The craze. The frenzy. The leaving-dinner-at-10pm-to-run-to-the-mall phenomenon. The deaths due to stampedes. Black Friday is a longstanding shopping tradition in the USA, that kicks off the holiday shopping season. It’s the Friday right after Thanksgiving, and is marked by a huge surge in sales and holiday deals. Last year, Americans spent a record-breaking $3 billion on Cyber Monday and £810 million in the UK. As businesses get ready to roll out the deals, it’s time to think about whether you want to join them.
Who shops on Black Friday?
A lot of people. 59% of US consumers and 60% of UK consumers planned to shop on Black Friday in 2015, with the average spend over $400 for American consumers. Although it started in the US, it’s definitely started to spread overseas, especially in the UK. In other countries, Black Friday is much less of a big shopping holiday, but online stores (especially large multi-nationals) are pushing the trend. Black Friday has also stopped being a one-day event, with sales lasting all week or weekend and merging into Cyber Monday.
The role of online stores
There is some good news for online retailers: Quite a few people are avoiding the stores and spending more of their holiday budget online. Between 2014 and 2016, online holiday purchases rose 7%, making online and in-store purchases even. Consumers are also most likely to look for and compare deals online, then go purchase in store. In the US, consumers spent similar amounts on Black Friday and on Cyber Monday when shopping online.
The bad news? If you’re out of stock, customers shopping online are much more likely to buy the same item elsewhere than change to a different product that you have in stock.
So should I bother?
At the end of the day, there are a few things to consider about offering Black Friday Cyber Monday deals.
What the consumer culture is like
BFCM may be huge in the USA, but in other places it’s much less of a thing. If people aren’t frenzied to do all of their holiday shopping in one weekend, it might not be worth the effort.
What the competition is doing
If you’re not sure what your customers are interested in, look at your neighbours. Your competitors are often good at signalling whether or not a big holiday push is warranted.
What you want your relationship with your customer to be
One super important aspect to consider is whether or not BFCM fits into your overall branding and customer strategy. How can you translate one-time sales into lasting customers? Black Friday sales are often rather impersonal, and are less about building your brand and more about churning out one-time customers. Still, there are ways to focus extra hard on making those customers (and gift recipients) loyal ones.
Is there an alternative?
In the USA, many small businesses are finding that Small Business Saturday is actually more lucrative than the Black Friday craze. Considering whether your company’s values fit more within Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday or an alternative in your country.
Ok, you’re ready to do the Black Friday Thing
If you do decide to have special Black Friday Cyber Monday deals, Shopify’s prepared a toolkit for normal users and an extra-special one for Plus users.
The Shopify BFCM Toolkit
Shopify has a three-part toolkit to help you out if you’re interested in getting ready for Black Friday Cyber Monday.
Part One: Get Set
Setting up your store, and preparing it to be holiday-ready, takes a bit of work.
The “Get Set” toolkit starts you off with:
- Lots of free stock photos to make your products and website look appealing
- Tools like a logo maker, business name generator and slogan generator
- A 26-point checklist for Black Friday
Part Two: Get Seen
Even if you’ve got a beautiful website that functions well, it’s going nowhere unless you push for marketing.
“Get Seen” with some of these tools from Shopify
- Hire Kit, an AI virtual assistant that can run your ad and marketing campaigns
- Some info on A/B testing during BFCM
- Inspiration on email campaigns you can use this holiday season
- Intros to Facebook Pixel, Google Adwords and Google Analytics
P.S. Take a look through our Marketing section for more tools
Part Three: Get Selling
One of the great things about Shopify is that, as a cloud-based server, they’re able to accommodate large spikes in sales that on-site servers would have a harder time with. That means your website will keep functioning during a big shopping holiday, like BFCM.
The “Get Selling” toolkit includes:
- Connecting Google Autocomplete to automatically enter customer information
- A handy dandy gift-certificate maker
- Shopify Pay setup
- Connect with more free sales channels, like Wanelo and Kik
- Setting up shopcodes, which are QR codes that can include special discounts
P.S. See more free made-by-Shopify tools here.
The Shopify Plus Toolkit
Not surprisingly, Shopify Plus members get some more robust tools that take less DIY. The Shopify Plus BFCM Toolkit includes:
- Automation services like Flow and Launchpad
- Conversion improvements through Shopcodes and Checkout With Phone
- Fulfilment help with bulk label printing
- A webinar with experts who’ve gone through the ropes
- Shopify Plus courses specifically designed for BFCM
- A website health check to see if you’re prepped
Next Read: How to nail your holiday email campaign
Elkfox is here to help. We can spruce up your website, help you build a BFCM marketing strategy, and get you ready for the holidays. Find out more.