How to prepare a shop for Black Friday?
June 2 2022
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If you are wondering how Black Friday works or how to prepare your shop for Black Friday, then this article is right for you. No matter how much in advance you want to make changes, the following advice will be useful. For this commercial campaign, it is worth thinking about three areas: operational, product offering, and marketing.
Tradition and origins of Black Friday
Black Friday originated in the United States and has taken over the world in recent years. It is a moveable feast as it depends on the day on which the American Thanksgiving falls. Black Friday is celebrated immediately afterwards. In the USA it is always after the fourth Thursday in November and in Canada after the second Monday in October.
The whole story began with the celebration of the harvest festival in the 17th century. Thanksgiving Day parades were organised at that time. The period between this holiday and Christmas was an opportunity for Americans to go shopping. Department stores outdid themselves with offers and discounts and so Black Friday was born. The name itself probably comes from… the jammed streets and the nightmare associated with it. It had to be dealt with by the American traffic police and it is assumed that the term was invented by police officers. Over the years, the concept has evolved to become a joyful tradition and a time of increased trade.
How does Black Friday work?
Simply put, the tradition of Black Friday is to offer discounts. Although it is assumed that consumer electronics and white goods are most often discounted, in practice almost every shop offers lower prices during this period. Promotions range from a few to even tens of percent.
To make Black Friday the most profitable for your shop, offer discounts for everyone. Don’t limit them to holders of a special discount code, for example, available only to newsletter subscribers. This introduces customer segmentation, and customers don’t like that. You can use such codes for most of the year and limit their validity to specific product groups (e.g. hairdryers, hoovers, smartphones up to a specific amount, etc.).
Generally, shop owners prepare for Black Friday in several different ways (in order of most popular):
- offer percentage discounts on products
- introduce free delivery
- introduce a specific-value discount
- offer discount thresholds
- offer free delivery on selected delivery methods (e.g. courier)
- create special promotion sets, consisting of similar or similar priced or themed products
You can read more in the report about Black Friday, created by Shoper. As you can see, there is no single formula for how to approach Black Friday. How Black Friday works really depends on how much you can afford. Companies that cannot afford big percentage discounts introduce free shipping for this period. And this is often enough to increase sales. Especially for smaller shops.
But it is not that simple. If you want to know how to get your shop ready for Black Friday, then I have a whole set of tips for you.
How do I prepare my shop for Black Friday? Practical advice
As I mentioned earlier, you should take care of three areas:
Business – operational
- Prepare your company for increased sales. Provide an increased number of materials needed for shipping (cartons, tape, waybills, etc).
- If, based on historical data, you anticipate a really heavy workload for the shop during this period, hire additional staff temporarily
- Increase the server capacity of your website. Increased traffic may hinder trade and even lead to the site being temporarily shut down. This is damaging to both image and finances.
- In the case of a regular store, introduce queuing systems to “break” the queue of customers and better manage the people lined up in front of the shop. These include, of course, popular posts with retractable belts, similar to those used at airports
- Choose products that you will sell at lower prices. These could be, for example, goods that cost a lot to store. This way you get a chance to clear the warehouses
- Do not offer discounts in the two or more weeks leading up to Black Friday. This cannibalises the offer. Some customers will not buy anything for a fortnight and then, seeing the cumulative number of discounted products, may buy more
- Discounts should start from at least 10%. Single-digit discounts are increasingly considered insufficient incentive by customers
- Do not, under any circumstances, increase prices in the period just before Black Friday to bring them back down to previous levels to introduce discounts. This is a big mistake – customers are sensitive to this type of treatment and react very badly to it. Publicising such discounts, even by uploading comparison photos on the Internet, will effectively weaken your image on the market and negatively affect sales
Marketing and promotion
- Create an effective marketing plan. Think about consistent communication. What do you want to communicate to your customers? If you are introducing several forms of benefits at the same time (for example, percentage discounts and free shipping), you need to include them in a clever and consistent way in your message to customers
- Don’t complicate the discount offer. The simpler, the better. Don’t offer discount codes, don’t create confusion like “get 10% off any hoover, but only if you buy a dryer’. No. Customers like clear information on so-called “shopping holidays” like Black Friday. What is discounted, by how much, until when. How does Black Friday work? Often on an impulse basis. Customers who have money set aside for a particular piece of equipment and are hoping it will be discounted for Black Friday may not buy it if you unnecessarily complicate the discounting process. This will not allow you, among other things, to clear the warehouses.
- Prepare a “back-up offer”. This is a very clever trick to “appease” customers who did not manage to buy their dream product on time. For example, if a desired TV model has already sold out, those who have declared their intention to buy it can, until Cyber Monday, the next shopping holiday, purchase a soundbar for it at an additional discount of, say, 10%. That way you won’t lose customers. Customers who buy the soundbar, which they may have been planning to buy anyway, are then given priority to buy the TV when it’s back in stock.
- Ensure that the product descriptions themselves are right. How do I prepare my shop for Black Friday? One of the fundamental issues is the very language you use to write about the goods. Have you specified all the technical parameters? In case of cosmetics, have you included the full composition? Maybe the shop staff has forgotten something? Occasions such as trade holidays are the perfect time to not only boost sales but also to refresh your website content. This is where SEO services and copywriting are essential. If nobody can find the goods, nobody will buy them. If descriptions are not written well enough, customers will be discouraged.
If you would like more data on Black Friday, you can visit the Black Friday Global page. There you can find the latest information related to customer expectations and current discounts in large shops.
Many managers wonder how to prepare their shop for Black Friday, including regular stores. It is generally accepted that this day is primarily a celebration of e-commerce. Nothing could be further from the truth! You can also sell in the “real world”, but you need a special marketing strategy to do that. To ensure that the increased sales aren’t a one-off deal, you might want to think about doing something else as well; this is where e-commerce scaling can help.
In fact, it all starts with the desire to keep the threshold of product discounts offered close to customers’ expectations, which, averaging over the world, range from 50%-60%. These are serious reductions. So consider whether it’s worth offering such large discounts on a one-off basis in order to not only sell, but also to build your brand.
Whatever you choose, remember one thing – in some cases, especially larger shops, it’s a good idea to start preparing for Black Friday a few months in advance. Don’t leave anything till the very last minute!