The busiest time of the year for retailers is almost here—Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM) are just around the corner. The official days are November 24 and November 26, respectively, but in reality, the sales have already started. For months, retailers around the world have been preparing for the biggest shopping period of the year, which is beginning earlier every year.
BFCM is always a big deal in retail, and 2023 promises to be an exciting year for online and offline stores alike. A recent survey by the National Retail Federation (NRF) found that 39% of shoppers plan to start holiday shopping before November, confirming an earlier start for BFCM deals.
Last year, ecommerce shopping broke records, with sales exceeding $9 billion. This year, online sales will continue to account for a large chunk of BFCM spending. But don’t dismiss in-store shopping: a PwC survey from March of this year found that 73% of Canadian consumers visit retail stores at least monthly. And in its 2023 forecast, the NRF says that American consumers still value in-store shopping, with store visits accounting for around 70% of total retail sales.
With all that in mind, BFCM 2023 will be an interesting one for retailers. Consumers will look both online and offline for the best sales and deals, and it’s up to retailers to meet their expectations. That’s why it’s essential to ramp up your BFCM efforts sooner rather than later.
Consider the following pointers for how to prepare for Black Friday and Cyber Monday:
- Set up email marketing campaigns
- Embrace social media
- Focus on search engine optimization
- Choose the best items for discounts
- Stagger sales and discounts
- Add contactless options
- Plan your shipping strategy
- Step up your customer support
- Take advantage of apps
- Tailor your messaging
- Plan your merchandising strategy
- Review your checkout experience
Optimize your operations before Black Friday. Our free guide will help you understand the kind of point-of-sale system you need to run your business efficiently.
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Optimize your operations before Black Friday. Our free guide will help you understand the kind of point-of-sale system you need to run your business efficiently.
1. Set up email marketing campaigns
Retailers spend more ad dollars around the holidays, and BFCM is no exception. As the holiday season approaches, you will likely get more eyeballs on your emails.
If you’ve been collecting your customers’ email addresses through your loyalty program, email newsletter or even to send them an e-receipt, you should definitely send them emails to let them know about your Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals.
According to Andrei Vasilescu, CEO and Digital Marketing expert of DontPayFull, a great tip is to stagger your emails. “Send the first wave of teaser emails with the hints of your upcoming offers to get the attention of your audience. Your second wave of emails will contain your exclusive offers customized for different leads,” says Vasilescu.
While sending generic emails might be the easiest option, it might also be the least effective one. Each customer is different, meaning their offers should be too. This is where segmentation comes in handy.
Jonathan Frey, CMO of Urban Bikes Direct recommends “using segmented email marketing to offer customers a personalized holiday sales experience. Not every sale will appeal to every customer, and not every customer will be completely receptive to the concept of Black Friday itself. Create targeted messages to get on every customer types’ wavelength.”
Place your bets on loyalty
While the upcoming shopping weekend can be a great time to lure new customers in, it can still be pricey, as it can cost up to 25 times more to acquire a new customer. Marketing to current customers is not only less expensive, but they tend to buy more often and spend more than first-time customers.
It may seem tempting to exclusively run paid ads on Facebook and Instagram to get more new customers, but don’t make the mistake of neglecting your existing ones; they’re the ones that are more likely to buy more and recommend your store to friends and family. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the perfect times to strengthen your relationship with your existing customers.
Don’t risk having your best customers shop at one of your competitors. Create emails that feature your holiday deals and send them to your existing customers, and don’t forget to create a sense of urgency (this is a limited time offer!) so that they act fast. Make sure to use segmented email marketing to offer your VIP customers exclusive deals that they might like.
Pro tip: With Lightspeed’s loyalty features and integrations, you can easily create beautiful promotional emails with its built-in drag-and-drop email builder.
2. Embrace social media
According to McKinsey & Company, 58% of consumers say their holiday shopping decisions are influenced by social media. This is true for a wide demographic. For instance, 87% of Gen Z consumers are most influenced by YouTube, Instagram and TikTok, while Facebook and YouTube lead the charge for older age groups.
Despite that, social media marketing can be expensive and have a low impact—if you don’t know what you’re doing.
If you’re looking to get people into your physical store, we suggest narrowing your audience to be only within a certain distance from your location. We call the act of narrowing your ad’s reach by state, province, city, zip or postal code geotargeting.
