Checklist: Black Friday, Cyber Monday Sales Success

 

By fully understanding human nature and with organizational discipline, you can take full advantage of the spending frenzy and psychology for best Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.

In order to make sure you’ll be celebrating your sales success, you must first create a happy buying environment. That means reviewing your store and Web site to attract prospects and to create happy customers.

If you’ve prepared your merchandise and cleaned your store, you’re half done in creating happy customers. Your Web site should be updated and optimized for higher sales.

cyber imagerymajestic www.freedigitalphotos.net

For Black Friday and Cyber Monday success, here are eight tips:

1. Anticipate headaches

Thoroughly check your Web site for problems. Prospects don’t like bad links, slow-loading pages, and inaccurate map and contact information.

Be on good terms with the folks at your hosting company. Prepare by getting their phone numbers just in case you need support.

If there are headaches, stay calm and poised with your customers and your support staff.

2. Make sure your channels are up-to-date

Not only must your site be ready to sell products.

Increasingly, consumers are using their smartphones for shopping so make sure you develop the best mobile Web Site). The above rules apply to your mobile site, too.

3. Talk with your prospects early

As the Black Friday and Cyber Monday events approach, Bing Ads and Google AdWords costs-per-clicks exponentially increase.

So an up-to-date email list is a cost-saving and productive tool.

The cheapest and easiest tools are Constant Contact and MailChimp.

MailChimp is one of my recommendations for free tools to market your business. Also consider Constant Contact.

Start early with consumers – sneak-pique their interest. Preview your top products and their discounts.

In addition to emails, post your offers on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

For the most-popular products, mention they sell out very fast. So create a sense of urgency and tell your customers upfront.

Offer your prospects ways to sign up for deal alerts such as in texting or emails.

4. Maximize potential for your average-order value

The primary concept to remember in order to boost your average-order value (AOV) is to plan your discounts so that in the minds of your customers you create more savings.

Create tiered offers. Once a purchase level is reached, the discount is increased. That’s why successful retailers offer 10 percent off orders of $100 or more, 15 percent off orders of $200 or more, etc.

For perceived value, discount higher-priced products more.

Be sure to check your pricing; however, so that you can maintain a healthy profit with your AOVs.

Also, remember consumers really like coupons in this economy. Create a coupon page.

Ideally, to stand out against your competitors, a landing page that lists your coupons is even better with tiered offers. Your coupons will be redeemed at a much higher rate than newspaper coupons.

For profits, don’t use daily deal sites (here’s why).

5. Two ways to create a sense of urgency

Consumers hate…hate…hate missing out on a good deal. Take full advantage of the time limits of Black Friday and Cyber Monday by creating a sense of urgency.

The three keys to success: Decreasing discounts, timers and scarcity.

Decrease your discounts as time progresses.

In other words and for example, you can start with say a 40 percent discount and decrease it a percentage point every hour or two.

Be sure to announce your discount schedule to your prospects in your mailing list.

Publicize the high-demand products and how fast they’re selling out.

6. Options if you have sellouts

You don’t have to lose sales even if you run out of products. Proactively offer viable alternatives.

If the customer really wants a certain product and isn’t in a hurry, ask for the person’s e-mail address. Offer to be in touch if the product is going to be available in the future.

7. Keep score of your site’s successes

Regularly monitor your site’s visitors’ data.

Understand your visitors’ behavior and how they use your site: Including the pages they enter and exit, how long they stay, the keywords they use to find your site, and other details.

You can also get great complimentary information if you sign up for Google Analytics.

Just as importantly, you’ll learn how and where you need to improve your site for more sales revenue.

8. Make your efforts count for the long term

Keep records that are needed for improvement, and set up a suspense file or calendar to prepare for next year.

Implement improvements so you’re in a better position to implement strategies for maximum customer loyalty and profits.

From the Coach’s Corner, more related strategies:

Is Your Web Site Losing Visitors? Best Practices to Fix the Trend — If your site’s visitor numbers are falling, there are five possible reasons. 

