Running an online retail shop can be a rollercoaster ride sometimes, right? From working with our clients that run online retail, we know that sometimes you just want that consistent feeling of steady income each month but sometimes that just doesn’t happen. Maybe you have steady sales each month but month over month those sales aren’t adding up to your overall annual goal. What do you do then?
Taking advantage of holiday sales is a great way to boost sales and in turn boost that annual revenue goal! It’s great to have a monthly goal set but remember that running an online retail shop can be very seasonal as well and things like holidays, planned launches, social media influencer shares and the like can boost your sales overnight. It may require a little more work during these seasons but I think most shop owners taking advantage of these things will tell you it is well worth it. Plus, over time you’ll learn what seasons you have a big boost in sales and you’ll be able to create a full budget and plan for the year instead of just month by month.
Here are 4 ways you can prepare for Black Friday and Cyber Monday and boost those sales!
- Determine what your promotion will be. That’s right, planning is key here and there are so many things that need to be considered. First, consider what you are willing to do in order to boost sales this coming season. If you don’t want to join in on the craziness of slashing prices, that’s ok – you can think outside the box and still drive in traffic. If you know that you can still profit from running a sale such as “25% off everything”, maybe that’s the best option for you. If you can look at history and see you have a few items that are your hot sellers, maybe focus the sale on those items instead. Whatever you do, just be sure that at the end of the day, the sale you run should still bring you profit. It doesn’t make sense to make 1,000 sales in a day that end up costing you more than they’re worth. If cutting your price is something you really don’t want to do or you want it to have more meaning, you can always get creative like Tentree does and instead of just cutting prices, be creative and create a whole campaign out of it. In this Shopify article, Tentree talks about how they created Green Friday and made it their mission to plant 1 million trees after the Black Friday / Cyber Monday sales. Not only are they offering discounts but through the campaign, they are also raising awareness. Whatever you decide, make sure it’s the best for your business and put a plan in place so you’re not tempted to just follow what others are doing without knowing if that will be the best plan for your business or not.
- Determine how you will market your promotion. Where are your ideal customers spending their time? Where have you received the most ROI in the past? This is definitely another area where you need to prepare and not make a hasty decision. Do some research and see where most visitors are coming from so you can base your decision on that. Maybe Facebook and Instagram ads are the best options for you, maybe you forego the ads and partner with a social media influencer instead, maybe it’s partnering with other ecommerce shops to promote each other, maybe it’s partnering with brick and mortar stores – whatever you do, make sure it’s something that makes sense for your business and shows proof that it will drive in those sales!
- Plan for the spike in sales. If you plan enough in advance and really nail down a good marketing strategy, you need to plan on how you will handle the increase in sales. Make sure you actually have enough inventory – there is nothing worse than having to tell customers that their order is on backorder because you are scrambling to purchase or produce more of what they bought. Make sure your website and ecommerce shop can handle an increase in traffic too – you don’t want to lose customers because your page wouldn’t load. Also, be prepared to hire a couple of helping hands if you end up having an increase in orders to process and ship out – if you’ve planned right and priced right then you’ll still be profitable even with this extra cost. If your ecommerce store sells digital, downloadable products then you don’t have to worry about inventory necessarily but you should still be prepared for a spike in sales by testing your site, making sure it’s ready for the traffic and having staff on hand to deal with questions or issues that customers might have.
- Be flexible with the outcome. Sometimes even when you prepare, things don’t always go how you hoped and that’s ok. The key here is to be flexible, learn from this instance and keep moving forward. If sales were much lower than you hoped, keep planning for the future. Maybe you now have extra inventory that needs to sell – assess what worked and didn’t work in your last campaign and move forward from there. Maybe you had significantly more in sales than you planned and you feel overwhelmed. First, be extra thankful for this abundance and then once again, plan! Increase staff, production or whatever it takes to get the orders filled – this is a good problem to have. We can never fully predict what is going to happen no matter how much we plan so being flexible and realistic with your goals is very important when planning for a holiday sale. Remember to take note of what worked and what didn’t work so you can plan for the future. The more data and history you have, the better you will be able to plan for the future!
Just in case you are on the fence about whether a Black Friday / Cyber Monday campaign is even something you should consider, here are some statistics from recent years:
- Last year, the National Retail Federation predicted that consumers would spend an average of $1,007.24 during the holiday season. 55% of those shoppers plan to shop online and 60% of those shoppers plan to wait until November to start shopping.
- Last year, on Thanksgiving Day, online sales totaled $3.7 billion which was a 28% increase from 2017. Source: Forbes
- Last year, Black Friday brought in $6.2 billion in sales which was a 23.6% increase from 2017. Source: Forbes
- Last year, Cyber Monday brought in $6 billion in sales which was a 28% increase from 2017. Source: blackfriday.com
- Each year, the number of shoppers using Instagram and Pinterest to scope out deals is rising, especially the Gen Z and millennial crowd. Source: NRF
There is no doubt that we Americans love to shop during the 4 days after Thanksgiving and even on Thanksgiving Day! We also love a good deal and many people specifically wait until Black Friday or Cyber Monday to shop so they can take advantage of those deals. Having a plan in place and enabling a strategic marketing campaign for your business can be game-changing!