This achieves two things:
- The only people getting your Black Friday ads are located near your business and are more likely to visit your store and make a purchase.
- You get a higher ROI for what you spend. Since your audience is highly targeted, each person that sees your ad is more likely to convert into a customer.
It’s a lot cheaper (and more effective) to make your ads as targeted as possible.
Launch dynamic ads on Facebook
If you’re looking to shift some of your foot traffic to your online shop, you might also want to reach a broader audience. Similar to geotargeted ads, it’s also much more effective to remarket people who have visited your online store.
Eagan Heath, owner of Caravan Digital, recommends getting your Facebook and Instagram Ad prospecting audiences ready, “You can close a lot of sales by remarketing these folks during the holiday rush.” The holidays are the best time to use tools like Facebook and Instagram to reach out to people that have connected with your brand previously and close the sale.
Think about it—they’ve already looked at products on your website, so why not send them a reminder to take action? If you’ve installed Facebook Pixel on your website, you can create Facebook ads that feature the very same products someone viewed.
For example, let’s say you were shopping for a pair of Mejuri earrings and saw some Cabochon Studs you liked. You didn’t buy them, but you did look at them. Next thing you know, you see them in a carousel ad on your Facebook newsfeed.
Your customer might then add the earrings to their cart and become a paying customer. Remarketing people who are visiting your online store is another trick for running Facebook ads that actually work.
Start using Instagram Shopping
If you’re creating content on Instagram (which you should be), there’s a great feature called Instagram Shopping that lets people buy products featured in your posts directly through the app.
Considering that 60% of Gen Z shoppers and 56% of millennial shoppers say they will do at least some of their holiday shopping on Instagram and TikTok, you should definitely look into setting up Instagram Shopping.
While it’s used by big-box retailers, it’s easy for independent retailers to set up too. Once you set up Instagram Shopping and create a few posts, those posts are visible to any of the 200 million accounts that use Instagram’s Explore tab daily. That’s a lot of exposure and potential sales for not a lot of effort.
Get on TikTok Shop
Does your brand have a TikTok presence? It’s time to take advantage of that with TikTok Shop. US sellers can market their products to consumers directly on the TikTok app, where people can make purchases seamlessly in-platform. With one billion active monthly users and steadily growing, TikTok is a great place to open up your audience and increase brand awareness to drive sales.
3. Focus on search engine optimization
SEO can be a powerful tool to bring in customers organically in the short and long term.
While optimizing your website should be an ongoing process, it doesn’t hurt to take a look and improve your existing landing pages and product pages to make it easier for search engines like Google to crawl your website and bring customers during the upcoming shopping weekend. This doesn’t mean you need to revamp your entire website, but even just updating copy in strategic pages and products might make a world of difference
According to Frey, one way to optimize your copy is by “analyzing your online store’s searches and paying close attention to any terms customers enter into the search field on your site only to be greeted with poor results.”
Once you know which search terms to target, it’s time to start optimizing. “Using these search terms, optimize your site copy and metadata as best you can to better align with what customers expect from you. You can also analyze your website’s search terms to determine which items you should be promoting and putting on sale,” says Frey.
Optimizing your website can also help bring foot traffic to your physical store. But first things first: Make sure your store information is properly set up on Google My Business. People should be able to find your store’s location, contact information and other basic information with a simple search.
When revamping your website, also focus on making information like store hours, health and safety policies and deals you’ll be offering at your store, easily accessible. Make sure your in-store policies are prominently featured on your website to motivate customers to visit.
Improve your website speed
Patience is not a quality that can be attributed to most online shoppers, and having a website that won’t load quickly can easily mean a lost sale. Approximately 40% of people will leave a website that takes longer than three seconds to load.
Making sure your website’s speed is up to the task of an added influx of customers on one of the busiest weekends of the year should be high on the list of your priorities.
In order to ensure your website is ready for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, take a look at which pages have the most visitors and start optimizing those pages first.
Hosea Chang, COO of Hayden Los Angeles, has even set up a “stand in line” virtually to avoid any issues during the busy days. According to Chang, it helps to “limit the amount of people that have access to the website at any one time, thus making sure that everyone has their chance to buy, but that the website won’t go down.”
Another way to make sure all your customers have a good experience on your website, she adds, is “to limit the number of purchases allowed for one person, just to ensure that everyone gets to buy what they’re looking for.”
