Just the words “Black Friday and Cyber Monday” might make your stomach turn…the hordes of people, the start of cold weather, the post-holiday hangovers. But, as a small business owner, this is one of your most important times of the year. Now is when your store can make the most profits. And the time to start planning for Black Friday and Cyber Monday is NOW.
By setting up Black Friday deals, and using the proper Point of Sale system (POS), you will put your business in the perfect position to double your sales during Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Below you’ll find a list of 10 tips to double, or even triple, your revenue by taking these proven steps to prepare your store for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Black Friday + Cyber Monday (BFCM)
Last year, around the world during Black Friday / Cyber Monday (BFCM), shoppers spent billions more throughout the four-day event at businesses of all shapes and sizes.
It’s a fantastic opportunity for retailers that you shouldn’t miss out on: Cyber Monday 2017 was the biggest day in the history of ecommerce in the US, and consumers spent $6.59 billion online on just that one day.
So how can you ride the wave of revenue and sales? To help retailers prepare for the 2018 holiday season, we have outlined the key steps for a successful holiday season. The holidays are starting earlier this year.
Keeping your holiday retail game on-point can have some real rewards. Failing to prepare appropriately, however, can have long term consequences, whether it’s disappointed customers or lost revenue. If you want to get in on this year’s biggest shopping weekend, now is the time to start planning.
We’ve assembled 10 tips to double your profits during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and get you ready for a successful holiday season (and beyond).
1. Hire Extra Staff
Most likely, you’ll need to beef up your staff for the holiday season. Depending on your the size of your regular staff and your industry, this could be anywhere from 50-100% more staff than usual.
If you haven’t already started hiring for the holidays—do it now. Yesterday would be ideal, but you can’t go back and change the past, so just get on it. Time is ticking. In order to ensure that your [seasonal] staff is fully trained and ready to deliver excellent customer service, you should have your team in place ASAP. The last thing you want is to put in all of this effort in so many different ways, yet simply not have enough hands on deck to handle the fall out and surge in attention.
Remember, your sales probably won’t pick up until after the fall feast, so you’ll have extra resources for training, but not necessarily the revenue stream to support it, fully. Allow enough time to get your new employees significant experience on the sales floor, to the point where they actually get to be productive, and at the very least, know their way around.
During this time of new and transitioning staff, having a point of sale in place to manage your employees is of utmost importance. Make sure your current POS software has the features you need to accurately track employees clocking in and out, as well
Any merchant should ask themselves – is my current POS system ready to handle this?
2. Reconcile Inventory
This should be a no-brainer, but in order to have a successful holiday shopping season, you have to a shop full of fantastic inventory.
While you’ve likely already planned, and already ordered, what you expect to sell through the season, it’s always important to have a backup plan. For instance, if this year’s hot item is what you are going to run hard, then that is what you need to focus your advertising and your promotional efforts on.
Let’s play “what if…” What if, this year’s hottest item sells out within the week of December. Sure, that’s great, but what are you going to do for the next three weeks?
If this happens, do your customers still have an incentive to continue shopping with you? Have you set up any alternatives that can draw traffic? Or are you a one-hit wonder? This information is crucial when prepping your store for Black Friday.
Running out of the wrong inventory at the wrong time can cripple your chances of profits. Nothing is more important during the holiday season than proper inventory management.
Ensuring that you have alternatives ready to draw continuous traffic and help your business make a lasting impression through the season is necessary for success.
3. Integrate Your Point of Sale + Online Ordering
Do you have a brick & mortar and an online store? If so, it’s critical that you have an accurate handle on your inventory during Black Friday and Cyber Monday. You need a solution that syncs your point sale with your eCommerce, so you have an easy and accurate way to track your stock levels across all your sales channels.
With eHopper, you can be confident during your busiest times, that your inventory management is contained in one place – wherever the customer finds your product and completes a sale.
Syncing your POS with eCommerce provides enormous benefits for any merchant. Leveraging these benefits is a crucial step in doubling your profits during Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Get your store ready for Black Friday and Cyber Monday and maximize sales for all members of your family.
4. Test to ensure your website can handle a surge in traffic
You have to get ready for the holiday season, and one of the most important parts of that season is Cyber Monday. Cyber Monday is the time when you need to be completely confident that your website can handle any surge in traffic that your promotions, hopefully, create. The only way to do this is to test your site before the rush.
Luckily, there’s plenty of powerful (and some free) tools to confirm your site health ahead of BFCM.
Scanning your site with a web performance tool like Google PageSpeed Insights, GTmetrix or WP Checkup can quickly show you what areas of your site to focus on improving. There’s many things to consider, so these metrics will be a useful starting point.
It might be that you need to optimize your image meta data, update your theme or template, or start cleaning up your database.
5. Focus on email marketing
Best practices are to start sending emails in the build-up to BFCM in anticipation of sales. Aim for an initial announcement email, followed by a couple of valuable emails designed to keep your client’s product top of mind. Also, consider offering exclusive pre-sales coupons only for email subscribers.
Try to test out a range of subject lines in advance. Your client’s subscribers are going to be swamped with emails around BFCM, so you need to make sure you stand out. Make sure subject lines clearly state the offering.
Make sure you tailor all outgoing transactional emails to Black Friday / Cyber Monday promotions. Encourage shoppers to return to your client’s online store for future purchases with a time-sensitive discount coupon. Call to Actions referencing “time running out” are particularly effective for holiday season campaigns.
It’s always a smart idea to target shoppers who have abandoned cart or browsed without buying. Customize these cart abandonment emails to remind the customer of an item that was added to their shopping cart, but not purchased. You can even include a personalized discount or coupon to encourage the person to return to your store and complete their purchase.
