Black Friday is among the biggest shopping frenzies of the year in the US. Keeping that in mind, planning a Black Friday sale ahead of time is key for retailers. Black Friday is no longer restricted to a single day or the long weekend. Year on year, we’ve seen it transform into a full holiday season affair.
Slashing prices and offering deals as ‘early Black Friday sales’ has become quite common in the last few years. Now with the pandemic still looming over our heads, it only makes sense to begin sales and promotions well in advance.
Black Friday is also when stores see the highest footfalls in the year, but this year, that just cannot happen. Retailers are making plans to avoid the mad rush and are well aware of the health risk such a rush would create.
Not only are they beginning early promotions within the stores, but also across their online channels. ‘Ecommerce only’ operators too are advancing their sale dates to keep up, and also ease the load on their supply chain.
But how do you plan and execute a Black Friday strategy in 2020 that will see success? Here is your full guide.
Planning a Black Friday sale early has its benefits
According to the 2020 Deloitte holiday retail survey, early sales events by large retailers saw a 6% year on year spending increase this year. What this means is, people are shopping well before the holiday season begins. Or at its early onset.
Either way, they aren’t holding back until the actual Black Friday – Cyber Monday weekend to make their purchases. Concerns about safety and product availability during the pandemic are also driving this consumer behaviour.
If consumers are willing, then it only makes sense in planning a Black Friday sale in advance to rake in the shopping dollars.
Create a roadmap of the sale
You need to do several tasks well in advance as you run up to your sale. Create a roadmap with timelines as far as 6 months ahead in time so that you have sufficient time to strategize.
Make sure to include your ideas and plans for marketing, promotions, fulfilment etc. into the roadmap. Plan for emergencies and have contingencies in place.
Maximize channels when planning a Black Friday sale
It is probably not surprising to learn that online sales fared way better than in-store sales so far this holiday season. While the in-store channel spends decreased by 8-10% from last year, online channel spends saw a whopping increase ranging from 24% to a massive 50%.
There is no denying that any retailer who isn’t online, is losing out big time. The pandemic has pushed forward the age of the omnichannel and ecommerce retailer. From scouting products to checking out reviews to making the purchases, consumers are doing it all online.
This is a call for retailers to build and spruce up their omnichannel strategies and solutions. Going multi-channel is the way to keep up with consumer demands and purchasing behaviours.
Creating a special catalog attracts more users
Whether in-store or online, customers love to get in on special deals on special products. Curating a Black Friday exclusive product catalog is a great idea when planning a Black Friday sale.
Having such a page on your website well before the sale begins is beneficial in helping you rank higher in search results. As consumers make their searches earlier than before, your collection will be the first one for them to see.
An exclusive catalog, both in-store and online, can be used to drive up sales. You can ask the customers to pre-register or make a wish list of the products they like most. This will help in driving up purchases as their intent has been made stronger. They become more invested in making that buy, since they have already engaged with it and taken some action.
Prepare your inventory
A good way to go about this is to ensure that you are using a good inventory management software. One that will help you optimize your supply chain and inventory, and sell online more easily and efficiently. Because keeping a handle on your inventory can be the difference between a successful Black Friday strategy to one that doesn’t make the cut.
And if it offers integrated features like shipping, invoicing, point-of-sale, accounting, like Primaseller does, that’s even better.
Do not forget about your Loyal Customers
It is far cheaper to retain customers than acquire new ones. Staying top of mind during the holiday season is critical, as the competition is fierce and abundant.
Layout plans to get customers who haven’t shopped with you in a while to come back. Friendly reminders via messages and emails is a good way to start. Maybe even offer some special deals that gives them additional savings.
Begin this process in advance, and keep them abreast of all upcoming offers. Inform them of how they can take advantage of this. Basically anything that makes them come back and get the ball rolling.
Drive your marketing via social media
The power is social media is undeniable. It works well for all retailers. This is a way for you to engage your audience when they are not in your store or platform.
Share and promote your deals on all your social channels. This enables both existing and potential customers to be aware of what’s on offer. Helping them be aware of the upcoming deals will add to their purchase intent.
You could also improve engagement by doing quizzes, polls, and contests. This can create that extra excitement and keep your brand and product(s) fresh in their minds.
Share the sale catalogue and page links to your most popular products or categories. People who are looking for specific items will definitely appreciate that.
Having a robust social media plan is bound to boost those numbers, without a doubt.
Engage buyers after the purchase as well
Since it is an ongoing holiday and shopping season, do not ignore your shoppers after they’ve made their purchase. You would want for them to come back and buy again, and more, from you.
Maintain a continuous communication channel with your consumers. You could offer them extra savings on their next purchase with you via a limited period coupon or gift card. If say, the coupon expires in 48 hours, they will be incentivized to make another buy sooner than later.
You could also ask them to leave reviews of the product or platform. This will act as a social proof and works well as a word of mouth tool for you. A referral program is another great way to not only engage existing customers, but acquire new ones.
Planning a Black Friday sale properly will be important this year, more than any other in the past. The pandemic has hit us all hard, and while still wary, people are looking to get back to normal. They are more cautious about where they spend their money and how much of it they will part with.
Give them the right reason to do it, and they will be willing to shop with you. What have you done so far for your Black Friday sale? What other strategies have you adopted? We’d love to hear about them!
Sharan is an avid writer with experience writing on different technologies for startups in various domains. He’s a self-professed tech nerd and start-up buff who likes keeping abreast with all the latest news in these areas.