Get Out of the Red on Black Friday

STORY TIME...

It may be the crisp, cold nip in the air or the changing of the foliage in the trees around us; but for certain, as we approach the holidays, we all seem to feel a little different insde. Maybe it is our inner child remembering holidays past, where the collective years of our youth long for a return to innocence and a release from responsibility. We all have something that we seem to hold on to when the holiday season approaches.

For me, the coming of Christmas was heralded by the delivery of the "Sears Wishbook" in the mail. This was a glorious masterpiece indeed. Hundreds of pages of gift ideas for young and old. The catalog, which was more like a single volume of Encyclopedia Britanica, must have weighed 5 to 10 lbs. Each page was brimming with full color photography of anything your heart desired, and possibly things you didn't know existed. Upon receipt of this behemoth, I would traverse each page, circling the multitude of things I wanted to present to my family in permanent marker. With each stroke of my pen my excitment grew and in my head pictures of me with each prize in hand played in an endless loop. In the event this book was forgotten, I kept a journal of everything I circled, complete with stock number and price that I would hand copy and distribute to each of my caretakers.

Fast forward to today, I find my own children hitting up my Amazon account, adding hundreds of ridiculously expensive items to my shopping cart. The ability to find, select and store purchase suggestions has certainly improved. The end of days for the big catalogs has certainly passed us, giving way to online retail and hundreds of thousands of stores to browse and purchase from.

WHAT DOES THE NAME "BLACK FRIDAY" MEAN?

So that brings us to the topic de jour. "Getting out of the red on Black Friday". What do I mean by that exactly? Well, its sorta like positive and negative. In accounting terms, being in the red is a bad thing. It essentially means - you're not making money. Being in the black is a great thing as you're making money and the world is well. Black Friday is supposedly named this as the day is a great boon for business, being typically the largest spending day of the year. It got its start back in 1932 as the "day after Thanksgiving sales" were first promoted by retailers. It wasn't until 1951 that it was given this name. Other sources will say that the connotation of "black" is a bad thing, asserting that choas and calamity are inevitable. You could say that both definitions are probably true, given the media coverage that is displayed each year.

IDEA SHARING

I already hear you asking "how do I get involved?". Don't worry friend, we're getting to that part. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are huge opportunities for all merchants - regardless if you have a brick and mortar location or your entire businses is run from the internet. In this article, we'll share some examples of strategy that we've seen win over and over. Results arean't always typical, however, with effort and timing, we believe you'll find success following these ideas.

For our example, we're going to take the happier road and focus on the positive accounting version of Black Friday. You likely have questions, the first being "How can I capitalize on the Black Friday craze?" You're not alone in your questioning and it deserves a solid answer. To answer this, we'll focus on a few simple and effective ways of joining in on the action.

Develop promotions and incentives

This is probably a no brainer. You've no doubt seen the advertising already. 50% off, 80% off, everything must go! If you want people's attention, you've got to have something that will catch their eye. You can't just say "Shop with us on Black Friday". It just won't happen.

Take a product or set of products you really want to move and form a game plan. If your margin is already low, consider a free shipping promotion, or possibly bundle products together at a reduced cost. The bigger the incentive, the more likely you are to draw attention to your product and convert a sale.

Regardless of what you decide, remember that people are generally looking for bargain deals on Black Friday. The rush is less about shopping and more about the experience of saving money. You don't hear many people return from a Black Friday shopping trip proclaiming that they paid regular price for anything. My wife in particular lays out everything she buys and takes a picture with a caption "I saved SO much money!"

Send the right message

Incentives are great and necessary, but unless your message in on-point, you're losing valuable clicks. Make sure that your store is setup to boast your incentives with bold calls to action. They should be front and center and your users should not have to hunt around for them. Make them visible and accessible.

Email blasts are a great tool to reach your existing customer base, but consider boosting your CPC campaigns to ensure your promotions are seen by the masses. Stay on top of marketing campaigns to ensure your name, brand and products are constantly in the face of users as they warm up to the big day.

Develop landing pages specifically catering to all of the incentives you've created and make sure they're used in any of your campaigns. These pages should reflect the upcoming deals and provide super easy access to the products you want to push.

Watch your analytics

As your messaging unfolds, keep a keen eye on your analytics to make sure that traffic is matching your expectations. CPC ads should yield some early traffic on your landing pages as people come by to see what you have going on.

Be extra sure to setup goals for monitoring traffic conversions - especially for your landing pages and promoted products. This metric will give you instant access to the traffic coming in segmented specifically to your ad campaign.

If your analytics show your ads aren't yeidling favorable results, consider adjusting your message to see if you can garner any new traffic. We highly recommend having multiple ads with various messaging and adjusting your ad spend based on which ads appear to be most effective. People may respond differently than you expect.

Don't forget Cyber Monday

That's right. We've just paid all of this hommage to Black Friday when Cyber Monday is staring us dead in the eyes. That's great news! Keep the same actions in mind for Cyber Monday as you did for Black Friday. It is recommended that you change up your messaging and possibly your incentives to match the occasion.

Promote, Communicate and Sell!

IN SUMMARY

This might seem like basic information, with very little depth attached to it, but the advise is sound and will generate results if you put the right effort into it and your message is clear. Customers do respond to well targeted messaging and well placed incentives - a fact that is hard to refute. While it is true that Amazon and other retails giants own this space, you have just as much right to claim your stake this holiday season.

So as the season rolls in, be prepared and on your game. Liftoff gives you all of the tools you need to have a successful campaign this shopping season. When in doubt help is always around the corner. Lean on your Liftoff community and support team. We want to make sure your vision for your store is realized regardless of the time or season.

Happy Selling and Happy Holidays.

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