You need to start your Black Friday prep now.
Yes, right now, unless you like losing money.
The first thing on your checklist?
Reading this blog to learn why and, more importantly, what you need to do.
The next thing on that checklist?
Finding out that, for many businesses, the last weekend of November is the first time each year that you’re not operating at a loss.
Depending on your industry, you could be earning up to half your revenue in the final quarter of the year. But even though this is a critical time period for sales, many businesses assume they can coast on the guaranteed bump in revenue brought about by Black Friday.
If your Black Friday strategy is to just offer a discount, all you’re doing is losing money.
10% off isn’t enough.
Neither is 15%.
20%, 30%, 75%... none of those are good enough on their own.
Imagine your ecommerce store is a physical location. Black Friday rolls around and a rush of customers are in your store, shopping for the best deals.
What do those customers look like?
Chances are, they fall into one of three categories:
- The Deal Hunter: This is a customer you’ve never met before. The first time they enter your store is on Black Friday because you’ve offered a discount. They don’t know anything about you, your brand, or possibly even your product – they just want to save money.
- The Loyal Saver: This is someone you’ve already sold to and who has probably put off buying their usual product from you until they could save some money.
- The Casual Shopper: Similar to the Deal Hunter, this might be a brand new customer. Or it might be a “warm” customer – someone who has shopped with you before, but not quite so much that they could be called a Loyal Saver. They’ve come into your store because it’s Black Friday and they might be willing to buy from you… if they can save some money.
As different as they are, they all have something in common – they want to save money.
You need to be strategic about your Black Friday offers. If you don’t have a handle on your numbers, all you’re doing is giving away your profit margins.
10% off for them is 10% less for you, and while you might bring in more volume on Black Friday, don’t forget that you’re competing not with just your direct competitors… but with every other business out there.
Why has Black Friday become so important?
Shipping delays are part of the reality we live in.
So are stock outages and shortages.
That means that holiday shoppers are looking to buy earlier every year.
By the time Boxing Week – one of the most traditionally strong sales times – rolls around, buyers are burnt out. They’ve bought all their holiday gifts (and probably bought a present or twelve for themselves, too). They aren’t looking to spend more money after they’ve already taken advantage of all the pre-holiday sales.
Black Friday is the start of all those pre-holiday sales, meaning it’s replacing that traditionally-strong sales period after Christmas.
So how do you set yourself apart from the competition and keep more money in your pocket on Black Friday?
My team has helped many clients through multiple Black Fridays, including those unprecedented ones where in-person holiday shopping wasn’t a possibility.
So we’ve seen what works and what doesn’t.
Here are our top tips on coming up with a Black Friday strategy that doesn’t leave you in the red:
1. Figure out what promo you’re going to do early
Remember what we said about 75% off not being good enough? Unless you’re a huge business where volume will make up for the massive loss in profit, this kind of discount isn’t for you.
Take some time to look at your numbers and figure out what you’re going to do ahead of time. Pay attention to your profit margins and your best sellers. Instead of offering a flat discount on everything, consider what items you want to sell the most of.
You can also consider pairing your discount with a free gift or limited-edition, Black-Friday-Only item. Customers are looking for deals, but there are a lot of shoppers who are only buying because things are on sale. Even if you’re practically giving away your product, there’s no guarantee that they’ll come back and buy from you again.
2. Don’t drop your follow up
Two of the three customer types we mentioned above are first-time shoppers with your business.
Your promo brought them through the door. If you’re strategic with your follow-up, you can turn them into Loyal Savers and even your Long-Term Raving Fans.
Automation can turn a one-time customer into a repeat buyer, and repeat buyers are easier to sell to. That means that next year when Black Friday rolls around, hitting your sales targets will be a breeze.
If you don’t automate, you’re going to have to repeat this whole thing year… after year… after year.
3. Make your marketing stick
Determining your marketing strategy ahead of time and sticking to it even when things start getting busy will take your sales to the next level.
Every single one of your customers is going to have an inbox full of promotional emails, so figuring out what you’re going to send and when will help your business stand out.
How do you make sure you stand out?
Write your newsletters, ads, and other promotional content ahead of time. The leadup to Black Friday is busy and the last thing you want to deal with when you’re trying to stick to your marketing schedule is to come up with clever, captivating emails.
The best thing you can do to make Black Friday go as smoothly as possible?
Get dedicated support for your ecommerce store.
One of my team members used to manage a retail store.
On the busiest day of the year, with all staff members working and a lineup from the two tills at the front all the way to the back of the store, the debit and credit card machine on one of the tills went down.
It took hours before a technician could come to the store and fix it. When they did, they had to shut one of the two tills down completely while it was being repaired.
Long story short, her store did not meet their targeted sales that day.
Even though it was the busiest day of the year.
Even though she’d spent weeks preparing for the sale.
Now, imagine your website went down on Black Friday.
Terrifying, isn’t it?
Do you know how much money you would lose?
Traditional avenues for support are overwhelmed on days like Black Friday – and on the days leading up to it. The last thing you need on Black Friday is the sheer panic that comes with losing access to your website.
A dedicated ecommerce support team means not only are you getting expert advice on your Black Friday strategy, you’ve got someone there in case anything happens during the leadup to your busiest time of year.