It’s mere days away. You’re ready for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, right?
Whether you’re banking on foot traffic or web traffic for the coming pre- and post-Thanksgiving shopping binge, by now you have your inventory and campaigns ready and waiting. But are you 100% sure your Black Friday and Cyber Monday will roll out the way you hope it will? Here’s our last minute checklist, to help you dot your i’s and cross your t’s before the sales kick in.
1. Make sure you have a social media marketing strategy in place
Over and above advertising on Facebook and other social networks, be very present on all your local social media feeds. Tell the world what your various locations are up to on Black Friday. Announce flash sales. Use scarcity messaging when something is selling quickly. And listen to your audience: it is also the first place where customers are going to tell you if something isn’t working as it should.
2. Launch locally-targeted ad campaigns
We can’t overemphasize the importance of launching ad campaigns that drive local foot traffic to each of your locations. Google AdWords and Facebook have rolled out a ton of new products and features intended to drive mobile users to franchises. Learn everything you can about them and use them to your advantage!
3. Think about how you will reward returning customers
Research by Adobe found that 40% of an online retailer’s income is derived from repeat customers. Our spidey senses tell us franchises see an even larger percentage of their revenue from returning customers. In the midst of the Black Friday and Cyber Monday rush, remind your customer service crew to give loyal customers a little extra love. Remember, they’re the ones who will be coming back after long after the deal seekers have disappeared.
4. Think about using retargeting
If you have the advertising budget, set up some retargeting campaigns on Google AdWords and Facebook. These campaigns will display ads to people who have visited your website, or purchased from you in the past. You can also target your ads to people who are on your email marketing list. Given the increased value and loyalty of returning customers, they are well worth the investment.
5. Verify and update your location data
When is the last time you verified that your franchise hours and locations are up to date in Google Maps and on your Facebook page? Check each and every franchise and location to be sure shoppers have the right information about where and when they can drop by.
6. Create anticipation
Announce your big sales early at every location, on your website, and via any social media or advertising campaigns you are running. Create buzz and maybe they’ll be lining up by the time your franchises open their doors.
7. Test your shopping cart and checkout
If doing business online is part of your Black Friday plan, run a series of test purchases prior to the big day. Make sure your discounts and any coupon codes are carrying through to your checkout they way they’re supposed to. Test your site in different browsers. And make sure your pages are loading quickly; every millisecond counts.
8. Make sure your website can handle a surge in traffic
It’s actually kind of sad how many stories are out there about ecommerce websites that weren’t ready for a surge in sale season or holiday traffic. Ask your tech team to carry out load testing on your site. Do it early enough (in other words, now) so you can upgrade software or other systems if necessary.
9. Brief your customer service team
Black Friday and Cyber Monday generally require all hands on deck. Franchises often hire temporary employees or pull staff from other departments to help out with customer service. Make sure everyone who is on the ground during Black Friday understands how the day is going to roll out, including what’s on offer, and how to use various point of sale systems.
10. Make a contingency plan
Make a list of anything that could possibly go wrong during your Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and come up with a contingency plan for each situation. Who do you call when a key piece of technology decides to stop working? Are there extra people you can call when everyone gets the flu? Make your backup plans now.
11. Take care of your employees
Make sure your employees stay fed, hydrated and rested during the two biggest sale days of the year. Boost morale by delivering meals and treats throughout the day. And reward and incentivize franchise employees who go beyond the call of duty.
12. Know what your local competition is doing
Stay on top of what your competitors are doing, both leading up to and during sale days. Are they employing any strategies that you need to adopt? What are they promoting? How much are they discounting? How busy are their locations on the big day?
13. Keep sending emails
On average, online retailers send 50% more emails during the busy sales and holiday season. Even if you don’t sell online, if you have an email marketing list, you have a receptive audience. Segment your email marketing by location, and send dedicated Black Friday emails crafted to bring subscribers to each of your local franchises.
14. Learn from last year
If you haven’t done a post mortem on how your franchises performed during last year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, now is the time to review. Sit down with your managers and make a list of what went well, what didn’t, and what you learned from last season. Then adjust accordingly.
15. Capitalize on trends
What’s hot this year that you can capitalize on to draw deal-hungry shoppers? Keep an eye out for surprise bestsellers and emerging trends, both before and during your big sale days. Looking for ideas? Google Trends delivers fascinating data on what consumers are searching for online.
16. Add promotional cover photos and hero images
Every little piece of digital real estate counts. It’s very worthwhile to create unique Black Friday and Cyber Monday cover photos for your Facebook pages, and hero images for your website(s). Even if you don’t sell online, use promotional images to drive visitors to each of your locations.
You can’t be too prepared.
This Black Friday checklist gives you the tools to not only survive, but thrive and surpass your goals during this year’s holiday sales season. Regardless of whether your franchises are pure bricks and mortar, or also online, you want to put out fires now so you can be actively fulfilling orders on the big day. Everything you anticipate and resolve now will result in more sales.
If we can deliver one piece of advice that all these points encompass: be relentless going into Black Friday. Don’t do this key shopping holiday half way; it is very worth your while to reach for every opportunity. This momentum will carry you through the busy holiday shopping season. Make the most of this season as a franchisee marketer and you can take a well deserved rest when this crazy time of year is finally behind us.