Black Friday is one of the most important days of the holiday season and one of the most profitable. While many people spend hours camping outside stores just to be the first hundreds in the door, others are shopping online. E-Commerce sales have increased over the years and this increase allows customers to stay in the comfort of their own home, browse the internet and take advantage of the major sales offered by various businesses. To avoid the the stress of Black Friday you should begin planning now. Here 15 ways to prepare for Black Friday:
1. Create A Marketing Plan
You need to start planning and preparing your marketing plan early to be ready for Black Friday. The sooner you do this the better you can then begin letting your existing customers and shoppers know about your upcoming sale well in advance. Some customers start searching as early as October for online upcoming sales, browsing for gift ideas and you need to ensure that you get these customers. When you plan early you can begin your email marketing, prepare your campaigns, plan your ads and create your website and social media posts and banners.
2. Organise Your Sale Products
Instead of organising your sale products last minute, look at all of your products and plan your deals and discounts ahead of time. A great idea is to create a spread sheet in Excel or Google sheets which can be used not just during Black Friday but throughout the year. This spread sheet should have start and ending sales dates, stock quantity and prices. This will help you launch Black Friday sales smoothly without having to scramble last minute deals. Once you have organised your sale product you can order any backup stock, prepare your online and offline merchandising of the sale products.
3. Create A Back-up Plan
Have you created proper backup plans in case anything goes wrong? It’s very important to prepare for tough situations, think about the worst case scenarios and create contingency plans wherever possible. Think about various scenarios ranging from shipping issues to running out of stock and plan how you will handle the issues. It’s easier to go through all troubleshooting issues that could occur before Black Friday than in the midst of one of the biggest sales weekend of the year.
4. Test Your Website
Website crashes caused by increased web traffic during Black Friday can happen to any large or small business but there are ways to protect your website. Test your server load capacity to ensure it’s able to handle the spike in traffic to avoid your website potentially crashing. Use a designated backup server to automatically reroute web traffic to prevent customers being put off by a poorly functioning website. If you are planning to make any changes to your website, do so before the busy period and test rigorously to make sure your new changes are working properly. All plugins updates should be actioned promotely and any not being used should be deactivated. Website crashes are not the only thing that can affect your sales, overall website performance is also vital. Make sure your website can operate quickly and works well across various platforms.
5.Optimise for Mobile
Shoppers should be able to browse your store, view your products and shop using their mobile devices and have the same experience as they would if they were using their desktop. If your website is not optimised you will lose out on sales. To ensure shoppers are getting a great experience on your mobile site you must first test the site as a buyer including running through the checkout process. Once you have tested the process you can review whether the site operates smoothly, how seamless the checkout process is and if any changes are necessary.
6.Review The Checkout Experience
You should review the checkout experience as a customer and update the checkout process if necessary to make sure it’s quick and simple. The checkout experience should be streamlined to avoid cart abandonment, if you want to offer an option to create an account ask for very minimum information to reduce the time spent completing their purchase. As more shoppers use digital payment options try offering other payment methods at checkout, such as PayPal a it’s quicker than having to enter long credit card numbers.
7.Ensure Your Store Is Fully Stocked
Black Friday tends to be busy and you need to consider the increased demand you will experience by ensuring your store is fully stocked. If you rely on a supplier for your inventory ensure they are prepared to handle your projected sales or if you create your own product make sure you increase the demand of your goods. One of the worst things that can happen during a sale is selling out faster than you wanted to and not meeting the demand of your customers.
8.Offer Easy And Hassle-Free Returns
Black Friday isn’t just stressful for small business owners, it’s also a frantic time for shoppers. Be the small business that cares and goes above for their customers. Make sure you offer easy and hassle-free returns. Your returns policy should be stated clearly and communicated across your store.
9.Create Your Social Media Posts And Banners
One of the best way to promote your Black Friday sales is with beautifully designed graphics and visuals which can be used on your website and social media platforms. Whether you are planning to use banner ads on your social media platforms to promote your sales or changing the header or slider on your website homepage. If you need help creating social media posts and banners that showcases your brand get in touch www.theretailpfactor.com/retail-marketing-for-female-entrepreneurs/.
10.Plan Your Ads
It’s a good idea to start planning the ads you are about to run for your Black Friday sales or promotion ahead of time so you can put more thought into the ad placement. When you place ads during Black Friday and other festive holidays it can be expensive and competitive, you might need to increase your bid price on specific keywords or to attract certain audiences. If you area planning to do paid advertising starting early can help you prepare your sale or promotion ad budgets.
11.Start Your Email Marketing Campaigns
Email marketing is a great way to increase conversion rates. This year start planning your email marketing campaigns early and send them out early to ensure success. Every small business owner should have a few email marketing campaigns planned to bring back customers to your website so they can view and purchase your Black Friday deals. You should also use your social media platforms to advertise your email marketing campaigns to increase visibility and drive traffic to your website.
12.Reward Existing And Loyal Customers
Don’t miss this opportunity to rebuild your relationship with existing and loyal customers by emailing and re-targeting them with your best deals. Give existing and loyal customers the chance to access sales earlier or offer exclusive sales just for being a subscriber on your email list. When you reward your existing and loyal customers this way you make them feel special and when people feel as though they are receiving something exclusive they are more likely to make a purchase. You can also offer additional incentives through social media to bring in additional business.
13.Integrate live chat
During Black Friday you should be easily reachable by your customers and potential customers. The last thing you want is to lose a sale due to a potential customer not getting an answer quick enough. It’s not always possible to commit to having live chat monitored at all times but there are still ways you use live chat strategically. You should enable live chat during the most busiest periods and right after you have sent promotional emails showcasing your Black Friday deals.
Use various tracking methods to measure and improve your marketing campaigns. Google Analytics is a free and powerful traffic tracking tool that every E-Commerce small business should be using and if you are not using this you need to start. Whichever platform you use as a small business ensure you are using the provided available tracking tools and make sure you are using the tools correctly. Tracking everything allows you to see how your marketing efforts are converting to visits and sales.
15.Reflect on what worked and what didn’t
Black Friday is an excellent time for your small business to learn from its mistakes as well as its successes. The lessons you have learnt whether positive or negative will help you see what’s working and what isn’t so that you can improve. That’s why it’s important to document and keep track of everything that you did and then reflect on what worked and what didn’t. Any new strategies and tactics that you implemented this year, make sure you take notes and document all your decisions and the outcomes. All the collected information will be useful and can be used next year.
Hi, I’m Pam
I am an E-Commerce Specialist with over 13 years retail management and sales experience. Driven by my passion to helping people, I created the Retail P Factor to provide effective and actionable strategies for women in retail and sales.
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I would love to hear from you on how you are preparing for Black Friday.