3 Ways to Prepare Your Online Business for Black Friday Sales

Black Friday ideas for small businesses

Black Friday is just around the corner. For eCommerce sellers in Canada, this means greeting the start of the holiday shopping rush (as our neighbours to the south work on their Thanksgiving leftovers). The holiday season has evolved into the perfect opportunity to engage with new and loyal customers. The excitement over seasonal discounts and other promotions leads consumers to seek the perfect holiday gifts for friends and loved ones — and even pamper themselves.

Most consumers used to flock to their favourite outlet, department store, or shopping centre, spending hours in line and never knowing if they’d leave the store with the prized items they showed up for. Today, whether to avoid crowds or simply because it’s more convenient, these same shoppers enjoy the convenience of eCommerce.

In 2021, Canadian consumers planned to spend around 37% of their shopping budget in eCommerce stores, up considerably from 2019 but down just slightly from 2020’s inclination (or requirement) to stay home.

But Statista also shows that the share of consumers planning to shop online for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Boxing Day increased across the board between 2020 and 2021.

These trends prove that if you’re not investing in your eCommerce storefront, you’re missing out on all the connections you could make this holiday season!

Here are the top three tips to get your online store ready for shoppers.

1. Plan your social media posts

You might remember the days when excited Black Friday shoppers would plot and map out their shopping strategy days in advance. Today, they’re more apt to browse around online and click over to an eCommerce website on a whim. In fact, Square’s 2022 Future of Retail report found that 48% of online shoppers had made a purchase on a social media platform within the previous 30 days.

That’s why it’s crucial to cultivate an active Black Friday social media presence. To ensure you don’t miss out on your own holiday plans by manually posting, plan your campaign strategy in advance. Online Business Canada reported on a study showing that consumers who receive advance notice of upcoming holiday deals (think — messaging in September) are three times more likely to make a purchase when the holidays roll around.

Use the days and weeks heading into U.S. Thanksgiving to tease your Black Friday promotions and create interest in your offerings, then schedule posts to run throughout the day. Use content marketing ideas that speak to your business’s customers and existing hashtags that are already capturing traffic, such as #BlackFriday, #BlackFridaySale, and #BlackFridayShopping, to be part of the conversation.

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2. Reach out to existing customers

Get into the holiday spirit by giving gifts to your loyal customers. Black Friday is an ideal opportunity to thank them for being part of your journey with an exclusive surprise deal, such as an extra discount.

Other promotional ideas for existing customers can include “double discounts” — giving them a certain percentage off on a current and future purchase or a buy-one-get-one deal that makes them feel rewarded. You can also enlist the power of social sharing with an incentive for recommending you to their networks, like 10% off their next purchase or a special “influencer” gift for their shout-outs and loyalty. Even if your business has a small marketing budget, you can still reach your customers in meaningful ways.

3. Convert bargain buyers to return customers

Yes, customers might have been enticed by a Black Friday sale, but savvy eCommerce retailers give them reasons to keep coming back with relevant and timely content.

Take advantage of their excitement and interest by capturing their contact information and adding them to your email list for future communications. Offer them a reward for opting in, such as a small discount on a future purchase they can use after the holidays.

Then make your first communication something unique related to your product or the winter season. For example, if you sell accessories, create a fun video showing how to blend your pieces with the latest fashion trends. If you sell wellness products, send them a light-hearted article on how to make it through the holiday season without the usual stress.

As you plan your strategies to engage customers heading into this holiday shopping season, aim to surprise and delight them to keep them coming back for more — long after the upcoming Black Friday and many more holiday seasons to come.