Black Friday and Cyber Monday Sales Tactics

Black Friday. Seldom are two words so effective in eliciting the sort of deal scouring, product craving craze that would entice a person to employ items like a tent and sleeping bag—not to mention a few ill-intentioned elbows—in their holiday shopping efforts . . . but these two do. Throw the words “Cyber Monday” into the mix, and we’re talking all out mania.

A Little History (No Pilgrims Necessary)

Since the 1950s, stores have been taking advantage of a consumer’s willingness to “pregame” for the holiday spending spree by offering huge discounts on their top-selling items, from electronics to this season’s hottest boots. Once online shopping became an option for the average buyer, Cyber Monday was added as a bookend to the weekend, and a four-day-long sales event was born. While both days now boast online and brick-and-mortar sales, each is still primarily seen as its own especially distinct day for a certain kind of shopping. Hence, Black Friday will usually see higher sales in stores, while Cyber Monday wins by a landslide in online sales between the two days.

Last year, CNN reported that Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales reached an all-time high for ecommerce in the history of our nation (a 16% increase from 2014, to be exact). Literally half of America shops on Cyber Monday alone . . . that’s over 150 million people on their smart phones and tablets begging you to sell them something. Consumers spent almost $800 million on Cyber Monday last year, with social media topping one million mentions of the shopping extravaganza across various platforms. In other words: your potential customers are ready to spend, and they are excited to do it.

With this amount of enthusiasm and free advertising, there isn’t a business on the planet that wouldn’t take advantage of such easy pickin’s—so you’ve got to make sure you get in there, stand out from the crowd, and make the best of the yearly craze that has Americans glued to their phones between bird bastings from coast to coast.

Recipe for Success

Half the battle when it comes to maximizing your ecommerce effectiveness during the post-Thanksgiving buying splurge is understanding the trends of the market.

Spending tendencies – Even though the number of people sprinting to your stores and websites during these days has increased steadily over the past few years, retail trackers have noticed an almost perfectly indirect correlation to the amount that consumers are willing to spend in a single order (down to $123 from $198 on average from 2011 to 2015). What does this mean? Buyers have come to expect amazing deals on these days, and they’re not going to settle for anything less. Black Friday and Cyber Monday shoppers have gotten used to seeing 20% discounts and higher on these days (21.5% on average), so you’ll need to base your weekend discounts on this information if you don’t want to end up feeling like a turkey.

Demographics – While a majority of the shopping on both of these days is done by women, there are major differences in the demographic trends between the two: 1) Black Friday buyers tend to be unmarried working women in their early 20’s who live with their parents and shop in stores, and; 2) Cyber Monday buyers tend to be working women in their 30’s who own their own home, have children, and base their purchasing decisions on price as opposed to brand.

Yes, both days are full of customers who lie outside of these (very) specific groupings, but knowing this information should at least partially affect some of your marketing decisions. For example, more esoteric brands may want to focus their efforts on Cyber Monday when they know they can beat out competitors’ prices, whereas big-brand department stores will want to target their sales on electronics and other big-ticket items for Black Friday. Additional research has shown that market trends match these demographic trends, with electronics and appliances topping out in sales on Black Friday, while clothes and personal items tend to sell better on Cyber Monday.

Habits – Shopping at work has become so popular during this time, that some companies have even begun setting aside specific hours of the work day during which they allow employees to surf for goods online. Take advantage of this knowledge by timing your Cyber Monday email blasts to hit when people will see them at the top of their inbox, rather than buried fifty or sixty emails deep.

Stuff the Competition

Local business boost – One trick you can use to boost visibility and take advantage of a boss’s need to please his employees during the holidays is to offer online sales to specific businesses at a given time and day. This is an especially good option for local businesses who want to get their name out there into the community. The idea here is to contact the business ahead of time to set up a specific discount code that will allow any employees of a given company to access your best deals. This makes them feel special while creating a sense of urgency (if they don’t get it then, they’ll miss out!).

Social media – Take advantage of the wildfire effect Facebook and Twitter can offer by spreading your product news with hard-punching graphic ads promoting your best discounts. For more on the best ways to style your social media ads, check out our other articles on B2C marketing and social media strategies!

Think outside the Black Friday box – Promote sales for early birds beginning the week of Thanksgiving to help beat the rush and avoid getting lost amongst the onslaught of email blasts consumers will be sifting through Thursday through Monday. Want to keep those sales going strong right through the holiday season? Reward customers who make purchases during Black Friday and Cyber Monday by offering discounts on your products in the final weeks leading up to Christmas and New Year’s Eve, when many people are still seeking last-minute deals. That’s the kind of second helping you can both benefit from.

Adjust your focus – This is a good time to substitute subscription efforts with opportunities to offer additional discounts and push your products. While the holiday season is a great time to boost your subscribership and foster customer loyalty, these two days—read: the whole weekend—are not a good time to hassle busy and frenzied consumers with brand marketing. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are made for bargain shoppers who are looking for the best price and little else. Use your banners and pop-ups wisely with that in mind, and replace that invitation to subscribe to emails with an incentive to share on social media or invite friends to participate in the sale!

NOTE: To get even more out of your holiday marketing strategy, watch for our upcoming article on boosting sales during the holiday season . This includes many key factors on ensuring efficient and effective ecommerce techniques during such a crucial time for online (and brick-and-mortar) businesses, such as implementing free shipping and making sure your website is ready to handle the pending influx of traffic.

What tips and tricks do you have for kicking the cranberry out of Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales?