Are You Ready for Business Black Friday Weekend and Cyber Monday?

by Sherryl Perry on November 24, 2013

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The holiday season is a great time to sell products and services. According to a survey conducted by the National Retail Federation, the average person will complete about 39.5% of their holiday shopping online. (up from 38.8% last year). Additionally, Shop.org, (the digital division of NRF), is forecasting that online holiday sales will increase between 13% and 15% to as much as $82 billion during the months of November and December. So what does that mean to online marketers? How can we make the most of our websites to gain a piece of this eCommerce?

Thanksgiving is the New Black Friday

According to the Adobe Digital Index 2013 Online Shopping Forecast, competition for consumer spending will be especially fierce this year. Some of the highlights of Adobe’s “Online Shopping Forecast” are:

  • Thanksgiving will be the fastest-growing online shopping day in 2013. (up 21%)
  • Six fewer shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year is predicted to result in a potential cut of $1.5 billion dollars in potential online sales.
  • Online sales this shopping season are expected to grow by 12%.
  • Over the past three years, Thanksgiving Day online sales have grown faster than any other
  • If the Thanksgiving day trend continues, it is predicted that (within the next 5 years) retailers are expected to sell more online on Thanksgiving Day than on Black Friday.
  • It is predicted that retailers will transact more than 20% of their online sales via mobile devices.

Note: CMO.com is Adobe’s “content” site which provides digital marketing news and insight for senior marketing executives around the globe. “Adobe’s predictions come from analysis of 450 billion visits to 2,000-plus retail Web sites during the past seven years and a survey of thousands of consumers around the world.”

Adobe Digital Index 2013 Online Sales prediction

Adobe Digital Index 2013 from “Thanksgiving is the New Black Friday” published on www.cmo.com.

Ideas for Preparing Your Website for the Holidays

Here are a few random ideas that I have either tried myself or have garnered from others. (Please use the comment section to add your own suggestions. In the holiday spirit, lets share.)

  • Add a holiday specific product or service.
  • Incorporate holiday graphics into your emails and newsletters.
  • Add a holiday graphic to your blog/website and Facebook page.
  • Make your website mobile-friendly. (I use the WPtouch plugin for WordPress.)
  • Consider offering free shipping.
  • If you offer a service, promote gift certificates.

PPC (Pay-Per-Click Advertising)

One of the things that I want to remind everyone to not  forget is PPC (Pay-Per-Click Advertising). I’ve written a series of posts before on PPC (Pay-Per-Click Advertising) and I still maintain that it can be a very affordable and effective method of advertising. Don’t be afraid to try it. You just need to keep in mind a few basics (which I’ve covered before and will again).

So, over to you. Do you run special promotions around the holidays? What tips and ideas can you share? Have you thought about running a special holiday promotion for a product or service?

Note: This article was originally published in November of 2011 and has been updated to reflect data from the 2013 holiday season.

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Catarina
Twitter:
November 26, 2013 at 11:33 am

Bying online is something we do more and more. Why do I have to pay twice as much for vitamins in a store as online? And the online price includes being sent from the UK to Sweden.

It’s really sad for retailers since they have a tough time. Rents are getting higher and higher and customers are in decline. Shops hence have to start providing that little extra if they want customers to keep on coming. A sour shop assistant should become a thing in the past. Some attraction such as fitness assessment in a health food store will be needed in order to get the upper hand on their competitors.
Catarina recently posted..Will JFK & Jackie always be icons?My Profile

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
November 27, 2013 at 12:52 pm

Catarina, You bring up a great point about shop owners needing to provide a little extra. A fitness assessment in a health food store is an excellent suggestion.

It is sad to see stores closing because of the online prices. We try to patronize local stores when possible but other than a stack of DVDs (that were on sale at a very competitive price), we almost always immediately go to eBay for our technology needs. It’s unfortunate but we can usually buy storage media and electronic “gizmos” at a fraction of the price that we’d find it at our local Best Buy (basically the only computer store left in this area). Then again, Best Buy is starting to be more competitive. So, maybe the tide will swing a little.

As always, thanks for dropping by and adding to the conversation.

