 100% certain about.
Black Friday isn’t just an opportunity to sell to an increased amount of people over one weekend, it’s also the chance to reach more people who could become repeat customers. Make sure you’re well prepared and can handle the influx of customers so that nobody is disappointed – of course they will be if they miss out on some hot deals, but being slow to ship your items, having a rubbish returns policy, or saying you have something in stock when you don’t leads to frustration, disappointment and lost customers, so make sure you have a strategy in place and don’t leave things to the last minute.
This is a guest post by Jodie Pride, Content Creating Executive at Veeqo.com inventory management software.