Competition for shoppers’ attention is fierce around the holidays, and you have to work harder than ever to capture it. However, there are two very special days in particular that require more planning. We’re not talking about Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Hanukkah (although we’re already dreaming of mom’s stuffing). We’re referring to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which are two of the biggest shopping days of the year. In 2017, 73% of people ranked sales and price discounts as one of the top factors in deciding where to shop on Black Friday. This is one reason it’s important to offer sales for both dates—but a successful strategy relies on a few key details.
The first step you need to take when planning for Black Friday is to decide what your special offer will be. You should make this offer (or offers) exclusive to your brand and to the day. If you’re concerned about how your small or emerging brand will compete with big chain stores offering massive discounts, doorbusters, early bird specials, etc., don’t be. That’s not the strategy you should take to stand out.
Instead, focus your offer on what makes your brand unique—perhaps this is limited-edition items, bundled and curated collections, or products that are local to your store location. You might also consider partnering with another brand that has a similar audience to create an offer or to bundle your products together in a way that would appeal to your customers or bring in new ones. And if you plan on offering sales throughout the holiday weekend, try refreshing your offers each day, so that there is always something new to bring people in. Whatever you choose, make sure that it’s worth a visit to your store. On a day like Black Friday, where shoppers are already running around and making purchases, your offer needs to make them stop and consider.
After you’ve decided on your special offer, you need to establish a fail-proof marketing plan to promote it. You can and should promote it across multiple channels, such as your website, newsletters and emails to past customers, fliers and posters, social media, and more. The further you spread your message, whether finding new channels or promoting on channels where your customers are already following you, the better chance you will have at getting people to your location.
Once people step inside your shop, you have another chance to make a positive impact on them. On this hectic day, serving refreshments or providing complimentary gift wrapping could go a long way towards creating a memorable experience. You may also consider offering a gift with each purchase, such as a letterpress holiday card or sample product. And don’t forget to play holiday music to get customers into the festive spirit!
Even more difficult than handling the crowds on Black Friday is getting shoppers out of the house and into your store on Cyber Monday. Your brick and mortar strategy for this day should be all about connecting the digital experience with the physical one.
For example, offer Black Friday shoppers a special code that they can redeem in-store or online on Cyber Monday. Keep your fans engaged by posting fresh social media content and by sending emails with exclusive sales and event information that will drive them to your shop. And if you’re marketing to current and recent customers, drop new arrivals on Cyber Monday, so that there are new products for people to look at that they didn’t already see on Black Friday. Shopify also suggests releasing deals at timed intervals to create a sense of urgency and encourage people to buy now—similar to how Amazon runs lightning deals.
Pro Tips for the Holidays
Offer warm, courteous, and prompt responses to customer service inquiries during both shopping days. You want to be accessible and ready to provide customers with the most hassle-free experience. Also remember that this is the perfect chance to convert seasonal shoppers into year-long ones with loyalty programs or return offers.