Savvy buying and some simple online marketing can go a long way toward helping Internet retailers improve Black Friday and Cyber Monday Sales in 2014.
Last year, Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales grew 15 percent and 18 percent respectively, according to trend-tracking firm, comScore. And this year, these after-Thanksgiving sales could grow even more.
This article will review five things that merchants can do to get the most possible sales from the important Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend.
Make Smart Buys
Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals work best when you plan for them in the purchasing department, taking advantage of vendor closeouts and special offers earlier in the year, knowing that you’ll be wanting to promote these items at “door buster” prices when the Christmas shopping season begins in earnest.
Some retailers may still (in mid-September) be able to make smart buys for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but it is important to act now. The only other alternative for offering hot day-after-Thanksgiving pricing is to slash margins.
If it is necessarily to cut margins or even give away items at cost to attract shoppers, one could think about these offers as an advertising expense. If selling some items at cost allows a retailer to sell other items at full margin, it can still be worth it.
Create a Black Friday and Cyber Monday Landing Page Now
In August 2014, Think with Google, a digital marketing publication from Google, reported that about 29 percent of shoppers would begin making Christmas purchases before Halloween this year.
“Last holiday season, shoppers seemed hungrier for a deal than they were for turkey. Black Friday transformed into Gray Friday; the big shopping day’s sales were diluted a bit as retailers began their promotions and deals early. And consumers responded (some even ditching their family dinners to shop),” wrote the Think with Google authors.
“Not only was consumer interest in Black Friday up 27 [percent year-over-year] from 2012, but queries relating to the topic also started about a week earlier.”
With this data in mind, consider putting up a Black Friday and Cyber Monday landing page now. Several leading retailers have already done so, including, in no particular order:
- J.C. Penney
- Home Depot
These Cyber Monday and Black Friday landing pages do not need to be elaborate, but they do need to stakeout some Internet real estate in plenty of time for Google and Bing to index them.
Offer a Black Friday and Cyber Monday Email Subscription
One thing to include on your Cyber Monday and Black Friday landing page is an email subscription form, offering to keep deal-hunting shoppers informed about after-Thanksgiving specials.
Cabela’s does a good job with this on its Black Friday landing page, including the email registration in the page’s main graphic.
Be certain to take subscribers through a welcome series, and begin sending regular emails now. As Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales approach, give shoppers on this email list the first opportunity to make purchases.
Create a Flyer and Promote It
Content for a landing page and a series of emails should include a PDF flyer or handout that describes specific Cyber Monday and Black Friday offers.
The handout will almost certainly have the exact same offers that will eventually be published on your site, but the PDF form of these offers may help accomplish at least two reasonable marketing ends.
First, the PDF flyer may make an online retailer more competitive with large brick-and-click retailers, which will also be promoting Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales in a circular format.
Second, the PDF circular can be advertised on any of a few dozen Black Friday deal sites. These sites regularly promote PDF flyers, and advertising on these sites can be reasonably priced. Finally, deal sites do get a significant about of traffic.
Here are some of these deal sites to consider for advertising.
Create Shopping-related Content
Content that helps shoppers choose great gifts, plan for the shopping season, or even learn about sales can encourage a lot of customer engagement before the post-Thanksgiving shopping frenzy.
Consider publishing holiday-shopping articles on a store blog, and distributing them to the to Black Friday and Cyber Monday email subscribers — the folks that signed up on your Cyber Monday and Black Friday landing pages.
Check out my article “5 Ecommerce Content Marketing Ideas for September 2014,” to see a few examples of the sort of holiday-gift related articles one could write.
Remember too, that content, like holiday gift idea lists or deal-finding tips, may even outlive 2014, and still generate traffic for a couple of years to come. As an example, a Google search for “what to buy my wife for Christmas,” returns, among other links, a 2012 article from SheKnows, which is still valid and, apparently, still driving site traffic.