Friday November 11, 2016
We are racing, uncontrollably, towards Black Friday 2016. So here at My Parcel Delivery we wanted to slam the breaks on just for a second and make sure whatever marketplace you sell on, you’re as Black Friday ready as you can be. This way, when the going gets tough on the 25th of November, your operations will work like a well-oiled machine, leaving your customers delighted. Here’s how you can prepare for the big day, so you don’t miss a single opportunity.
LEARN FROM THE PAST
Black Friday is an American phenomenon, now ‘warmly’ embraced by UK retailers and consumers alike- especially in the past two years. The post-Thanksgiving event officially marks the start of the peak period, stretching all the way through to Christmas. 2014’s Black Friday was, to put it bluntly, chaos, with shops witnessing near-riot scenes across the UK as people grappled to get their hands on heavily discounted goods. 2015 was a more sober affair with customers shifting their attention to shopping online and retailers launching their discounts and promotions earlier, to ease pressure on the day itself. Yet it didn’t pass off without its own problems as websites crashed and customers were left empty-handed. So it’s anyone’s guess what Black Friday 2016 will look like. But one thing’s for sure, if you’re running a small business online you need to be prepared. Customers are savvy and will always sniff out the best deals around, whether online or in bricks and mortar stores. The calm before the storm will soon be over.
KNOW YOUR CUSTOMERS
Understanding what motivates your customers is vital in the run-up to the busiest period of the year. Are they motivated by sale prices, product choice or delivery options? A lot of consumers, depending on age, say they are prepared to wait longer for their order if they’re happy with the discounts on offer. So, reflect on who is buying your products and think about altering your delivery options accordingly. If you usually offer next-day delivery, then why not consider extending this so the pressure on you and your couriers is eased?
PREPARATION IS EVERYTHING
Black Friday UK-style remains in its infancy, so it’s hard to predict exactly what will happen. Yet that’s not to say you can’t be prepared. We’ve identified three key points to prep for:
- Pick (or customise) your products carefully. You might struggle to offer the really big discounts that retail giants roll out. So instead why not bundle some of your products together and create gift sets? This works particularly well around this Christmas period. You could also run multi-buy offers to entice your customers. You could think about restricting sales for specific products, only offering certain products you hope will be successful. And if you can add some Christmas sparkle to any of your products and ‘Chrismasify’ them this could work wonders!
- Promote your shop. In the run up to Black Friday you can try sending marketing emails to your customers or use social media to drum up interest in your offers. Remember, many retailers will start running discounts earlier than the day itself, so consider promoting this in any emails or posts you send.
- Call in recruits. Finally, you should be prepared to work around the clock, if you have to. And if you’re a really small business without the option to get staff in on overtime, why not draft in family or friends to lend their support over this period? The rewards could be big.
YOUR PARCEL DELIVERY
Ensuring you can fulfil your customer promise importantly includes delivery options. Again, planning is key here. And not just a core plan; make a back-up plan should things go awry. Your usual couriers may not be able to meet demand, so you want the flexibility of being able to offer extra delivery services to your influx of customers. My Parcel Delivery is a great tool for comparing parcel delivery prices and giving you multiple carrier options, so if one can’t deliver, you can turn to a suitable alternative. Couriers come under great pressure during this period, dealing with much greater volumes than normal. Using multiple carriers also means you can use one courier for, say, larger products, and a different one for everything else.
Black Friday is an American import with huge potential financial rewards. With the right plans in place it could be a golden opportunity for your online store.