The biggest shopping days of the year are just a few weeks away. Shopify merchants made more than $6 billion in sales from Black Friday through Cyber Monday last year.
On this episode of the Shopify Masters podcast, four direct-to-consumer entrepreneurs share how they plan for Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the rest of the holiday season. Here are some of their tips.
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1. Make gifting easy
Vitruvi’s signature essential oil diffusers and humidifiers look good and smell better — making them great gifts for just about anybody’s home. Founder and CEO Sara Panton capitalizes on her products’ appeal during the holiday season by curating gift guides and bundling products on Vitruvi’s website.
“You’ll see on our website an easy-to-navigate marketplace with different bundles of products for different themes of gift giving. And we also work strategically with our retail partners to make sure the assortment is our best-in-class to help with velocity and sell-through,” Sara says. “It’s really just about making it easy for the consumer.”
2. Start planning early
For many companies, the key to success for a high-volume selling period is preparation. ButcherBox, a meat and seafood subscription delivery service, keeps tabs on its farmers to make sure they are raising enough turkeys long before November rolls around.
“One of the most successful campaigns that we do, which actually starts before Black Friday[and] Cyber Monday, is [a promotion to] start a subscription and get a free turkey,” founder and CEO Mike Salguero says.
Combining that promotion with all of the existing subscribers ordering turkeys for Thanksgiving means that Mike has to begin planning for November and December by March or April.
3. Give your loyal customers extra discounts and access
Even for companies without subscribers, Black Friday and Cyber Monday can be a good time to target previous customers and encourage them to buy during the shopping holiday.. Most visitors to Loop Earplugs’ website see a 20% to 30% discount sitewide. But for returning customers, the savings are even higher.
“Last year, we gave early access to our community and a higher discount that nobody else could get,” Dimitri O explains. “And it was so successful that we’re going to do that this year again, the 48 hours before Black Friday.”
4. Manage customer expectations and questions
Perhaps one of the biggest concerns during the holiday season is keeping up with fulfillment. After all, a late delivery could ruin your relationship with a new customer.
Dimitri takes an all-hands-on-deck approach to provide a better customer experience.
“We try to manage expectations as good as we can with our customers by announcing some potential delay[s] in shipment dates,” Dimitri says. “The one thing that we really do scale is our customer support team. Internally, we are there as well to answer any questions, any tickets that we can.”
5. Remind your customers of the sale
Black Friday and Cyber Monday is not the time to be shy about sliding into customers’ email inboxes. Joey Cofone is CEO and co-founder of Baronfig, an e-commerce company that sells tools like pens, notebooks, backpacks and more. Baronfig’s Black Friday deals last an entire week, from the Monday before Black Friday to the Sunday after.
“When we start our Black Friday deal on Monday, we’ll let everyone know throughout the week. We’ll be repeating it on social media, and then on Black Friday,” Joey says. “And we may even remind people that it’s about to end, for example, ‘24 hours left’ or ‘ends tonight.’”
It might sound like a lot of work to create all of those emails, but Joey says the company has been able to get ahead by prepping almost 11 months in advance.
“By the time Black Friday week comes around, we are doing a whole lot of babysitting essentially, we’re just making sure nothing breaks or nothing goes wrong,” Joey says. “The heaviest lifting that is required is by me on the Friday, because we don’t come to work, so that Friday I show up on my computer, wherever I am, check the A/B test results for the emails, choose the best one, and then I’m off enjoying my weekend again.”
Take a listen to the full Black Friday episode of Shopify Masters to find out more about how you can better strategize for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.