Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the biggest online shopping days of the year -- is your store ready?
In the run-up to the holidays, there are no shopping days that will help your online shop increase sales like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Shopping on Black Friday is now a global habit, but originally it is an American term for the Friday after Thanksgiving (the third Friday in November). High street stores typically slash prices and offer a limited number of items at a shockingly discounted price -- think huge, flat-screen televisions for £100. However, those items usually sell out before doors even open, with queues a mile long to get at the best deals. Consumers, getting wise to this, are increasingly turning to online shopping, where you can usually get the same deep discounts without all the pushing and shoving.
In fact online sales are expected to increase by
28% this Black Friday compared to last year!
Making it the fastest-growing online shopping day of the year. Cyber Monday, the e-commerce answer to Black Friday, will grow by 15% but still pulls in the most money for online retailers at a whopping £1.6 billion.
So how can small online boutiques take advantage of the holiday shopping mayhem in order to increase sales, attract new customers, and drive more traffic to their storefronts?
We talk a lot about the advantages and drawbacks of offering coupons and vouchers here on the ecommerce blog. After all, you want to get paid what you and your product are worth! However, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are days that customers are eager to buy online because of the deep discounts associated with the holiday. This is one day when you won’t seem to be selling yourself short if you offer coupons and discounts along with the rest of the internet! In fact, since customers are so bargain-oriented on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, you’ll need those discounts to hold their attention and take their business away from big-box retailers.
Consider making images, as these spread quickest on social media and are most likely to get ‘likes’ and retweets. Choose your best product photography, put your logo on it, and overlay text to convey that you’re holding a Black Friday/Cyber Monday sale. A photo of a beautiful, unique, or handmade item with the text
“25% off with coupon code BLACKFRIDAY”
will grab attention, attract new customers, and keep existing customers interested in your brand.
Clothing line Boohoo, go to town with their online store by creating a beautiful banner which is bold, simplistic and clear. Their catchy tagline makes it easy to remember and easy to share.
When it comes to how customers hear about your store, social media is important, with nearly a third of customers saying they use social media research before making a purchase. But what’s most effective in getting the word out is still an old favourite: email marketing. Monetate research shows that 46% of people found out about online sales through a simple email from the retailer.
And not only should you send out emails, you should also be collecting email addresses this Black Friday and Cyber Monday! With millions of people storming the internet for sales, be ready to take advantage of the increased traffic by collecting emails from your customers both in the sidebar of your shop and at checkout.
You shop online, so you know how good it feels to get free shipping. It feels so good, in fact, that customers would actually rather have free shipping worth 7USD than a discount of 10USD. That’s right -- customers would actually rather pay slightly more to get something for “free”. Take advantage of this glitch in human psychology and offer free shipping this Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Make sure to advertise it on social media and feature a “FREE SHIPPING” banner prominently in your online boutique!
Online clothing store, Kate Spade surprises us all with their cyber sale and shout it loud with this bright and colourful banner. What's that I see? Free shipping!
Yay - Let's get spending!
Remember, too, that you may have customers from all over the world. So even if you can only offer free shipping within the US or UK, make a point to let customers know that you offer worldwide shipping.
Customers may be in a frenzy on these shopping holidays, as many are rushing from website to website to take advantage of deals and get all of their holiday shopping done in one go. That means if a customer needs to ask a quick question about a product they’re unsure about, waiting too long could mean losing the sale entirely.
Make yourself as available as possible on social media during Black Friday and Cyber Monday. A quick turnaround on Twitter is huge for building customer relations, closing sales, and customer retention. You can even put a notice on your website for the holiday season, reminding people of your Twitter handle and encouraging them to tweet at you if they have any questions or advice!
This piece of advice is simple: when people are holiday shopping, they’re usually spending money on other people. What do they get when they’re not sure what those other people want? Gift cards.
Offer gift cards in order to take advantage of sales. Plus, they often offer a chance for an upsale: if the gift giver gives a £25 gift card and the recipient loves something worth £50, they’ll consider it half-off while you get paid the full price!
Barton Boutique, a SupaDupa store selling beautiful jewellery pieces, hows us an excellent example of creating stylish personalised gift cards available to purchase from her online store.
Remember, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are now global shopping holidays that are increasingly moving online, and your store needs to be ready! Black Friday is on 28 November and Cyber Monday is on the 1st of December, so be prepared to end 2014 on a high note!