Christmas in July: How to Begin Preparing for Black Friday/Cyber Monday Right Now

| By Shannon McFarlane

Christmas in July: How to Begin Preparing for Black Friday/Cyber Monday Right Now

Did you know that most major retailers will start buying stock and preparing for the holiday season in July? While most people start shopping for Christmas in November, retailers around the world spend the months leading up to the holidays preparing their offerings, working out pricing, planning promotional activity, and more.

Businesses of all sizes can take advantage of the huge sales opportunities during Black Friday/Cyber Monday (BFCM). In 2017 US consumers spent $19.6 billion over the big weekend, and $1 billion of that was spent with Shopify merchants! And we’re here with our new series of blogs to make sure you’re ready to nab yourself a slice of that BFCM pie.

Research & Plan Your Offering

A big downfall for many eCommerce businesses in the run-up to BFCM is a lack of planning. Not putting the right amount of time into researching what you actually intend to do for BFCM means that you end up throwing something together at the last minute.

At this stage, you should ask yourself a few important questions:

  • What promotion did you do last year? Was it successful? What could be improved?
  • What products or discounts did you offer? What was popular?
  • What did your competitors do for promotion and products?

From here, you can start to look at what products you plan to have available for BFCM, the standard pricing for those products, and what discounts you plan to offer. Things to consider as part of this:

  • Will your entire inventory be on offer or just certain categories?
  • Will it be a site-wide reduction, or will customers require a code?
  • Will you have the same discount/offer the entire weekend?

You can then start to forecast your inventory requirements and look at when you’ll need to order stock. Keep in mind that the closer to the holidays you get, the longer lead times will be from your suppliers as more businesses order from them.

Bonus Tip: If you work with B2B companies that create gift packs or sell your products, then inquire now as to what their plans are for BFCM and pitch products to them that could be included from your brand.

Decide What External Help You Will Require

Whether you need banners designed, an update to your website, email marketing templates, or new photography, bear in mind that if you’re thinking about BFCM, so are lots of other businesses. Therefore, whoever you work with will be getting busier and busier, and you want to make sure you’re booked in with plenty of time to get the work done.

What sort of work might you need completed?

  • Photography – new product offerings, specific BFCM photography, Christmas photography
  • Graphic Design – banners for your website and social media, animated gifs for advertising, promotional imagery
  • Web Development – updates to your website, assistance in preparing your website, installing any new apps that will help with BFCM
  • Social Media – if you don’t have someone on your team dedicated to social media, you may need help planning the campaign for BFCM
  • Email Marketing – campaign templates and planning, execution
  • SEO – having an audit done to make sure your website is primed to catch people’s attention on search engines

Making inquiries now will give anyone you bring on time to properly research, plan, and execute your holiday season strategy.

(Psst! If you feel like getting any of this work done, we offer all these services at The Taproom!

Decide What Work You Want Done to Your Site

Believe us when we say, you need to get your website organized as soon as possible. If you want to change your theme entirely, redesign your site, or make any other significant changes, then you’ll want those changes completed well in advance of BFCM. This gives you and your developer time to make sure your site is functioning perfectly, and you don’t run into any surprise bugs during the big sales weekend. We recommend you’re done making changes to your store’s theme by no later than the first week of November.

Developers do get very busy in the run-up to the holidays, so make sure you’re in their schedule and on their radar as soon as possible.

Be sure to keep an eye on our blog and social media where we’ll be posting regularly about what you need to do in the months and weeks leading up to BFCM!


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