As a small business, or even a medium-sized business, you can’t necessarily out-price big box stores. Instead, emphasize your uniqueness and the value that your products bring to consumers. Above all, be ready for the expected and the unexpected.
1. Look at your e-commerce site from a customer’s point of view. Use different devices to check responsiveness. Click on all buttons and links. Go through the buying process start to finish. Update your shipping rates. Then review your return policies and make sure they are clear and hassle-free. Analyze your customer journey and fix any snags you find along the way. Offering a positive user experience is always important but doubly so during this busy sales weekend.
2. Analyze your website from the backend. Can it handle the increased traffic? Test the server load capacity of your e-store. Are your security protocols and protections up to par? How is the loading speed of your website? (All of the pages!)
3. Create an email marketing campaign. Establish clear calls-to-action, provide extra incentives to customers who are quick to engage. Highlight deals customers will find during the shopping weekend. Send out teasers and sneak-peeks.
a. Create abandoned cart emails. Almost 70% of online carts are abandoned BUT Moosend.com found that 45% of their cart abandonment emails were opened. Of those, 21% received click-throughs and, of those, 50% completed their purchase. What is 50% of 21% of 45%? Regardless of the exact number, it is a positive return on your investment!
b. Create bounce emails. Reach out to people who land on your page and then leave. Send special coupons or offers to bring them back.
c. Customer loyalty. Offer specific incentives to existing customers to encourage return business. AFTER the shopping weekend, send out a communication that thanks consumers for their business and offers a future savings.
4. Get involved with your community. Partner with other small businesses on a community-wide promotion or advertising campaign. Plan coordinated events during the weekend. Offer a percentage of proceeds from the three days to a local shelter or food bank.
5. Create a sales map. Organize the products you will offer, the planned discount, and ad copy related to each product. Note inventory on hand and how you will handle a sell-out. Map where extra inventory is stored and where each product is presented in your store.
6. On your website. Create a special sales banner to go live as early as October – most shoppers start their research early and look online even if their intent is to make the purchase from a physical store. Update all details. Create exclusive landing pages for each shopping day with different promo codes, free gifts, coupons, etc. Be sure your contact information is readily available.
7. Communicate hours. Let consumers know ahead of time if you will be open earlier or later than usual. Be different – instead of bringing in your employees before dawn, start things a little later and extend the hours at the end of the day. Consider extending your sales an extra day if it makes fiscal sense.
8. Sales signage. Whether online or in your store, ensure that wording regarding all sales is crystal clear.
9. In your brick-and-mortar space. Strategically place sales items around the space to avoid overcrowding in one area. Walk through the store and ensure the aisle are wide enough for expected crowds. Clear any obstacles that would impede the flow of traffic. Consider renting or buying portable sales equipment (POS). Remember to stock up on basics like toilet paper, paper towels, soap, register tape, wrapping materials, bags, etc.
10. Employees. Schedule enough employees to cover traffic levels whether that is in-person or to handle filling online orders. Have a back-up plan in case there is an illness or unavoidable absence. Have proactive conversations on how to handle challenging customers. Show staff you value their efforts and provide drinks and snacks to help get them through the long days.
11. Social media. Advertise on all of your social media channels. Offer promotions such as free shipping specifically for those consumers. Use #cyberMonday or something similar on all posts. Engage with your customers – ask questions and respond to posts and comments.
12. Offer gift cards. The number of consumers looking for gift cards during the holidays continues to increase year after year. This is a fabulous way to gain new customers.
Whether you have an e-commerce store or that plus a brick-and-mortar space, Black Friday through Cyber Monday is an exciting and profitable time of year. The experts at Strategy Driven Marketing are ready to create exciting email campaigns, craft engaging social media messages or help with whatever your marketing needs may be. Contact us today!