It’s the season of - “Get ready for the biggest sale of the year!”
As the end of the year is coming closer, so are the holidays. And along with it - black Friday sale, Cyber Monday, Christmas sale, thanksgiving sale, and the new year’s sale. Basically, the biggest sales of the year.
Or it could be also termed as your once-a-year opportunity to generate massive sales, traffic, and conversion rate.
In 2020, Cyber Monday garnered $10.8 billion which makes it the biggest e-commerce day in US history. Black Friday 2020 saw an online spending increase of about 22% YoY to around $9 billion. (Source:financeonline.com) And e-commerce spending rose by 13.1% last year as per data from Adobe.
This means thousands of e-commerce stores all over the world experienced massive profits. And you want your store to experience exactly that. But to use the holiday sales as your golden ticket, you need to start planning as early as possible. That too, by using the right strategies.
Checklist To Prepare For The Holidays
“Be smart with how you package these promotions and discounts for your customers. It’s not about handing away free money. It’s important to have a strategy around moving inventory that you’re having a harder time selling or coupling other products that have lower sales velocity with those you know people will buy immediately.”
- says Nik Sharma, owner of two successful Shopify stores- SharmaBrands and MasalaCapital
And we completely agree. Holiday sales aren’t just about giving out your products at low prices. If you want to make the most out of this opportunity, then you need to follow the right strategies. And to help you out with this we created an extensive checklist exclusively for your Shopify store. Following this checklist will help you get off to a good start and avoid last-minute anxiety.
Crafting An Irresistible Offer
When it comes to big sales like Black Friday, we’ve seen how crazy the crowd can get in brick-and-mortar stores. Customers are even willing to wait for hours in front of big stores to grab that amazing deal. Thankfully for the online stores, you only need to deal with online traffic, not hordes of foot traffic.
But you still want your customers to treat your store the same way. And in order to do that you need to offer them offers and deals that are simply irresistible. Here are some of the ways for you to create that irresistible offer. -
Loss leader strategy
A loss leader strategy is where a product or service is sold at a price that is less profitable or not profitable. But it’s meant to attract new customers and to sell additional products and services. Often customers wouldn’t have considered these products without the flagship product discounts.
So start by crafting a sale for a flagship product or product. And don’t worry too much about the profit margin per item. Because most customers will add on more items as they make their way to check out. So even if your margin might be lower for your flagship product, you will win on sales volume.
Gamify offers use gaming tactics such as competition, ranking lists, scoring systems, and incentives to make purchasing decisions more enjoyable and appealing. These kinds of offers can help you increase sales, profit, and brand loyalty.
Your customers see the same pattern of the offer in almost every e-commerce store. So offering something new and fun to the table will definitely grab their attention more. Take McDonald's monopoly and Starbucks' rewards as examples. Who doesn’t love it?
You can create a similar offer for your store by using the same principles. But keep in mind that any gamify offer should be in perfect sync with your business identity. So if you're selling bingo sets, a spin-to-win game may be a better option than monopoly.
Instill a sense of urgency
There’s a psychological phenomenon known as - loss of aversion. It is the idea that people prefer avoiding losses over acquiring gains. And I think we’re all pretty familiar with this fear of missing out. Use this human psychological trait to your advantage.
Offer deals that will only last for a limited time like 24 hours. To give a person a feeling of urgency. Which as a result, will help to prompt sales. It can also help a customer from delaying a purchase decision and checking out as fast as possible. Another great way to instill a sense of urgency is by showing your remaining stock on a product. That way people are more likely to feel like they need to buy it before someone else does.
Prepare for increased demand
Big sales mean big traffic. And you want your site to be able to handle all of the extra surges of traffic. If your site crashes due to heavy traffic, that could mean a lot of missed sales. In 2018, J.Crew’s site crashed due to the heavy traffic on Black Friday. And experts say it could have cost the company over $700,000 in sales. (Source: BusinessInsider)
If you don’t want your website to suffer the same losses, then make sure to be prepared for this influx of traffic. To do so, firstly, test the load capacity of your server. Secondly, you need to ensure that your store can handle the increased demand. Whether you use a supplier for your inventory or manufacture it yourself make sure to use forecasting tools so that you can meet the demands of your customers. Not being able to meet the demands of your customers can be one of the worst things during a sale.
