People like to complain that the day after Thanksgiving, “Black Friday,” has become an overhyped shopping sensation around the nation, but the statistics tell another story. It turns out most of us love the onset of the shopping season. According to Buzzfeed.com,

 

  • More than one in three Americans will go shopping on Black FridaySteve-Strauss--in-article-Medium.png
  • 57 percent find the experience “fun”
  • 42 percent in fact say it is their favorite day of the year to shop

Similarly, that next Monday, so called “Cyber Monday,” has also increasingly grown in popularity. According to IBM, Cyber Monday sales last year grew by more than 30 percent from the year before.

 

So, the hype is real, and so too is the opportunity. You need to be prepared for both Black Friday and Cyber Monday because whether you think so or not, they will affect your business. Customers are ready to shop.

 

Here’s how:

 

Black Friday Strategies

 

Get in a “Sales” frame of mind: Sales are the thing that lures shoppers into the malls and other stores, so get with the program if you want yours to be one of the stores that people head to.

 

Get your sale ready now, and don’t just put your overstocked, unused items on sale, instead, discount those items people like most. This will attract more customers into your store and ultimately, allow you to sell them other items that are not on sale.

 

Promote the heck out of your sale: During Black Friday and Cyber Monday, sale promotions can be found just about everywhere (i.e. on TV, in the newspaper, etc.), so you have no choice but to get your message out there too. Put signs in your store promoting your upcoming sale, plug it into your e-newsletter, and advertise it online and off.

 

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Let’s focus for a moment on your e-newsletter, because that has increasingly become the promo vehicle of choice for many small businesses. The most important thing is to make sure that your subject line really catches their attention.

 

  • Give people a reason to open your email: “25% off discount code inside!”
  • Have a great call to action: “Black Friday Blowout! Coupon inside for half-off all sweaters.”

 

Make them an offer they can’t refuse: What sort of offers work? Aside from steep discounts, consider also:

 

  • Everything on sale!”: Discounting the whole store is tough, yes, but the increased traffic should make up for it.
  • Free gift with purchase”: Remember, the two most important words in retail are “free” and “sale.” A free gift ties in with that mindset.
  • No hassle return policy”: This makes shopping with you safe

 

Also, be sure to have cheap stocking stuffers at the checkout counter.

 

Gift cards are king: Gift cards have become one of the most popular presents, so another way to increase sales and traffic into your store is to offer them in your store as well.

 

Be prepared: You better have enough stock on hand, so order from suppliers early. Also, have plenty of staff trained and scheduled to handle the rush. Do you gift-wrap? You probably should.

 

Cyber Monday Strategies

 

Get your site ready: The error-plagued rollout of the Obamacare website is an important reminder that you should test your site and have it ready for the (hopefully) increased traffic one should expect to see on Cyber Monday. Have enough bandwidth. Also, be sure to upload current product descriptions and pictures.

 

Offer brands: There are all sorts of reasons to promote brands on your site and have brand discounts on Cyber Monday: People love name brands, they love discounts on brands, and brands lend your site credibility.

 

Get your site mobile ready: Both your site and your email promotions must have the smartphone in mind, because more and more, that is how people are shopping online.

 

Offer free shipping: The Internet is a culture of free and discounts, so if you want to play there, you have to keep that in mind. People expect to find discounts online, and they often expect free shipping. Usually, online merchants will offer free shipping with an order of a certain amount, but also consider free shipping on any order of any amount.

 

Promote it: E-newsletters, blogging, pay-per-click, Facebook contests and promotions – there are no shortages of ways to get the word out.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are huge opportunities but only if you are ready. My suggestion is to get ready now.

 

How have you prepared your business in the past for Black Friday and Cyber Monday? Share your story below.

 

About Steve Strauss

Steven D. Strauss is one of the world's leading experts on small business and is a lawyer, writer, and speaker. The senior small business columnist for USA Today, his Ask an Expert column is one of the most highly-syndicated business columns in the country. He is the best-selling author of 17 books, including his latest,The Small Business Bible, now out in a completely updated third edition. You can listen to his weekly podcast, Small Business Success, visit his new website TheSelfEmployed, and follow him on Twitter. © Steven D. Strauss.

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