It’s the time of year when we carve pumpkins, stand around a bonfire with sparklers and start thinking about presents under the tree, which also means it’s time for some of the busiest trading days of the year…Black Friday and Cyber Monday! This once-American tradition has travelled across the pond and has now reached all over the world in a big way, with countries such as France, Canada, Pakistan, Romania and Mexico now in on the discount weekend. It originally started as the first Friday after Thanksgiving in the US, where retailers took the opportunity to bombard consumers with deals and offers to kick-start the Christmas shopping season.
This year, Black Friday falls on 24th November and Cyber Monday will be the 27th November. Cyber Monday is the Monday after Black Friday and mainly consists of eCommerce outlets reducing their prices in an attempt to sell as much stock as possible. This weekend has now developed into a frenzied event of slashed prices in stores and online shopping deals. We’ve all seen the videos on the news each year of shoppers wrestling TVs from one another in some of the UK’s biggest supermarkets, showing just how big of a deal this weekend has become. Retailers take advantage of this and the discounts usually last the entire weekend to encompass both days, with some even taking it up to a week or two weeks, with introductory offers leading up to it. There is an obvious loss to profit when prices are cut and there are returned items to account for, but the volume of items sold across the weekend would not happen if not for this intense weekend of spending. Some of the most popular categories that consumers desire and spend money on are clothing, shoes, electronics and toys, which all make popular gifts for Christmas.
As the weekend is only 20 days away, if you run or own an eCommerce business, you should already have a plan in place for this weekend. So many UK businesses now partake in this annual event that if a business fails to join in, they will lose out on sales and profits that will just go to competitors instead, which many online retailers cannot afford to do. According to US discount outlet RetailMeNot, they’ve predicted that consumer spending over the weekend is set to increase by 47% from just last year. Cyber Monday itself is growing larger every year too, with more than 56% of consumers surveyed by RetailMeNot planning on purchasing something on the discount day. The Telegraph reports that Britons spent a record £5.8 billion over the four days between Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2016, which is an increase of 15% on the previous year. A staggering almost 7 in 10 consumers will spend money between Black Friday and Cyber Monday – can you afford not to have a slice of the pie? Read on for some of our top tips to getting ready for this major retailing weekend.
Our Tips for Getting Your Business Ready
1. Once you’ve decided on your discount strategy and plan of action, retailers will need to ensure their homepage is updated to reflect that they’re participating in the discount. Consumers landing on your homepage searching for deals could be immediately put off by seeing a standard homepage and no indication of discount. This is where you can use your homepage to incite people to click through and go further into the site. Display your discounts loudly and strongly above the fold, with maybe even some examples of the savings consumers can make. A countdown clock will increase excitement and encourage people to buy once they see there is only a certain amount of time left to purchase.
2. Ensure your checkout process is simplified and easy to use by consumers. You may lose out on sales if consumers have to go to too much trouble just to give you their money! Eradicate unnecessary steps to ensure your checkout process is quick and painless.
3. You will need to compress all your images on your site as this can slow down page load times by a huge amount, and impatient shoppers will not wait for a huge amount of images to load. Make sure you resize all your images before the weekend takes place in order to keep your site smooth-running and user-friendly.
4. Mobile shopping is huge now, with more people solely using their mobile phone to purchase than ever. Test your site on your mobile phone so you know it’s mobile-friendly and there are no glitches or bugs to work out.
5. As mentioned in our previous blog post, live chat is an avenue of your site you should definitely go down, especially for this weekend. Having a live chat in place for consumers can be easy to install and could help convert plenty of sales and assuage customers’ concerns or questions about any products.
6. Create emails to go out to notify consumers that you’re holding a sale and let them know of all your fantastic discounts. There is no better way to encourage customers to your site for specific sales like this. Structure them across the weekend so they go out as the discounts start, to remind them they’re on over the weekend, and one on Cyber Monday to notify them of the last day.
7. Use your social media! Create imaginative posts and pictures that you can push throughout social media on your Twitter, Instagram and Facebook pages. Use popular hashtags so more people see your posts and ensure you include examples of savings and discounts.
8. Ensure you have a remarketing campaign for all those customers that landed on your site to browse and left without purchasing. This can help conversions and can target customers that are in different stages of the purchasing process in order to complete the sale.
Having a strategy to adhere to and following these simple tips will ensure your Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend goes without a hitch and hopefully sees you getting a lot of sales! If you have a brick-and-mortar store, be consistent throughout and offer the same discounts so your message is conveyed through all your outlets.
If you need help or want to discuss your strategy, get in touch and see how our we could help your business achieve its potential!