Susan Cooper
Twitter:
November 24, 2013 at 6:30 pm

It’s the simplest things that can catch someone’s attention, isn’t it? This is a very good reminder of some things I should doing right now. I work so hard to help others I sometimes forget to do that for myself. Thank you for the extra push.
Susan Cooper recently posted..Lessons From An Ordinary Life: AnnouncementMy Profile

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
November 24, 2013 at 8:05 pm

Thanks for letting me know that it was the little push that you needed Susan. Good luck and thanks for dropping by!

Warren March 14, 2012 at 8:48 am

When you offer promotions or discounts it’s also worth publishing a press release to advertise it. This should attract extra people to your site.

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
March 14, 2012 at 6:51 pm

Warren, I agree with you that it’s good to mix traditional marketing strategies with online marketing strategies. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..How to Balance Traditional and Social Marketing StrategiesMy Profile

Stan December 29, 2011 at 10:31 am

These few days every year remind me how exciting shopping can be. It’s not really about the low prices, it’s the feeling you get.
Well, i usually always get bankrupt these days from buying useless things, but that’s another story :))

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
December 29, 2011 at 5:15 pm

🙂 It is tempting to buy things that you didn’t know you needed or wanted because it’s such a good deal.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..End of the Year Recap – a Time to ReflectMy Profile

Cheolsu December 3, 2011 at 6:29 pm

Hi Sherryl, Very good websites ideas. I should try to use some of these ideas for the next holiday season.

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
December 3, 2011 at 8:37 pm

Hi Cheolsu,
Thanks for letting me know that you found some of the ideas helpful. Good luck with them if you try them.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Utilizing Social Media to Build Brand Awareness and AuthorityMy Profile

Dennis Salvatier
Twitter:
November 29, 2011 at 4:47 pm

Great post and great ideas. I especially liked your website ideas. It’s those extra little things that make a big difference (holiday graphics). I’m going to make some of these changes thanks to your post!
Dennis Salvatier recently posted..How John Cusack Helped Me Deal with Design RejectionMy Profile

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
December 2, 2011 at 10:08 am

I’m so glad you endorse the idea of using holiday graphics Dennis. I’ll be over to you site to check it out.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Utilizing Social Media to Build Brand Awareness and AuthorityMy Profile

Neeraj Sachdeva
Twitter:
November 29, 2011 at 5:02 am

Hey Sherryl,

Appreciate the statistics at the beginning of your post. Online shopping is really picking up, though I have been told that it is more common in U.S and EU than in Asia (slow to catch up!)

I think the idea about using a relevant graphic is quite important, as it can be an attractive factor for a casual visitor. If anyone could mimic google in catering for numerous festive days for its international audience, I think they will make strong headway in eCommerce.

Anyway, thanks for the read!

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
November 29, 2011 at 11:48 am

Hi Ninja,
Thanks for weighing in on this! I confess to being a statistic junkie of sorts. 🙂
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Where Does Your Website Traffic Come From?My Profile

Jeannette Paladino
Twitter:
November 28, 2011 at 11:43 pm

Sherryl — It’s like the shoemaker’s shoes with holes in the soles. I suggested a blog to a client tied to the holiday season, which I wrote. But I didn’t think to write one for myself. Thanks for the reminder!
Jeannette Paladino recently posted..PRSA Uses Crowd Sourcing for New Definition of Public RelationsMy Profile

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
November 29, 2011 at 11:37 am

That’s a great analogy Jeannette! I often say that I’m going to schedule time for myself as a client but it never seems to happen.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Does Your Klout Score Fit Into Your Social Media Strategy?My Profile

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
November 28, 2011 at 8:13 pm

There are so many great apps to help shoppers make their buying decisions. One of my favorites is the app that you can use to locate the least expensive price in the area just by scanning the bar code. Then, Google maps will show you how to get there. Even better is if you’re in a store that will price match. Retail has become even more competitive now than it used to be.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..4 Tips to Creating Successful Google AdWord Pay Per Click PPC AdsMy Profile

bill austin howe
Twitter:
November 28, 2011 at 7:01 pm

Interesting and informative as always. Someday I will get to the place where all this will be useful. Meanwhile, I stay away from all the hype of the “giving” season. I give of myself all the time because that is what fills me with joy. The rest is just stuff!

