This month, shoppers are hungry for more than turkey – they’re ravenous for tantalizing retail products, too.

This month is a strategically significant sales period for business to consumer companies (B2C). Thanksgiving weekend is the Super Bowl of retail, as 33% of U.S. Internet users will do most of their holiday shopping between Black Friday and Cyber Monday.1Williams, Maren. Infographic: Cyber Monday and Black Friday Shoppers. Oracle. November 17, 2015. And with only a little over a week to go until Black Friday and Cyber Monday, retailers and consumer packaged goods (CPG) manufacturers are making last minute plans to entice shoppers and gain an edge to maximize sales.

The good news is there’s still enough time for your small business to prepare well, stand out and sell in time for this fast and furious weekend of sales.

How to Boost Your In-Store Sales
Nearly three-quarters (73%) of shoppers say they plan to shop in brick-and-mortar stores this season.2Unwrapping Holiday Insights: The 2016 Retailer Guide to Consumer Trends. RetailMeNot. 2016. Consider implementing the following practical tips to boost your product sales:

  • Emphasize your uniqueness: Shoppers enjoy the thrill of discovering different and innovative products. An encouraging Forbes article states, “Retailers that compete on differentiated products and experiences should be better positioned to outperform those who try to compete on low-price, value and convenience.”3Thau, Barbara. Amazon To Dominate Digital, But Shoppers Still Set For A ‘Phygital’ Holiday Selling Season. Forbes. October 5, 2016. Embrace the qualities that make your offering unique and extend this differentiation strategy to your online communications, too.
  • Lure shoppers with deals: Thanksgiving weekend is the perfect time to let your customers know you appreciate them by offering customized discounts, special deals and rewards. These incentives matter to brick-and-mortar success, as half of shoppers say finding a good deal beforehand will push them to shop in-store during the holidays.4Unwrapping Holiday Insights: The 2016 Retailer Guide to Consumer Trends. RetailMeNot. 2016. Also, 26% of consumers say they travel more than one hour to a store that offers a great deal.5Unwrapping Holiday Insights: The 2016 Retailer Guide to Consumer Trends. RetailMeNot. 2016. The types of promotions that shoppers desire most are a specific percentage or amount of money off purchases storewide (or online) and free shipping.6Unwrapping Holiday Insights: The 2016 Retailer Guide to Consumer Trends. RetailMeNot. 2016.

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Online Marketing for CPG Sales
While most shoppers buy in store, digital marketing plays a massive role before shoppers physically reach the checkout counter. Deloitte predicts digital interactions will influence 67% ($661 billion) of retail store sales this holiday season and another study found an astonishing 85% of holiday shoppers plan to research online before making holiday purchases in store.7Thau, Barbara. Amazon To Dominate Digital, But Shoppers Still Set For A ‘Phygital’ Holiday Selling Season. Forbes. October 5, 2016.

To connect with consumers who go online to research, browse and shop for products, it’s worth noting 2016’s top online shopping days. Experts predict the top three shopping days among desktop users, listed in descending order of importance, will be:

1. Cyber Monday, November 28
2. Black Friday, November 25 (also the top shopping day for mobile shoppers)
3. Sunday, November 27.8Unwrapping Holiday Insights: The 2016 Retailer Guide to Consumer Trends. RetailMeNot. 2016.

Knowing these dates can help you plan the timing of your marketing outreach so you’re well prepared during this whirlwind shopping season.

Also, consider implementing the following digital marketing tips to maximize your sales:

  • Apply e-commerce best practices: If your company already sells directly to online shoppers, such as through a Shopify e-commerce store, apply these tips this month:
    • Make sure your site is fast: Online shoppers can be impatient, as 40% of consumers report abandoning their online shopping cart if the website takes more than three seconds to load.9Barysevich, Aleh. Four SEO Tips to Apply to Your E-Commerce Website Today. Marketing Profs. November 3, 2016. Streamline your e-commerce experience to make it efficient and increase the chance shoppers will stay on your site rather than abandon their online shopping cart.
    • Create informative out-of-stock webpages: While out-of-stocks can signify that your products are popular, they’re a turnoff for online shoppers. To salvage these sales opportunities, state when an out-of-stock item will be available again, allow shoppers to pre-order the product or offer shoppers a chance to subscribe to receive an email or text notification when the item is available again. A final option is to offer similar items as alternatives.10Barysevich, Aleh. Four SEO Tips to Apply to Your E-Commerce Website Today. Marketing Profs. November 3, 2016.
  • Use strategic SEO keywords on your website: A National Retail Federation study found 46% of consumers say search engines play a major role in their purchase decision both for inspiring ideas and product comparison research.11Donegan-Ryan, Frances. Four PPC Tips to Capture Consumer Cheer (and Cash) This Holiday Season. Marketing Profs. October 6, 2016. To generate more web traffic and qualified leads, add specific keywords to your website. Based on the top search results from last year, hot SEO terms will include: Black Friday 2016, Black Friday deals, Black Friday, Cyber Monday 2016, Cyber Monday deals and Cyber Monday.12Nanji, Ayaz. Cyber Monday and Black Friday Paid Search Keyword Trends. Marketing Profs. November 3, 2016.
  • Be mindful of mobile: Mobile commerce (m-commerce) sales on smartphones will exceed those on tablets for the first time in 2016, totalling $67 billion for the entire year.13Thau, Barbara. Amazon To Dominate Digital, But Shoppers Still Set For A ‘Phygital’ Holiday Selling Season. Forbes. October 5, 2016. Millennials love m-commerce, as 49% of consumers aged 25 to 34 and 48% of those aged 18 to 24 plan to shop for Cyber Monday deals on their smartphone.14Unwrapping Holiday Insights: The 2016 Retailer Guide to Consumer Trends. RetailMeNot. 2016. To attract these young adults, ensure your website has a responsive design and simple payment options.
  • Enjoy email’s effectiveness: Global consulting firm McKinsey found email is 40 times more effective in acquiring new customers than social giants like Facebook or Twitter. Last year, another firm stated that retail and CPG companies’ “email-driven purchases made a killing.” Their Cyber Monday email-driven orders more than doubled, while Black Friday email-driven sales increased 1.5 times over 2014.159 Online & Mobile Shopping Stats About the 2015 Holiday Season. Infinitive Difference. December 9, 2015. There is enough time to send email campaigns to your customers and prospects, so make email part of your holiday sales strategy.
  • Stand out on social media: A brand’s social media presence can affect holiday purchase decisions, influencing whether they’ll buy from the brand during the holiday season. Nearly two in five (38%) respondents say they are most likely to turn to Facebook for holiday shopping inspiration and 32% said Pinterest.16How Influential Is a Brand’s Social Media Presence During the Holiday Season? eMarketer. October 4, 2016. Use fun, attractive images and videos on Facebook, and share gorgeous photography on Pinterest and Instagram to make your products and your company stand out.
  • Invest in digital advertising: Consider paid advertising, such as pay-per-click (PPC) ads on search engines like Google and Bing or ads on social media sites like Facebook. There is still time to buy, as the majority of spend on Cyber Monday 2015 keywords occurred during the week immediately before Cyber Monday.17Nanji, Ayaz. Cyber Monday and Black Friday Paid Search Keyword Trends. Marketing Profs. November 3, 2016.