But wait, it doesn’t end here. During big sales such as Black Friday, your website will see a mixture of recurring and new customers. Most new customers will naturally have more queries and you need to be ready to answer all of them. You don’t want to make them wait for too long for their information. Or they might end up changing their mind on their purchase decision. At times as such, using live-chat plugins can deem to be very useful for your business. Shopify apps like MyAlice can help make this job much easier for you. Adding a live chat app like MyAlice will typically lead to a 20% increase in conversion rates. More so, during big sales like Cyber Monday, Black Friday, or New Year.
Use it as a customer acquisition event
When the holidays’ sales start they usually keep on happening one by one. Like Black Friday happens just before Christmas and then we’ve got New Year's, potentially Valentine's as well. So depending on what you’re selling you can use black Friday as a way of getting new people to try out your business in order to capitalize on the gift markets.
So, for example, let’s say that you sell perfume. Use Black Friday to offer steep discounts on your products to get them into people’s hands. Knowing that if they like it you can then remarket it to them and get them to buy it as a gift for their friends on Christmas or partners for Valentine’s Day.
You can use this as a strategic way to acquire more customers. But remember if you’re going to be selling at very low margins you need to know that your customer lifetime value is healthy for this to be worthwhile. The last thing that you wanna do is be breaking or even going slightly negative on the first sale if that ends up being the only sale that you get from these customers. because then you are just decreasing your prices for absolutely no benefit.
Build a static page
Big sales like black Friday aren’t just about generating sales. You can also leverage such big sale events to boost your SEO game. Here’s how -
Build a static black Friday gift guide page on your website. It could be a product category page or a content page. But the key is- to keep it all year long targeting black Friday and Cyber Monday keywords. Keep updating the date every year. So if you launch a page as such this year, change it to 2022 next year, then 2023, and so on. If you look around, big brands like Asos are already using this strategy.
The great thing about doing this is that there’s a static URL, which you can get a ranking for. When people talk about Black Friday each year, they’re going to be through to this page. So over time, it is going to build a huge amount of authority. And with this static page, you can always focus on it and improve the ranking over time. You can layout the contents of this page in three ways-
- Have it as a product category page. That is, tag all of your products in your store with a Black Friday tag. So this will simply be a category page that will show all of the products in that category.
- Have it as a primary content page. You can add some texts about the sale, and add some product category links. But keep it centered on the content.
- Have it a hybrid between product category and content page. Here you will have a content page on which you can embed a category of products. Like what Asos does.
Run lead capture
This next trick is to take the above-mentioned strategy to a whole new level. If you’re setting up a static page like the above, then have an email pop-up box or some kind of subscription box that allows people to get early access to your black Friday deals.
Now, this is an amazing trick to do because people will be searching for Black Friday terms before Black Friday. So start building your email list ahead of time.
If we have a look at Google trends we can see people are searching for Black Friday terms a month before Black Friday.
You can capitalize in this run-up phase by driving people through to a lead capture which gives them early access to your black Friday deals. You can also run promos to your existing email database and social follows as well with similar sort of things. And can let them know that you will be running some ridiculous Black Friday offer this year. And they can sign up for a “special secret list” which is going to get them early access to these deals.
The benefit of having people opt-in again to these deals is that they’ve now committed to it. They feel like they’re a bit of an insider because they’re specifically going to get early access. If you just send access to everyone who is on your email list, there’s not really any special sense of exclusivity there. Whereas opting into a specific exclusive list you get a bit of that clamoring at the doors in target and pushing through the crowd to get that one product.
To prepare your Shopify store for the holiday sales you need to lay down an extensive set of plans. Which should include the basics and the ones we mentioned above. We hope you can pull off creative and amazing strategies this sale season to get some that heavy digits for your store.