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Black Friday marks the beginning of year-end shopping season. The term and phenomena originated in USA originally but it has been gradually gathering momentum in many parts of the world. Black Friday is also followed by Cyber Monday which was created specifically for and by the online retailers to push some more products and offers. This mass-advertised and heavily promoted event creates a unique frenzy amongst shoppers and they end up spening a lot more than other periods. For many businesses, it is the biggest sale period of the year and they make most of their profit during this season. If you are a business that wants to clear out some inventory then you cannot afford to miss this great shopping event. If you plan and execute it well then it can do wonders for your business and morale.

Here is a quick 5 step guide for tackling the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sale period:

1. Decide
Before you jump into the 'Black Friday - Cyber Monday' bandwagon, you need to first decide if you really want to run with it. Year-end sale season can be very demanding for many small businesses and it can push them to their limits.
You need to be sure that your business infrastructure can handle the extra sales and additional pressure. You should go through following questions with your team:
- Can you afford to give discounts on your existing product prices?
- Do you have enough inventory to deal with increased sales?
- Will your warehouse facility be able to manage the additional sorting and packaging?
- Will your shipment party be able to handle additional shipments?
- Will your website and server be able to handle sudden surge in traffic?
- Can your finance department process all those transactions quickly and correctly?
- Is your staff and vendors willing to work through the festive weekend?

If 'Yes' is the answer to most of these questions then you should definitely start preparing to offer Black Friday and Cyber Monday sale on your webshop.

2. Prepare
It is better to be prepared than being sorry. Cover all your bases and double check everything before you declare the sale to your customers. Run all your forecast and calculations in advance so that there are no surprises during the sale.
- Inform all stakeholders (warehouse, packaging, shipment, customer care etc) of your plans and duration of your campaign.
- Test your promotion rules and discount codes in advance to see that they correctly work and are giving discounts on correct products and in correct numbers.
- Create a set of attractive banners, pop-ups and landing pages on your website and/or app so that your visitors are informed and engaged when the sale starts.
- Display information about your privacy policy, secure payment methods, delivery estimation and return policy clearly on your website so that users are assured while shopping.
- Test your entire webshop in desktop as well as mobile devices. Fix any issue that you see, a buggy or slow website is not attractive to any customer.
- Discuss with your development and hosting party and boost the available resources (if necessary). It will do you no good if the website crashes during sale period. Infact it can even harm your branding and convey to customers that your webshop is not reliable to prepared.
- Assign clear roles and create multi-layered contingency plans for any surprises that could show up during the sale period.

Once you are ready with all of the above, you should start informing all your customers about the offers you have on your webshop.

3. Advertise
All of above planning will be of no use if your target audience is not aware that you are having a sale and offers at your webshop. It is very important that you aggressively push
- Make sure that you send multiple teasers and emails to your entire emailing list. Set a time-line for these emails and start creating the hype atleast a week in advance.
- Post about the sale and offers on all your social media profiles
- If your marketing budget allows it then get other bloggers and influencers to promote your offers.
- Use all online advertisement platforms (Google Adwords, Youtube ads, Facebook ads, Twitter ads etc) at your disposal and start placing ads weeks in advance.
- Local radios channels and newspapers are also a great medium to advertise if you offer a localised services or products. Push those advertisements just one day in advance or run them on sale days.

Once you have done all the marketing and promotions you could have possible done, brace for the sale day and keep your team on high-alert.

4. Monitor
While the sale is on, you will get a great chance to see how your customers behave and take decisions and how your team and website reacts to them.
This is a great time to locate all issues that your business faces during regular operations. You will see all the bottle-becks and problematic areas in your entire work-flow that harms your business slowly but surely. Make a note of them for future action.
With tracking mechanisms, you can even see how customers behave on your website and what is troubling them. You can see how much time they spend on certain pages and where all they fall off the website.

5. Follow-up
- Take status of your inventory and crunch all important numbers.
- Getting more orders is nice, but those extra orders also need to be delivered asap to the customers.
- If there is going to be any delay in delivery, inform your customers and give them an estimated date.
- Go through all the problems you saw during the sale period and get it fixed with responsible departments/people.
- With increased, there will also be comparatively higher rate of cancellations or returns. Get all that processed asap.
- Create and send marketing emails to all visitors who abandoned their carts during the sale period. It might get you some extra orders this time around.
- Once you are done, collect and collate all this data and insight into your archives so that you can refer to it plan all future campaigns accordingly.

For next time, contact Hungersoft and let us help you in creating a great and successful sale event for your shoppers!

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