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
November 28, 2011 at 8:15 pm

You are a “giver” in many ways Bill. By reading your blog, I know this to be true.

Anna November 28, 2011 at 3:39 pm

You are so right that all kind of media (internet, tablets and smartphone) are irreplaceable in today’s life. And we must use all these and take advantage of them in order be more successful!

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
November 28, 2011 at 8:14 pm

It’s definitely a more competitive environment than it was years ago. It’s a global marketplace in many ways.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Does Your Klout Score Fit Into Your Social Media Strategy?My Profile

Trish
Twitter:
November 26, 2011 at 10:32 pm

Sherryl, My blog isn’t really geared toward sales (other than my book) but I did sign up with Google’s Adsense. I’ll have to read up on that from you as it just seems to take up space and not do anything. 🙂 I am one of the Black Friday shoppers but I’m in it more for the fun experience with my daughter (although if there’s any more pepper spraying incidents, we’ll definitely move to 100% online shopping!). I do love how your commenters add so much to your post. Always a good read. Thanks!
Trish recently posted..Giving ThanksMy Profile

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
November 27, 2011 at 11:24 am

Trish, I know some people make money with AdSense ads but I am not a fan. I much prefer to see affiliate ads where (hopefully) the blogger has vetted the vendor and believes in the product. Personally, I have much less trust and respect for AdSense ads. It’s a matter of opinion but your readers know and trust you. You know your audience. If you wanted to add ads, you could hand select a few products that you believe in and become affiliates for them. Something to keep in mind (and you probably already know this) is that e-products tend to offer much higher commission rates than physical goods.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Tips for Optimizing Photos and Graphics for Your BlogMy Profile

Leonor Miller November 26, 2011 at 11:24 am

Yes, I do special promotions during holiday season. I send out newsletters to customers to promote the products that will be sold the most during holiday season. I also have special discounts for regular customers.

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
November 26, 2011 at 4:55 pm

Hi Leonor,
Do you have any tips that you can share with us? I’d be interested in knowing if you choose the products that you promote based upon what sold during the same time period the prior year. Also, do you include any special pricing or offer something that you normally wouldn’t like free shipping? Any insight that you could offer us would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Community Building and Having an Online Support SystemMy Profile

Judy Stone-Goldman
Twitter:
November 25, 2011 at 7:57 pm

I haven’t done anything holiday themed or directed to Black Friday, but I want to keep an open mind about growing in the future, so I read this with interest. I have some negative feelings about the whole Black Friday thing and the frantic holiday shopping rush, but I also want to live in reality! I read the e-mail specials I get, so I can’t say I’m unaware. Maybe in the future there will be a place for this for me.

Judy Stone-Goldman
The Reflective Writer
Personal-Professional Balance Through Writing

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
November 26, 2011 at 8:57 am

Judy, I honestly haven’t incorporated these tips into my blog yet. I think most of my suggestions lend themselves more to bloggers and business people who are promoting products. There are definitely opportunities to build excitement through the use of seasonal graphics and messaging.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Tips for Optimizing Photos and Graphics for Your BlogMy Profile

Mike Martin November 25, 2011 at 9:50 am

Great post, Sherryl. I hadn’t really thought about trying to upsell on the holidays but now you’ve got me thinking. Maybe a sale of my book as a Christmas present. Or maybe even bookmarks etc. Thanks!!

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
November 25, 2011 at 11:09 am

Books make great presents Mike! good luck. You still have a couple of days to get something up for Cyber Monday. 🙂
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Want Ideas to Promote a Niche Ecommerce Site With A Blog?My Profile

EleonoraEOF November 24, 2011 at 9:19 pm

Hello Sherryl,
tahks for the post, very informative and great tips. I agree with you that it is a great idea to incorporate holiday graphics into our emails and newsletters in order to prepare our website for the Holidays. Christmas is coming, and its better i start searching for some Santa pics 🙂

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
November 25, 2011 at 11:07 am

Hi Eleonora,
There is an attraction to using Christmas pics and graphic in our blog posts too. I’m sure I’ll be searching soon too.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Does Your Klout Score Fit Into Your Social Media Strategy?My Profile

Claire November 24, 2011 at 9:59 am

I’m not a fan of crowds, especially when they make you feel like running in a battle royal marathon. So i guess i’ll stick to online purchases this year too, i have my eye set on a few domains which should prove useful in the near future.

