Get Back to Black: Tips for Black Friday 2014

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They make headlines every year. Lines that stretch around buildings, an overwhelming feeling of excitement amongst customers. Black Friday, the busiest day in the retail year, launches customers and businesses into the holiday season. Often times it pushes retailers out of the red, and into the black. The opportunity for success is huge, and you are going to want to make sure to capitalize on it.

If you run an online store, then Cyber Monday is going to be your day to shine. Traffic and conversion rates increase 40 times the standard amount on Cyber Monday, so you are going to want to make sure your website won’t crash from the rush of shoppers, and possibly invest in pricing software to help you stand out from the competition. Pricing software can help you reprice your products to be competitive, without cutting into your profits.

Over the course of the last ten years, sales on Black Friday and Cyber Monday have grown by 2.9% on average, year after year. Both days amount to about 8.6% of all holiday shopping revenue, with 2013 sales reaching $1.51 billion. Take advantage of tools like pricing software to provide yourself with increased revenue. Black Friday is so popular among consumers that 1 in 3 American adults will go shopping at some point in the day. So how can you prepare and make the most of its popularity?

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The Early Bird Gets the Worm

Start early, like now. Create a sense of urgency for your customers with emails promoting Black Friday sales, or even offer an immediate flash sale. Almost half of shoppers discover sales through direct emails from retailers, so some emails before, and during, the most popular shopping weekend of the year couldn’t hurt at all. Prepare for the rush, though, because more than 45% of flash sale offers sell out faster than anticipated. This tactic is especially effective for returning customers, who on average spend 67% more than new ones. So what can you do to attract new customers?

Optimize and Fortify

Start your process like a customer starts their online shopping process: at the search engine. Optimize your website to organically appear at the top of search results, it will help distinguish you from competitors and save you some money. Search engines are the starting point of 96% of all web searches, so be sure you’re there to greet a shopper after an initial search. If you’re optimizing your website to gain traffic, make sure your site can handle the traffic increase. Website visits don’t mean anything if your website is down, strengthen it to prevent a crash.

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Be Crystal Clear

Once people are on your website, make everything clear. Clearly list prices, and make sure they are competitive without cutting into your profits. Price was cited as the largest influence on purchase decisions by 84% of consumers, so using pricing software can keep you competitive. Also, a clearly stated shipping date is crucial, especially during a time sensitive season like the holidays. Plus, 50% of shoppers have abandoned a cart due to lengthy delivery or a lack of date, so make sure it is clearly displayed and within reasonable time.

Providing clear product photos, videos, and descriptions, you can fill the void many customers experience while shopping online. Many shoppers will fear the dreaded buyers’ remorse, so throw a clear, lenient return policy on the website to ease their worries. About ⅔ of consumers view the return policy before a purchase, so make sure yours is satisfactory.

Take Mobile Seriously

One medium where customers have a lot of difficulty with product images and descriptions is mobile. On Black Friday in 2013, smartphones drove approximately 25% of all online retail traffic, but only 7.2% of all online sales. Retailers should take this as a sign to improve their mobile sites, because that opportunity can make a huge difference in their revenue. Over ⅘ of shoppers use digital tools (like their phones) before and during their trip to a store, and these shoppers’ conversion rates are 40% higher than those who don’t. An increased omnipresence is only going to help you this holiday season.

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Data is your Friend

Make sure your data and analytics are up to date, regarding last year’s purchase trends. Learning from past year’s data can lead to increased sales and profit. Three of the largest categories (games and toys, electronics, and software) appear to be in this year’s forecast once again, so be sure to plan accordingly. Using pricing software to execute simple inventory, merchandising, and pricing strategies can lead to great success as an online retailer not just during the holidays, but all year round.

How else can retailers plan for Black Friday?

Photo Credit

Photo Credit

Photo Credit

Contributing Writer: Brian Smyth

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About Wiser

Wiser provides a complete suite of solutions to give retailers, brands, and manufacturers the edge to stay both competitive and most importantly, profitable.

Wiser’s core product is WisePricer, full-featured dynamic pricing and merchandising engine that monitors, analyzes and reprices retail products in real-time. WisePricer enables retailers to boost profit margins and revenue, price with confidence, and improve merchandising through powering the development of a sound pricing strategy.

Ready to try it out for yourself? Schedule a Demo or Sign up for a 14-day Trial online – No obligation. Learn how to win the pricing battle.

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Min-Jee Hwang

Min-Jee is the Marketing Director at Wiser, a dynamic pricing and merchandising engine for online retailers. She has extensive experience working with SaaS companies and holds a BA from Carnegie Mellon University and an MBA from NYU Stern.