Tips and Why it’s Never Too Early to Plan for Q4 E-commerce — It’s never to early to get ready ASAP for Q4 online sales. 

Strategic Tips to be Web-Ready for the All-Important Q4 Sales — Data from a Bold Software survey helps businesses develop their holiday online sales strategies, according to Website Magazine. 

Marketing – Have You Considered the Potential of e-Newsletters? — There are several benefits if you include e-Newsletters in your marketing mix. The most salient is that they’re a great way to achieve top-of-mind awareness with your customers. 

How Small Businesses Can Profit from Cyber Strategies — Yes, it’s become important for small businesses to capitalize on cyber strategies for profit. 

“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”

-Benjamin Franklin

 

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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.





Photo courtesy imagerymajestic at www.freedigitalphotos.net

B2B Marketers Like the Economics of Content Marketing



The transformation began several years ago. It works fast and it’s cheap.

B2B marketers ostensibly get a satisfying return on content marketing because that’s the preferred choice for 82 percent of respondents in a survey.

“Content Marketing is now a more popular marketing tactic than search marketing, public relations, events, or print/TV/radio advertising,” wrote the study’s authors.

“Twice as many marketers now implement Content Marketing as do print, TV and radio advertising,” they asserted.

Proving to be timeless, the study, “B2B Marketing Trends 2011 Survey,” was conducted by HiveFire (which markets its software, Curata).

Naturally, the company defines content marketing: “…the creation and publication of original content, such as blog posts, photos, videos, website resource pages, case studies or white papers to enhance a brand’s visibility.”

True, the study appears to be self serving because it was sponsored by a company that helps B2B content marketers.

However, the vast numbers of companies that engage in content marketing would indicate the survey is accurate.

The respondents’ preferences:

  • 82 percent – content marketing
  • 70 percent – search
  • 68 percent – events
  • 64 percent – public relations

Respondents also indicate the most salient goals of content marketing:

  • 82 percent – engagement
  • 55 percent – driving sales

More than three fourths say their goal is to generate sales leads. 

“But they have to do it without a lot of help: working with a limited budget (28 percent) and limited staff (23 percent) were the top two marketing challenges cited by respondents,” wrote the authors. 

Why is content marketing popular? It’s economical. 

“Content marketing is an essential role in B2B strategies but half (50 percent) of content marketers dedicate less than 30% of their budgets to it,” said the authors. 

Content marketing does make sense.

The digital age has resulted in highly informed consumers. Content marketing works in branding because prospects get a sense of your business philosophy and approach, and is not costly. 

Caveats:

It doesn’t work for all sectors. If content marketing is suitable for your business, note this article: E-mail Marketing Goes Better with Social Media, Study.

And budget permitting and depending on your niche, I wouldn’t forget about traditional marketing as in business radio-TV programs or online business publications.  

From the Coach’s Corner, also see this related marketing strategies:

Best Practices to Manage Your Global Brand, Web Reputation — As you no doubt know, the digital age has brought new challenges and opportunities. Best practices are critical in order to maximize your Web presence and to manage your online reputation. The key to Internet dominance is to think integration – naturally, the first steps include a quality Web site and synching it with your social media, business listings, inbound links and other elements.

Need PR, But No Budget? Here’s How to Leverage News Media —  Yes, it’s true that increasing numbers of adults – especially the Millennials – are using social media for their news and information, and for making buying decisions. However, don’t be misled. In marketing terms, the media is still the most powerful center of influence on the planet. You, too, can benefit from PR in the media – just like Microsoft or Starbucks.

5 Vital Elements in Ammunition to Hit Your PR Targets — Even in this advanced age of the digital economy, a sound public relations program remains one of your best marketing investments. PR can give you power with an implied endorsement from the media. Even if journalists aren’t motivated to give you publicity, a strong PR campaign will help you to circumvent them.

