Prepping Your Business for Black Friday & Cyber MondayBy Erin Pearlman
In 2016, consumers spent nearly $7 billion on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. With consumers hungry for good deals, an influx of orders could be coming your way. Is your business prepared? Below we cover 10 steps your business can take to stay organized, sane, and open during the holiday season.
1. Stock Up on Product Inventory
You may experience double or triple the sales you'd normally see in a month. Many times, small business owners don't make their product until the order comes through. With big shopping holidays like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, it could be beneficial to pre-produce your offerings. This will speed up your fulfillment process and help take some of the stress out of your holiday.
Before making excess of every product you offer, though, evaluate your sales in the months and year(s) prior. What's your top-selling item? Are you discounting one item above the rest? Use these strategic questions to decide what inventory is worth over-producing.
2. Spend on Advertising
Many people begin their holiday shopping online. Ramping up your advertising spend on Google, Etsy, or Amazon in preparation of the holidays could help build awareness of your brand and product. Then, when it's time to buy, you'll be top of mind.
If you're not selling on other online marketplaces, this article may help you decide which ones (if any) are right for you.
3. Take Inventory of Your Packing Supplies
Analyze what other supplies are needed to fulfill your orders. Besides the products themselves, do you need packing tape, tissue paper, shipping labels, shopping bags, etc? Having your product on-hand does you no good if you run out of the essentials to complete orders.
4. Organize Your Inventory
There's more to fulfilling orders than just having your supply on-hand. With product building up in your home or stockroom, it can be hectic trying to find what you're looking for at the drop of a hat. Try labeling shelves or boxes to help direct you and your team where to find an item, group items based on relevant categories like size or color, create a spreadsheet with your inventory count, or label each individual product. If you're making candles for example, adding labels to differentiate your berry candles from cinnamon ones could speed up the process and reduce the risk of mix-ups.
5. Staff Up
Seasonal employees are in high demand, and many are lining up for the opportunity. According to the National Retail Federation, more than 675,000 seasonal positions open during the holidays. Start early so your team is trained and well-versed in the tasks and products at-hand. College students, neighborhood teenagers, and staffing agencies are great resources.
Note: This step doesn't just apply to businesses with brick and mortar storefronts. While retailers with a local presence may need to hire additional salespeople, ecommerce business owners should consider hiring a team to help pack and ship products.
6. Update Your Website
Make sure your website is accurate and up to date. This includes rereading your product descriptions, retaking photos, and double-checking holiday hours and pricing. Websites with accurate information tell customers your company is active, engaged, and ready to handle their business.
Take your website preparations a step further and make sure you're optimized for mobile use. People are turning to their smartphones more and more. When they're searching for your product or business, you want to be ready.
7. Consider Gift & Gift-Wrap Options
The holidays are a busy time for everyone. Buying, wrapping, and sending presents takes time. It may make your brand and products more attractive to potential customers if you can take that added stressor away. Whether you're in-store or online, consider offering gift tags, gift receipts, and gift wrapping options for an additional charge. The added convenience might just be worth that slight upcharge.
Want to add a custom flair to your wrapping paper? Read this article on DIY Christmas gift wrap.
8. Record Your Sales Numbers
The last thing you want is to spend your valuable time searching your stock room for a product based on wrong numbers reported by your inventory system. We recommend creating or adding an inventory management system to your business with barcodes. Having definitive numbers will help your business with the holiday rush next year, too.
Learn more about barcoding for small business.
9.Be Active on Social
Social media is a great place to promote any extra sales, products, or services you're offering during the holidays. It's also an easy way to drum up demand and keep customers informed about out-of-stock items, hours, and more. If your content is engaging and timely, people will keep coming back.
You can also use social media to provide customer service. Customers love the 24/7 nature of social media, and if nothing else, it may keep your phone from ringing a little less often.
10. Don't Dip Off After December
The holiday rush goes beyond the month of December. Research has shown that there's usually a slow drop-off into January, leaving you plenty of opportunities to sell – people want to use the gift cards and cash they received as presents.
Don't let the holidays stress you out. Start preparing early and consider the tips above for an organized, sane, and strong holiday season. For more business-based holiday support, read our article, Tips to Keep Your Business Moving During the Holiday Season. Our customer service team is also available at 1-888-575-2235 to answer any questions you may have.