With Thanksgiving just around the corner, it isn't long until Black Friday and Cyber Monday are upon us.
Last year, online sales reached $7.9 billion between Black Friday ($5.03 billion) and Thanksgiving ($2.87 billion), representing an increase of 17.9% on the previous year. Cyber Monday was no slouch, either, setting a record $6.59 billion – the largest online shopping day ever.
With 2018 likely to be another strong year, most retailers have already got their sales and marketing planned. But don't worry; if you have not started planning yet, it's not too late – but you do need to start soon.
We'll look at some tips on planning your marketing campaign shortly, but first, let's not forget what the benefits are of taking action.
Why Get Involved In Black Friday?
Everyone knows Black Friday is big, but will it be good for your business?
Many smaller retailers hold off committing advertising spend to a Black Friday Sale because they fear spending extra money to sell discounted products will leave them out of pocket.
Planning your sale well and choosing your items correctly should reduce the possibility of losing money, but there are also other benefits to running a Black Friday sale in addition to profit.
Retain Existing Customers
Your customers are looking for Black Friday bargain, and they're probably going to find one somewhere – wouldn't it be better if it was on your website?
Failing to run and market a sale creates a big opportunity for your competitors to advertise to and poach some of your best customers.
Black Friday is ideally placed to generate new customers just in time for the Holiday season. Money spent on advertising and discounting is repaid when those new customers continue to buy from your brand.
Clear Unsold Stock
The large volume of shoppers looking for a bargain is a key opportunity to clear stock ahead of Christmas. You'll not only sell items that may otherwise have never sold but you also clear inventory space for more popular products ahead of Christmas.
It's Not Too Late To Get Started – Here's How
With Black Friday nearly here, you may be wondering if it's possible to set up and advertise a sale so quickly? It is – but you need to act fast.
Start Communicating Early
Every year, Black Friday sales start earlier – and so does the digital advertising.
What was originally a one-day event now stretches over the weekend (and sometimes beyond) and many companies start talking about their sales a week or two in advance.
While it might not be appropriate to focus your paid advertising on your Black Friday sale just yet, you can start to increase awareness through your newsletter and social media immediately.
This is particularly important if you've never held a Black Friday sale before and your customers may not be expecting it.
Examine Recent Sales Data to Help With Discounting
Your sales data is useful for helping you pick products for your sale. In most cases you don't want to put your hottest sellers in the sale; they'll sell anyway – so if you do cut their price, do it by less than other stock.
Reserve larger discounts for items where sales are slow, that are end of season, or where you have a big enough margin to swallow a significant discount.
Consider which products your competitors are putting in their sale and be strategic about how and where you compete.
Find Other Ways To Add Value
Just because everyone else is discounting single products doesn't mean you have to.
You could bundle products together and only offer discounts on those bundles, thus encouraging shoppers to buy more. Or you may want to encourage increased spending by offering a free gift or discount once people spend a certain amount.
If In Doubt, Deliver a Great Experience
Consumers tend to pick smaller brands for their unique style and shopping experience.
Don't try to compete with the biggest brands – you'll never beat Amazon at their own game. Instead, focus on delivering a unique and positive sales experience from your ads all the way through to your checkout.
Optimize For Mobile
Criteo report that 40% of sales in the November and December period, including Black Friday, were made on mobile phones. If anything, this statistic is only going to increase this year.
This means that if you do have the resources available to make improvements to your marketing or store before the sale, focus on improvements that target mobile users.
As a bare minimum, it would be wise to check that your sales pages and checkout processes are fully responsive and load fast on mobile phones. You might also want to target mobile phone users with your ads more.
Don't Forget To Engage After The Sales Have Ended
Part of the value of running a Black Friday sale is the new customers you receive in the run-up to the Holiday period. But these won't count for much unless you engage with them and continue building the relationship.
Use your social media and newsletter as normal, but also invest in remarketing to keep your brand top of mind in the run-up to Christmas.