It’s almost time for the most anticipated sales of the holiday season, where consumers line up to purchase a new flat screen TV right after Thanksgiving dinner, and alarms get set to hop on the computer Monday morning to buy the latest skincare tools. 

Yup, we’re talking about Black Friday and Cyber Monday. 

But this year, things are going to look a whole lot different as consumers continue to fear COVID-19 and retailers take the necessary precautions to keep their employees and shoppers safe. As predicted, the majority of holiday shopping will occur online this year, and let’s face it, will continue to be online after the holidays, too. 

This year brands and retailers had to pivot and change existing plans to support and adapt to the new retail landscape, including holiday season plans. What traditionally takes place in stores has increasingly become an online activity, and the pandemic is only furthering that. There are some concerns with most holiday shopping taking place online, such as delivery delays as shipping providers are predicting an extreme influx of packages. 

While we understand some things just can’t be avoided, we want to make sure you have the most successful Black Friday and Cyber Monday possible so we’ve put together a quick guide for you to prepare your brand for this year’s seasonal sales. 

It’s never too early (or late) to implement a plan

black friday and cyber monday business planning

2020 has been the year of all things digital so it’s no surprise most Black Friday and, of course, Cyber Monday shopping will occur online. Over the past four years, e-commerce growth has averaged an increase between 13% to 17%. This year it’s expected to increase by 25% if not higher. And this year alone, according to a GfK study, 44% of U.S. consumers anticipate purchasing gifts exclusively online this year. So what does this mean for your brand? Expand your online sales channels! If you aren’t already selling on Amazon in addition to your website, look into it and see if it’s a good fit for your brand and products. But in addition to Amazon, you can set up shop on Google, Instagram, and even Pinterest. These are all great platforms to expand your reach and visibility with consumers. 

More consumers plan on shopping online this year, which means it’s crucial to prepare for heavy traffic to your website both leading up to the sales and on the days of Black Friday and Cyber Monday by testing your website’s load capacity. And it’s also important to make sure you have your shipping plan in order as consumers and delivery services have been experiencing delays. If you don’t have a shipping provider already, check out our shipping providers in RangeMe Services, who can help get your shipping practices optimized. 

Also, please remember that one of the essential parts of planning is preparing for the worst. That could be anything from a website malfunction to significant shipping delays (which you should expect this year). When it comes to one of these scenarios, it’s important to make sure you have a plan in place now instead of frantically trying to resolve the issue in the moment. This will save you lots of time and reduce your stress.

Inventory check and prep

how to manage inventory for sales

Keeping in mind that your brand might see an uptick in traffic, prepare for an increase in product sales. This means ensuring you have enough product inventory on hand, especially for the products you plan on promoting (or putting on sale) during Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The key here is looking back on previous years and reviewing what your top-selling products were during those Black Friday and Cyber Monday time frames. And since this year is a whole lot different in terms of consumer product purchases compared to other years, you might want to take a look and see which of your products performed better than others. Was it self-care and beauty products? Or perhaps the exercise equipment or puzzles? Whatever the top-performing product was, or the products you plan on marketing for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, make sure you have enough on hand and ready to ship. 

Marketing and promotions 

how to set black friday and cyber monday marketing promotions

Now it’s time to build hype for your products and sales. The most exciting part (says the marketer)!

First, map out all of your products and determine the discounts you want to offer your customers. This step is crucial because it involves planning internally and promoting externally. And to have a successful promotion, you’re going to want to develop a stand-out promotion idea such as offering free products, bundle deals, spin-to-win discounts, free shipping on a certain order amount, or flash sales.

RangeMe Tip: To generate even more customers, try creating a sharable discount code such as “BLACKFRIDAY50” or “BOGO2020” that your customers can share with their family and friends.

Once you’ve determined your sales and discounts, it’s time to entice customers! And like every other aspect of the CPG industry, marketing has also gone digital, so make sure you’re one of the brands grasping new ways to market to their customers online, whether you’re using social media, emails, or digital advertising

To build excitement and momentum for your sales, tease your discounts and products in an ongoing email and social media campaign. Tell your customers what they can look forward to this Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but do so in a way that makes your marketing break through the noise of the hundreds of other emails in their inbox and social media posts on their timeline.

Next, leverage your creative tools such as Photoshop/Adobe or Canva to create eye-catching promotion graphics for your communication channels such as website, email banners, social media posts, and digital advertisements. 

Lastly, set up your marketing calendar as soon as possible! You’ll want to make sure you’re starting communications about your Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals early on to create buzz. Organizing and pre-scheduling your email sends and social media posts can help you stay on track and let your customers know what exciting deals are to come. 

Customers support you. How do you support them? 

How to have good customer service during black friday and cyber monday

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are opportune times to attract new customers, so make sure you have a plan to show new as well as your existing, most-loyal customers that you appreciate their support for your business.

For existing customers, think about what you can offer them to continue building brand loyalty. This might look like opening sales to existing customers early or offering them a special deal for subscribing to your email list. For new customers, encourage them to sign up for your emails by providing them an additional discount. Doing so will allow you to engage with the new customer to build brand loyalty post-sales. For both existing and new customers, make sure you’re ready to offer individual support to answer any questions they may have or troubleshoot issues like lost packages or unsatisfied orders. Check out these best practices on how to offer the best customer support for your customers. Additionally, if it’s in your means, offer free shipping and returns to your customers–this helps show them you care about their experience and want them to be happy with their purchase. 

Cheers to a successful sale!

We’re about a month out from Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and to have a successful sale, now is the time to start planning and preparing if you haven’t already. By following this guide, you’ll have a general sense of what you need to accomplish to drive traffic, increase sales, and retain happy customers. This year’s sale experience will look a lot different, so be kind to yourself if it doesn’t go quite as planned, and treat it as a learning experience for next year!

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