Most of holiday arrangements are on public display: the lights on the roof, the vegan turkeys in the grocery store, fake snow in shop windows, the toys all over the mall… But for a retail business the holiday groundwork occurs in the background and many companies neglect to take care of the invisible things that make a Black Friday and Cyber Monday marketing strategy successful.
"For several e-commerce businesses, 40% of annual revenue comes from Black Friday sales"
So if you intend to sell a lot of Christmas lights, vegan turkeys, snow sprays and toys in the next weeks, be prepared for all the tricky situations that retailers and e-commerce businesses tend to face during the most stressful, but let’s say very profitable, time of the year. For several e-commerce businesses, 40% of annual revenue comes from Black Friday sales — don’t take risks with that!
Prepare your notebook because we’re going to give you some tips (and a top notch tool) to design a to-do list for Cyber Monday marketing strategies and Black Friday strategies for retailers that will nail your holiday sales.
The big risks on Black Friday & Cyber Monday for e-commerce
Let’s be honest — just like Christmas isn’t just Christmas Eve, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are not just two days anymore. A lot of people already use the expression Black Friday & Cyber Monday season, because an increasing number of retailers and brands are looking for new marketing strategies that expand the sales and discounts period.
That means that the sooner your business starts to promote your products, the higher the exposure your products will have. But selecting the products that will be part of your season highlights and having all your holiday catalog content up to date and ready weeks before the actual shopping dates is a huge task that need a super organized team effort and a seamless product information management.
This is where a PIM system, or Product Information Manager, comes to the rescue. Imagine having all your product details standardized and the seasonal changes (like special prices, new colors for a limited collection, increased stock numbers…) ready to be applied at any moment, in all the channels you want at the same time.
Before a PIM system existed, teams needed to add those changes by hand and going against the clock. As a result, everything was achieved at the last moment and lots of errors and omissions were spotted too late, causing misunderstandings with customers and among different departments, physical stores and online stores, the marketing team and customer service employees. Also, an omnichannel strategy was impossible under those circumstances, but now all Black Friday strategies for retailers must be omnichannel.
Nowadays chaos in Black Friday and Cyber Monday marketing strategies are a thing of the past, and you don’t need to imagine the way a PIM system works, because it’s real.
You can program your product launches and information changes in advance, so everything is automated and under control. Your marketing team will know what products to promote in social media and mailings, creating shoppable images and posts that are fully integrated with your online store. You might also study which keywords are offering the best results this season, so you can improve your website performance and better positioning your products by optimizing the SEO of your product content automatically and instantly in all your channels via your PIM system.
Prices and promos updates
The first horror story that most commonly happen in e-commerce during Black Friday and Cyber Monday is a disparity of product prices. Maybe the special offers are being showed in your online store, but they haven’t been updated in your app. Or suddenly the 20% discount that you have planned for the European market has been mixed up with the 50% discount that you wanted to apply on the USA market. Or the products that should have a reduced price on Cyber Monday have been activated on Black Friday. In short, a chaos that can’t hardly be fixed at the last minute and that could be detrimental to your sales.
As we have pointed out before, a PIM system allows you to prepare those price adjustments and offers in advance and program the exact hour when you want them to start being applied, in the channels and markets that you decide.
Furthermore, if someone makes some changes in the product information by mistake everything would still be OK, because a PIM system includes workflows and permits functions that notify managers when a change has been made and whether they approve it or want to undo it.
Orders overflow and wrong stock numbers
But the most horrifying story in Black Friday strategies for retailers happens when the company doesn’t have its inventory under control. The troubling thing about these holiday sales dates is that you can’t really predict how much traffic are you going to have that day, so you must be prepared for the best sales scenario, that also happens to be the most complex one for product content management.
If your online store, physical store, apps, etc., have a huge order influx on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, the synchronization between all your sales channels is essential. All the stock numbers must be updated in real time, not two minutes late, in all those channels, and your warehouse or warehouses should receive the same information and be capable of sending the correct commands to the marketing systems, in charge of sending the notifications and mail confirmations to clients.
What happens when a product page shows that an item is in stock but in fact there are no more units left in your warehouse? Well, you’ll be in great trouble, specially if you don’t update that product page fast and users keep ordering that product.
That means that you must be prepared with enough stock, based on a thorough sales prediction that takes into account this season trends, current best sellers and your own marketing strategy. But first and foremost you should connect all your sales channels in the correct way, with a PIM system that guarantees the accurate, updated stock information in your product pages, apps and POS, so all orders are handled seamlessly and there won’t be any complaints or unhappy clients.
All previous situations have one thing in common: they have internal causes that you can have under control. But you should also be aware of some external causes, like cybernetic fraud that is most likely to happen when e-commerce businesses experience a lot of activity and therefore could be more vulnerable.
In order to avoid digital scam, a consistent management system is a great base because it reinforces the security of your product information, centralized in one system instead of being dispersed in a lot of systems, folders or units, with no control over who access that content and how they could change it.
Taking additional anti-fraud measures with security software that prevents malware, ransomware, phishing, data breaches and compromised websites is a must have for every e-commerce business, but most specially during seasonal campaigns. Also, you can integrate your PIM system with an order management system that gives you and your customers a tracking number that will be very useful to ensure deliveries in this saturated time of the year.
Still can’t believe your eyes? A PIM system is not Santa Claus and it really exists and delivers all your product content management wishes. Try our demo for free during this Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday season, and discover how soon you’ll be wanting one for Christmas.