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
November 25, 2011 at 11:02 am

What a great idea to buy domain names for gifts. Would these be gifts for yourself or someone else?
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Want Ideas to Promote a Niche Ecommerce Site With A Blog?My Profile

Claire November 29, 2011 at 12:17 am

Why not both? At that price… though it’s difficult buying something like this for other people, you have no way of knowing if they’ll like the name and the niche.

Shy
Twitter:
November 24, 2011 at 1:16 am

Hi, Sherryl! With the high rise of online stores and businesses, shopping has indeed been brought to a higher level. I agree that most people will shop for the holidays online, as it is more convenient – no need to fall in line and get lost in the shopping rush. I don’t have an e-commerce site but I will definitely be doing some of my holiday shopping online 🙂

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
November 25, 2011 at 10:58 am

As long as we keep our computers protected with updates, virus protection and ant-spamware, I can’t think of a reason not to shop online. (Although, I admit there’s a certain attraction to being able to actually touch and feel the product before buying. I actually mix online and in stores – especially when it comes to supporting local businesses and let’s not forget local holiday craft fairs..)
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Could Your Business Survive if Something Happened to You?My Profile

Franziska San Pedro
Twitter:
November 23, 2011 at 9:36 pm

Hi Sherryl,

I am not into the whole holiday thingy either (especially the insane Black Friday shopping) BUT I am a business owner and it is what it is, the holiday season provides the best sales’ opportunities and I am planning to offer 20% off on all my products this Friday.

Your suggestions are awesome and I loved the statistics you provided. This year, I am going to support my dear friend Jen Duchene and get her book “Le Chic Cocoon” for all of my friends and of course, I will order them online -no running around for me 🙂

Thanks for the great list, as always spot on!!

Franziska San Pedro
The Abstract Impressionist Artress

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
November 25, 2011 at 10:55 am

Franziska,
Thanks so much for your kind words. I’ll have to pop over to your site and check out your 20% off offer. That’s wonderful that you’re supporting your friend by buying and giving her book as a Christmas gift. Great idea!
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Tips for Optimizing Photos and Graphics for Your BlogMy Profile

Heidi Alberti & Atticus
Twitter:
November 23, 2011 at 2:03 pm

I don’t have an e-commerce site, but for those who do these are great suggestions. And I wish all you small business owners Huge success this Small Business Saturday! I loathe the consumerism of Black Friday and never participate. But I will spend some dollars with local merchant and small online companies this weekend. We vote with our spending dollars, and I vote for independent, small businesses!

Happy Thanksgiving to you, Sherryl.

Heidi & Atticus

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
November 23, 2011 at 2:40 pm

Hi Heidi,
I second your feelings about consumerism. I love the email that’s been going around with suggestions for gift giving that includes supporting our local businesses. As the email says, who doesn’t need to get their hair cut?
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Tips for Optimizing Photos and Graphics for Your BlogMy Profile

Ileane
Twitter:
November 23, 2011 at 9:03 am

Great suggestions Sherryl! I need to dig out my Santa hat and update my profile pic in a few places to keep the spirit going. Hesham decided to do a Black Friday offer on his Thesis blogskins and I added a bonus deal for my readers. It’s just a small way of showing my readers how much I appreciate them. I think I’ll try to incorporate a few more of your tips before the year is out. Thanks.
Ileane recently posted..Thesis Awesome Blogskin Black Friday SaleMy Profile

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
November 23, 2011 at 12:11 pm

Ileane,
Did you wear a Santa hat online last year? Either I vaguely remember it or I can just picture it. 🙂

Hesham always does a great job with his offers. I don’t invest a lot of money into my blog but I have purchased blogskins for Thesis through him before. 50% off is a great deal. Thanks for sharing the link. I’ll have to go back and do some shopping for myself.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..4 Tips to Creating Successful Google AdWord Pay Per Click PPC AdsMy Profile

Online Strategies
Twitter:
November 23, 2011 at 7:44 am

Instead of running a full-fledged ecommerce site, why not an affiliate site that frees from you all the hassles of managing the complexities of an ecommerce site.

