This post was written by Charlotte Head.
When you think of Black Friday, your mind often jumps to dystopian scenes of destruction and debauchery. Such as…
‘Target Shoppers Step Over Dying Man’
‘Scenes of Chaos during chain store’s Black Friday sales in Northern Ireland’
‘Shirtless man uses belt as a whip outside Vancouver Black Friday Sale’
As the above headlines demonstrate, Black Friday has previously proved to be a worldwide phenomenon.
Recently, however, things have moved away from these sensationalist headlines. There is less of a physical battle, and more of a battle of wills. This battle involves the constant refreshing of pages, waking up at ungodly hours and the sudden emptying of ‘wish lists’ into ‘baskets’. The battleground has moved from the store to the screen.
There has been a shift towards shopping online, which can be beneficial for businesses; they can have more control (no shirtless Indiana Jones impersonators in sight), but measures need to be taken by way of preparation.
Consider this your step-by-step guide to preparing your online business for Black Friday:
Step One: when do you need to be ready?
Black Friday is on the 23rd November 2018, however, there’s also Cyber Monday on the 26th November 2018. What’s the difference? Honestly, not a lot. However, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Cyber Monday sales are often over much quicker than Black Friday sales, with many being over in 24 hours. Be prepared for high levels of traffic on all sorts of devices.
- Think about what your business trades in. If it’s travel or TVs, place more emphasis on Cyber Monday preparations. If it’s clothing, toys or homeware, concentrate on Black Friday, as these are the products that are most popular, and in turn, most profitable.
- Take advantage of both days, stagger your deals to ensure a steady flow of traffic.
Step two: what are my capabilities?
- What is your host? Platforms have different helpful features and tools. For example, Shopify has short-term marketing software that could be useful, such as ‘Kit’ which re-targets customers with social media adverts and has a built-in abandoned cart recovery function.
- Contact your host or do some research into what you can do to make the most of your platform.
- Consider how your aims align with your situation. For example, a ‘doorbuster sale’ is a great technique to get customers through the door and have them (hopefully) pick up some extra items on the way out, but it’s a risk that may not be worth taking if you’re starting out or in a sales slump. Be ambitious, but realistic.
Step Three: leave a good impression
- Ensure your site can handle the extra traffic and increased orders. It’s a good idea to create a contingency plan – for example, you can get reserves of popular products and communicate with your suppliers
- Implement a live chat, so you are accessible to customers, who will likely have more queries
These suggestions are important because you’ll likely be getting some first-time buyers, so you need to be sure you can make a good impression. Take measures in advance to be informative, helpful and ensure orders and deliveries all go smoothly.
Step Four: promote, promote, promote
- Target existing customers via email marketing
- Use social media – get creative with ads, imagery and banners to attract new customers
- Plan scheduled posts on social media as well as on your blog. This is a great way of reminding your customers before your sale starts and while it’s going on that you have amazing deals that are going fast
- You could try pitching to bloggers and influencers to gain their support and promotion in the run-up to BFCM
To conclude, you should prepare by:
- Considering your options with Cyber Monday and Black Friday
- Making the most of your hosting platform and business situation
- Ensure your site and business can handle increased orders and traffic
- Amp up your promotional and marketing efforts
Here’s to a less stressful Black Friday than the previous years! Follow these steps and you’ll have a successful weekend, which will hopefully lead to more repeat purchases than ever before.
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