October 8, 2020

7 Tips for Early Black Friday and Cyber Monday Prep

2020 has been the year of uncertainties, but there is one thing you can count on: Cyber Monday sales will be record-breaking. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, shoppers are refusing to brave the Black Friday crowds—opting instead for shopping online deals and steals. Don’t get left in the digital dust this year. Prepare for profits and begin planning for Black Friday and Cyber Monday now.

1. Stock Up on Inventory

Now is the time to be ordering your inventory and preparing your storage organization. Why order this early? 

  • Other e-commerce businesses are already preparing for Black Friday, so your suppliers will begin to get bogged down more and more as the holiday approaches. 
  • Your Cyber Monday success depends on preparation and planning.
  • Promising fulfillment and falling through during the holiday season can be disastrous for an e-commerce business.

One question we’re often asked is: “How much inventory should I order?” This all depends on your sales projections based on last year’s numbers and your first three quarters this year. Expect sales of individual items to more than triple a normal day’s sales in November. Normally, Black Friday generates 3.6-times and Cyber Monday generates 3.1-times more sales than an average day. In light of COVID-19, we anticipate those Black Friday numbers to slightly decrease and Cyber Monday sales to increase. So, expect needing 3.4-times your normal inventory for these days.

After forecasting your inventory needs, you will want to order products and have a warehouse lined up, ready to receive your goods. Having your products warehoused will allow you to keep better track of your inventory leading up to Black Friday.

Start shopping warehousing options now if you don’t already have one set. As Black Friday and Cyber Monday approach, warehousing will fill up and many have cut-off dates for taking in inventory—and the bigger players like Amazon won’t have room for latecomers.

Properly preparing for Black Friday can make or break your holiday season sales. Think of Black Friday and Cyber Monday as the Super Bowl of e-commerce. They only come once per year and they’re your opportunity to establish a reputation and brand—don’t fumble on inventory this year.

Photo by Matthew Henry from Burst

2. Increase the Size of Your Team

Draft a winning team before season hits. Your traffic and sales are going to grow and you need more staff to respond to the increase. When it comes to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, you want to invest your resources in customer care reps, salespeople, and some dedicated website troubleshooters. If your warehouse does not pack and ship for you, you will also want to build up your warehouse and packing staff.

Why is waiting to hire a bad idea? First, you want all of your team members fully trained and ready to go when preparing for Black Friday. You also want your pick of the best employees that will last through the holiday season. Waiting drains the potential employee pool and leaves less time to adequately prepare your new hires.

Anticipate and train your team to answer questions regarding products, shipping, and returns. You will also want your IT team ready to go should your website fail. 

When training your new staff focus on brand standards and norms. This allows your staff to put their best foot forward when Black Friday sales and questions come rolling in.

When hiring this year, you will likely have plenty of candidates. Be sure you make the job descriptions clear, to save yourself time. If a position is temporary, be clear about it. Remember, you can always consider hiring the best performers longer term.

3. Optimize Your Website

Don’t leave any aspect of your business to chance, especially your website. Web traffic skyrockets on Cyber Monday and Black Friday, so you do not want your site to fail. Especially, considering the fact that Black Friday and Cyber Monday shoppers feel the pressure of the minutes and hours of the days slipping away. If your website fails, for even a minute or two, it can send shoppers elsewhere in droves, costing you revenue.

Where should you focus your energy and effort when it comes to preparing your website for Black Friday?

  • Prepare for volume: your server capacity needs to function for an influx of Black Friday shoppers. 
  • Ensure the functionality of your coupon codes.
  • Be sure your content is consistent and your backups are ready.

4. Upgrade Your Checkout Process

Why do so many major e-commerce sites use a “Buy It Now” button? The quicker a customer can check out, the more likely they are to purchase what’s in their carts. The more time it takes to make a purchase, the more time Black Friday shoppers have to reconsider or become flighty.

Use your IT team to expedite the checkout process. Your checkout process needs to be snag-free, safe, secure, and intuitive. Customers should be able to easily fill in forms, and their carts should automatically be saved. Eliminate any extra steps in the checkout process and try to restrict the number of pages customers need to click-through and load.

Photo by Shopify Partners from Burst

5. Free Shipping Means More Sales

What are your current shipping options? Whether you offer it now or not, free shipping is a must for Black Friday. Free shipping is a huge factor in shopping cart abandonment and a major motivation in moving from browsing to buying. Just be sure to adjust your prices to account for shipping rates.

Ways to Integrate a Free Shipping Model into Your Black Friday

  • Offer free shipping with a minimum purchase amount
  • Use free shipping as a site-wide Black Friday deal
  • Add free shipping as a bonus when customers sign up to receive emails and future promotions
  • Push sales on specific items by offering free shipping with purchase
  • Allow free shipping on returns

6. Get On-Board with the Big Guys

Amazon and Walmart dominate the Black Friday and Cyber Monday market. Expanding your business across selling platforms can help your business make a splash that lasts.

Selling on Amazon comes up time and time again as one of the best strategies for Cyber Monday success. If you list on Amazon, you can use their warehousing and packers as an FBA business. You can also cash in on being a Lightning Deal or Deal of the Day, which gets more eyes on your products than you can imagine.

7. Begin Marketing Cyber Monday Deals Now

With more people roaming the web now, the more you want your Cyber Monday deal to be visible. With unemployment on the rise, you can expect consumers to be more deliberate when it comes to their Cyber Monday purchases--this means planning ahead...way ahead. 

Aim for multiple impressions before Thanksgiving weekend and remember to diversify your reach with social media marketing, email campaigns, and Google Ads. The more potential customers see your brand, the more likely they are to gravitate toward it come Black Friday. 

Hype your Black Friday deals on your social media starting today. This will give you an edge on the thousands of other retailers preparing for Black Friday e-commerce.

Photo by Shopify Partners from Burst

Ready, Set, Sell!

You don’t have to be a marketing genius to beat out your competition this holiday season. And you don’t have to prepare for Black Friday alone. Seller’s Choice has prepped countless businesses for Black Friday success. We’re ready to help you capture sales and build brand loyalty that will last beyond Cyber Monday. Contact us today to get started early!

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