Every year, the holiday shopping season seems to start earlier than the year before. Black Friday deals are turning into Black Thursday deals – with people scrambling over to the stores, immediately following the turkey dinner.
How can small ecommerce businesses keep up with the discounts and deals that larger retailers offer during Black Friday 2014 and now Black Thursday 2014? Here are seven tips.
Take advantage of shipping services to provide convenience for your customers.
Is something out of stock in-store? Offer to order it for your customers on the spot and ship it to them. Provide package shipping services in-store so customers can buy gifts for out-of-town recipients and have them delivered without having to make a trip to the USPS themselves.
Promote a stress-free shopping experience.
While crowds cram into big box stores at 5 a.m. on Black Friday, plenty of other customers prefer a more leisurely shopping experience, especially after coming off of that turkey-induced food coma. Create marketing campaigns that emphasize your store’s personalized service, relaxing environment and festive atmosphere. Offer refreshments to keep shoppers energized; provide some comfy chairs where they can take a quick break; and use music, décor and pleasant scents to soothe their stress.
Build on the backlash.
While more retailers every year are opening their doors on Thanksgiving, this is creating a consumer backlash among those who dislike the idea of shopping on a national holiday. Capitalize on the backlash by alerting customers that your store will be closed so employees can enjoy the day with their families—but your website will be open to take orders. The ability to order from home offers the best of both worlds. To truly tap into Thanksgiving Day shopping, make sure your ecommerce site is mobile-friendly, since most T-day customers shop on phones or tablets.
Offer free shipping.
Any Internet retailer seeking to compete with the big boys should be sure to offer free online shipping—it’s consistently one of the perks shoppers want most. You don’t have to ship everything for free. Setting a limit such as “free shipping on orders over $50” can often entice customers to spend more than they normally would to get the deal.
Publicize your Black Friday deals early.
“Leaking” Black Friday ads early is becoming a common practice for big retailers. Get in on the game by sharing your Black Friday specials earlier in the week to whet customers’ appetites.
Share your online specials.
Do you offer online coupon codes? Put them on sites such as CouponCabin or RetailMeNot. Customers often hit these locations searching for big retailers’ coupons, so if you want to compete, you need to be there as well.
Capitalize on Small Business Saturday.
Play up your small online retailer roots and attract customers who like to support independent businesses by tapping into the Small Business Saturday campaign. This annual event, which falls on November 29th this year, encourages shoppers to buy from small, local businesses on the Saturday after Black Friday 2014.