It is well-known that Black Friday is a special day for ecommerce. It opens the season of sales – a period of great opportunities. It is known in advance, but as our experience shows, many merchants get taken by surprise and for some reason they are not ready to sell more. In 2016, Black Friday will be on 25th of November. As usual, most major retailers and online stores will open extremely early, often at midnight or even earlier. Now, there is still enough time to prepare. Further we will consider some suggestions how to prepare your store for the season of great sales.
Plan promotion for each holiday
There are many holidays in the period of late November and December and you should identify which of them your online store will participate in. You can choose all of them, but it is not so easy to manage all the campaigns and activities. Maybe it makes sense to only pay attention to the most popular holidays such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Christmas.
Scheduling your activities
Planning of marketing steps and activities will help a lot over the stressed and overloaded holiday season. A promotional plan and a calendar with all activities and reminders allow you not to forget to do everything in time. For example, you can add the following items:
- Dates when you need to upload or update the images and banners on your online store.
- Dates of email campaigns when you need to send emails to certain audiences of customers.
- Dates when you need to start and stop AdWords campaigns for each promotion, and so on.
Clarify the return policy and payment options
Many online stores offer more flexible return and exchange policy during the sales season. You have to decide if this service is possible for your store by thoroughly considering how it will affect your business and established processes.
Moreover, it is possible to consider additional payment options. Some of them are easy to implement and they may increase conversions and revenue from customers who prefer these methods of payment.
Choose ad channels carefully
Marketing campaigns have a lot of details that all need to be planned in order to achieve the best results. When multiple channels are involved in promotion, careful planning is very important. We recommend paying attention to several advertising channels you have the experience to deal with or you are able to attract professionals to help you. Below we analyze some popular ad channels:
- The quality content can help to increase sales. You definitely need to prepare blog posts for each of the major campaigns. With keywords planning and SEO optimization your blog post can be an effective instrument to attract new users. And don't forget that SEO needs time. The published article can start bringing traffic in 1-2 months, so the content must be published in advance.
- Email campaigns – depending on your CRM-system and clients' database – can be one of the most effective sources of traffic to your online store. If you can select different segments of customers and create proper messages for each target audience, you will significantly increase your sales. Be sure to pay attention to the converted users who purchased in your store during the period of late November and December last year. It is the most important segment for which you need to create a special communication to inform potential customers about the product range, discounts, benefit and so on. In most cases, people prefer to do the same activities to be prepared for the Holiday Season. So, they may search for presents at approximately the same time and even visit the same online stores. If customers have bought something last year, they will be more loyal.
- Pay-Per-Click – If you know how to deal with Google AdWords you may also use this tool for sales promotion. Take into account that this channel will be used by many merchants, so you need to plan the advertising communication carefully, to be able to stand out among a large number of messages. Remarketing is also the tool you can include in your marketing plan. Showing the Ad to your past visitors of the online store may boost sales at lower cost.
A visitor's cookie may be kept in your remarketing list if this user doesn't visit your online store again. In Display Network you can activate the remarketing list of users who made Black Friday purchases last year. The membership duration is 30 days by default and its maximum duration is 540 days for Display Network. So, if you have past Black Friday remarketing list you can use it this year. If no, you can make the appropriate settings to collect this information for the next year.
- Facebook and other social media. If you have your community on Facebook or Twitter, it is also an extra channel to attract users. Prepare special posts or Tweets to inform users and boost them in time, a little in advance before the start of the sales season. Remarketing or Retargeting can also be used here and can help to return customers who visited your store but did not complete the purchase.
Tracking and analysis of results
Your preparation activities have to include checking all the tools that allow tracking and analysing the results of all campaigns. We hope that you have Google Analytics or a similar analytics tool. If no, visit this page to be able to do this. Analysis and monitoring of campaigns must be active throughout the sales season. So, be sure that you know how to use the tools and plan the time for analysis in advance. This is very important because timely problem identification allows you to correct the campaigns. Don't forget to do a final analysis of the campaigns when the Sales season is over.
In conclusion, there are some technical pieces of advice:
Pay attention to checkout and navigation. It is clear that you should allow users to search the products they need and then they have to be able to buy the chosen items. For now there is enough time to check these flows and make some corrections if required.
Check the performance of the store. The traffic increases during the period of sales and that means the store has to be ready for additional load. If there is a suspicion that the site does not work properly, it is better to ask for help of the professionals, because the variety of reasons may affect the operation of the site.
Mobile version. More and more people prefer to shop online on the go using their mobile devices. Mobile traffic is increasing every year.
Test and fix any problems of the mobile version before the holidays begin, if necessary, ask for help of the technical experts.
The main recommendation is to complete all kinds of technical works until the beginning of November, and then do not make any significant changes in the active version of the online store.