Black Friday and Cyber Monday Might Be Over—But These Little-Known Strategies Will Help You Sell Big in December
Are you ready for the holiday shopping surge? Here's how to keep up with demand and sell big this season.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
We all know that Black Friday and Cyber Monday mean big business for retail sales, and these two anchoring days have created an entire weekend of sales opportunities. Retailers make special efforts to bring the consumers in and get them excited to buy. Offering particular advantages over traditional shopping, online retailers have the power to create significant sales for now and develop returning customers during this critical time of year.
You won't find me complaining, either. My company, Hollywood Sensation Jewelry, is an online retailer that depends on the holiday season for a significant portion of annual sales. Jewelry stores can make 20% of their annual sales in December, so it's in our interest to put on our best sparkle during the Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend and then keep the magic going throughout December and beyond! Drastically dropping your prices may feel a little scary, but the numbers don't lie. Retailers across the country slash prices while making money during this lucrative time of year.
Let's consider how to make it happen for your online retail business.
Can your website handle it?
Before anything else, ensure that your website works fast and flawlessly. This should be a no-brainer, but you must factor in increased traffic and competition. Online shoppers simply do not wait for slow load times. They have too many other options. One quick Google search and they can find a dozen different stores offering what you have. So be sure your load times are speedy, and your checkout process is smooth and easy.
The best way to know what your customers experience is to go through the process yourself, so either take the time to shop your own store or hire a few others to do it for you and get feedback. Your website must also be prepared to handle extra traffic during the busy shopping season. A few hours lost on a vital sales day can be disastrous. Don't lose sales because your site crashes from overload!
Are your prices competitive?
Ah, that troublesome information highway! That pesky Google search can immediately tell a customer if another retailer has the same item for less. People might be willing to pay a little more at a brick-and-mortar store if it saves them the trip, but online shopping has no such barriers. Shoppers will go to the online retailer with the best prices.
Are you growing your customer list?
You can use this time to grow your email list and put that information to work for you. At my store, we used to do a store credit of $30 toward Black Friday sales. Now we do something better: we provide discount codes up to 65% off, depending on how much the shopper spends. To get the code, we require their email address. It's a fair trade, too. We offer significant savings to our customers for a chance to reach out to them again.
Do you have an "abandoned cart" protocol?
According to Shopify, 88% of online shopping carts are abandoned. We've all done it. We browse online, put some things in the cart, then don't complete the purchase for one reason or another. "Abandoned cart" emails are a terrific way to reach out to consumers who didn't finish their transactions. Savvy abandoned cart emails remind them of what they were doing and where because, with so many online store options, forgetting where one was shopping is not impossible. These emails can provide easy links to get back to "saved" carts.
The top reason people abandon a cart is sticker shock: the total price was higher than expected. Sending a discount code with the abandoned cart email is a terrific way to bring them back into the fold — you're happy, they're happy — everybody's happy! Email marketing is now branching out into text marketing, and since text messages are usually noticed faster than emails, it's an even quicker way to get cart completion. Abandoned cart messaging can be set up through many different online apps and services.
Are you taking advantage of the whole season?
Black Friday and Cyber Monday kick things off, but they are by no means the only days for a significant boost to profits. Take advantage of other "days" in the cycle, such as:
- Green Monday. This one happens on the second Monday in December — it's one of the busiest retail days in the U.S. The name may have come from the fact that there's a lot of profit on that day (plenty of green), but you can also tailor it environmentally. Online shopping is the "greener" option, after all. In 2022, Green Monday falls on December 12, which ties in nicely with…
- Free Shipping Day. December 13 is generally known as Free Shipping Day, an excellent opportunity for late Christmas shoppers to get their deliveries on time.
- Super Saturday/Panic Saturday. The name says it all — this is the Saturday before Christmas, and you can take the bite out of that hectic shopping day as an online store. Customers can spend Panic Saturday in the comfort of their homes, enjoying great deals instead of fighting through parking lots, lines and unpredictable weather. Now be warned — in 2022, Panic Saturday falls on December 24, so online businesses are at a bit of a disadvantage there if delivery is an issue. December 17, however, is all yours! Give late shoppers a reason to visit your website.
- Boxing Day. Online businesses have this advantage: shoppers from all over the world come to our stores. In Commonwealth countries, namely Australia, Canada, Britain and the UK, Boxing Day (always on December 26) is a bargain hunter's paradise, and the United States is quickly catching on. Traditionally, this was the day employers gave their employees gifts (boxes), but since many of us now have the day off, it has become about shopping for ourselves. Shoppers on December 26 seek a little celebration for making it through another busy holiday season. Tell them, "You've spent the last eight weeks giving it all. Now you deserve something for yourself."
As you take your online retail business into the holiday season, opportunities open for you to build a more robust and significant customer base. You can improve customer satisfaction and create loyal shoppers who know that your business provides an excellent holiday shopping experience. They are more likely to return throughout the year for their special holidays, like birthdays or anniversaries, and will be on your mailing list when the next holiday season rolls around.