Revamp your website security
Now that your website is ready to take on the weekend rush, it’s time to focus on an even more important subject: website security.
According to Chang, “this is the prime time for hackers and cyber attackers to strike, so investing in better measures of protection and security for your website is where you should be putting your money—and your time—right now. That is what’s going to make your shoppers feel safe and like their information won’t be stolen, effectively.”
If customers don’t feel comfortable enough inputting their credit card information or if they have any security issues after making a sale, it’ll likely end up costing you future sales. When it comes to security, it’s important to tackle these problems before they happen.
With Lightspeed’s ecommerce platform, you have the ability to secure your online store using 256-bit SSL encryption. This SSl connection is an encrypted connection between the web server and web browser (visitors to your store). All eCom stores are hosted from a secure location, where all data transfers occur over a 256-bit SSL connection. And all your data is encrypted.
Everything from data transfers between your online store and databases, to payment and customer data are stored in encrypted form.
In addition, by using an embedded payment service like Lightspeed Payments in your web shop (and store), you and your customers get access to a fast and secure checkout experience with built-in PCI compliance and fraud protection, so you can rest easy.
4. Choose the best items for discounts
While past year’s data might not be as reliable this year due to the changing retail landscape, you can still fall on recent purchase history when making decisions such as discounting.
According to Vasilescu, first you should take a look at new trends to help you decide what products should be discounted.
While you should still take a look at traditional best sellers and include them in your discounting, you should also take a look at your sales in the past months and analyze the items that people have been adding to their cart recently.
Consider using a tool such as Google Trends to identify popular search terms in your industry or area. Then, use your findings to inform your BFCM inventory decisions.
In general, it’s smart to track your gross inventory margins in the months before BFCM so you can decide which inventory to discount. That can help you decide whether to implement bundle pricing, bonus packs or stacked pricing, which are all helpful methods for offloading inventory that isn’t selling as well.
Use data to determine what to discount
If you use a POS and payment system that provides you with data, reporting and analytics, make use of it: this information can easily help you determine what to discount, and for how much.
A solution that allows you to not only manage inventory, but forecasts demand can ensure you make the right discounting decisions. For instance, Lightspeed Retail’s Advanced Reporting provides product performance reports that make it easy for you to choose what to put on sale.
Other valuable information includes customer data. With access to purchase history and shopping patterns, you can see what’s popular with customers and understand how to keep them engaged.
Plus, your online shoppers and in-store shoppers may have different preferences. Using inventory and customer data, you can offer personalized deals and even offer different deals online vs. in-store.
Adding discounts with Lightspeed
During Black Friday and Cyber Monday customers will be on the lookout for a range of discounts and offers. According to Wiebe de Boer, Product Marketing Manager at Lightspeed, each shop will have different needs and “with Lightspeed ecommerce they have the capacity to offer many different types of discounts, through segmentation, upselling, bulk and combination discounting. You just use the ones that serve your business needs best.”
De Boer also recommends letting customers know about those discounts as early as possible.
“As a consumer, part of the shopping experience is doing online research, comparing products and their prices on different stores. Make sure you advertise your BF/CM sale in advance to ensure that your webshop makes it on as many shopping lists as possible.” — Wiebe de Boer, Product Marketing Manager at Lightspeed
5. Stagger sales and discounts
As we mentioned earlier, the shopping season starts earlier every year. That means more merchants are taking the opportunity to space out their sales and discounts.
While great discounts are still at the heart of this buying weekend, some merchants are looking to do things a little differently by offering discounts over an extended period rather than just certain hours or the weekend. Staggering sales and discounts removes the “rush” and keeps customers happy and safe.
Bryan Truong, founder of board game website GameCows, recommends “getting rid of the early bird deals” and that “having the sales last throughout the day would still give consumers the feeling of a deal and a discount without forcing an arbitrary timeline that could get dangerous. Simply offering the same deals online would help too, and stores could even give the option for in-store pickup to cut down on shipping costs.”
Companies like Walmart, for example, are spreading their Black Friday deals over separate events rather than just a rushed one-day event.
Shifting your strategy to accommodate the unique needs of today’s shoppers will go a long way and will help kick start the selling season on a positive note. It’s less stressful for everyone involved, including your employees.
