How e-commerce businesses can prepare for the big sale

Practical tips to help e-commerce businesses make the most of the big sale starting Thanksgiving Thursday, staying on over Black Friday, and ending on Cyber Monday.
5 November 2018

November 23 will be here in a jiffy. Are you prepared? Source: Shutterstock

November is here, and soon, Thanksgiving Thursday, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday will be too. Religious connotations aside, they’re the biggest sale days for the retail and e-commerce industry here in the US and businesses spend months preparing for the “big event”.

Truth be told, this sale is a significant contributor to the top and bottom lines of major retailers and e-commerce platforms.

According to Adobe and the World Economic Forum, the combined online shopping spend in the US during the “big sale period” reached US$14.5 billion last year. Thanksgiving Thursday brought in US$2.9 billion, Black Friday rolled in US$5 billion, and Cyber Monday pulled in US$6.6 million.

In fact, the sale is also credited with pushing Jeff Bezos’ net worth over the US$100 billion-mark last year following the volume of transactions on Amazon (and the subsequent rally enjoyed by its shares in the stock market).

And while last years numbers are exciting, they’re in no way surprising. The big sale week coming up has always managed to conjure up excitement among shoppers — with e-commerce receiving some of the biggest gains in the recent past.

For e-commerce retailers, whether selling via their own website or leveraging e-commerce platforms like Amazon and eBay, preparing for the big sale is critical. Here are five quick tips to help ensure success:

# 1 | Start preparations early:

If you want to make the most of the big sale days, it’s essential that you start early. Making sure that you’ve stocked up on your products, locked in the best price, and listed them online with all the right descriptors and keywords is essential.

It’s also important to make sure that your logistics partner knows that you’ll be participating in the big sale. Usually, they can help make arrangements to stock your inventory in specialized warehouses, optimized to meet the demand during the sale days.

# 2 | Study the competition:

There are hundreds of thousands of vendors and online sellers looking to attract the same crowd during the sale. If you want to get the attention of your customers and make the sale, it’s important to study your competition.

Look for sale day posters online and on social media platforms to learn what your competition did last year. Look for marketing campaigns they’re running this year to get a jump on their latest offers. Make sure you’re prepared to match your closest competitor’s offers if you want to make the most of the sale.

# 3 | Learn from the past:

If this isn’t your first year in operating during the sale, make sure you review what you did in the previous year(s) and compare that with your performance in the market.

Maybe a certain kind of product worked best in the past or a certain kind of audience was more keen on buying from you during the sale — make sure to use all the data you have, identify the trends, and make the most of them when deciding your strategy for this year.

# 4 | Inform your customers:

Most e-commerce businesses have the email addresses of their (repeat) customers. It’s a good idea to use this to market to them — sending them exclusive coupons for the sale day and telling them of the offers in advance so they can plan for the event.

Another way to inform customers could be via social media. Posting offers and highlights of your giveaways on sale day on your social media profiles could help inform customers and their friends.

# 5 | Create some excitement:

This is the most awaited sale of the year — people wait all year long to splurge on gaming consoles, toys, and home decor. It’s a great opportunity for most businesses in the US and even in the EU.

Creating some excitement on this occasion is quite easy if brands entice customers to buy more while stocks last. Campaigns that highlight the offers and savings that customers can benefit from also provide exciting opportunities.