March 7, 2021

Black Friday and Cyber Monday: How to Optimise your Profit

Dr Peter Mowforth

Black Friday is now the UK’s biggest shopping day of the year with Cyber Monday a strong second for online sales. The key thing for your business is to make sure that you have done all that’s reasonably possible to make as much profit as possible over this thanksgiving period. A few people do checklists - hopefully you’ll find this one to be the most comprehensive:

  1. Target Candidates: As well as all the other things that you sell, start by making a list of candidate items that you plan to use for your target marketing focus. Focus on those items where you have the potential to be cheaper than your competitors and where you carry plenty of stock. If possible, also focus on items that could make potential Christmas presents. Just because what you sell may not be an obvious Christmas present doesn’t mean that you can’t sell a lot of them during the period.
  2. Research: While selecting candidate products for your marketing focus, spend time researching the market and try, if possible, to choose products that are on trend and where you might have any kind of supply-side advantage.
  3. Set the right price: People will be expecting great deals to be available. The key to price optimisation is to understand the relationship between volume and price.
  4. Lifetime Value: Customers can often come back and buy from you again if what they bought first time involved a good all round experience. If you are selling a bathroom suite or a gas welding torch then these are likely to be one-off sales so lifetime value is small. If you are selling coffee or toner supplies then lifetime value is high. When you are working out your optimal selling price, if there is a good chance for getting repeat business then you can consider dropping the price still further to factor in this customer acquisition cost.
  5. Stock: Revisit your research and try to make some reasonable guesses around how many items you think you might sell. Then make sure you have sufficient in stock. This is particularly important when selling via marketplaces. If somebody buys something that you can't fulfil, expect to get hammered on the ratings.
  6. Product Pages: If you expect to sell a lot of something, put extra effort into ensuring that those product pages have all the best available information to convert sales. That means great photographs, great descriptions and product details along with compelling features and benefits.
  7. Hosting: If you are expecting a serious lift in traffic the last thing you will want is for the site to go down. There are things that can be done by hosting companies to reduce the chance of this happening. Speak to them and be prepared. You might not be selling the 86 items a second that Amazon expect but having the website working is a rather obvious essential requirement.
  8. Site Updates: If you want any updates done to the website, make sure they are completed and cached well ahead of Black Friday. You do not want to be making changes during the sales period.
  9. Banners: Make sure you have home page banners on your website that direct customers to where the Black Friday / Cyber Monday offers are.
  10. Paid Marketing: Up your ad spend and watch it like a hawk over the period keeping it topped up if necessary.
  11. Email Marketing: Send out Black Friday / Cyber Monday newsletters to let everyone of your database know about the fantastic offers available from your business.
  12. Vouchers: Help market your best deals using voucher sites such as BlackFridayVouchers, VoucherCloud, VoucherCode, Promospro or MyVoucherCode.
  13. Blog: If you have a blog, write a piece aimed at making a hard sell around your top deals and include an eye-catching graphic or photo to help get attention.
  14. Third Party Blogs: Identify some well promoted Black Friday deals blogs. Then write an article extolling the virtues of your best product deals and publish. Also, scour the blogs for related articles and comment with directions to your own site.
  15. Social: Publish details of your top deals on social media channels such as Facebook and twitter.
  16. Pinterest: Publish some photos of your best deals on Pinterest under categories such as ‘Black Friday Deals’.
  17. Youtube: If you have the time and resources, why not create a short video advert and upload to Youtube? Make it topical and possibly funny to help get eyeballs.
  18. Postcards: If you have a good quality database that includes postal details then why not experiment with a postcard mail shot. The cost can be similar to Adwords and with strong marketing around some popular items at great prices you can often generate better conversion ratios.
  19. Fulfilment: With the huge lift in fulfilment associated with the thanksgiving period it might be worth you speaking with your courier company to check whether they expect to be able to deliver within their usual timeframes. If not, you may need to update your product pages so that if it says ‘next day delivery’ you can change it.
  20. Quick Responses: With more ecommerce taking place, there will more interactions with customers. Regularly check emails, make sure the phones are answered quickly and ensure that you have people looking after your website chat channel throughout the day and into the evenings.
  21. Coffee and Matchsticks: If all goes well then expect a busy time and long hours - something to keep you awake and something to keep the eyelids open may prove useful.

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