Make sure you create landing pages for your client’s top sellers and link to CTAs within promotional emails. Always double check that all links work correctly and are being tracked using UTM parameters. This way you can analyze where you efforts were most effective, and generate a cost per acquisition for all of your sales, allowing you to calculate your Return on Investment.
For merchants who have a brick & mortar store, use email marketing to drive foot traffic from their online store to their retail store, such as offering in-store only promotions. Door-buster sales are another effective strategy to promote via email campaigns. These combine the benefits of both increased foot traffic and time-sensitive Call-to-Actions.
6. Boost SEO
It goes without saying that all content should be optimized for search engines, so that customers can easily find products and BFCM deals. It’s important that potential customers can quickly, and easily find your products. This mean both online and in-person. SEO is crucial not only for your online marketing efforts, but for your physical foot traffic, as well.
Now is the time to update your business’ Google profile. Google My Business is where retailers can update canonical data on where your store is, it’s hours of operations, and how to contact your support team with any potential questions. By not having your business information up-to-date in search engine listings, you are missing out on very important, local revenue streams. Tapping these sources of revenue are what will ultimately make you successful in doubling your profits during BFCM.
Research product niche event keywords and terms. These may be different from the rest of the year. You should also make sure to write comprehensive product descriptions for products. The longer the content, the better chance your client has to rank for target keywords.
Ensure meta descriptions include target keywords. Meta descriptions should also entice users to click,by mentioning things like free shipping or product ratings.
Another tip: include LSI keywords (Latent Semantic Indexing). Add keywords closely related to the product. If your client is selling blenders, you would add ‘mixer’, ‘juicer’, ‘processor’ to the product description.
If you find yourself rushing to catch up in time for BFCM, the good news is that eHopper Omnichannel plan includes online marketing, with emphasis on search engine optimization. We make sure that people can find your products on the internet. You must show up in search results, otherwise you are leaving money on the table. eHopper eCommerce handles all of this for you.
7. Offer hassle-free returns and refunds
The return policy is one of the most important for any store, but never more so than during Black Friday and Cyber Monday (link to that other article). If you clearly demonstrate to customers how easy it would be to return an item, and specifically how long that process will take over the holidays, then you greatly improve your chances of making a sale.
eHopper POS can handle refunds and voids for online orders via the point of sale.
8. Reward loyal customers
You are collecting data all year long through your POS and online store, Black Friday and Cyber Monday is a great time to reward the loyalty of these customers.
A proven way to reward loyal customers is with a loyalty program. This is a great way to engage over time, which will serve to drive future sales and many return visits.
This not only provides stickiness, but a loyalty or rewards program can add direct extra value to the customer experience your online store provides.
eHopper POS offers marketing box features that let you develop a loyalty program. This means that as your customers make purchases, the POS software automatically updates their reward progress – whether they are online or in-person. It’s not too late to begin gathering valuable information about your customers that you can use to increase retail sales during the holiday season.
9. Update/streamline your support process
Much like web traffic and return policies, your support team is something that needs to be prepared for a significant increase in traffic and time over Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
What’s the most common pain point for shoppers during the holiday season every year? Lines. All the time. Everywhere. From long lines of cars waiting to get into the parking lot to long lines at the counter, it’s no wonder that consumers have holiday burn out long before the actual holidays arrive. As a retailer, you can help break up the frustration that shoppers feel by providing them a service that is remarkably different than what they’ve come to expect.
One of the key observations made by Psychology Today is that when people are occupied, waiting feels less like waiting. For retailers, there’s two easy ways to help solve this problem. The first is to provide alternatives to the standard line. By leveraging mobile registers, you can provide your guests with a unique shopping experience to meet them on the sales floor. This gives the customer the opportunity to browse while they’re waiting and check out when they’re ready. When mobile registers are used in addition to stationary ones, you can reduce wait times by half.
A great option for a mobile register is the Poynt terminal. You could even use an iPad or Android tablet to increase your range and speed up sales throughout your store. During the holiday season, shifting to a mobile POS solution can greatly help your efforts to double your profits during Black Friday.
10. Convert seasonal shoppers into year-round shoppers
You are going to get a lot of new visitors to your store and website during the holidays. It’s important to have a plan in place to convert these one-time seasonal customers into year-round customers that bring you repeat business. Make sure you reach out during the holidays to touch base and entice these users with offers if they return after the holiday season. If there is a way to convert these shoppers into revenue sources for other holidays, not just black friday this year, then that is something you have to consider.
If this seems like a lot to take on, especially in a rush before the Big Day, don’t fret – perhaps an integrated solution like the Omnichannel plan from eHopper is what you need. By syncing your point of sale with your online ordering, you create an omnichannel retail strategy. eHopper offers an Omnichannel plan today that includes everything any small business needs to be confident they are putting themselves in the best position to maximize sales during Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The best part, eHopper handles it all for you! The hosting, the security, the inventory synchronization, SEO and email marketing capabilities – get it all with one low monthly fee.
If you want to scale up for Black Friday, and do so QUICKLY, packages such as the Omnichannel plan are a great option.
eHopper’s complete business solution incorporates a full suite of products and features, including an integrated eCommerce and online ordering platform, payments including EMV, split payments, mobile payments, 5 cents rounding, inventory management, employee management, and localization options for front and back of house. eHopper is a free POS software that is ideal for a wide variety of small businesses including quick-service restaurants, cafes, bars or any other retail business seeking a total business solution to streamline operations and increase sales.