Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas, New Year's Day... e-tailers: the guide to successful end-of-year sales

They are particularly likely to shop online at the end of the year, during the various golden quarters, and can account for between 25% and over 50% of annual sales. With forecasts of an 11-15% increase for the 2021 festive season, you need to be ready to handle the volume of demand and stand out from the crowd to maximise your turnover. Read our full guide to successful holiday sales.

Ecommerce has never been better than in 2021. The Covid-19 pandemic has been a real gas pedal for the industry: its share of retail jumped 3.3 points between 2019 and 2020 (compared to 0.7 points on average in previous years). And the trend is not about to reverse! A boon for you, Emerchant: there have never been as many potential buyers for your products as there are today.

They are particularly numerous at the end of the year to make their purchases online, during the various highlights of the "golden quarter": Black Friday (26 November), Cyber Monday (29 November), Christmas and New Year's Day. These sales moments are important because they can represent between 25% and more than 50% of the annual turnover. Now more than ever, you need to be ready to handle the volume and stand out from the crowd to maximise your turnover. How can you make a success of your year-end sales? We give you our top tips in this comprehensive guide to Ecommerce.

1/ Prepare your site for the increase in online purchases

Your website is your shop. To make your customers want to spend time there, you have to make it welcoming. This starts in the first few seconds, before customers even look at your products.

Tip 1: Make sure your Ecommerce site keeps up

Imagine the situation: you have spotted a shop that interests you. You want to go there and you discover that it is difficult to get to. But you're discouraged by the journey you have to make. Too bad, you will find your product elsewhere, perhaps more expensive, but in more convenient conditions for you. It's exactly the same for your website: access must be obvious, or your potential customers will prefer one of your competitors.

We are of course talking about the loading speed of your site and the various product pages. Indeed, an increase in your traffic is good news, unless your site does not keep up. In the run-up to the end-of-year sales, do some tests to make sure. First, contact your web host to find out if your site can handle large volumes of traffic. They may advise you to adjust your site's capacity for the period, so that you don't lose customers. Next, test the load speed of your pages. There are many tools online, such as PageSpeed Insights, developed by Google. It analyses the content of your pages and suggests improvements for page load speed. You can combine it with Google Lighthouse, which helps you optimise your pages according to different criteria (performance, accessibility, SEO, etc.).

Obviously, preparing your site also includes the mobile channel. This is becoming an increasingly important part of online shopping. If you haven't already done so, now is the time to check that your site is mobile-friendly and make improvements before the rush.

By carrying out these tests in advance, you are putting all the chances on your side to welcome visitors interested in your products. It is then up to you to convert them into customers!

Tip 2: Offer a seamless experience until payment

In order to optimise your conversion rate, it is essential to offer a fluid experience to your customers. This involves these three key points:

  • Have clear and complete product pages, directly indicating all the characteristics of the products presented. Don't force your customers to get out their magnifying glasses to find the information they need. They may get bored.  
  • Display delivery information as soon as possible: don't keep your customers in suspense, which can be unpleasant for them. If they go through the entire purchase process, only to discover at the last minute that delivery cannot be made on a date that suits them, they may not return to your site. Don't forget that delivery conditions are a crucial point in the purchasing act. They come in second place, just after the price of the products, as a decisive choice criterion for making online purchases for 60% of Internet users.
  • Optimise the checkout process: like delivery, the checkout process is a crucial part of the shopping experience. 58% of customers have already abandoned their shopping cart at this stage. You can't act directly on the first reason (the payment didn't work), but you can on the next two! In 17.7% of cases, the preferred payment method was not offered and in 16.9% of cases, the payment phase was perceived as too complicated. The moral is: offering a variety of payment options (credit card, Paypal, etc.) and a simple payment path will improve performance. This step should be simple, fast and confident. For more expensive purchases, you can offer a split payment system, which is becoming increasingly popular, allowing customers to make a large purchase without running out of cash (and boosting the average basket value).

Tip 3: Prepare your promotions in the back office so that you are ready for the big day!

During the Black Friday or Christmas rush, your time will be limited. That's why your promotions should be planned as early as possible, so that you only have to push the button on the day. Identify your star products (and that you will have enough of them too!) and define the discounts you want to offer during Black Friday, Christmas, etc. Next, get familiar with your Ecommerce site's CMS, especially if it's your first season or you've just switched. Whether you're using Shopify, Prestashop or Adobe Commerce (formerly Magento), look into making price changes on your product page sooner rather than later.
What to avoid at all costs? The last-minute file import, the day before Black Week launches. This can work just fine. But all it takes is one error in a column, in a hurry, and you'll have to spend all night (if not more) fixing the problem!

