Maximising Black Friday sales
Black Friday is a major sales event for retailers both online and offline, and with that in mind, at this point in the year, you’ll almost certainly be gearing up to make the most of it for your business. The last time we talked about planning for Black Friday, the world was in pandemic lockdowns, with Brexit challenges and the US elections causing concern for retailers and consumers. This year, the challenges are different, with high inflation, and the cost of living crisis impacting pretty much everyone – which means that sales events are more important for retailers than ever. Let’s take a look at Black Friday and how your business can make the most of it this year.
Why is it called Black Friday?
Black Friday originated in the US, and is the day after American Thanksgiving – usually the last Friday in November. For retailers, it traditionally signified the point where they stopped being in debt to their suppliers (‘in the red’) to making a profit (known as ‘in the black’). That isn’t often the case today, especially with eCommerce businesses, but the name for the sales event stuck, and retailers have continued to use the sales event to boost sales and kickstart Christmas shopping.
What is Cyber Monday?
Cyber Monday is an artificially created sales event that was created in 2005 by the National Retail Federation, and was designed to get customers shopping online. It is the Monday after Black Friday, but 2021 showed that Cyber Monday takings dipped, so the popularity of the event may be waning. Despite that, consumers spent a total of $10.7B on Cyber Monday – and in the peak hour, $12 million was spent every minute, which means there is still plenty of scope to make some serious money.
While some retailers still run separate events on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, many now refer to the period as Cyber Week – which is Thanksgiving Day through to Cyber Monday – and coordinate their promotions accordingly.
Are Black Friday sales in the UK?
Black Friday didn’t really get started in the UK until 2010 – and as with so many other things, the popularity of the internet has brought holidays and traditions to our attention here. It comes as no surprise then, that it was Amazon that offered the first Black Friday discounts to customers in the UK, and then in 2013, Asda (who was then owned by US powerhouse Walmart) offered in-store discounts. The rest, as they say is history – and retailers online and offline adopted the sales event here. In 2022, the average UK consumer is expected to spend £283 over the Black Friday weekend – a 25% increase from £226 in 2021.
When do Black Friday sales start?
In 2022, Black Friday is Friday 25th November. Some retailers – Amazon included – start their sales and promotions before that. In 2021, Amazon was running promotions from 8th November, so retailers need to be ahead of the game and have their special offers ready before the start of November. Other marketplaces will have other arrangements, and of course, you have complete control over promotions on your website, so you can manage your Black Friday offers running as you prefer.
When do Black Friday sales end?
Traditionally Black Friday sales come to an end on Cyber Monday, which is the Monday following Black Friday. This year, that is Monday 28th November. In reality, many retailers use Black Friday as their launch date for deals and special offers being run right up to Christmas – which may be something for you to consider for your business.
Who should do Black Friday sales?
Both online and offline retailers are likely to want to consider running Black Friday sales – it is a sales event that presents an opportunity to reach customers, after all. And we’ve mentioned the figures and how much consumers are expected to spend this year, even with the cost of living crisis, it certainly should be on your agenda to assess, at the very least.
All that said, there are some businesses that simply won’t benefit from running Black Friday sales, so you’ll need to consider whether running discounts will truly bring customers to your store, and if offering discounts is in your interest. In the UK, in 2021 there were a number of big name retailers that didn’t take part in Black Friday sales, including Next, Marks and Spencer, B&M, Home Bargains, Primark, and TK Maxx.
Are Black Friday really worth it for retailers?
It really depends on what you want to achieve from running special offers during Black Friday. If you hold stock, then Black Friday is a great time to clear inventory – especially if you have seasonal stock that you want to be certain you can sell to access the cash that is tied up. But, if your margins are super thin already, it may not be the right move for your business.
There’s evidence to suggest that although Black Friday sales can bring in huge numbers of sales, it can also result in massive numbers of returns too – so you’ll definitely need to be prepared for those too.
Which sales are better, Black Friday or Boxing Day?
You can’t really compare the two – because customers are shopping in a completely different way during each event. For Black Friday, they are more likely to be shopping for Christmas gifts, particularly expensive items like laptops and smartphones, but also stocking fillers and Christmas decorations.
Boxing Day shoppers are more likely to be shopping for themselves, and are likely to be buying gifts that they didn’t get, spending Christmas money or gift cards. They’re likely to be thinking ahead to the new year, shopping for health and fitness products, as well as planners, beauty products, and so on.
Because the shopping events are so different, many businesses are likely to want to make the most of both – although this will depend upon your business and what your target customer is going to be looking for.
Why are Black Friday sales important for retailers?