6. Add contactless options if you haven’t already
The events of the past few years have created a major change in shopping habits, including blending the online and in-store experience for ultimate convenience. Contactless options became popular due to pandemic restrictions a few years ago, but now in 2023 they’re just a part of everyday life. For instance, buy-online pickup in store (BOPIS), is here to stay.
While not every store can offer delivery, BOPIS and curbside pickup are great ways to incentivize shoppers. According to Nastassia Steavu, former Content Marketing Manager at booxi, “if your business doesn’t offer delivery, curbside pickup is a quick and easy option that offers a safe, convenient experience. This is an easy solution to implement that avoids shipping delays during the busy holiday season.”
Retailers can take golf courses as a great example of offering contactless options. Historically, golf courses used to lean on more traditional systems, but during the pandemic many had to make a shift in order to survive. They are now one of the few businesses that were able to remain open all throughout the pandemic, partly because they were able to embrace technology and offer a contactless experience through ecommerce (as seen in the Lachute Case Study), online booking, pre-payment and self-service kiosks. Golf courses are now better prepared to leverage these established channels to run Black Friday sales and offer discounts.
Moss also adds that having contactless options shows customers that you have their best interests in mind. “Providing options such as contactless collection and remote payment and delivery help to reassure and encourage shoppers to shop with you.”
Thankfully, the world has been back to normal for a while. Contactless measures have now evolved to cater to consumer expectations of seamless experiences whenever they shop. When it comes to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, those measures can include payment methods like digital wallets including Apple Pay and Google Pay, shipping or curbside and contactless pickup.
7. Plan your shipping strategy
As online shopping booms, shipping has become top of mind for the holiday shopper in the retail world. The days after Black Friday and Cyber Monday are busy days for shipping companies everywhere. According to OrderCup CEO, Aloke Nath, “carriers all gear up for handling the additional volume by hiring thousands of temporary workers to handle the holiday shipping smoothly.”
With the increased volume comes an increase in costs. Understanding peak pricing will help you plan ahead for costs.
Offer free shipping
When it comes to ordering, customers have become accustomed to free shipping. In fact, one survey found that 78% of shoppers are willing to buy more items in order to become eligible for free shipping. That holds even if free shipping means longer wait times.
According to Nath, “it’s a well-known fact that free shipping and returns increases conversions and sales. However, free shipping is never really free, so you have to evaluate this in the context of the overall sale and how it affects your margins.”
Nath also adds that you should take into consideration these factors and strategies to compensate for your free shipping:
- Add a minimum order value threshold to qualify for free shipping
- Offer free shipping for certain products only
- Add free shipping during a specific promotion or time frame
- Include free shipping as part of being a member of a club (such as Amazon Prime)
- Offer free local pickup at the store or warehouse
While free shipping might not be possible for every shop, it’s important to crunch the numbers and weigh the increased sales that it might generate with the costs. “Often the increase in sales will compensate for the free shipping, but sometimes you will have to adjust the price of items to support free shipping. Hence it is important to monitor your sales and margins on an ongoing basis to make sure that you still reach your target margins,” says Nath.
8. Step up your customer support
While a lot of regulars might shop with you during the busy shopping weekend, you’ll also have to impress an influx of new customers. Providing excellent customer service is the way to do it.
Busy days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday means you need to have a support team that’s ready for an influx of questions around store hours, offers, shipping, return policies and inventory. While you might be able to stave off certain questions by having thorough answers on your website, you will still need to be equipped to handle added requests.
Having a positive interaction with a customer will not only solve their immediate needs, but it might also mean future sales and a repeat business. According to Jo Causon, CEO of the Institute of Customer Service nine out of ten people who received ‘excellent’ service during Black Friday shopped with that retailer again, 37% more than those who received ‘okay’ service.”
Offer support across all channels
In store, you need to make sure you have enough staff for an influx of customers, while also staying compliant with your region’s health and safety requirements. This might mean that you won’t hire as much additional staff as you did in previous years, but you’ll have to plan accordingly based on your recent foot traffic and in-store customer limit.
Online, this means having your customer service information readily available. According to Ben Graham, Content Manager at AnswerConnect, stores need to “prepare for an influx of digital orders, but also be prepared to guide new shoppers through the purchase journey in the days leading up to Black Friday/Cyber Monday. Many consumers will go online in the week prior to these days to compare products and enquire about their spec-points.”
