There are a couple of days a year when buyers all over the world go crazy and spend a fortune, purchasing tons of goods. These days are called Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
As this time of awesome discounts and incredible bargains is just around the corner, we want to share some tips with business owners on how to prepare their online stores for seasonal sales and capitalize on them.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday Definition
Black Friday is the name for the Friday following Thanksgiving Day and is regarded as the beginning of the Christmas shopping season.
Its history goes back to the late 19th century when the last Thursday of November was designated as Thanksgiving Day. In the early 1900s, department stores started organizing Thanksgiving parades with Santa Clauses to mark the start of seasonal sales. The parades boosted shopping greatly.
In 1941, a law was passed to make Thanksgiving the fourth Thursday in November, so that the holiday shopping season was longer and retailers could make more of a profit. The Black Friday name was first used by the US police department to describe overcrowded downtown stores and terrible traffic jams that happened on one such Friday after Thanksgiving. There is also an expression “to be in the black,” which refers to being profitable.
Today, the term is widely used in many countries and is associated with the biggest discounts of the year. In 2019, Black Friday falls on November 29.
As for Cyber Monday, it refers to the Monday following Black Friday and describes online sales. This term was invented in 2005 and was connected with the rapid growth of the eCommerce industry. Retailers noticed the trend that an increasing number of customers shopped online at work on Monday after the Thanksgiving weekend. There could be some reasons:
- At that time, the business internet connection was better than at home, so people shopped online during the working day from office computers but not on days off from home.
- Many users just preferred a comfortable online shopping alternative to spending hours in overcrowded brick-and-mortar stores.
Anyway, online stores started making a hefty profit on Cyber Monday.
Seasonal Sales in Figures
Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the busiest retail shopping days not only during the holiday season but during the entire year as well.
Statista depicted the dynamics of eCommerce spending from 2008 to 2015, and we can see how online shopping skyrocketed during this period, with Cyber Monday being the leader in terms of total spending — $2.28 billion in 2015.
Based on the Adobe Analytics insights from the top US retailers as of 2018, spending during Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday increased across the board:
- On Thanksgiving Day, online spending reached $3.7 billion, an increase of 27.9 percent over 2017
- On Black Friday, online sales hit $6.2 billion, an increase of 29 percent over 2017
- On Cyber Monday, users spent online $7.9 billion, an increase of 19.3 percent over 2017
77 percent of men against 71 percent of women are planning to shop over holiday sales. Interestingly, men are going to spend almost twice as much as women.
|Read also: Six Benefits of the Sitecore Experience Commerce Platform|
How to Get Ready for Insane Sales
On these crucial days, when online stores can see up to 30 percent of their annual sales, you’ll need to be on your toes. And we know how to get you ready.
1. No Strategy — No Success
A well-thought-out strategy is the very first step to high revenues during the holiday season. Here are a few points you should remember:
- Thoroughly analyze user preferences and find out which products are bestsellers
- Focus on promoting goods people want to buy most of all and don’t waste time on unsellable goods
- Categorize your audience and create personalized sales offerings based on consumer profiles
Remember that improvisation is not your ally and, without preliminary planning and preparation, your store will get lost in the ocean of stunning offers from your competitors.
2. Check the Stability of Your Website
The time of seasonal sales is especially challenging for technical specialists supporting websites of retailers. The websites must withstand an increased load on online stores and prevent outages when potential customers start coming in droves at the same time.
Technical issues may cost retailers billions in lost revenue, because today’s online shoppers are quite impatient. Quick page loading speed is definitely important for increasing site user loyalty. Look at the way every second counts, according to Forrester Consulting:
- 47 percent of users expect a web page to load in two seconds or fewer
- 40 percent of users abandon a site if pages load more than three seconds
- 79 percent of shoppers will not return to the online store if they experienced performance issues
- A one-second delay can result in seven percent fewer conversions
To check and increase the stability of your store beforehand, you should:
The fact is that if you don’t ensure the smooth operations of your website under challenging conditions, your rivals will end up with your potential clients.
3. Ensure Mobile Optimization
It’s the new normal that a website, however good and smooth, is no longer enough for a successful business. Consumers prefer being mobile in any situation, and shopping is not an exception; hence a mobile solution for an eCommerce company is a must.
If you haven’t jumped on the mobile bandwagon yet, we suggest you hurry. There are two options:
- Optimize your website for mobile, i.e. make it look and function on mobile device screens of all sizes as well as it does on desktops
- Develop a mobile app for your store
Fifty-four percent of online transactions on Cyber Monday in 2017 came from mobile devices, which was the first time ever when mobile orders outpaced desktop orders. By 2021, mobile shopping is predicted to comprise 75 percent of all online sales.
Such statistical data prove that having a mobile-optimized website or an application will benefit your business not only during the holiday season but the whole year round.
|Read also: Top 10 Mobile Technology Trends Defining the Industry|
4. Provide Omnichannel Sales
The approach of omnichannel commerce puts the focus on providing a comprehensive customer experience regardless of the channel a customer uses to engage with a brand. A website, a mobile app, social networks, a physical store or a self-pickup point — these are the touchpoints you should make available for your users to engage with your company.
Why is it important? More than 54 percent of shoppers use several channels on their journey to a purchase; for instance, they can research a product via an app, then order it on the website and pick it up at the store. Certainly, every user appreciates the option of being able to choose the most convenient logistics, and if you provide this freedom of choice, you can greatly increase customer loyalty.
Some more tips for improving customer experience across various channels:
- Add a chatbot, a live chat, a messenger for instant reaction to user requests
- Allow multiple payment options
- Consider the presence of your goods on popular online marketplaces, e.g. Amazon or Etsy, as such cooperation can be mutually beneficial
5. Create a Promotion Campaign
A very prudent approach is to announce your sales well in advance, approximately a week before Thanksgiving, so that users can plan their budget and make purchasing decisions without the frenzy.
How can you create a presale buzz?
- Increase brand awareness by posting on social media
- Distribute ads featuring your best deals
- Send emails with discount offers
- Spread promotion codes via media sources or partner stores
These activities heighten customer interest and significantly increase the percentage of clients you will see for the days of sales in advance.
6. Check Your Stock Status and Ensure That Delivery Time Is Accurate
Well, you might be set as far as attracting clients, and they might be ready to order from you. But it’s not over yet.
The final stage is order processing and delivery, and it also needs thorough planning. Just imagine that you can’t fulfill an order because you’ve run out of goods or can’t deliver them in time. That would be an epic fail!
So, one more crucial task before the seasonal sales is to fill up your warehouse with enough goods and arrange a seamless delivery service. A good enterprise resource planning (ERP) system implemented into business processes can help you easily perform this job.
Is Your Web Store Ready for Christmas Sales?
With our best tips on how to get prepared for the Black Friday frenzy, you can now estimate the state of your web store and make some improvements in order to make the most out of the coming holiday season.
SaM Solutions offers help in developing eCommerce solutions both for small retailers and large businesses. Years of expertise with SAP, Magento and Sitecore projects make our company a reliable provider of software services. Don’t hesitate to contact us to become one of our happy clients.