Thanksgiving weekend is almost here, and with it the biggest online shopping weekend of the season. Black Friday and Cyber Monday brings with it millions of online shoppers looking for deals to kick off their Christmas shopping and can bring in up to 50% of your yearly revenue in just one day.

Fortune Magazine reported that Black Friday brought in $2.72 billion in eCommerce sales online last year. And before you write off Black Friday and Cyber Monday as exclusively for your American markets, Vein Active reported that the UK saw a 223% increase in Black Friday sales from 2014 to 2015 to become the biggest online shopping day of the year. This year, it’s expected to rise.

As you can see, there is no shortage of money to be made. The problem, however, is that everyone and anyone will be bombarding users with sales and promotions, and standing out from your competition is essential to ensure you are not missing out on the billions of dollars of sales conversions up for grabs.

Don’t despair. You still have time to implement creative strategies to make your online store shine. Here are some tips to get you standing out.

Start Early

Get in front of the abundance of marketing your shoppers will have access to, especially from your competitors, by starting today! Providing early Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales can jump-start your holiday sales season and ensure you a bigger piece of the sales pie. You just have to look at Amazon’s early Black Friday Deals and early Prime Day success to see that this technique wins.

Amazon Black Friday Deals

Email, Email, Email

Increase your email marketing. There is no disputing that customers’ inboxes will be slammed with all sorts of promotions, but this is one time of the year that people are actively looking for sales and promotions, so emails directing them there will be more than welcome. Start early, send a pre-Black Friday flash sale or a Cyber Monday teaser alerting them deals you’re pushing this holiday weekend.

Then on Black Friday / Cyber Monday send out reminder emails with subjects such as “Sale on Now,” or “Only Four Hours Left” to create urgency. Or why not offer a VIP email giveaway to your loyal customers?

Black Friday Emailer Idea

Free Shipping All the Way

Free shipping is a big draw card for online shoppers this time of year. If you already offer free shipping, consider adding a holiday banner to your website, front and center, to promote it even more. If you don’t offer free shipping, consider implementing it as part of your Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales promotion. To optimize and streamline free shipping for the business season, ask yourself these four questions:

  1. How can I ensure my customers receive their order on time?
  2. What shipping options are your closest competitors offering?
  3. Are your shipping cutoff dates and times enough for international and local customers?
  4. What are my shipping and fulfillment costs?

Be an Up Sell Super Star

There is no doubt that Black Friday and Cyber Monday will bring in more targeted traffic. Use that traffic to your advantage by implementing up-sell options such as adding a “You May Also Like” product section to your checkout or “Similar Products” to your product pages. This will allow customers to navigate all your products more easily and encourage them to place bigger orders.

If you don’t already have this option, adding it to your site is not as hard as you might think — there are many apps you can easily add to your online store. Just search for an up sell app in your eCommerce app store. You only have to look at Amazon’s homepage to understand the importance of product recommendations for your online store. Add that to the fact that according to infographic from Monetatate, recommendations can increase your revenue by up to 300%, improve conversions by up to 150% and help boost the average order value by up to 50%. 300% more revenue during the busiest shopping time is no small change.

Flash Deals & Extended Sales

Step into the spotlight by offering pre-Black Friday and Cyber Monday flash deal promotions. You can do this with an email blast and online marketing, announcing your early Black Friday Sale, encouraging shoppers to beat the mayhem and get their holiday deals early. This is also a great way to reward your repeat or VIP customers, by offering exclusive flash deals to get their attention and reward them before the big shopping weekend.

Alternatively, try extending the shopping day by increasing your promotion window like the below example.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday Promotion Ideas

Step Up Your Content

Now is the time to add those shopping guides I spoke about in our 7 Strategies to Make the Most of the Holiday Season blog. Promoting this on your site or through your blog, social media platforms and email will not only help you stand out from the competition and illicit customer trust through helpful relevant content, but serve as an up-sell tool as well.

Content can be in the form of articles, infographics and/or even video and can be gift ideas or guides on choosing the right product/gift for them, like this John Lewis example.

Black Friday & Cyber Monday content Ideas

Targeted Promotions

Look at your brand purchase history — what products your customers are interested in — to gauge which popular products you can segment and push. As we learnt from the Insights from $150 Million Worth of Sales, international sales increase online revenue by up to 35%, but that doesn’t mean you have to offer the same promotions. Stand out in each market by offering them what they really want.

eCommerce Sales Stats

Plan your marketing around these segments and target each specifically. For example, your US customers may buy more of one product, while your UK shoppers may be interested in another area within your niche. Adapt Black Friday and Cyber Monday promotions to offer different product deals to each segmented market, depending on the geography of your buyers.

Be Ready

Lastly, stand out by being ready for the influx of shoppers by providing the best customer service you can. Black Friday and Cyber Monday brings in a lot of traffic and sales, and one-upping your competitors on service can help turn those once-off deal shoppers into repeat yearly business. Here are some tips to ensure you are ready:

Stock Up

Look at what you sold last year, what you ran out of, trending products, and what you have a lot of stock of, to not only ensure you have enough product to sell, but help plan what products you are going to promote. There is nothing more disheartening than selling out of a fast-moving product in the middle of the busiest shopping day.

Plan Logistics

Think about your stock, your shipping capacity and the amount of orders you can process to ensure you are set up for the upcoming rush. By double checking fulfillment processes, setting out and having clear shipping time-frames and testing your checkout functions beforehand, you can ensure you are able to deliver what you promise and provide top-notch eCommerce service despite the dramatic increase in traffic.

Black Friday Marketing and Prep tips

A Black Friday checklist, from Salmon’s Black Friday 2016 eCommerce Operations Playbook.

There you have it, easy-to-implement ways how to stand out of the crowd this Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Good luck and may the sales be with you! If you are looking for more advice or tips feel free to put questions in the comments section for feedback.

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