Adding a live chat feature is also a great way to power through all your customers’ messages and positively affect your bottom line. According to a study by Kayako, over half of consumers are more likely to repurchase from a company that offers live chat support. Another study found that 41% of shoppers prefer live chat over phone, email, or social media support. Not only that, but 79% of businesses say that adding live chat to their customer support arsenal has had “a positive effect on sales, revenue and customer loyalty.”
“Be ready to support them, either with an on-site chatbot or by assigning members of your team to the live chat.” — Ben Graham, Content Manager at AnswerConnect
Another important channel to keep an eye on during the busy shopping days? Your social channels. Braham adds that “many consumers prefer to speak to a real person, and they often use direct messaging through social media pages to do this. Try to assign different channels to people in your team, and try to respond within an hour or less.” Making sure you cover all your bases during the busy holiday shopping season will help you gain trust from your customers and establish long term connections with them.
9. Take advantage of apps
Succeeding (and surviving) during Black Friday and Cyber Monday can seem like a daunting task, but you don’t have to go at it alone. By opting for a point of sale solution like Lightspeed Retail and eCommerce you count with a multitude of applications that integrate seamlessly with your system.
Check out the following apps to help you win big during the upcoming shopping weekend:
- Facebook Chat
- Countdown timer
- Kangaroo Rewards
Live chat might be the answer to putting out all sorts of fires during Black Friday and Cyber Monday while also making some sweet sales. Facebook Chat removes barriers to purchase and lets you answer customer questions in real time with live customer support through Facebook Messenger directly from your Lightspeed store.
With Facebook Chat you can easily personalize your chat with your branding by adding custom images, customer colors, button text, chat icons, backgrounds and your very own personal welcome message. You can even set your own trigger controls that allow you to choose which users see your chat, how often they see it and when. This allows you to choose how you interact with customers and gives you more control over the exchange.
This app also allows you instant access to all 50+ POWr apps, like Form Builder, which lets you collect data on your website, and Popup to help boost your landing page conversions.
With so much competition going on during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, it’s essential to find ways to stand out. Popup allows you to grab your website visitors’ attention at the right moment and get more sales.
If you’re looking to beef up your email address database, Popup lets you create mailing list or newsletter signup popups to capture emails for the holiday season. Add popups like a “Spin to Win” for special promotions, announce flash sales for the busy sales weekend or create urgency by embedding a Countdown Timer and featured product images in your popup.
It’s also important to stay in control of your popups and not overwhelm customers. With Popup you can easily set custom triggers with a time delay on a click, or when the user is about to leave. You can also manage the frequency with which Popup appears to the same visitor. Popup is also highly customizable, allowing you to change your popup background color, use a full-screen window or small popup window, add borders to your popup, pick custom fonts for your popup, and more.
The best part? Popup helps you reduce bounce rate by showing discount codes when a shopper is about to leave your page.
The sales marathon of the season needs a ticking clock to add to the excitement. Countdown Timer is a great option to help instill that added sense of urgency during your shoppers’ purchase decision journey for higher conversions. Use this custom countdown timer to mark the end of a sale, promotion or countdown until a product launch.
Countdown Timer also allows you to count up from any number to demonstrate site visitors and add social proof on how many customers have viewed an item. You can easily customize your timer by adding a custom text, message or button to direct visitors to the sale landing page on your site, or even to redirect customers once the count has ended.
This Black Friday might look a bit different for your brick-and-mortar shop. booxi helps you get ready for the future of retail by offering smart booking solutions.
It’s time to start adapting to the new reality that consumers are looking for and shift to an omnichannel experience. By adding options like online booking appointments, your business will be able to meet the needs of a life post-pandemic. With booxi you can add a “Book Now” button or set up a self-serve kiosk in-store to manage individual appointments, group scheduling and events all in one place.
booxi provides an all-in-one scheduling system that allows customers to make appointments and also sends automated notifications through email or sms. With Lightspeed and booxi you also get seamless transfer of data to streamline customer service.
Another way booxi can help you meet modern needs is through video conferencing. Nastassia Steavu, Content Marketing Manager at booxi, explains that “personal shopper appointments have been proven time and time again that a personalized experience will convert 90% of customers and increase the average basket 4-6x more. Providing this kind of appointment-based service in-store, by phone or video has proven to be extremely effective.”
