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As this year’s holiday shopping season will undoubtedly take place mostly online, it’s more important than ever to prepare for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the entire gift shopping season.
No more midnight lineups outside Walmart. The entire concept of “doorbusters” is gone, with the imperative for social distancing. Shoppers already accustomed to some online buying will make it their preferred mode, even if they’ve generally enjoyed the real-time holiday rituals of busy shopping districts or malls with bright decorations. Masks and social distancing will take a lot of the fun out of those rituals, so be ready to receive a lot more online visits to your storefronts. Most sellers will start early and extend their deals beyond the weekend.
And many will start offering deals earlier than that, to capture early shoppers. In a survey by gift card broker Shopkick, 34% of shoppers in the U.S. expected to start their holiday purchasing before Thanksgiving. Now’s the time to stock up and get ready.
Here are seven expert tips on ways to prepare for selling on Black Friday to Cyber Monday in 2020.
1. Do a forensic review of your site’s internal search engine.
Try a search for each type of product you sell. Some search terms can give 0-result errors. Fix these by using synonyms and make sure they match all the catalog references. If you nvest your time in server-provisioning, the top sections of your site can be merchandised more effectively.
2. Make sure all your people and processes are prepared to handle all the extra traffic.
This seems obvious, but you have to be really granular about it and beef up every aspect of the workflow, both human and automated. Ensure there are sufficient resources for 24/7 technical support; make sure you have the server capacity to keep your site from crashing when demand peaks. For more tips on this topic, see last year’s Cyber Monday tips.
When there’s an especially high volume of sales, it’s harder to track your inventory in real-time. Test your inventory control systems, and translate that into estimated shipping times. Upon checkout, give an estimated shipping time whenever possible.
3. Reduce payment processing frictions.
5. Create attractive banners and hero images to advertise holiday sales.
A visually appealing “SALE” notice stretching across a landing page makes all the difference. And you don’t necessarily need to hire a graphic designer to help you. Try using a template from CreativeMarket, or other free online design tools like Taler or Canva,
6. Up your Coupon Code game.
Coupon codes are a staple of Black Friday. Many of your customers may well be expecting a coupon code of some sort. Don’t make them hunt for it. Instead, feature it prominently on all of your pages, especially checkout pages. The last thing you want a shopper to do is leave your site to hunt for a coupon code, and risk that they abandon their cart.
Promote the coupon code on all your social media channels like Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram. One strategy a lot of merchants use is to create a special ‘Black Friday Coupon Codes’ page, with full SEO treatment to attract organic search traffic. For more on smart promo code strategies, see our previous post.
7. Use Gift Cards as a backup when an item sells out, to generate future sales.
High demand is what you want – so why not keep it coming even if inventory runs out?
Gift cards are a solution to recapture sales that would otherwise be lost when an item sells out. They also give you, the merchant, both time and cash flow to restock before the cards are redeemed. They’re also a way for a shopper to give a gift from your product line, without the agony of picking one out themselves.
Above all, stay calm! When you’re well prepared, holiday sales season can be a season to celebrate a nice boost to your sales year.
My mission at Shoppingfeed is explaining how to leverage e-commerce platforms and SaaS technology to e-merchants who just want to run their business and make more money.
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