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
November 23, 2011 at 12:03 pm

Mini 1-page sites to promote affiliate products are a great example of simple ecommerce sites. These are the type of sites that I most often see spruced up for the holidays. I often tell clients that they don’t need to spend a lot of money to add ecommerce to their site. PayPal is definitely an affordable option.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Tips for Optimizing Photos and Graphics for Your BlogMy Profile

Audrey November 23, 2011 at 5:16 am

My friend started to check out black friday deals and seems like she was able to get a great deal for a wonderful HP printer. It’s absolutely cheap and great features as well. No doubt, many people will surely enjoy this upcoming celebration!

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
November 23, 2011 at 11:59 am

Audrey, When my children were young, I used to be one of the moms that set the alarm for 4am and was waiting for the doors to open. Now, I find many of the same deals online on Black Friday and I wait with anticipation for Cyber Monday. 🙂
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Is Your Blog Your Business or Do You Blog to Promote Your Business?My Profile

Susan Oakes
Twitter:
November 22, 2011 at 10:32 pm

Good suggestions Sherryl and themed promotions can work well especially if they are integrated online and offline. One thing I would add if a company is going to have special offers is to do the sums first before settling on a price. The reason for this is to make sure you know the extra volume you have to sell at the reduced price.
Susan Oakes recently posted..Business Ideas From Yellow And Blue BagsMy Profile

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
November 23, 2011 at 11:57 am

Susan, Thanks so much for reminding us to always keep pricing in mind. We don’t want to be so aggressive that we’re giving away the store.

Your comment reminds me that we need to not over promise too. I wouldn’t want to promote an offer that created a demand that I couldn’t fill. That could severely harm my reputation. As always, I appreciate your comment.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Want Ideas to Promote a Niche Ecommerce Site With A Blog?My Profile

Catarina Alexon
Twitter:
November 22, 2011 at 11:31 am

Sherryl you are so right that people are increasingly buying online. Even in countries like Saudi Arabia.

There are lot’s of things online companies can do for the holidays. Your suggestions are good. I will however not add a holiday graphic to my blog:-) But many bloggers and online businesses would benefit from doing so.

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
November 22, 2011 at 12:33 pm

Catarina, If I went to your blog and saw a holiday graphic, I might think your site had been hacked. 🙂 It certainly would not fit.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Want Ideas to Promote a Niche Ecommerce Site With A Blog?My Profile

Arjun Rai January 16, 2012 at 1:44 am

I agree with you Catarina, people are increasingly buying online and this going to be more in future.

Steve
Twitter:
November 22, 2011 at 10:06 am

Hi Sherryl.
As I think I have mentioned before, I deal largely with SME’s and one message that I always try to get accross to them is this.
Even if people don’t buy directly from the website it does not mean that your website has not made a big influence on them to buy from you.
There are countless people who for whatever reason do not buy online but do use the web to research products and services before going instore to make their purchase.
Presenting your business well online will often put you at the front of the que when these wary consumers go shopping.
Steve recently posted..Get Crafty With FaceBook MarketingMy Profile

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
November 22, 2011 at 12:32 pm

Steve, I just read your post “Get Crafty With FaceBook Marketing” and that is a great strategy! (I hope everyone here checks it out when they get a chance.)

I admit that I neglect my FaceBook business page but this is a great idea for someone who is trying to build excitement over a product or service. – (I’m off to share your article.)
Sherryl Perry recently posted..4 Tips to Creating Successful Google AdWord Pay Per Click PPC AdsMy Profile

Steve
Twitter:
November 22, 2011 at 4:23 pm

Hi Sherryl.
Glad you enjoyed the article. It is a neat little trick and one that has proved to be very effective for a number of my clients. Just a simple idea that plays right into the hands of human nature.
Thank’s for your kind words and also for the FB like.
Steve recently posted..Promoting A Local Business On FaceBookMy Profile

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