During hectic days leading to and including Black Friday and Cyber Monday, it’s important to find ways to connect and communicate with customers without having to change the way you work. Ikeono lets merchants connect with their customers seamlessly through Lightspeed Retail and eCom by using Ikeono Business Texting.
Ikeono’s chat widget is easy to install. It also empowers businesses to not only understand what a customer cares about but also pivot quickly through organic conversations. With Ikeono you can text-enable your business phone number to send and receive text messages and high resolution picture messages. Maybe your customer is looking for an item that’s sold out—through the chat widget you can easily let them know about alternative products that are available and still make the sale.
With Ikeono you also get real-time notifications inside and outside of Lightspeed so you can provide great support, at all times. The best part about Ikeono is the ability to capture customers’ contact info and the questions you’re asking so you can start building more insightful custom audiences. Through Ikeono you can also collect customer feedback after a sale, gauge customer satisfaction or even rectify a negative experience and increase your brand perception.
Customers are waiting for Black Friday and Cyber Monday to do their most expensive purchases. Your best discount on high value items needs the best sales experience. QuoteMachine helps you personalize the online sales experience through interactive quotes, online order forms and invoices that include advanced payment features that allow for contactless sales.
Quote Machine also helps you get paid on time through their professional invoices with payment terms, account statements, recurring billings and subscriptions made available through Lightspeed’s register. With flexible payment features like credit card on file you can easily manage the way you accept payments and start accepting digital payments for any amount.
Through QuoteMachine, you can also easily sell through social media and organize contactless sales and pickups with their interactive price lists and online order forms. And of course, it’s fully customizable. Create beautiful templates that show your brand and colors, enriched product descriptions, documents that tell you when your customers read them and let them take action. This month alone, start using QuoteMachine for free and get a 40% discount on their premium plan.
Shipping during Black Friday and Cyber Monday comes with its own set of challenges. With OrderCup you can save time and money with their comprehensive, easy-to-use, cloud-based shipping platform for ecommerce shippers with built-in discounted shipping.
OrderCup allows you to easily integrate with leading carriers like USPS, FedEx, UPS, DHL Canada Post, Purolator and DHL Parcel. You can also compare rates to identify the best shipping option for your store. Better yet, OrderCup counts with aggressive shipping discounts with USPS, DHL, UPS.
When it comes to shipping during holidays it’s important to always err on the side of caution. OrderCup allows you to make one-click single or batch shipping to reduce shipping errors and take advantage of discounted shipping insurance both for domestic and international shipments.
Its user-defined filters, automation rules and shipping profiles help you streamline your shipping. And if things don’t go as planned and customers decide to return their order, OrderCup offers returns processing, both-on demand or automatically with each shipment.
Great deals are at the heart of the upcoming holiday shopping season. Kangaroo Rewards is a loyalty marketing platform that fosters customer engagement leading to increased retention and revenues for businesses. Kangaroo offers a very rich collection of powerful features which makes it one of the most competitive solutions on the market today.
For Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Kangaroo Rewards lets retailers increase sales by offering customers point rewards, dollar discounts, gifts and other perks by shopping more, spending more and participating more in promotional campaigns. You can also increase engagement through tiered rewards that unlock exclusive discounts and privileges.
10. Tailor your messaging this Black Friday and Cyber Monday to meet the changing world of retail
The consumer landscape is constantly evolving, and the key to staying competitive is to continuously adapt to the needs of modern shoppers.
While looking at historical data can certainly be helpful, you also need to be open keep an eye to the future and stay nimble enough to pivot quickly.
According to Steven Lord, Marketing Manager at Digital Next, it’s time to change the way you look at selling.
“Historical data will tell you that Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Christmas are going to go gangbusters. However, insights will tell you that consumers have been spending big all year round, are facing financial insecurity and singular large spending occasions are not set to be as frequently adopted this time around.”
He argues that you need to take it a step further than just data. “The idea of activating data-driven campaigns over the next two months is fools gold. It’s the season to be insight-driven, not data-driven,” says Lord.
While it’s true that Black Friday and Cyber Monday are inflated sales days, this year it should also be a moment to connect with customers and their needs, create a community and find your role in making their lives better.
11. Implement a strong merchandising strategy
The way you promote your goods, both online and in-store, can make a huge difference for your sales and ultimately, your bottom line.
Online merchandising tips
Online merchandising involves the specific placement and order of products, promotions and collections on your website to drive sales. When done well, it will properly promote your products, help prospective customers navigate your stock and guarantee shoppers find what they’re looking for–helping to limit abandoned carts.
