Table of contents
- How to Make Most of Black Friday/Cyber Monday as a Customer
- How to Rock the Black Friday/Cyber Monday as an Online Seller
- Where to Find the Best Deals
- Bundles for Graphic Designers and Digital Artists
Last year, 174 million Americans shopped on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. On average, each of them spent $335 these days. Millennials were more enthusiastic and spent $419.52 per person.
What is the story behind this traditional shopping adventure?
Black Friday is the next day after Thanksgiving which is dedicated to buying things at huge discounts. But it has not always been this way.
It was the retail companies who came up with the term Black Friday first. It means that after Thanksgiving people stopped buying stuff at all until the Christmas season, and the retailers had to face big financial losses. The solution was to cut prices for expensive consumer products the next day after Thanksgiving. This approach changed everything.
While traditional Black Friday doorbusters are still very popular, in 2017, more people shopped online than went to offline stores (58 and 51 million people respectively).
Cyber Monday came to be in 2005 when online retailers and the National Retail Federation announced it as an online shopping equivalent of Black Friday.
In 2019, the Black Friday will be on November 29, and the Cyber Monday on December 2.
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In this article, I want to give you a bunch of tips for an enjoyable and productive Black Friday Cyber Monday experience.
First, I will talk to everyone who is going to spend a few bucks after Thanksgiving. My aim is to help you shop wisely and win the most profitable deals.
In the next section, I will talk to online entrepreneurs who want to have their share of profits during the holiday shopping spree.
I’m sure that many of you, readers, fall into both categories - being customers ourselves, we are still very interested in how we can prepare our businesses and websites for the Black Friday/Cyber Monday.
In the third section, I will provide a shortlist of the top retailers and online platforms where you can find the best deals.
Are you ready?
1. How to Make Most of Black Friday & Cyber Monday as a Customer
So, what should you do to be an effective holiday shopper? Here are 5 easy things you can start doing right now.
1.1 Create a List
Take a minute to remember your last year Black Friday shopping. Did you make purchases you regretted later? What were the good offers you’ve missed? Analyzing your own shopping experience is a good way to start the preparation for the next season.
Make a list of things you want to buy. I personally like to write down everything I can think of, then divide the list into categories like Personal stuff, Presents, Business investments, Education, etc. Next, I set a budget for each category. This helps me make sure that all the important areas of my life will be covered in my shopping spree. When I find nice deals for each planned buy, I make sure not to exceed my budget for a given category. This helps make fewer last-minute emotional purchases. When the list is ready, I double-check it and cut unimportant things out.
1.2 Plan Your Days
Of course, you don’t need to spend these 4 days scrolling deals on your laptop or smartphone. You need to get up early and you will get all the best prices for your chosen products. Keep your shopping list at hand, and prioritize all the items there.
When the big day comes, start buying the most important items first, then move to less important ones. When you have all your planned purchases covered, you can take your time and look at things that you were not planning to buy. Just remember that you have your budget for every shopping category!
Panic is a bad shopping consultant.
Make sure you know what you're doing when you press the ADD TO CART button.
Research the items you want to buy in advance, compare the brands and read reviews. If you familiarize yourself with the topic, you will make wiser decisions under the Black Friday pressure.
When planning to buy something big, ask friends and colleagues for some tips about the best brands and models. Read forums and search for independent reviews on YouTube. For instance, it's often the case that the latest versions of gadgets are not the best ones.
1.4 Use Social Media and Google Alerts
The more information you have about your chosen brands and their offers during the hot season, the better. Also, subscribe to the social media account of popular retailers to have the head-up on the hot deals. Of course, you can unfollow all these accounts when the rush is over.
Also, think about subscribing to the newsletters of your chosen retailers. Not a big fan of e-mail promotions throughout the year, I still read the Cyber Monday emails that come to my mailbox and find lots of nice deals there.
Google Alerts is an awesome tool if you are after a specific product. List the keywords separated by a comma (e.g. Cyber Monday, Wacom) and create an 'As-it-happens type of alerts. Every time the chosen keywords get mentioned in an article, you will get notified.
1.5 Use Customer Programs
If you see that you will be buying lots of stuff on your shopping list from one retailer, think about joining the loyalty program. You can get bigger discounts with coupons and promo codes or receive cashback from your purchases.
If you’ve subscribed to the newsletters, the retailers will keep you informed about their best customer loyalty programs. Sometimes, it’s a good idea to have trusted shopping buddies and make group purchases from one account.
1.6 Check Prices and Hidden Costs
First of all, not all retailers are equally reliable when it comes to discounts. You will see many Black Friday & Cyber Monday banners offering you HUGE DISCOUNTS. But this is not always the case. Sometimes the prices are lowered very little if at all. It’s very nice if you check the chosen websites beforehand and notice how much they charged for the particular products before the hot season.
