When you hear the words Black Friday one thing comes to mind: ridiculous savings! All in all, the last two months of the year are just fantastic for grabbing great deals. Not to mention that etailers and retailers don’t only have Black Friday to look forward to, but also Cyber Monday and Christmas. The purpose of this blog is to give you some background about Black Friday and where it comes from. And of course, what is the use of reading all that if you can’t get a few tips out of it. So read on to find out the tips and tricks you will need to successfully promote your bargains to eager shoppers this festive season.
Before we delve into the nitty-gritty of it all, let’s start with what Black Friday is and where it originates. Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving. This year, it falls on Friday 24 November 2017. However, since 2013, Black Friday is no longer a one-day affair. Its popularity has grown so much that sellers often start advertising and releasing campaigns days before. The fun doesn’t end on Black Friday either, because the Monday after has now been dubbed Cyber Monday, which is essentially e-shoppers’ last chance to “shop till they drop” while avoiding the chaos of malls and busy streets. This lends itself to the obvious origin of the term Cyber Monday: all the deals are online (hence the name cyber).
So where does the term Black Friday come from? Evidence suggests that it first originated in Philadelphia, USA. Black Friday was a term used to describe the very congested vehicle and pedestrian overflow in the streets. A number of years later it was determined that the name represented the period when retailers began to make a profit. Let me explain, retailers record their losses in red and their profits in black; hence the term Black Friday. The beauty of Black Friday today is that shoppers have the choice to grab all these bargains online rather than searching for them in busy, congested stores. Hence the popularity of Black Friday shopping online.
Tips for sellers
Here are some useful tips you can use to prepare for the busy festive season. These tips are specifically for online sellers; however, some can be useful for both online and brick and mortar stores.
1. Start promoting early
Even though Black Friday is now a whole week rather than a single day, that still isn’t enough time to promote your products. Most major companies already start advertising in the beginning in November, so start promoting early. Make sure consumers are aware that you have some amazing deals they need to look out for. Use as many platforms as your budget can allow, but most importantly focus on your digital advertising. Use social media platforms, SEO, online advertising and search engine advertising to spread the word.
2. Do research before sourcing products
During the product sourcing phase, make sure you do extensive research before purchasing any items. Also be aware of any product trends that are popular during this time. You don’t want to buy items people are not interested in purchasing. This will result in high amounts of stock that you can’t sell – dead stock! Read articles, studies and predictions by experts, watch TV commercials and check social media platforms to gauge for popular trends.
3. Stock your inventory heavily
Make sure you have enough stock available for the high increase in demand during this period. Remember when calculating your sale projections to take into account the lower prices of your Black Friday items! Another important thing to remember is that when you are deciding on your stock quantity, ensure you order enough so that you have items leftover to sell at their higher, original prices. Take advantage of the excellent buying opportunities over this period to source products that you could possibly sell at a later stage.
4. Ensure your shipping is on top form
Try to offer a variety of shipping options, especially if you only offer delivery via the Post Office. Then you may want to consider using one of the many delivery companies. Make sure that if you promise to deliver items within a particular time frame, that you are able to meet those deadlines. Since the whole purpose of Black Friday is to provide excellent deals, you will have to consider your shipping fees as well. Either reduce your shipping fees or provide free shipping. The latter is the ideal situation, because shoppers will be expecting great deals – remember that you can always make up for the costs through increased sales.
5. Create long-term relationships
Black Friday and the festive season sales provide a great opportunity for sellers to create relationships with brand new customers they have never communicated with before. The first purchase allows for a window of opportunity so to speak, because that one purchase can translate into more. You can reach out in future if you have a sale or discount. Alternatively, offer customers a discount for their next purchase. This is a great technique for future sales. Use this opportunity to create long-term relationships with these new shoppers!
6. Refunds and returns
It is a known fact that the more items you sell, the more returns you are likely to have. As a seller, you will need to determine your return policies beforehand and decide if you wish to postpone the returns for after the festive period or if you wish to sort them out during this busy Christmas time frame. Just make sure your return policies are made clear to shoppers from the get-go.