It’s Black Friday again and just like every other year, you start off excited, expecting phenomenal sales from your loss leaders and promos. But at the back of your mind, you wonder what’s going to happen if you don’t plan on keeping all those new customers. Are you going to end up running your business right to the edge of profitability? Could you come unstuck?
In these ‘unprecedented’ times, you can start by examining the big question of the year. This Black Friday 2020, where will all the bargain-hungry shoppers go?
I mean, usually, they’re in the shops. But this year things are different.
So, let’s look at the current retail scene and get some clues from what’s happening with the big players.
Big Retailer Tactics this Black Friday
Online is traditionally the domain of Cyber Monday. However, as customers adjust to Covid-19 restrictions everywhere, any business with a website is quietly hoping for bigger online sales during this Black Friday.
With Thanksgiving falling on the day before, big retailers including Target and Walmart have announced they’re giving staff the day off for the first time. This is significant. Apart from great employee relations, we know stocking shop floors into the early hours for big Black Friday sales crowds is simply not happening.
Instead, major players are predicting smaller, controlled in-store footfall and will shift their focus to online.
What’s behind this move? Providing food for thought, online-only spending in the U.S. on Cyber Monday last year ($9.4 billion) tells us shoppers like online deals. Additionally, one global survey into current 2020 shopping habits shows us that while 91% miss shopping in a store, only 5% plan to do so in the next six months, preferring the safety of online shopping — for now.
What Sales Should I Focus on?
The only thing for certain is everyone is still advertising for Black Friday. No matter if you run a physical store with an online presence, or an e-commerce store, on that day you’ll likely get lots of new customers assuming the twin forms of opportunistic bargain hunter and spontaneous buyer. Let’s focus on them.
Profit from New Customers
To sell and stay profitable, it’s a good idea to keep new customers by giving both your online presence and your store (if you have one) a sales tune-up. These buyers will likely find you online first so it’s crucial to do as much as you can to improve your online welcome, sales, and after-sales service for this group.
How Can I Stay Profitable?
Turn your thoughts to what you do control. If you’re new to online sales — or a few years in — one thing is for certain, customers expect online shopping to be easy.
It may sound simple, but you can make some adjustments to suppliers, promotions, and messaging before Black Friday 2020.
Before Black Friday: How to Welcome New Shoppers
Online and in-store, customers are buying everything way before they need it — and not just toilet paper. Make sure you are ready and apply these six easy operational changes below.
1. Increase stock levels
You can identify products you think they’ll rush to buy and increase those stock levels. This helps with faster item dispatch times, too.
2. Shift promotions forward
Move holiday promotions up, like Christmas and Valentine’s Day, and maybe Easter. If it’s your first time selling on Black Friday, get some additional tips for this in our blog for your first Black Friday sale. Make sure you top up your gift sets, wrap them up in ‘holiday style’, and stock popular products usually bought later on.
3. Diversify supply
Get earlier deliveries arranged for your top sellers from more than one supplier. Hopefully, your shoppers won’t see gaps on shelves or items ‘not in stock’ when online.
4. Sales opportunity
Higher online demand around Black Friday provides a new opportunity. Shoppers want to buy their ‘special gifts’ for loved ones much earlier. So, help them. Get your existing online base excited too. Invite them to your store or website with targeted advertising and personalized emails. When they buy on Black Friday they’ll feel welcomed.
5. Diversify customer delivery
Better your chances of retaining new customers by securing the best delivery drivers. Minimize what is bound to be a lot of delays around Black Friday and Cyber Monday by securing drivers outside of your normal roster.
6. Online message preparation
Write emails now, so they are ready to send to your new customers when you’re ready to go. Automate friendly follow-up notices which track their packages. Help the customer journey and avoid no-no’s, like emailing the company marketing newsletter before their package has arrived.
Consider preparing messages in a social media scheduler to lure customers to your site or store with free samples, offers, and coupon codes. Give longer expiration dates for future in-store codes, especially. Looking for more ideas? Read our article: Want more eyeballs? Social Media to the Rescue.
A Word on Mastering the Move to Digital
Most importantly, make sure your website experience is prepared to meet increased demand. You can take a look at Namecheap’s hosting and CDN article if you think you might need to supercharge your website speeds ready for Black Friday. Or if you need a new look, our article on themes for your EasyWP E-commerce website might help. You can contact our friendly customer service team, 24/7, who’ll be happy to help advise you about how to optimize your website performance.
