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It is only 3 months until Black Friday in the US, which means it is time to start preparing for a lot of merchants. As the countdown to the biggest grossing holiday sale begins we have compiled a list of tips to help start your holiday shopping season with a bang. Let’s make this year your best Black Friday ever!
Announce your sales
Letting your shoppers know ahead of time about your sales is crucial. Most shoppers expect that there will be sales and love to know what is on sale and where it is on sale. Lots of shoppers plan their buying strategies around these sales. Using banners on your site and your mailing list is a great way to let customer know what is going to be on sale and when. Don’t be afraid to start earlier than normal. Especially if you are writing articles about your Black Friday sale. The articles take some time to get indexed and become searchable, so the earlier the better. We generally recommend 45 days for articles to become fully searchable and indexed.
Use your mailing list. Overuse your mailing list. Studies have shown that most buyers respond to mailings on or around Black Friday. Lots of customer are actually wanting to get mails this time of year to see what is on sale. If you target your emails at the most effective times, you can increase your sales exponentially. Some of the best times to set the emails to be delivered are around meal time on Thursday. People are stuck at functions usually and not out shopping. This is a great time to target people who are always on their devices. They can make an order without anyone around them even knowing.
Typically Black Friday starts on the Friday after Thanksgiving. But in the last several years retailers have been pushing it forward more and more. This makes it hard to compete as an online retailer when everyone is out shopping at brick and mortar locations while your sale is going on. Consider starting your sale early Thursday or even Wednesday night to get a jump on other retailers. As an online retailer the best time to start your sale is when physical stores are closed or inaccessible. Consumers are usually working or traveling Wednesday and Thursday morning, those are great times to start your sales. You have a captivated, bored audience expecting to spend money soon. Time to strike while the iron is hot.
Start building up hype
It’s never too early to give a sneak peak of your Black Friday plans to your customer base. It gives them something to look forward to, something to plan on. It also opens the door to them asking questions that could help you better target your sales. You might announce that one product is going to be on sale, but get feedback from your customers about another product they would like to see on sale.
Post your sales to other sites
Post your expect sale items to other site. There are lots of sites that cater to Black Friday sales, and get traffic from people looking especially for Black Friday deals. Don’t be afraid to seek these sites out and post your deals on these sites. It helps two fold, one from people searching the sites and another from the back links that the sites create to your site.
Create holiday gift guides
Create holiday gift guides on your site. Separate your products into groups and create a gift guide for each group. For instance you could create a gift guide for men, with different levels of gifts like under $20, under $50, under $100. Do the same for each different group. Writing compelling content about each product in the guide will give it the added boost as well. Don’t forget to use some of your best product images here as well.
Use exit-intent offers
Using exit intent offers might be a good way to reclaim sales of people considering leaving your site. You might could offer things like a free shipping coupon if they finish their purchase, or an upgraded product. These often times work, because you are recapturing people that are already trying to leave your site, you do not have much to lose trying to reel them back in.
Have a countdown on your site
Have a holiday countdown on your site. Either on the homepage or a dedicated sale page. Give your customers something to look forward to. Let them know when your sale is going to start and how long it will last. It will give them something to remember, they will know when exactly to come back and start saving.
Show clear delivery dates
One thing is for certain around the holidays, customers want to know when the products will arrive. Having clear shipping costs and delivery dates could mean closing a sale or losing a sale. Prominently display the shipping costs and delivery timeframe on your site to maximize your chances of closing the sale, this is something that most larger retailers do.
Use holiday graphics
Holiday graphics get people in the holiday spirit. Part of being in the holiday spirit is spending money on gifts. This makes using holiday graphics on your site a no-brainer. Get your customers in the holiday-spend-money spirit with some simple, yet effective holiday graphics. Add a subtle touch, but do not go overboard.
Don’t forget social
Social media is one of the best ways to let people know about your sales. Start early and build a hype among your existing customers so they share the upcoming sales with their friends. This is a great way to win new customers as well. Be sure to format your graphics in the sizes that look best on each social media platform. Having a consistent, yet polished look will help you win sales from first time buyers.
Use smart discounts
Look at your product stock before you figure out what is on sale. The holidays are a great time to try to unload products that you are overstocked on or that are not moving as well as you would like them to. You can either deeply discount them, or you can offer them as add ons or upgrades to other products while at the same time increasing your average order value.
Create a sense of urgency
No one hates to miss a good deal. If customers see time running out on a purchase it will help them pull the trigger. Also, people are competitive in nature as well, if they see other customers buying all of one product it could help them buy it as well. There is a herd mentality with shoppers, they do not want to think someone is getting a better deal than they are. Use this against your customers, show almost out of stock signs, let them know that the offer will not be good tomorrow. Play against their sense of urgency.
Upsell with bundles
Upsell your offers with bundles. One good strategy is to create several bundles around price points. A majority of shoppers have a budget they will spend on a gift for someone. Usually it is in amounts like $20, $50, $100. Have bundles around those amounts. This cuts down on work for the buyer since they can buy everything at once, while at the same time it will increase your average order total. Because of costs associated with shipping, it is often cheaper to sell more products to one person than the same number of products to multiple people.
Remember, the holidays are a great time for winning new customers, but they are also a great time to spend with your family and loved ones as well. Have a great Black Friday and holiday season, and good luck with your sales.