How to prepare for Black Friday and Cyber Monday
eCommerce Growth, Guest Posts

How to prepare for Black Friday and Cyber Monday

For sellers, the holiday season is just around the corner, commencing the start of the biggest shopping event throughout the year. Typically starting with Black Friday and Cyber Monday, this is one of the most important times of the year to boost sales and market share. With an extensive overall strategy, the sellers can tap into this opportunity and win big during this season. Regardless of whether the sellers want to regain sales or further boost them, they need to start prepping for this holiday season in advance. In this article, we will explore key ways to win big this holiday season:

Reasons to prepare for the BFCM period of 2020

It’s a critical season for sellers

For sellers, The holiday season including Black Friday and Cyber Monday are notoriously big sales events. The majority of the sellers rake in revenue during this time of the year. For instance – more than 64% of sellers on Amazon say that these events are crucial for their bottom lines and benefit them immensely. 

Recovering the losses incurred during the pandemic

For sellers, Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM) period offers a lucrative medium to recover from the recent slump. Due to the pandemic, a lot of sellers had a rough year in terms of supply disruptions and planning. Therefore, the ones impacted in the earlier part of the year will aggressively try to recoup the sales momentum during the holiday season. Likewise, those sellers, who have been benefited by COVID, will continue to build upon their success and expand their market. 

Increase in online shopping because of COVID-19

Due to the worldwide spread of the virus and physical in-store experience being near impossible, the e-commerce sales have soared drastically. More and more consumers are shopping online than ever before. By offering an optimal e-tail experience, the sellers can capitalize on this demand and make the most of this season. 

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Tips to prepare for BFCM season

Inventory and storage limits

Large scale shift to the online realm has put huge pressure on platforms such as Amazon, Walmart, eBay, etc, who have responded by putting restrictions on inventory. The sellers also need to keep in mind that the storage and inventory fees increase dramatically during this time. Making it necessary for the sellers to critically review their inventory management as well as use the storage space more carefully. 

Sellers will need to forecast and navigate the changes as well as surprises they might encounter on the inventory and storage front. For Amazon fulfilled products, this also means that sellers need to monitor any excess and/or unfulfillable inventory that might be taking up space. These units must be removed in time to not only save on the high storage cost of Q4 but also optimize the storage capacity at the FCs. If the sellers are subject to inventory and storage limits, then they should contact third-party logistics companies. They need to make sure that their required inventory is delivered to the warehouses in advance to avoid facing any issue related to it. 

Marketing and buyers’ expectations

The pandemic has led to significant changes in buyer expectations. Consumer demands and behaviors are constantly changing and the sellers need to stay upfront in meeting these expectations. Consumers during COVID remain cautious about products they want to use or gift. 

In marketing strategy, sellers should remain cognizant of the messaging to convince buyers about how their products add value. There has been a clear increase in demand for products that establish credibility and safety, especially for personal use products such as grocery, bedding, cosmetics, and health supplements. Sellers must emphasize the trust-building aspects while marketing the products. Try to center the marketing strategy around the USP of the products and highlight the main features of the items. New marketing features like Amazon Live, would be prominent this year too, provided the investments that sellers would be willing to make. DSP is turning out to be an exciting platform for remarketing advertising and capturing customers on and off Amazon. The use of these additional selling platforms can help sellers lure more customers to their stores and ultimately boost sales

Performance metrics and competitors

To capitalize on the vast sales potential during the BFCM period, the sellers need to conduct intensive competitors analysis. Analyze the pricing and deal trends of the competitors to understand the most lucrative prices for the product categories. Critically examine the strategies employed by immediate rivals like who is getting more reviews, which product is attracting more customers, etc. For instance- Sellers whose business primarily focuses on Amazon can make use of Amazon Competitor Analysis to understand the various aspects of performance metrics better. 

The sellers must be informed about the trending products that are selling and what’s worth discounting to be competitive. This will help them dominate their market effectively and stay relevant during this time. If some products have a lot of negative reviews, low product ratings, or high return rates, then you should consider readjusting such items in short term and critically review product quality in the longer term. Sellers can consider making bundles of such products, offering two or more products together for a single price. Sellers need to constantly monitor the performance of their products and make adjustments according to the requirements. Leaving your products to fend for themselves will lead to losing out on sales. 

Influx of traffic and website optimization

Large scale shifts to online mode would also lead to increased traffic in the BFCM period, as offline marketplaces and stores would not be safe for the traditional way of customer rushing during these times. This would involve more and more sellers being active on the platform, especially for this season. The sellers should ensure that their websites are ready to accommodate the sudden upsurge in traffic. Based on data analysis, sellers should consider feasible options for handling the influx of traffic on the site. They must optimize their websites for providing an optimal e-tail experience to the customers. One of the ways to deal with the traffic dilemma can be by acquiring additional server space. Another way can be deploying a Content Delivery Network for managing the spike in visitors. 

Sellers need to optimize the overall site performance as well. Ensure a smoother and faster check-out process and offer various payment options to the users. They should also experiment with various A/B testing opportunities and then select the best one. Lastly, express value shipping and guest-checkout will further increase the brand value in the eyes of the customers.  

Sponsored Ads and Promotions

Advertising and promotions strategy will act as a medium for sellers to regain sales momentum disrupted due to the pandemic. Sellers should ensure that their ads strategy is optimized for the holiday season by leveraging relevant keywords, amplifying ads budget, tailoring content, and other strategic holiday tasks. Make sure that your ads are running well in advance. You can employ both manual and automated ads strategy to increase the reach of your products. 

During this time, people are on a look-out for best offers and deals. Sellers can entice such users to their stores by offering competitive discounts and deals. Amazon sellers can deploy 7-day deals or lightning deals to lure more customers and increase conversions. You need to plan all your offers and deals in advance and according to the type of event. For instance – Black Friday requires a different approach than Cyber Monday or the rest of the holiday season. 

Lastly, it is important to figure out what Black Friday Cyber Monday means for your business specifically. Don’t follow the crowd, strive to offer a unique customer experience to the users. Use the data from the rest of the year and try to understand what specific strategies will work for your business. Intensively focus on the big picture as well as all the minor aspects. You need to choose the right timeline for your business and set realistic goals that can be achieved. 

All in all, sellers should remain persuasive throughout the holiday season and prepare for Black Friday in advance. This is the most critical period for them to recover the losses incurred during the pandemic and get the business back on track. From inventory requirements to promotional strategy, every aspect should be considered for ranking in revenue during this time. The above-mentioned tips can be used by sellers to make the most of it and stay ahead of the competition. They can apply these tips and formulate a well-planned strategy to make the most of this season.


About the Author

Kiran Patil is the founder and CEO of Growisto, an E-commerce marketing and technology company based out of Navi Mumbai. He has 16+ years of experience in e-commerce, phone commerce, and digital marketing. Growisto helps brands & private labels to grow their businesses on platforms such as Amazon and their own website. Kiran is an alumnus of IIT Bombay and has worked with companies like Evalueserve and Future group before starting his entrepreneurial venture. His personal interests include traveling, cycling, and trekking. His work has been featured in Entrepreneur, Business2Community, Yourstory, Inc42, Indian Retailer, and many others.

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