Until a few years ago, many of us would look forward to the post-Christmas sales starting on Boxing Day. But that’s no longer the case with the adoption of the US tradition of Black Friday.
It’s become a day known for steep discounts, with businesses of all types jumping on the Black Friday bandwagon.
I’ve seen my local sports centre offering customers Black Friday deals to entice people to invest in annual memberships.
And a local book store offering itself to shoppers as a place for peace and tranquillity while everyone else is frenetically shopping on the high street.
Many businesses have been planning for Black Friday sales for quite a few months.
What started as a one-day shopping extravaganza has now extended for some businesses to become a month of special offers and deals leading through the week up to Black Friday and through to Cyber Monday.
I’ve also noticed a number of stores having a landing page for Black Friday in place well in advance with an email opt-in for consumers to subscribe to hear about the latest offers.
A search for the term ‘Black Friday’ weeks in advance will surface these landing pages as the retailers have already put their digital marketing plans in place.
With online sales on the rise, expect to see a blended approach where retailers are selling both at their bricks and mortar stores and via e-commerce.
It’s not too late to refine your plans for Black Friday success. Here are nine tips to help you boost your sales:
1. Build excitement and anticipation for your offers
Use your social media channels to post teasers in advance of Black Friday.
Consider using targeted Facebook ads to reconnect to the fans of your page and even past customers.
2. Put social media listening to work before Black Friday
Consumers are posting and tweeting about their Black Friday shopping plans well in advance of the day.
You can set up a social listening centre tuning into people in your local area, to learn what consumers are posting about.
You can then engage with those customers to help them with their shopping pursuits and directing them to your own offers where appropriate.
Think of your business becoming a local ‘Black Friday concierge service’. This will also help you boost the visibility of your products and services online.
3. Do a virtual walkthrough of your online store
Consider having a mystery shopper make a purchase from your site and explore how you can refine the online sales process to minimize shopping cart abandonment.
4. Do a mail out to your loyal customers
If you have a mailing list of clients and customers, give them a sneak peek and a first chance to reward them for their loyalty throughout the year.
If they’ve opted into text or email messaging from you, use that as a way to remind them of some of the offers you’ll have available.
5. Make sure your offers are unique and irresistible
Consumers will be expecting steep discounts and great deals.
Think about how you can package the offers you have so shoppers will feel they’re getting real value for money.
6. Check your stock levels
Make sure you’ve got the right amount of stock so your customers aren’t left disappointed.
You’ll want to ensure you have enough of your top-selling products so you can meet demand and make a nice profit.
At the same score, having too much of a product that’s not going to sell will cost you in the long run, in terms of unwanted inventory.
7. Pre-plan your social media posts for Black Friday
You may want to take care and not schedule your content in case you run out of stock (see the previous point to help you manage this).
However, you can prepare your images, video content and posts that you plan to send on (and before) Black Friday.
8. Encourage customers to share their purchases on social media
You can invite them to include your bespoke hashtag for your business or store and your geo tag especially on Instagram.
9. Don’t be disheartened if you feel you’ve missed the opportunity
Remember, as well as Black Friday, you also have Cyber Monday when you can look to boost sales.
Take the time to evaluate what works this year so you can plan your next Black Friday campaign in advance.
Editor’s note: This article was first published in November 2017 and has been updated for relevance.