Also, use price comparison services like Google Shopper to make sure you make the best decision. After you’ve added a product to your cart, there’s some time until the reservation expires. Use these 10 minutes to double-check the prices for the item across Google.
Always pay attention to the costs that are associated with a particular product. There can be delivery costs, fees, and taxes that add up to the price and make the deal not so pretty anymore.
1.7 Bundle Up
Some of the best purchases I’ve made were in bundles. I always buy expensive items (like a camera) with accessories and software. This can be a lot cheaper and because I love the idea of getting a comprehensive ready-to-use package. If you use some software and digital products, Cyber Monday bundles may work great for you.
Also, if you own a website or you're planning to launch one, it's very wise to wait for the deals and buy all the necessary templates and plugins at huge discounts. I will speak more about Cyber Monday deals for web designers and website owners in the next section.
However, bundles can be tricky. They often include things that you already have or will never need. And you still have to pay for them. Make sure that you check the prices for the items that make up a bundle separately and weigh all pros and cons of buying these things together.
1.8 Protect Yourself
Cyber Monday is the hot season not only for retailers but for internet scams. There are a few things you can do to protect yourself from money and identity a theft:
- Check the URLs of all the emails you open. Make sure you don’t open emails from the websites you don’t know or the ones with strange URLs. Such emails may contain fishing programs.
- Shop with your credit card, not the debit one. It is safer if you have some protection between the shopping site and your debit account. Also, make sure you check all the activity on your card, especially if there was a bunch of payments.
- Don’t download any unfamiliar Black Friday & Cyber Monday mobile apps. Some of them may be a threat to your smartphone security and personal data.
2. How to Rock the Black Friday & Cyber Monday as an Online Seller
Now that we’re done with tips for shoppers, how about the sellers?
If you have an online business or a commercial website, Black Friday & Cyber Monday is the right time to double your revenues.
Let’s look at a few simple tactics:
2.1 Learn from your Experience and From Competitors
If it’s your first discount season as an entrepreneur, move on to the next tip. If not, you already have some experience to capitalize on. Analyze the results of your previous promotional campaigns and try to understand why some tactics did not work out as you expected.
Make a list of things you’ve learned about the market and your target audience since then. Think about how you will use this new understanding in your Black Friday & Cyber Monday promotional strategy.
2.2 Learn from Competitors
No business is an island. Look around and see what your other market players (especially the big ones) are doing. It’s always great to learn how to do promotion from giants like Amazon. You cannot compete with them or do everything they do, but you can learn some special tips and tricks and adapt them to the realities of your business.
2.3 Make a Killer Strategy
You can’t just cut the price and wait for everyone to open up their wallets. Remember that the competition during the Black Friday/Cyber Monday week is furious.
To get the most of your discounts, you can use a strategy that includes:
- Techniques that build up anticipation (countdowns, warm-up emails, social media announcements, etc.) You should your audience in suspense and anticipation if you want them to rush to your website on the Black Friday morning.
- Preliminary Offers and Activities (contests, draw games, deals, etc.) to keep the audience warm. They should get used to the idea that your brand offers awesome deals. Encourage your audience to put your products into wishlists and wait for the discounts. Also, invite customers to sign up for deals in advance (you don’t even have to share many details about what will be included in the offers)
- Promotional strategy across multiple channels
- Last-minute deals
2.4 Craft Your Main Offer with Care
Remember that you should cut prices on the products that are in high demand. Add to them some additional items to create bundles. Create special offers for loyal customers, launch coupons and promo codes. You can start with smaller sales in the chosen product category to heat up customer’s interest and offer the best deal on Black Friday & Cyber Monday. It is also a good idea to have hot hours with the biggest discounts on key items. Create a catalog of deals and promotions you are about to offer and send it out to your customers before the Black Friday week.
2.5 Prepare Your Website
This is important. Here are the things you should do to have your site prepared for the shopping rush.
2.5.1 Load and UX Testing
- Start with load and user testings to make sure that your website is ready for the discount season. A slow website will make your business lose lots of money without you even knowing about it. Make sure the site structure and content are optimized for great performance.
- Launch a user experience testing. You don’t need to buy any additional software or pay professional services if you don’t want to. Just ask 20 random people to use your website, find your key products in the galleries and proceed to checkout without actually paying. Then ask them questions about the problems they had and impressions the got from your website.
2.5.2 Add Strong Visuals and Keywords
- Make beautiful banners that contain all the information about your deals - products, prices, timing, promo codes, etc. Place these visuals on the homepage.
