The holiday shopping frenzy is coming up, so now is the time to prepare for the Black Friday/Cyber Monday event. Here’s a checklist of things to get your eCommerce store ready.
#1. Organize Your Sale Inventory
People shop for bargains on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, so you’ll need to organize the inventory you want to highlight. Consider your most popular gifts and inventory you want to move. Make sure you have plenty of inventory of your hottest sellers.
Also, prepare all gift cards, gift baskets, and bundle deals you plan to offer.
#2. Develop Your Ad Campaigns
Begin to plan and develop the campaigns you’ll run over Black Friday at least a month in advance. Create specific campaigns for Black Friday and Cyber Monday with collateral designed for those days.
Plan and create any lead-up campaigns (including email) that will alert customers about the deals you’ll be offering.
Likewise, plan and create all retargeting campaigns that you’ll use to follow-up after the weekend passes. You can create new lists based on people who interacted with you on social, watched a video, or visited landing pages over the weekend. Extend your Black Friday deals or offer other holiday shopping choices in these ads.
#3. Prepare Your Budget
The holiday season is a period where you need to set aside a specific budget that will allow you to compete. Expect to spend more to maintain your visibility.
Because this season is so competitive, you may need to stop running general campaigns and divert budget to focus on your seasonal sales.
Run your numbers. Make sure you can run ads to the right audiences and sell your products – while still turning a profit.
#4. Audience Targeting
Analyze and segment your audiences to target your ads to high probability shoppers.
Segment campaigns running to new audiences so the demographics hit your prime targets. The Black Friday weekend is not the time to experiment with unknown audience segments, because of increased advertising costs.
Set-up and prepare your RLSA Ads and in-market audiences with Black Friday specific ads. Run some of these campaigns, along with retargeting ads, in the weeks prior to Black Friday to make people aware of the deals you’re offering.
#5. Email Campaigns
Plan an email campaign that will let people know about the deals you offer. Offer special deals to people on this list or plan a series of offers leading up to the holiday weekend. Here’s an example template:
#6. Landing Pages
Create specific landing pages that highlight all your Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals. Use bold headlines that showcase products, deals, and discounts.
Be sure to maintain strong message match between your ads and the landing page. The ad should be about your Black Friday deals, going to a landing page that has the same product/deal.
#7. Optimize Your Product Pages
For an eCommerce store running holiday campaigns, your product pages are primary content (that are often landing pages for ads).
Check your product pages and make sure all your images and descriptions are up to date. Add banners for holiday discounts or offers like free shipping.
Cross-sell with features that show additional products people can purchase:
If you have products you plan to run for your holiday deals and they don’t have any reviews, run an email campaign to elicit reviews from previous customers.
#8. Check for System Glitches
The mega-shopping of Black Friday/Cyber Monday is no time to discover that there’s a glitch in your check-out or that your shopping product feeds aren’t delivering.
Check your Google Shopping product feeds and make sure there are no errors, especially on the products you’re pushing in your holiday campaigns. Do this at least a week before you start campaigns, as it can take time to fix these issues.
Also, do a mock check-out and deal with any issues in your check-out process. Streamline the process and make sure your deals/gift cards/promotions are easy to use and functional. Ensure that your payment processing is working without issue.
#9. Competitor Analysis
Check into your competition and monitor the offers they’re making over the holidays. If you’re selling any of the same products, you may have match prices or have other special offers so your sales aren’t undercut.
#10. Check Your Fulfillment
Make sure that your order fulfillment process is dialed-in for the holiday rush.
If you do your own order fulfillment, make sure you’re staffed and ready to ship. If you struggled with this in previous years, consider hiring extra help.
In the age of 2-day free shipping, you can’t afford delays in fulfilling orders.
The biggest mistake online retailers make when it comes to Black Friday/Cyber Monday is late preparation. Hopefully, it’s mid-September and not mid-November as you’re reading this and making your plans.
With preparation, you’ll be in position to catch shoppers and entice them with your best deals. You’ll move inventory you need to sell. Your online sales process and order fulfillment will go smoothly, improving your customer’s experience and de-stressing your staff at this busy time.