- Personalized shopping: Utilize in-cart items and customer data, such as browsing history and past purchases, to recommend products.
- Upselling: Based on what customers plan to purchase, promote similar, slightly higher-priced products.
- Cross-selling: This can involve bundling products together and selling them at a discount, or including a “customers also bought” section.
- Provide social proof: Reviews are important to customers, and can make or break a sale. Make sure customers can add reviews, including photos of the item, allowing others who are browsing to get more information about the product.
- Use high-quality images: Make sure your site includes several high-quality, well-lit photos of each product.
To learn more about online merchandising, read our in-depth article here.
In-store merchandising tips
As with online merchandising, the purpose of in-store merchandising is to promote products in the most effective way possible in order to maximize sales. When it comes to brick-and-mortar stores, retailers will create product displays and floor plans to achieve optimal results.
- Tap into psychographics: Demographic data is key, but you also need to dig a little deeper to understand your average customer persona, including personality, values, lifestyle, etc. You can use customer data to fuel this research.
- Use design theory: Although you may want to put beautiful displays in place all over your store so customers can see deals, less is more. Look into the elements of design theory (balance, contrast, white space and unity) and apply that knowledge to your merchandising.
- Stay true to your brand: Black Friday is certainly a special event, but that doesn’t mean you should stray too far from your company’s brand, decor and overall style.
- Add creative signage: Guide customers to promotions and discounts using eye-catching signs and displays.
- Appeal to the senses: A multisensory experience is key to a successful customer journey. Tap into sound, touch, taste, smell and sight as you plan your Black Friday merchandising to create a truly cohesive environment.
For further reading, check out our comprehensive blog on how to make standout product displays.
12. Strengthen your checkout experience
It’s never too late to improve the checkout process for both you, your employees and customers. Abandoned carts and long waits at checkout can impact your bottom line. And during a time as busy as Black Friday and Cyber Monday, you want everything to go as smoothly as possible, including payments.
An embedded payment provider–one that is natively built into your existing POS software, meaning both are accessible in one platform–simplifies transactions.
You don’t have to worry about crucial systems ceasing to communicate with one another, like you might with a payment system connected via APIs. Here are a few of the ways an embedded payment processor can improve the checkout process for your business during BFCM:
- Streamline checkout: Neither your customers or employees want to wait as information is entered manually to complete a transaction, especially during the Black Friday rush. Embedded systems automate transactions and information is recorded instantly in the POS system, making for a speedy checkout for all.
- Increase efficiency: With all your tools in one place, you’re in control of all your workflows and have a full view into your business operations. That’s crucial for the busy BFCM weekend.
- No third-party redirects: With embedded payments, your online shoppers aren’t redirected to third-party websites to complete their transactions. This reduces the likelihood of abandoned carts and makes the checkout process much more efficient, which is ideal for online shoppers looking to make fast purchases as they scour the web for deals.
Ultimately, an embedded payment provider can prove extremely valuable during the holiday shopping season. For instance, an embedded solution like Lightspeed POS and Payments can streamline checkout and workflows, provide valuable customer data and payment reports and drive efficiency across your business. Such a system can help you make improvements across your company, allowing you to save money and appropriately allocate resources.
Take retailer Melissa Joy Manning as an example.. Using Lightspeed POS and Payments, they’ve gained instant reporting capabilities, giving them a full picture of their financials and overall performance.
Melissa Joy Manning’s customers get a smooth checkout experience with payment hardware that doesn’t crash as often as their previous provider, keeping customers happy. “Now it’s much easier for us to close the sale and have the customer on their way happy with what they purchased and the purchasing process,” owner Melissa Joy Manning says.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday checklist
Here’s a rapid-fire list of what else you can do to prepare for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
- Consider implementing Buy Now Pay Later options
- Send exclusive deals to loyal customers
- Write a clear BFCM return and exchange policy
- Track product performance
- Track ad campaign metrics (clicks, sales, etc.)
- Plan for a longer sales cycle
- Diversify your shopping channels
- Hire seasonal employees if required
- Allocate your budget down to the cent
With all of these recommendations in mind, you’re well on your way to a successful Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend.
Want to see how Lightspeed can help you this holiday season? Contact our retail experts today for a personalized consultation.
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