Since it was launched in the UK, Black Friday and Cyber Monday have quickly become the busiest shopping days for retailers. In 2017, the total online spending on Black Friday was £1.4bn, a 12% year-over-year increase. On the other hand, brick-and-mortar stores across the country saw a decrease of 8% year-over-year, as UK shoppers are shifting from shops to shopping online, according to online retailer trade body IMRG.
So do you have full preparation for these special days? In this article, we will show you a to-do checklist to have a good plan for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
One to Two Months Before
Develop a Promotional Plan and Schedule
This is the best time for you to start thinking about your plan. Figure out how you plan to let customers know about BFCM sales, the products you plan on promoting this season, and what discounts you’ll run these two months. Review your all products and the whole stores, then plan your deals, which will help you not be rushing at the last minute.
You can create a sales/promotions calendar with start dates and sale prices on Google Sheets or Excel to let your staff know what events are happening and when.
Create Contingency Plans
Remember that what you expected to happen may not happen in the way you want. Therefore, you need to have the proper backups in place in case anything goes wrong. For example, what happens if the shipping company you work with becomes too busy? Or how quickly can you restock inventory if you sell out earlier than expected?
Try to think about all the worst cases that can happen, then create contingency plans wherever possible. It’s much easier to handle the planning now, versus troubleshooting in the midst of the biggest sales weekend of the year.
Pitch to Blogs and Gift Guides
It may take you weeks of back-and-forth to secure a partnership agreement, so from now you should get on the radar with websites that can help advertise and promote your sales. Find out the websites that fit with your niches that run gift guides and BFCM coverage. Then, send them an email or make a phone call to let them know that know you already have a plan and would like to partner up.
Three Weeks Before
Start Preparing for Sales
According to a report from Nextopia, retailers like Walmart and Target have released their Black Friday sales ads as early as three weeks before the big event. Also, more than half of US shoppers plan to start their holiday shopping before BFCM, according to RetailMeNot.
The simplest way to prepare is to let your customers and visitors know about your upcoming sale well in advance. You can let them know in many ways, such as let your sales associates talk to them, and make little flyers or coupons to send home with them…
Start Your Email Marketing Campaigns
During last year’s BFCM, Shopify merchants saw their highest conversion rates from email marketing with 4.38%. And this year, email marketing still plays an even more significant role in the success of most stores’ holiday sales.
Business owners should have a variety of email marketing campaigns planned to bring customers back to your website so they can act on your holiday sale offers and come into the store. Three weeks before the holiday is the best time for you to plan, create, and schedule your BFCM sale emails. Here are some ideas for email campaigns you can put together:
- Announcing Black Friday Cyber Monday sale: For existing subscribers, you can send details of the sale ahead of time to them, and a reminder email when the sale officially begins.
- Last reminder before the sale ends: With the volume of emails sent over BFCM, it can’t hurt to remind subscribers that your sale is almost over to make sure they’re aware. Plus, you’ll inevitably get some procrastinators jumping on the expiring deals.
- Exclusive sale for email subscribers: Everyone wants to be special, so let make your subscribers feel like they are special by sending a deal that’s only available to your list, on top of your publicly-posted deals. Make sure to tease it on other channels, like Instagram, and let people know when to expect the subscriber-only offer.
- Sneak-peek of upcoming promotions: Whether your BFCM offer is a discount, an exclusive product, free shipping, donations to charity, or a totally-unique-to-you promotion, start teasing it early to your subscribers. In this way, your subscribers are on the lookout for the announcement. Send emails leading up to BFCM with hints and teasers.
Test Your Website to Make Sure It Can Handle a Surge in Traffic
You need to check out the maximum number of shoppers your website can handle at a time. Because if there are too many simultaneous requests, your website can bog it down and potentially crash your site. That can lead to downtime and loss of big sales.
Even we know that this kind of downtime usually takes an enormous amount of traffic to occur, but it’s still a good idea to ensure your host can handle a spike in traffic. You can take a look at LoadImpact.com, which allows you to test the server load capacity of your store.
Besides, there is a question that is what kind of user experience does your site offer shoppers? It’s important to get impartial feedback, and one option is UserTesting. This website helps you “capture the critical human insights you need to confidently deliver what customers want and expect.” You set parameters about who you’d like to test your store, and then a random user browses your website so you can listen to their feedback.
This is just the first part of the timeline of the to-do list that we recommend for you. Let look forward to the next part to have a further guide.