You may have only just dusted off the barbeque but 62% of UK retailers are already preparing for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and if you’re not one of them, you could be missing out. For those new to the eCommerce world, or those still waking up from their summer snooze, we’ve got everything you need to know about what Black Friday and Cyber Monday are, what you should be doing now and how to cope with it all.
The day following Thanksgiving in the US (think sweatpants with an elasticated waistline), Black Friday falls on the fourth Friday of November and signals the beginning of the Christmas shopping season – ho, ho, ho.
The Monday following Thanksgiving is Cyber Monday – one of the biggest online shopping days of the year, which is where you come in.
Characterised by (very) early opening hours and promotional sales, Black Friday and Cyber Monday have become synonymous with queues, down-websites and, more recently, fistie-cuffs: there has been 10 Black Friday deaths and 111 injuries – sometimes that deal is just too good to miss.
Put simply, it is the busiest shopping weekend of the year.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday both produce some impressive statistics:
– Britons spent a humongous £1.4 billion on online sales, 11.7% more than 2016.
– UK sales were up 3% from 2016 on Cyber Monday 2017.
– 24.1% of sales were via a mobile device.
– Over in the States, $20 billion‘s worth of sales was clocked up over the weekend, with Cyber Monday stealing the show.
Who Takes Part?
In the US, it used to be a case of who doesn’t take part; while over in the UK, this was a much more valid question. Some retailers avoid the Black Friday / Cyber Monday mayhem, often stating that they provide low prices throughout the year and don’t need a dedicated weekend to offer bargain deals – oo-er. Accordingly, it’s important to understand the benefits and disadvantages of taking part:
1. An army of customers ready, waiting and wanting to spend their money
2. An opportunity to sell slow-moving stock
3. A huge SEO and hashtag opportunity
4. Not feeling left out of the party
1. The potential to cheapen your brand: Are Black Friday and Cyber Monday in line with your brand image?
2. The potential for negative publicity; out of stock items, disappointing deals, shipping delays
3. The extra time, effort and stress handling an influx of orders from multiple sales channel(s)
How to Cope #1
If you decide that you want in on the Black Friday / Cyber Monday madness, it’s essential that you are properly prepared. You can do this by:
Customers check early on who is taking part. Use the lead-up time as an opportunity to create a buzz, produce gift-guides, increase your brand’s exposure and get excited.
2. List on Multiple Sales Channels
With huge opportunity to attract new customers, the Black-Cyber Weekend makes multichannel selling essential. Whether people are searching for deals on Amazon, eBay, Etsy, Wish or Wish, you’ll be there to say hello on them all.
3. Plan Your Sales in Advance
Decide now if you’re offering a one-off spectacular, hourly deals or a site-wide bonanza and then plan your stock accordingly.
4. Check Your Infrastructure
5. Customer Service
Customer service is king this weekend. With an influx of sales comes an increase in queries, complaints, returns and feedback. Make sure you can handle them quickly and professionally.
After the rush, take time to see what worked, what didn’t, check your stock levels and plan how you can engage with your new customers.
How to Cope #2
Multichannel management software. Software such as Expandly can help take the stress out of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, leaving you a little extra time to grab some bargains yourself. Here’s how:
Listing Management – Update all of your listings from one central location
Order Management – View and process your orders from one central location
Inventory Management – Keep an automated, central and live update of your stock levels
Shipping – Batch print invoices and shipping labels
Reporting – Evaluate all of your sales channel(s) from one location