This post was written by Sarah Mooney, CMO at Arka, a custom packaging startup.
Black Friday is a major shopping season and is one of the busiest times of the year for the e-commerce industry. The shopping tradition officially begins the day after Thanksgiving, and on which online retailers become “in the black” or profitable for the year’s fiscal calendar. This allows them to heavily discount fast-moving items, as it will maximize the profit for the year.
In this article, we take you through how to prepare your online store for Black Friday volumes.
1. Be Ready With Your Inventory Stock
Black Friday sales allow the crowd-weary consumer to avoid the literal stampede of buyers out to score a hot deal online. This creates a huge demand for products sold through online retailers. It is therefore important to develop inventory planning with the best optimal stock-holding strategy to achieve efficient sales performance.
While planning the inventory stock, the following pointers should be taken into account:
- Pull together a list of your current inventory and separate it into categories. At any time, the merchandise range has to be planned meticulously and grouped in a merchandise hierarchy for a better understanding and analysis of sales and stock.
- Perform a study on shopping patterns and create a forecast plan for any merchandise to be procured in addition to meet the demand. Care should also be taken to ensure that faulty forecasting is not done as it may cause the accumulation of stocks, which may lead to further decreasing prices for the clearance of stocks later.
- A trivial question to ask yourself while planning inventory will be “how much is the value of inventory to be stocked?” The range of inventory to be stocked will depend on the sales performances before and also on trending patterns in buying products by consumers.
2. Stocking up for the Big Day
Customers look for huge bargains and are on a shopping spree on Black Friday sales. It is the day of the year when most online retailers move from red ink losses to black ink profits.
While customers get ready to shop on the major offline shopping day to kick off holiday sales, take your time to analyze how you would face this big event as an online retailer.
- The foremost preparatory step would be to stock up enough merchandise to face the sudden surge in demand.
- It would also be beneficial to be equipped with an adequate number of custom boxes to cater to and ship the products efficiently.
- It is also important that efficient vendor management is in place to be capable enough of giving the right quantity of inventory required and meeting delivery deadlines. They should be able to deliver the right quantities as well.
3. Deliver A Great Customer Experience
As consumers look for the perfect gift to give, they are particularly responsive to marketing. This makes the holiday shopping season a great time to expand your customer base. However, in order to turn those one time shoppers into repeat purchasers, you’ll need to deliver a stellar customer experience.
Make it easy for your customers to complete your checkout page. Remove pop-ups, offer a guest checkout, and auto-populate input fields whenever you can. Be transparent with your fulfillment timeline and update your headers to include order-by dates, so that your customers will know when their gifts will arrive. By removing customer facing friction, you’ll reduce shopping cart abandonment, while improving your overall customer experience.
Make it easier for your customers to shop with you by taking care of the little things. By including gift wrapping and receipts, and accepting multiple payment options, you’ll provide flexibility to your audience when they need it the most. Additionally, customers blame retailers for a poor shipping experience, regardless of where the error originated. Ensure that your customer’s orders can be delivered without any issue by using an address verification solution.
4. Marking Down Prices to Attract Customers
Black Friday has become a very popular promotion for e-commerce sites. It is the day where online retailers have the double benefit of clearing out old stock and get some new customers with attractive deals on offer.
The disadvantages of holding on to the old stock are the consequent loss of margins and the loss of opportunity to stock new items. Also, from a customer’s perspective, it is quite boring and tiring to see old stocks and purchasing reduces. New inventory can be stocked after the long spell of the festive season is over by clearing up the old stocks at attractive prices.
- Leading up to the holiday season, test different promotions based on prior holiday sales needs.
- You can reduce the price of products to the lowest price possible to get an influx of new customers during Black Friday.
- Create promotions with scarcity in mind. Have a deadline for your sales. This will make people think they are going to lose money if they don’t act now. Scarcity creates demand.
5. Introduce Your Promotions For Black Friday
Every online retailer found it beneficial to offer promotions from time to time. From deal offers to coupons, promotions can help consumers to choose your products over competitors if they feel they are getting a great bargain in the process.
Start advertising your Black Friday sales a week prior to the big day. If you start advertising too far in advance, you may lose impact and end up hurting your pre-Black Friday sales. Watch the big box stores too and pay attention to the products they are promoting. This will give you an edge to choose your promotions wisely based on customers’ demand.
Arka kicks off its Black Friday sale in late October. We hope these pointers will help you plan your Black Friday sale in advance to get the lead in sales among your competitors.