Welcome Customers on the Day of Black Friday
On Black Friday you want to keep some new customers and not just let them buy from you only once. A set of sales goals could look a bit like this:
- Reduce the instances of opportunistic shoppers never returning.
- Convert some shoppers new to the brand into loyal customers.
- Keep your existing customer base in on the samples and bargains.
But don’t worry if you’re new to all this. Just try to do a few elements, whatever you can fit in.
Spotlight on online welcome tactics
The moment customers land on your website a welcome is important. They’ll be reading quickly and skipping straight to promos and deals, so place these at the top.
- Promos – Create all content in advance as an online pre-sales tactic, featuring the products you wish to shift. On the day you can adjust tickers and banners to update hourly, daily, or with a countdown price promotion.
- Deals – Create an incognito social media account to watch your competitor’s welcome specials on channels like Instagram and Twitter. Make sure you can be agile if you see something a competitor is doing and you need to adjust your website — fast.
Running more than one WordPress website? Much easier to move fast from the EasyWP dashboard — has to be said.
Spotlight on in-store welcome tactics
Some new things to remember during Covid-19.
Customers are under time pressure as well as being mindful about safety concerns. They’re going from store-to-store looking for bargains and don’t want to waste time going inside if they don’t have to. It can make all the difference to a new customer if a staff member greets queuing shoppers in a friendly way, answering queries before entry.
Think quality footfall. Not high footfall. Consider pre-selling by giving out samples on the pavement. If you get busier inside, consider asking the queue if a ‘solo shoppers only’ entry policy is ok, until things calm down.
Want to bring customers to the store for larger items? Plan a local curbside delivery option for the shopping weekend. Curb-side pickup is great public relations for customers buying larger store items if you offer to deliver it immediately.
After-Sales Online Service for Black Friday.
Shoppers can always regret their purchases. But everyone hates the hassle of returning stuff.
- Write all your returns policies relevant to the cyber long-weekend sales and publish these on your website.
- Write to update any Covid disclaimers — longer delivery, store conditions, online purchase limits (if any).
- Write to automate the use of customer names and personalize after-sales messages.
Warning, don’t oversaturate customer inboxes straight away. Everyone will be emailing after Black Friday. It might be wiser to wait, including a nice coupon in the ‘your order has been delivered’ email.
Catching Bargain Hungry Shoppers After the Sales
Depending on what you sell, you might have an opportunity to use hand-sanitizers and face-masks as cross-promotions. Use branded stickers and your logo on these products and give them away free with deliveries. Customers will remember you and who knows? This might become a collectible item.
You can also maintain a live chat option on your website, which can be useful to answer customer queries before and after purchases.
After-Sales Tips for In-Store
Leave an impression
No doubt, we’ll still see a lot of in-store activity on Black Friday, but it won’t take the same form. Think, less of a buffet mindset — more like table-service. Being helpful leaves a snapshot impression and inspires loyalty in your brand, even if shoppers didn’t buy or enter. Is there more chance to chat? If things are quiet on the day, leverage this opportunity.
Keep their loyalty
Deploying staff in multiple roles is highly effective during quieter footfall. The last thing you want is empty shelves or over-crowded floors. Keep staff flexible, ready to refill, direct footfall, talk with customers, or operate the checkouts. A satisfied new customer is more likely to return than a frustrated one.
Keep everyone in order
Customers are Covid-sensitive right now. As they move through your one-way system, make sure your loss leaders are spread throughout the store and not all at the start. If you get too many people reversing direction, they’ll get annoyed.
Insist on taking email addresses to send tracking emails for in-store orders. At the point of sale, have a sign up ready for online coupon offers, so you can keep interested customers on the hook after Black Friday 2020.
Enjoy Cyber Profits this Black Friday 2020
The big difference between this year and 2019 means Cyber Monday, the traditional day for online deals only, will look a lot similar to Black Friday. It’s going to be a kind of ‘Cyber long-weekend’.
No matter if your new customers are fleet-of-foot, or quick-to-click, the job of catching and converting them to long-term loyal buyers is every business owner’s challenge. Hopefully, you’ll consider improving your online and in-store sales and after-sales tactics, and this article has helped you.
At Namecheap, we value helping online businesses. We’d be happy to advise you about any way you can prepare your online presence for Black Friday. Just get in touch with our friendly 24/7 customer support team.