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Prepare Your Business for Black Friday and Cyber Monday

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Miranda Russell | November 21, 2020

“Black Friday Cyber Monday are promotional dates which every small or big business should maximize sales. Here's how to prepare for them. (Updated 2022)”
7 min read
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    Black Friday Sales- a Vital Keystone for Business Margins and Consumer Savings

    The holiday shopping season is a major sales driver for retailers. With many relying on an increase in sales to get them through slower shopping periods throughout the year. Having survived a pandemic and adapted to new consumer demands, businesses this year aren’t in the clear yet. A looming recession and inflation have both consumers and businesses worried about spending and the coming holiday season.

    Sources like Bloomberg anticipate sales volume will increase this year, although possibly due more to inflation than actual sales growth. Still, they explain, “Retailers are right to be out of the gate early on special holiday sales. This peak shopping period will be a battle between revenge spending and retrenchment from inflation. Revenge will win out — but only just.”

    That said, Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales could be an opportunity for your business to make up some of that much needed revenue by taking advantage of consumer habits while feeling good about offering customers a way to find something for everyone on their list— for less. Here is our checklist for executing a successful holiday shopping promotion, for both Black Friday and Cyber Monday, so you can secure your footing and start 2021 in a stronger financial position.

    Plan Your Sales Promotions Early

    It's nearly November, which means that 60% of consumers have already done their holiday shopping. There's still time to make up those holiday sales margins, however, since the biggest motivator for early shopping is savings (trying to save before rising inflation affects prices.) Black Friday and Cyber Monday, are one way to draw in those savings-savvy spenders in the final months of the year.

    Not only has holiday consumer spending started earlier this year, but businesses are increasingly starting earlier in recent years. (BFCM) have traditionally happened during the days following American Thanksgiving, there have been some indications that retailers are pushing for an earlier start to holiday sales to encourage shoppers to be proactive in their purchases. Much like how Boxing Day has become Boxing Week, this could be the beginning of a shift in how BFCM sales are rolled out across the country.

    The first indicator that promotion days are changing was the announcement of a new shopping holiday, the 10.10 Shopping Festival announced by Bloomberg. While the number of retailers participating in this new festival is low "“ approximately two dozen by some estimates "“ the event could signal the start of the shopping events for the season.

    Retail Brew completed a sentiment survey to gauge how retailers were feeling and found that 47% of retailers said they're pushing promotions before the traditional BFCM weekend and 20% said they were planning to start their sales before Halloween.

    With major retailers signaling they're ready to start enticing shoppers earlier than ever, there's no time to waste in finalizing what promotions you want to offer and when you want to roll them out. If you're planning holiday promotions or sales, start dropping teasers now so customers know they should be shopping at your business and so they can plan their spending accordingly.

    Get Your Ecommerce Channels Ready

    If you do not already have an online store, now is the time to set one up. There are many benefits to setting up an online store for the first time, or updating your eCommerce- especially as more and more consumers turn to online shopping which contributes to nearly 20% of all retail sales worldwide.

    Every Helcim account includes the ability to host an online store and you can easily showcase products for both retail and online sales through the Helcim Online Checkout. Depending on the number of products and the complexity of your inventory, you can be set up and ready to go in as little as a few hours.

    If you're new to online sales, it's okay to start small and grow your online presence from there. If there are certain items that are on a special promotion, or you're offering a holiday package or special, you can start by just offering that selection of items online. This helps you see how customers react and lets you ease into the world of ecommerce, without missing out on sales opportunities.

    Another way you can simplify your ecommerce sales is by sticking to local sales with pickup or delivery options, so you don't need to worry about shipping delays and coordination. Many customers like having the option to pick up instead of waiting or having to shop inside- a habit many of us held onto since the era of curbside pickup.

    If you do offer shipping options, consider the potential shipping constraints the increase in sales might cause. While the postal service and major delivery agents are most likely expecting an increase in online orders around this time, it doesn't hurt to take a conservative approach when determining your shipping cutoff dates, especially if you're launching your promotions early.

    Communicate with Your Customers

    Communicate early, communicate often, and communicate clearly. These are the three keys to ensuring your customers know what your holiday shopping promotions are, when they are happening, and how they can purchase from you.

    Here are some ideas on the types of updates that are important to share with your customers:

    • When your sales or promotions are happening
    • What your shipping or purchase cutoff is before the holidays
    • How they can purchase from you "“ either online or in-person
    • If you're offering contactless or curbside pickup
    • In-store shopping health measures including mandatory masks, social distancing, limits to the number of people in the store, etc"¦
    • If you can book an appointment time to shop in-person

    You can share these messages with customers in a variety of ways, we recommend utilizing as many communication channels as possible:

    • Update your Google My Business Listing with your store hours and website
    • On your website or online store
    • Using your social media channels
    • Sending an email to your subscribers
    • With in-store signage

    Making it easy for your customers to find the information they want about your Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, holiday promotions, store hours, and shipping information can cut down on the number of customer inquiries you need to respond to.

    Prepare Your Products

    Before you kick off your holiday shopping promotions, be sure to update your inventory to accurately reflect what is in stock. Depending on where you order your product from and what industry you're in, you might have already experienced a backlog in ordering new items and getting items in stock. Considering, “70% of shoppers will abandon a brand if one item they are looking for flashes the out or stock message” according to Calashock Commerce, that should be a primary concern in terms of preparedness.

    In some cases, it might make sense for you to run pre-order promotions where customers can purchase items before they're in stock at your location. If you do decide to run a pre-order, be very clear about expected dates for product delivery and when the items will actually be in-stock. Securing sales and ensuring inventory will be sold from the outset can provide peace of mind that is well worth the added communication and work involved in running a pre-sale.

    If you're still ordering in items or looking at holiday items to add, consider the items that were extremely popular in the spring and will most likely see an upswing in demand as the colder weather sets in and more people spend time at home.

    If you're a Helcim merchant, you can bulk import new product items and update your inventory from your account. Enabling Helcim's inventory tracking can help you keep track of products and ensure you're notified whenever your inventory dips below a certain level.

    Happy Selling!

    Despite concerns about their financial situation, we are seeing consumers shopping earlier than ever in order to save and avoid inflation — giving business owners the chance to end a challenging year on a positive note.

    By starting earlier, preparing for inventory needs and supply chain shortages, and communicating your holiday sales effectively to your customers you can not only help your customers avoid hiking inflation pricing and find some savings- but also buff up your margins before the end of the year.

    If you have questions about any of the tools or strategies mentioned in this article, the Helcim Team would be happy to give you a hand. Whether you want to learn more about how to set up an Online Store, manage your products, or accept in-person payments, the team at Helcim is always happy to help.

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