Black Friday. It conjures up a myriad of feelings for people. Shoppers love to brave the early morning crowds the day after Thanksgiving to snag the best gifts for their friends, family and themselves. Retailers look at Black Friday as a great opportunity to end the year on strong financial footing (in the black, as they say in the accounting realm).
If you're a pet retailer, how prepared are you, your store and your staff for the potential shopping rush? Do you offer outstanding discounts or other items to entice shoppers into your local shop rather than dashing to the big box pet stores? how can you reap the benefits of holiday shoppers this Black Friday and Cyber Monday?
10 Ways To Profit From Black Friday & Cyber Monday Sales This Year
- Plan your participation. Sure, low prices will lure customers in, but will they help or hurt your bottom line? Perhaps you have items you want to put on clearance to make space for newer, better products -- Black Friday might be the time to promote those products as Black Friday Specials -- not necessarily "everything must go" clearance items.
- Have enough staff. There is nothing that irks a customer more than shopping and having to wait in line an inordinate amount of time. Sure, they are prepared for a longer wait on Black Friday but do try to keep the lines moving along.
- Find a way to entertain shoppers. You don't have to hire dancing dogs or fuzzy kittens, but why not offer coffee or cookies while shoppers shop or wait in line. Make sure shoppers know they can bring their pets with them and that the pets will get a treat for accompanying them.
- Market your business (heavily) as the local, small business place ot be. Big boxes have big budgets with which to market their Black Friday sales, but if you're a locally owned business with a storefront see what you can do with other local business owners to make your "main street" the place to be on Black Friday.
- Have enough stock on hand. If you're promoting a particular item heavily in your Black Market promotions, have enough on hand. We realize it's not always easy to know how much of a particular item you will sell and you don't want to have so much additional stock on hand that your inventory is causing you go to into the red, but if you're promoting Product X, don't do a "bait and switch" the way some big stores do when they offer deep discount prices on televisions, but only have one in stock. If people are coming in for the sale product and you run out, consider offering a raincheck at the sale price. You may want to get them to pay, up front, and you can offer to deliver for free. Don't count on them coming back as they may buy a similar product from another retailer -- shoppers on Black Friday are seeking instant gratification.
- Market early and market often. If this is your first year or your tenth year offering Black Friday sales, start marketing now. Let shoppers who come into your store from now until Black Friday that you willl be open and you will be offering great sales! Keep reminding them so you stay on their Black Friday pet shopping radar.
- Send out a newsletter to your customers to stay front of mind for their pet shopping needs. If you don't have a newsletter list, email us for advice on how to start one and the importance of having a "list" to market to. Your newsletter list is pet business gold.
- Ensure your website is ready for Cyber Monday shoppers. Clean up any outdated products. Update prices, images and product offerings. Decide what, if any, special sales you will offer to Cyber Monday shoppers. Will you offer free shipping? Discounted prices if they input a coupon code (again, you could offer this coupon code to your newsletter subscribers). Hand out Cyber Monday coupons to in-store shoppers.
- Market your Cyber Monday sales on your social media platforms. Stay front of mind.
- Invest some marketing dollars in ads -- whether in your local newspaper or in a localized Facebook ad campaign. Decide whether you want to advertise locally with your marketing dollars or because it's an internet sale and you can ship anywhere do you want to saturate the market with your Facebook ad dollars? That's a personal marketing choice that should fit in with your current marketing strategy.
Take a deep breath and take a step back and put some time and thought into how you will capitalize on the potential shopping frenzy of Black Friday and Cyber Monday shoppers. Don't be taken by surprise. Promote the "shop local" and small business angle so you can benefit from the holiday shoppers.
What have you done in the past that has helped you with Black Friday shopping promotions? What lessons have you learned from past holiday weekend shopping promotions? Share your best tips, and your best "lessons learned" advice.