Black Friday — the day after Thanksgiving — is the biggest US shopping day of the year. Nearly 30% of annual retail sales fall between this day and Christmas, which means you won’t want to miss this opportunity to capture additional revenue before the end of the year.
The phrase Black Friday was initially coined in the early 1960’s to describe the increase in foot and vehicle traffic throughout cities the day after Thanksgiving. Over the decades, retailers began to open their doors earlier, offering lucrative sales and discounts to customers in order to get them through the door. The “mad dash” and frenzied shoppers competition did not ramp up until the early 2000’s. These days, the country’s biggest shopping day of the year is often extended all weekend, with Cyber Monday and Small Business Saturday making an appearance as recently as 10 years ago.
With the country officially out of the recession, it is projected that the average shopper will spend nearly $1,000 on holiday gifts this year, a 4.3% increase from 2017, according to The Balance. Since shoppers are ready to pull out their wallets this year, it’s time to start planning for how to make sure these people end up at your business on Black Friday. Below are a few key tips to generating as much holiday revenue as possible.
Tips for capturing the most revenue on Black Friday
Tip #1: Don’t mark down all items. Sure, Black Friday (and, let’s be honest, that whole long weekend) is about saving money and snagging the best deals in town. However, in order for your business to grow and make a profit, you should look to discount only a few items. Businesses that often discount their products or services tend to see sale slumps when they don’t have a sale going on. They have essentially trained their customers to only purchase their products when there is a sale. So if you must discount, then mark down only a handful of items. We recommend discounting items that you need to get off the shelves as soon as possible.
Tip #2: Make compelling discounts. If you are going to discount, make sure you create a sense of urgency with each offer. Sit down with your team and determine what the goal would be for offering up a discount on a product or service. Is the goal to get rid of an old product in order to create inventory space for a new one? Did you just reveal a new product and you want to get customers interested in it? Whatever the case may be, make sure everyone is clear on what the end goal is for each markdown, then inform your customers well in advance of Black Friday so that they can prepare to look for these sales. Email marketing, boosted social media posts, a website banner, or publishing a blog can help spread the word.
Tip #3: Keep things broad. Make sure to adjust your online advertising campaign to include a wider audience prior to Black Friday. By going wide and including younger consumers and perhaps consumers that speak another language, you can capture some hidden revenue. Younger generations tend to be more tech savvy, which means your online ads, email blasts, and social media posts will reach them quickly — just be sure to set your demographic to include ages 18-24. Don’t forget to go broad when it comes to what marketing platforms you want to use. As we mentioned earlier, online marketing can be great for those who don’t want to brave the crowds. Don’t forget to also opt for offline marketing, such as newspaper ads, billboards, or signs and banners outside your storefront.
Tip #4: Sell before and after. Remember when REI decided to close their doors on Black Friday a few years ago with the launch of their #OptOutside campaign? Turns out they were on to something. The outdoor retailer ended up generating more brand awareness because of their unusual decision to shutter their doors on the biggest shopping day of the year — but this ultimately led to more sales down the road. The company knew they would be losing some revenue, which is why they chose to run sales and promotions both before and after the Black Friday weekend.
Tip #5: Know your audience. Analyze last year’s data to determine who your core customers were. Segment them into demographics, calculate your average purchase value, and cull your email database to see who you can delete or add. Knowing your audience is the first step to any successful marketing campaign and will help you with your holiday marketing budget. Keep in mind that people who have yet to purchase a product or service from you don’t yet have a reason to make a purchase, so you need to think about how these individuals will best respond from a marketing standpoint. One of the most effective ways to generate Black Friday revenue from non-purchasers is with promotional product incentives. Make it known both online and in-store that with any purchase, they receive a promotional product for free.
Black Friday Preparation for Ecommerce
The above tips can be applied to both brick-and-mortar stores and E-commerce stores alike. But what if you only have a website that generates revenue for your business? There’s always Cyber Monday, but according to research, Black Friday online sales generated over $5 billion last year, making this a lucrative day for online businesses. If you’re looking to capture the most revenue the Friday after Thanksgiving, be sure to do the following:
- Start early. Announce your online Black Friday sales and discounts on Thanksgiving, or at least in the early morning hours of Friday.
- Check site speed. If your website or any key pages are loading any slower than 3 seconds, then this could be a massive traffic and therefore revenue loss. Talk to your website administrator about how you can find some more speed.
- Adjust metadata. Be sure to change up your page titles and meta descriptions to accurately reflect keywords you want your site to appear in search results for. This could include phrases such as “women’s trench coats” or “outdoor toys for kids”.
- Keep backups. We can’t stress this enough! If your website experiences more-than-normal amounts of traffic, you could end up with a site crash and subsequent downtime that could take hours to fix. Always keep a backup of your website files, images, and database.
- Boost your online advertising budget. Where are your ads currently displaying in search results pages? If you find that they aren’t showing up on the first page, or they’re on the bottom of the first page, you may want to consider boosting your budget temporarily on Black Friday.
Key Black Friday Takeaways
When all is said and done, don’t forget to make sure that you and your employees reward yourselves for working hard to prepare for Black Friday and the rest of the holiday season rush. Be sure you and your team are all on the same page when it comes to helping customers, promoting products, and keeping track of shipping and returns.