One of the exciting things about walking through the mall around this time of year was seeing all the sale signs, refilled stock, and bustling store employees. Just because your store is online doesn’t mean you can’t get customers excited and ready to start their holiday shopping on your site. Here’s how you can reel them in with holiday e-commerce online sales — and be ready for them.
Map Out the Retail Holidays
First things first. Map out the upcoming holiday shopping season, with Christmas as the main course. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are like the appetisers; Boxing Day is the dessert course, with the end-of-year and New Year’s clear-outs as the after-dinner mints. Christmas, Boxing Day, the year-end, and start-of-the-year events are well established for most retailers, but it has only been in the last decade that American commercial holidays Black Friday and Cyber Monday have spread to our continent.
Black Friday (26 November 2021)
Although the term “Black Friday” was actually coined to refer to the U.S. Gold Market collapse that occurred on 24 September 1869, it is now known throughout the world as the day after American Thanksgiving (which occurs on the fourth Thursday in November every year). The preferred origin story is that Black Friday is the day many retailers can come out of “the red” (loss) and into “the black” (profit).
Black Friday has gone from a commercial holiday to a cultural phenomenon that has travelled across the globe, partly thanks to the prolific growth of online commerce. In Australia, Black Friday is almost as big as Boxing Day. Online purchases during Black Friday in 2020 showed an increase of 42% over 2019 at the same time.
Cyber Monday (29 November 2021)
While Black Friday originated as a brick-and-mortar retailers event, Cyber Monday was created as its e-commerce counterpart, taking advantage of the fact that many shoppers went online to redeem Black Friday coupons and vouchers. In time, the two retail events have become almost indistinguishable, as merchants have started to extend their Black Friday sales past the weekend. Cyber Monday, however, tends to last only one day — albeit the biggest single sale event of the year.
Of course, given the time differences around the world — especially between Australia and the United States — e-commerce online sales by stores operating in Australia tend to continue through Tuesday.
Gearing Up for Black Friday E-Commerce Online Sales
Planning and preparation is essential for optimising your run-up to Christmas and taking advantage of the Black Friday/Cyber Monday hype.
Count Down to Savings
Countdowns create anticipation and reinforce the perceived importance of a particular event. Simply adding a countdown to Black Friday prominently on your website will remind visitors that there is a reason to come back soon. Reset the countdown meter for Cyber Monday, Christmas, and Boxing Day sales so that your customers are continually enticed to return to your e-store during the holiday season.
Whet Their Appetite
Along with your new countdown meter, you should give browsers a taste of the fabulous deals awaiting them during your holiday sales. Show them what kinds of offers they will be seeing on the next retail holiday. Create a special page outlining the upcoming promotions — along with whatever coupons or discount codes to use. Show the sale prices compared to the original prices of your products so customers can see the savings.
Bring Out the Bestsellers
Take a look at what has sold well in past promotions (including holiday sales of seasons past) and products that would make excellent gifts. Make sure you have adequate amounts of sale inventory — it is a huge disappointment for customers when they have been enticed to purchase something, only to discover it is out of stock. You don’t want them wondering if they are encountering a bait-and-switch.
Be Ready to Roll
Double-check to ensure you have all the packaging and shipping components you need so that you can avoid a shipping and handling bottleneck. Undue delivery delays make for unsatisfied customers who will be less likely to come back for the Christmas/Boxing Day sales. If you need to hire some temporary help to make sure the orders move quickly, do so.
Don’t sit back and wait for people to find you. Be proactive. Whether it’s an email campaign or a social media blast, get it started before Black Friday/Cyber Monday to start the flow of customers to your website in time for those promotions. Also, make sure you pop in the occasional reminder that the big gift-giving holidays are coming right up. Make customers think that they can take care of the proverbial “two birds with one stone” — benefiting from Black Friday/Cyber Monday and knocking things off their Christmas/holiday lists at the same time — and plant the seeds for them to return for the rest of their gifts. Also mention “Black Friday,” “Cyber Monday,” “Christmas,” “Boxing Day,” and “holiday sale” liberally for a better shot at higher SEO rankings.
Want more ideas on how to get the most of the holiday season as an online retailer, or have any questions? Contact us today — we can’t wait to help you generate more traffic.