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Category Specific CPG Suggestions
While the previous tips apply across different types of CPG products, here are some category specific ideas to consider before Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

  • Food and beverage products: For grocery items, Thanksgiving week is one of the best-selling weeks of the year. The top categories by 2015 dollar sales were: Meat-beef, carbonated beverages, salty snacks, milk and milk substitutes, turkey and coffee. In addition, 35% of annual cranberry sales happened during the holiday week. Also, sales of value-added vegetables (side dish, snacking, tray and meal-prep vegetables) were in demand, as busy shoppers sought healthy foods that offer time savings and convenience.18Oliver, David. 10 key Thanksgiving sales statistics for manufacturers. FoodDive. November 24, 2015. Since Thanksgiving comes before Black Friday, refer to your deals as a November promotion or Thanksgiving special, and use luscious language across all your marketing to awaken readers’ senses and persuade them to purchase your products.
  • Baby and children’s products: This holiday season, 95% of parents plan to buy gifts for their children, spending an average of $361 per child. Toys and kids products, and kids and baby apparel are among the top categories for deal-seeking Black Friday and Cyber Monday shoppers.19Unwrapping Holiday Insights: The 2016 Retailer Guide to Consumer Trends. RetailMeNot. 2016. 20Williams, Maren. Infographic: Cyber Monday and Black Friday Shoppers. Oracle. November 17, 2015. Consider offering attractive specials and emphasizing how your offerings are distinct from competitors’ products to win with shoppers.
  • Beauty and personal care products: Health and beauty items are among the top three categories where shoppers want more in-store offers, so consider adding more deals in response to consumer demand.21Unwrapping Holiday Insights: The 2016 Retailer Guide to Consumer Trends. RetailMeNot. 2016. Beauty consumers shop both online and in-store in search of convenience, value and reassurance before they buy. Significantly, they also spend 75% more than the shopper who just shops in-store.22Donegan-Ryan, Frances. Four PPC Tips to Capture Consumer Cheer (and Cash) This Holiday Season. Marketing Profs. October 6, 2016. To boost confidence among this lucrative group, add positive testimonials and reviews to your website and social media profiles to build trust in your company and products.

Applying these in-store and online suggestions could help your CPG company reach your November revenue target and give you a reason to feel truly thankful.

What tips would you add?

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1, 20. Williams, Maren. Infographic: Cyber Monday and Black Friday Shoppers. Oracle. November 17, 2015.
2, 4, 5, 6, 8, 14, 19, 21. Unwrapping Holiday Insights: The 2016 Retailer Guide to Consumer Trends. RetailMeNot. 2016.
3, 7, 13. Thau, Barbara. Amazon To Dominate Digital, But Shoppers Still Set For A ‘Phygital’ Holiday Selling Season. Forbes. October 5, 2016.
9, 10. Barysevich, Aleh. Four SEO Tips to Apply to Your E-Commerce Website Today. Marketing Profs. November 3, 2016.
11, 22. Donegan-Ryan, Frances. Four PPC Tips to Capture Consumer Cheer (and Cash) This Holiday Season. Marketing Profs. October 6, 2016.
12. Nanji, Ayaz. Cyber Monday and Black Friday Paid Search Keyword Trends. Marketing Profs. November 3, 2016.
15. 9 Online & Mobile Shopping Stats About the 2015 Holiday Season. Infinitive Difference. December 9, 2015.
16. How Influential Is a Brand’s Social Media Presence During the Holiday Season? eMarketer. October 4, 2016.
17. Nanji, Ayaz. Cyber Monday and Black Friday Paid Search Keyword Trends. Marketing Profs. November 3, 2016.
18. Oliver, David. 10 key Thanksgiving sales statistics for manufacturers. FoodDive. November 24, 2015.
Lisa Goller

Lisa Goller is a marketing and communications professional with over 15 years of experience serving retail, consumer goods, B2B and technology companies. She helps businesses tell their story through irresistible content marketing and strategic communications.

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