For a Bounce in Revenue, Try Strategic Press Releases — Ever wonder why some companies are always in the news or how they succeed on the Internet? It’s a good bet they have a good PR consultant or have mastered the art of writing press releases. You can level the playing field with effective press releases. They should be part of your marketing mix. A press release that gets the attention of the media in your marketplace serves as an implied testimonial – a marvelous center of influence. But you have to make a good impression on journalists so they’ll be motivated to act on your press release instead of discarding it.

Rock in Your Marketing Messages with 5 Writing Tips — In this digital age of consumer overload, words are powerful – if they’re used strategically. The challenge is to help your prospective customers quickly understand your message. Of course, they hear and see thousands of messages everyday: Road signs; store signage; radio and TV commercials; conversations at work, home and with friends in-person or the telephone; social media; e-mails; as well as ads and articles in newspapers and on the Internet.

“I notice increasing reluctance on the part of marketing executives to use judgment; they are coming to rely too much on research, and they use it as a drunkard uses a lamp post for support, rather than for illumination.”                               

-David Ogilvy

 


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.






Online Spending Back to Economic Reality?

Dec. 5, 2010

Consumers have slowed their holiday online spending after setting a record of $16.8 billion for the first month of the all-important selling season for retailers. That’s according to research firm comScore.

comScore says the  2010 12 percent growth-rate over 2009 slowed to 9 percent after Cyber Monday’s record $1.028 billion in purchases. The spending for the next three days – $911 million, $868 million and $850, respectively – showed a clear subsiding in spending by consumers.

“We believe this softening is attributable to retailers’ heavy discounting and promotional activity during the earlier part of the holiday season [through Cyber Monday], which pulled some consumer demand forward, resulting in a mild hangover effect in the days immediately following Cyber Monday,” said comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni.”

2010 Holiday Season To Date vs. Corresponding Days* in 2009
Non-Travel (Retail) Spending
Excludes Auctions and Large Corporate Purchases
Total U.S. – Home/Work/University Locations
Source: comScore, Inc.
   Millions ($)
2009 2010 Percent Change
November 1 – December 3 $15,041 $16,803 12%
Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 25) $318 $407 28%
Black Friday (Nov. 26) $595 $648 9%
Cyber Monday (Nov. 29) $887 $1,028 16%
Week Ending Dec. 3 (Nov. 27 – Dec. 3) $4,724 $5,163 9%

*Corresponding days based on corresponding shopping days (November 2 thru December 4, 2009)

“We may see another week of this effect before late season discounts and buying by procrastinators gives the season a final spending surge,” he added.

Unfortunately, for small retailers, comScore reports most of the spending benefits the 25 largest retailers. Their revenue jumped 20 percent compared to much slower growth for small retailers. The big 25 gained 4.2 percent market share to 67.8 percent. That’s probably because they have more financial resources for promotion.

Analysis of Spending Growth Among Top 25 Online Retail Sites
Nov. 1-29, 2010 vs. Corresponding Days in 2009
Total U.S. – Home/Work/University Locations
Source: comScore, Inc.
Spending Growth Dollar Share
2009 2010
Total Retail 13% 100.0% 100.0%
Top 25 Retailers 20% 63.6% 67.8%
Small and Mid-Tail Retailers 0% 36.4% 32.2%

Social media continues to influence many shoppers, but not all, according to comScore’s survey of 500 respondents. Thirty-three percent said recommendations from friends are important to them, but 24 percent disagreed while 43 percent didn’t comment.

Q: “How much do you agree with the following statement? Recommendations from friends on social media sites are a great way to get gift ideas during the holiday season.”
November 24-29, 2010, n=503
Total U.S. – Home/Work/University Locations
Source: comScore 2010 Holiday Survey
Response Percent of Respondents
Strongly Agree 7%
Agree 26%
Neither Agree nor Disagree 43%
Disagree 9%
Strongly Disagree 15%

Consumer-product reviews followed by expert-product reviews, respectively, were influential.

But with dire unemployment news and decreased government revenue, my sense is that a tepid economy is still a factor. A combination of spending by affluent shoppers and heavy discounting are responsible for the initial online-spending growth rate. The economy is still difficult for the majority of consumers.

