The leaves are turning, pumpkin spice lattes are in season, and Halloween candy is in stock… It must be October!
Even though Black Friday and Christmas might feel months away, October is the perfect time to plan your campaigns and finalize photos and product descriptions for your store. In this blog, we’ll look at what you need to do this month to knock out the competition come holiday shopping season.
Wrap up Your Photo Shoots
If you read our September article, then you should already have deadlines for your photography and graphics. You want to get everything organized in October so that you have content done and ready to go. This extra lead time allows you to make any changes if you need to.
Product photos will be used on your website product pages, as well as on social media if the photos fit your usual content. Product photos can be taken on a plain, white background, or you can add a splash of colour or context that matches your brand.
Make sure your product is clear, in focus, and in the foreground—not as a background prop. Include a few angles of your product—front, back, side. If it’s a gift pack, unpack the contents so that customers can easily see what they’re buying.
If you’re working with a professional photographer, they’ll know how to make your products look their best. If you’re taking your own shots, then check out this article by Taproom designer and pro photographer Angie Webb, or Shopify’s DIY photography guide!
One common mistake is using product photos for online promotional content. While product photography needs to be clear and simple for your website, promotional photography is where your brand personality can really shine through.
How to get your promotional photography ready for social media:
1. Take photos of people using or wearing your products, having fun, showing off what the product looks like outside of a product photo.
2. Use themed images, like incorporating Christmas colors or decorations for seasonal photography.
4. Get a collection of your products together for a flat-lay, always a popular option!
Finalize Deadlines from Couriers and Suppliers
The last thing you want is to have an amazing holiday shopping season only to find you can’t ship some of your products in time. The easiest way to avoid that? Communication!
When it comes to suppliers, make sure you know their ordering deadlines and lead times for products you order. For example, if you sell T-shirts, speak to your printer to find out how long products will take and when you need to order by to meet your own deadlines. This keeps you from running out of stock and leaving your customers waiting.
And let’s not forget your shipping and delivery options. What will you offer, and how much will these cost? Speak to your chosen courier service to see if you can get a good deal. Ask them about their deadlines for the different services you’ll offer. Once you know these, set your customer order deadline about 2 days earlier to allow for last-minute orders and get it up on your website so your customers know when they need to order by to get their delivery on time.
Get Your Site Ready for Sales
OK, let’s recap. You know what you’re selling. Your product photos are ready to go. You know your deadlines. The next step is speaking to your web development team or agency to make sure they can update your website.
If you’re comfortable, you can update your photos and shipping options yourself, but having your developer on call is always a good idea in case something goes wrong. They can also optimize your site speed to make sure you’re ready for holiday traffic.
Start Planning Your BFCM Campaign
While you have the time, lay out exactly what you plan to do on social media for Black Friday Cyber Monday (BFCM) weekend. It’s a big, busy shopping weekend, and planning in advance means you can focus on getting orders out the door.
Decide what your exact offers will be for each day, including:
- Product-specific promotions (e.g. $30 down to $25 for one day only)
- Store-wide promotions (e.g. 20% off everything, 10% off accessories)
- Shipping promotions (e.g. free domestic shipping)
- Decide which day you’ll launch your campaign and announce your deals then. You can also do teasers on the days leading up to your launch.
- Decide which platforms you’ll use to focus on BFCM (e.g. promoting on Facebook, and Instagram Stories).
- Create a basic calendar including every day you’ll promote your BFCM campaign. Write the day, the platform, and a summary of content you’ll schedule.
- Outline any ongoing ads you’ll run on social media and how much you’ll spend.
This will act as a starting point for scheduling your content. Make sure the content you create and post is genuine, interesting, and engaging. BFCM campaigns fail most often when the content feels pushy or overly salesman-like. Don’t steer too far from the sort of content you usually post and that your audiences typically enjoy.
If you’re not sure what sort of content to create, research what your competitors posted around the same time last year, and what content had high levels of engagement.
Tune in next month for the latest instalment of your social media calendar!