Of course, all these tips are valid outside of busy periods as well. It is always good to remember the best practices for your Ecommerce site. By applying them, you will have peace of mind during your year-end sales.

2/ Plan your stocks and logistics

Your site is ready, congratulations! To ensure the success of end-of-year sales (Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas, New Year's Day...), one point is crucial: logistics. If this step is not planned properly, you will not benefit as much from the holiday season.

Tip 4: Prepare your stocks... well in advance!

By the time you read this article, it may be a little late for this part. But don't worry, you'll be warned for the following year! The products you choose to promote during promotional periods must be in stock in sufficient quantities. This seems obvious, you may say. Yes, but you need to anticipate this so that your production keeps pace, whether you manage it directly or via a supplier.

How do you choose which products to stock in quantity? Your CMS will probably offer you data on the year's sales, as well as those of the previous year (if the products are renewed). You can identify the most popular ones and bank on them for end-of-year sales. Supplementing this analysis with an ABC analysis is also a good idea. Stocks are necessary, but they are expensive. Knowing how to optimise them is a key success factor for your Ecommerce. The ABC analysis is based on the Pareto rule, the famous 80/20 rule. Your products are segmented into 3 categories. The A's are the products that bring you the most turnover, your star products, while the C's are the least performing products in your stock. During promotional periods, the recommended strategy - usually - is to offer small promotions on your A products and heavily discount the C products.

Tip 5: Adjust your logistics and recruitment in anticipation of increased sales

Whether you make your deliveries yourself or use an outsourced service provider, make sure you can meet the increased demand. If you work with a partner, inform them in advance of your sales forecasts so that they can have the necessary technical and human capacities. Similarly, anticipate the recruitment of extras if you have control over your supply chain.

A point that can be quickly forgotten, but which is very important: keep track of your packaging stock. It would be a pity to run out in the middle of the end-of-year sales rush, because of a lack of anticipation. Here too, give your supplier advance notice so that he can adapt to the sales peak.

Increased sales mean increased questions and returns. Your customer service department needs to be particularly efficient during this period, not only in responding to customer enquiries but also in handling after sales service. Also, make the return process, whether it's an exchange or a refund, as simple as possible. This increases customer satisfaction.

3/ Define your communication plan

You are almost ready for the end-of-year sales. The last step? Your communication.

Tip 6: Prepare your posts in advance

You will probably think that we are repeating ourselves. But isn't pedagogy about repetition after all?) For this part, anticipation is still the key. You have defined your promotions in advance. You are therefore able to prepare your communication elements before the Black Friday rush. Design your visuals and texts and prepare a calendar of your posts on social networks. You can even schedule them. This will save you precious time once the end-of-year sales have started.

Tip 7: Don't wait until the last minute to communicate

In addition to your posts on social networks, you may prepare emailings to communicate your promotions. Don't wait until the last minute to do this: let your customer base know about your upcoming promotions to optimise your sales. They will be able to spot the products they are interested in and be ready when it all kicks off!

Tip 8: Finance your media campaigns

The golden quarter is a good time to invest in online advertising campaigns. There are plenty of potential buyers, but you need to stand out to attract them. There is nothing like a Facebook Ads or Google Ads campaign for this. Ideally, you should invest larger budgets than the rest of the year, in order to take full advantage of the holiday season. How do you go about it? If you don't have the cash immediately, call on Silvr! We finance your media campaigns, without any dilution, and you pay us back later based on your sales. The best part? You receive the financing within 24 hours. So you can look forward to the end-of-year sales with peace of mind!

4/ Analyse your performance

Tip 9: Do the post-mortem of your end-of-year sales

You thought we were done? Wrong! A final part, too often overlooked, is performance analysis. Once the rush is over, taking the time to compile the sales data is crucial. This will allow you to know what worked and what needs to be improved for the next year. Many CMS's make it easy for you by making sales reports available to you. Past bumps in the road allow you to optimise your site and your overall organisation for the next big event. The January sales, for example?

The period from Black Friday to New Year's Eve is a crucial one for your Ecommerce. You will make a significant part of your annual turnover... if you are well prepared. We hope you find the tips in this guide useful. We wish you every success for this golden quarter!

And if you are looking for funding for your media campaigns, Silvr has already helped more than 80 e-tailers. The result? The result is boosted sales and loyal customersWe have been working with them all year round. Would you also like to benefit from this? It's up to you!

Published on

March 28, 2023

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