This also means governments at all levels need to borrow strategic planning strategies from successful businesses. It’s past time for them to adopt public policies with balanced budgets for the benefit of their constituents.

From the Coach’s Corner, for some quick tips to boost your Web-site sales, see 10 Tips to Optimize Your Web Site for Higher Sales.

Why Internet Sales Grow Faster Than Retail, Food Sales



Though still a small percentage, Internet sales continues to garner a larger share of retail sales as a result of a robust trend that started several years ago — thanks to the wealthy.

Retail and food sales barely chugged along at $422.8 billion in June 2013 for a mere monthly increase of 0.4 percent, says the U.S. Census Bureau. But non-store retailers, such as catalogs and Internet sales, jumped 13.8 percent over June 2012.

ID-100240829 podpadFor example, three years earlier:

Internet retail sales increased to an aggregate $32.9 billion in the U.S. during the second quarter of 2010, according to research firm comScore.

That was a 9 percent increase over 2009’s total, and represented the third straight quarter of increases after the previous weak sales during the downturn.

Why?

Sales were up 17 percent among households with an income of $100,000 or higher.

Consumers were spending their money the following ways:

— Consumer electronics (excluding PC peripherals)

— Computer software (excluding PC games)

— Computers/peripherals/PDAs; and books and magazines.

It’s also worth noting that retailers with multi-channels gained the most market share vis-à-vis companies with merely an online presence.

It also underscored how the affluent fared better in the Great Recession and afterward during the so-called economic recovery.

comScore released this data:

Retail E-Commerce (Non-Travel) Growth Rates
Excludes Auctions, Autos and Large Corporate Purchases
Total U.S. – Home/Work/University Locations
Source: comScore, Inc.
Quarter E-Commerce Spending ($ Millions) Y/Y Percent Change
Q1 2007 $27,970 17%
Q2 2007 $27,176 23%
Q3 2007 $28,441 23%
Q4 2007 $39,132 19%
Q1 2008 $31,178 11%
Q2 2008 $30,581 13%
Q3 2008 $30,274 6%
Q4 2008 $38,071 -3%
Q1 2009 $31,031 0%
Q2 2009 $30,169 -1%
Q3 2009 $29,552 -2%
Q4 2009 $39,045 3%
Q1 2010 $33,984 10%
Q2 2010 $32,942 9%

From the Coach’s Corner, if you’re like other businesses and want to sell more, here are related articles:

5 Strategies to Sell More from Your Web SiteTo paraphrase a line from the movie, “Field of Dreams,” it’s not always true that if you build a Web site, people will buy. These five tips work.

Why it’s Never Too Early to Plan for Q4 E-commerce — It’s never to early to get ready ASAP for Q4 online sales. Why? A study of e-commerce released in 2012 covering from November 24 to December 24, 2011, discloses some secrets you might need to know. 

How Mobile Strategies Are Most Effective with Cross-Channel Marketing — Businesses are increasingly using mobile apps to sell products, but the most successful know how best. They use cross-channel marketing tools.

11 Tips for the Best Business Mobile Web Site — If you operate a retail business, it’s increasingly important for your Web site to be easy-to-use for mobile users. The use of smartphones and tablets is skyrocketing, especially among Millennials — young adults aged 32 and under. Studies also show the majority of mobile aficionados use their devices to access the Internet.

Checklist to Create Cyber Monday Sales Success — In order to celebrate your Cyber Monday sales, you must first create a happy buying environment. That means reviewing  your store and Web site to attract prospects and to create happy customers. If you’ve prepared your merchandise and cleaned your store, you’re half done in creating happy customers.

“But economic recovery must be earned. And it will be earned by entrepreneurs and it will be earned by small businesses.”

-Jon Huntsman, Jr.

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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.

Image courtesy by podpad www.freedigitalphotos.net

Seattle business consultant Terry Corbell provides high-performance management services and strategies.