- Create an impression of an offsite shop by including wide product images and photos, customer reviews, Instagram-inspired stylizations, and an Ajax cart icon that will be always in view.
- Add holiday and discount-related keywords to your homepage title. Maybe you will decide to get really serious and change your store name. In any case, prepare everything in advance and don’t forget to resubmit your sitemap.
2.5.3 Take Care of the Mobile Experience
Okay, it’s 2018, so I assume that your website is responsive. More than half of all customers are used to shopping online, especially during the Black Friday & Cyber Monday week. Offer them improved navigation, good load speed, and one-click buying options.
2.5.4 Make Everyone Know About Your Discounts
Not every business can afford going big on their promotion budgets. Still, there are simple steps you can take to let the world know about your deals:
Go native and organic in your online marketing. Use social media to build natural anticipation for the holiday prices. For instance, you can post a series of beautiful Instagram posts celebrating your top products that will be soon offered at huge discounts.
It would be awesome to employ influencer marketing and have popular bloggers post something about your upcoming deals and offer personalized promo codes.
Black Friday/Cyber Monday week is an awesome time for launching a shop on Instagram or Facebook or even starting to sell right off the Pinterest platform.
Focus on email marketing. It is a great and cost-effective way to engage selected audiences and let them know about your exclusive offers. You should divide your base into sections based on their customers' behavior. For example:
- Recent Shoppers
- New customers
- Vip customers
- Cart abandoners, etc.
Create unique offers and messages for each category. Don’t forget that you need appealing and informative landing pages that you will link to the emails.
Create a plan for how you will encourage customers to come back to you during the Christmas shopping season. You could offer discount points or a gift to those who come back to make more purchases during winter holidays.
3. Where to Find the Best Deals
Now, I will offer a few hints about where you can find top Black Friday & Cyber Monday offers. The list is far from exhaustive, please supplement it with your own favorite resources.
3.1 Consumer Goods
|Amazon||It's the first retailer that pops up in mind when you think of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Last year, Amazon and eBay featured huge discounts on Apple and Wacom products.
If you sign up for Amazon Prime for the first time in November, you will get a month-long free trial membership. Amazon Prime members have the opportunity to see the best deals first, as well as using better delivery options.
For the Black Friday 2018, Amazon promises a huge Echo and Kindle sale.
|eBay||Another worldwide retail network offering huge Black Friday deals. eBay has a unique shipping policy. Many of the Black Friday purchases will be delivered free of charge.|
|Walmart||Walmart offers free shipping for those who spend more than $35. It is expected to offer huge discounts on Apple iPhones, Samsung Galaxy S9 and Note 9, certain models of Sony PlayStation, Nintendo X, and Microsoft Xbox.|
|BestBuy||The retailer also offers nice deals for 50 and 55-inch 5K TVs, Apple MacBooks, iPads, and Microsoft XBox One bundle. All orders throughout the holiday season will be shipped for free!|
|Target||Target is expected to discount Apple Watch series, Sony PS4, Google Home Mini, Apple iPhone XS or XR, and other products. Target also offers free shipping with no minimum spend!|
|Apple||Apple offers nice discounts on iPhones, MacBooks, iWatches, and iPads mini. You will be able to save up to $300! Apple Store also gives you free delivery on all orders.|
|Samsung||Samsung is expected to release $300 gift cards and discount Samsung Galaxy Note 9, Galaxy Tabs, Samsung TVs.|
|Microsoft||We are all expecting discounts on the Surface laptops, Xbox, as well as nice deals on the Microsoft Office O365 Home.|
|Adobe||The company will give a 20% discount on the Creative Cloud license, including even lower prices for individual users, students, and teachers.|
4. Bundles for Graphic Designers and Digital Artists
|Mighty Deals||This platform offers high-quality tools and solutions for digital artists and web designers. Here you can find courses, eBooks, fonts, graphics, textures, themes, and plugins. The discounts will range between 50% and 90%. Most of the offers depend solely on the product provider, so there will be many awesome surprises during the Black Friday/Cyber Monday week.|
|Master Bundles||This is a great source of bundles and graphics tools for digital artists and website creators. The platform is well-known for its reasonable pricing policy and good quality products. We are anticipating big discounts on top bundles.|
|Inky Deals||An amazing platform created by a team of designers, developers, and marketers to empower their colleagues all over the world. You can download or buy a deal without even entering your email.|
|Deal Fuel||Here you can also find amazing deals for graphics, software, SEO tools, etc. There are always nice seasonal packages and a very inexpensive Deal Fuel membership that cuts the prices even more|
So, here are some tips about what you should do to make most of the hottest shopping season of the year.
Did you find this information useful?
Please tell me in the comments.
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