Each business is different, but the reasons that most retailers create Black Friday offers for are because of the opportunity to:
- Clear inventory – such as overstocked, or seasonal items
- Attract new customers – selling on different sales channels
- Increase revenue – without operating at a loss
These aren’t the only reasons to create offers, of course – the major one is to make more sales, so that you can maximise your profits, which we’ll look at next.
How to maximise sales during Black Friday period
You want to make the most sales possible through the Black Friday/Cyber Monday period – it is when many people kick off their Christmas shopping, after all. The preparation that each business does will be different, but keep these in mind and you’re likely to do well.
November might seem like a long way off still – we’re only in September as we write this post – but it will come around quicker than you might think. Getting your ducks in a row now means that you’ll be able to make the best of the opportunity.
Planning which products you are going to run offers on means that you can make sure you’re not running at a loss. Work through the special offers that your suppliers are running, and identify the products that have larger profit margins, so you can run offers that won’t leave you out of pocket.
Make sure you know how to highlight your offers on each of your sales channels too. It is likely to be relatively simple on your website, but each marketplace will have different requirements, so identify these now to make the most.
Plan how long your offers will run
If you’re running special offers for the Black Friday period, it is unlikely that you’re going to want them to run much longer than Cyber Monday. You don’t want your customers to get used to those lower priced items, otherwise you’re cutting your margins even thinner than ever, and in the competitive world of eCommerce, margins are everything.
Planning exactly how long your offers will run for also means that you can set rules in your systems so that you don’t have to manually reset prices when you want the offers to expire.
Create gift guides
Marketing is going to be key to your Black Friday success – and while creating gift guides might seem like an outdated concept, they still work incredibly well. Featuring them on your website is the bare minimum you’ll want to do, but your design work can be repurposed for social media images and for your email marketing too. This creates a cohesive look, which is great where customers follow you in more than one place.
Use email marketing
If you’ve received permission from your customers to use their email address to send them marketing, then the weeks and days leading up to Black Friday is a great time to maximise this. Include the types of offers that you’re running, and make sure you include an unsubscribe link, so that any customers that want to, can opt out. Make sure to make the most of email analytics where you can too, so you know how successful your email campaigns have been.
A word of caution though. You’ll have heard of the GDPR and how data breaches and misuse of consumer data can be punished, so if you haven’t secured express permission from your customers to use their email address for marketing, don’t be tempted to send marketing emails. One complaint could result in a massive fine that could spell the end of your business.
Get ahead with your social media marketing
Customers know that Black Friday is coming up, so you probably won’t need to remind them – but not mentioning it on your social media is a wasted opportunity to bring your business back to their attention. Decide how many posts you want, and get them ready. You don’t have to spend hours creating them, especially if you make use of tools like Canva – but making them look great, and queuing them up ready ahead of time means that you can use your time for other tasks during the busy Black Friday period. Make sure you’ve got the best hashtags for the products, write short but effective captions, and post on your Stories to catch customers that don’t scroll all the way through their feed.
Don’t forget to make it super clear when customers need to order by for guaranteed delivery before Christmas – especially if you’re running promotions into December.
Update your inventory with new products
Some high street retailers bring in completely different inventory for sales events – and while some customers don’t necessarily appreciate that, from the retailer’s perspective, it does make sense. You get much more interest, and customers are likely to browse and buy full-price products at the same time. Whether you hold and manage your stock or not, you can use this strategy by sourcing from DropShipping suppliers. Search the Avasam catalogue for special offers and deals that you can use to complement your inventory – we shared how to get the best deals in this post.
Revise your sales channel strategy
Marketplaces are going to be the busiest they are all year between Black Friday and Christmas, so you need to ensure they are going to work for you. Check your sales figures ahead of this final period of the year – more sales channels aren’t always best, especially if you have to pay listing fees. How well your sales channels perform may change from time to time, and there’s nothing wrong with stopping selling on certain channels and trying different options. Amazon and eBay are going to present high competition, but many customers are trying other marketplaces such as British-based OnBuy, so check your options and see where you could make more sales.
Black Friday sales should certainly be on your agenda to consider, whether you decide to create incredible offers for your customers from your current inventory or not. As we’ve talked about in this post, you don’t necessarily have to create heavy discounts and operate with razor thin margins – because although your sales figures might look good, your profits won’t.
Supplementing your inventory now with products from DropShipping suppliers means that you can offer customers more products to increase interest. Even better, if you can source those that have excellent margins from verified UK suppliers – you won’t need to invest in stock up-front, and your customers will receive the high standards of service that they expect from all retailers. Start sourcing from Avasam suppliers now to plan additional offers for Black Friday sales and beyond. Your free account is waiting here, and if you have any questions as to how Avasam might link with your existing retail systems, book a call.
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