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

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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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Published by Sherryl Perry

Welcome! If you're looking for help building an Internet presence that fits your needs and works for you, you're in the right place. I blog common sense articles about WordPress, social media and SEO. My goal is to help small business owners and entrepreneurs understand their core business. Together, we can develop and implement business strategies that make sense to you.

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  1. 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.

    1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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 :))

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

  6. 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!

  7. 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!

  8. 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.

  9. 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!

  10. 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!

  11. 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!

    1. 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.

  12. 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.

    1. 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.

  13. 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

    1. 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.

  14. 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!!

  15. 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 🙂

  16. 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.

      1. 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.

  17. 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 🙂

    1. 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..)

  18. Pingback: Are You Ready for Business Black Friday Weekend and Cyber Monday? | Small Biz Marketing | Scoop.it
  19. 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

    1. 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!

  20. 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

    1. 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?

  21. 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.

    1. 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.

  22. 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.

    1. 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.

  23. 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!

    1. 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. 🙂

  24. 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.

    1. 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.

  25. 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.

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

  26. 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.

    1. 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.)

      1. 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.