Time to Get Ready for Black Friday & Cyber Monday: Our 2018 eCommerce Survival Guide
With only 6 weeks to go to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, it’s time to knuckle down and make sure you have your ecommerce store, your special offers and your Black Friday strategy ready for action.
In 2017 over US$11 billion was spent online between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. This iconic shopping weekend also sets the tone of the rest of the shopping year going into the festive season and jumps starts what for most businesses is the busiest sales quarter for the financial year.
If you plan correctly and apply your best sales tactics in this time you are setting yourself up for a good financial year to come. Which is why we have put together a definitive cheat sheet on making sure you are ready when the shopping hits you.
How to get ready for Black Friday and Cyber Monday: 11 Things to do right now
It’s not too early to get your customers excited about the upcoming special deals they will be eligible for on your on your Ecommerce website at the end of November.
We already know that consumers start to wait on big purchases as early as September in anticipation of the upcoming holiday sales, so why not make sure that they are anticipating YOUR sales and specials? In fact, 40% of holiday shoppers start researching in October.
So, start building up a hype. You can use your Social Media channels to ask them what they would like to see, or simply start a countdown to Black Friday and give them hints about which products you will have on sale. You don’t even need to let them know what the prices will be just yet, as long as you get them visiting your site and checking out your merchandise well in advance.
First of all, you need to have a fully up-to-date inventory and know exactly what you have available, what is selling well, and what isn’t. This is not the time for running out of stock or backing the wrong products. Only once you have your store in order can you decide which items you are going to promote and offer deals on.
You need to know exactly how many of each item you have access to, how long it will take to ship and what your contingency plan will be should you run out of something.
Be digitally prepared
You need to do more than just decide which items you are going to offer on sale (although you do need to plan and budget for that too). You also need to ensure that your website is ready for the (hopefully) huge surge in traffic that Black Friday and Cyber Monday will bring you.
Get your web developers in NOW, if you haven’t already done so, and get them testing landing pages, cart, capacity and whatever else you can think of to test.
Make it mobile
Every year we see a higher and higher percentage of purchases taking place via mobile devices than the year before. Make sure that your website is well optimized for mobile, and make the purchasing process as easy as possible. If you don’t already have a mobile web app for your store you will be wishing you did come to the end of November! Even without an app, ensure that your mobile site is hugely responsive, lightweight and easy to navigate.
Have at least one BIG DEAL
You need to have at least offer that will attract mega attention. This needs to be something you know people want at a price that will be impossible for them to ignore. The reasoning behind this is that even if you are not making a lot on that item, it will act as the draw card which gets people onto YOUR website.
They will be encouraged by incentives like free shipping and would probably prefer to buy everything they’re looking for in one place.
Let them know that stock is limited
Don’t be afraid to advertise that you have “limited stock available” on certain items if you. Rather create a sense of urgency than set an unachievable expectation which could damage your brand. If customers see “limited stock remaining” on an item they are more likely to buy because they are worried that if they wait they will lose out.
So go ahead and put it right there in your Email subject line.
Digital media all the way
You need to make sure that your Social Media game is on point. This is where the real hype happens. Make sure you have an engaging, enticing social media presence, which links back to dedicated landing pages.
Your Social Media plan should already have defined metrics for success, active platforms which suit your product or service and a strategic posting plan. Whether you do or you don’t, now is the time to make sure that it’s all happening.
Good old email
A social media strategy is essential, but it can’t replace the power of a successful email campaign. So get your designers and copywriters cracking on an email marketing plan that will pull in the numbers. You want to focus on strong subject lines because your emails will be competing with a sea of other marketing - and getting your email opened is the first step towards actually converting a customer.
One of the greatest things about email marketing is that you probably already have the email addresses of all of your past customers on hand. Email is a great way to sell to existing customers, reward loyal customers, and entice new leads.
Target the right audience
You need to market your product to those who are actually going to buy - not only because they are your target market, but also because they are comfortable shopping online. These are your millennials. We want to shop online, we love to shop online. We don’t have the same reservations as the generation before us nor the budget constraints of the generation who came after us. So make sure you are speaking our language in your communications.
Get your delivery system organized
It’s not enough for your to offer amazing deals if you can’t get the good to your customers! Make sure that you communicate with your delivery company well in advance and find out exactly what kind of expectations you can set for your customers.
Will they be able to fulfill same-day deliveries? Will you be able to offer free delivery? These are huge factors in the decision making process for your consumer.
This is a great time for some strategically placed affiliate marketing. If you can, try to get at least a few of your products and services partnered up with bigger names and brands than yourself.
The big stores rule Black Friday and Cyber Monday and you could find that it’s well within your interests to partner up with someone bigger than yourself. Rather than trying to beat them at their game, jump on their band wagon and let it work for you.