Start Your 2021 Black Friday Preparation Now

prepare for black friday 2021

Summer may just be ending, but the perfect time to start planning your eCommerce shop’s holiday shopping season is just after you wrap up your Labor Day sale. Although it may feel too early, now is the perfect time to start thinking about the details of your Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, especially during a year that may see a decline in online shopping compared to 2020 as some shoppers return to the stores. Here is an overview of the importance of starting to prepare for Black Friday 2021 well in advance, as well as a few tips for making your sale run as smoothly as possible!

Importance of Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Your Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales likely make up a significant portion of your annual revenue, so it is important to set your eCommerce shop up for success in the months leading up to the holiday sale season. Although Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales have always been essential, the significant increase in online sales, smartphone use, and favoring small businesses over the past several years have changed the way holiday sales affect eCommerce shop owners.

Increase in Online Sales

Although online shopping has been growing steadily for the past decade, it experienced a sharp increase in 2020 that led to record highs in online sales and spending during the Black Friday and Cyber Monday season. However, this increase was largely based on minimal in-store shopping last November. Although ordering online is still common, many people have started to be comfortable returning to their previous preference of in-store shopping. With an approximately 22 percent increase in spending that totaled roughly $9 billion on Black Friday and $10 billion on Cyber Monday in 2020, eCommerce shops have a lot to live up to in order to keep their numbers from falling this year, especially since in-store shopping has begun to return to normal.

Increase in Smartphone Use

Our reliance on smartphones has impacted a variety of aspects of our lives over the past several years, and online shopping is no exception. Approximately 39 percent of online spending came from purchases made on smartphones in November 2020, and this trend is also likely to continue to increase in the coming years. Making sure your eCommerce shop looks good and functions well on both computers and smartphones well in advance of Black Friday and Cyber Monday helps ensure that your mobile shoppers will have the best experience possible and not be driven away by a site that does not load well or is difficult to navigate on their phones.

Holiday Spending Trends in Favor of Small Businesses

Approximately 38 percent of holiday shoppers indicated that they intended to make a deliberate effort to shop from small businesses in 2020, a trend that is expected to continue this Black Friday and Cyber Monday season. The financial challenges of 2020 led many shoppers to be intentional about supporting small businesses that were in more need of financial assistance than large companies, particularly those in their communities.

Small eCommerce shops were also included in this trend, especially those that offer particularly unique items that make great gift ideas. If your eCommerce store sells jewelry, clothing, home decor, beauty products, gourmet treats, or any other gift items, getting the most important shopping days of the year right can make a significant difference in your overall annual revenue.

Start Planning Now to Boost Your Black Friday and Cyber Monday Sales

Starting to think about your Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales has always been important, but it has become even more vital than ever in recent years. In 2021, this is particularly important for eCommerce shop owners to prepare ahead for Black Friday because many shoppers that prefer to shop in person and were forced online when few stores had in-person sales in 2020 are likely to plan to head back to their favorite stores this year. That being said, being one of the first businesses your potential customers hear from can still be an asset that may sway them in favor of doing at least some shopping online, especially when alluring online deals give them more options than having to choose a limited number of stores to be able to go to right when they open.

Although most industries experienced growth in online sales over the past year and a half, some have experienced more significant increases than others. In the past, online shopping focused more on specialty items that could not easily be found in stores, but 2020 saw sharp increases in essential everyday items, such as food, pet supplies, basic beauty products, and cleaning supplies being bought online that have decreased slowly but are still frequent online purchases in 2021. More shoppers have also begun to buy clothing online with the intention of returning anything that does not fit, rather than needing to try them on in stores, and many clothing eCommerce retailers have adjusted their return policies to make this option easier on shoppers.

small business owner using laptop to prepare for Black Friday 2021

Steps to Take Now to Get Your eCommerce Shop Ready for Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Although you don’t have to have every detail finalized until much later in the fall, getting started now is key when it comes to making sure you have plenty of time to prepare the best Black Friday and Cyber Monday sale possible in 2021. Here are some steps you can take in the coming weeks to start getting your eCommerce shop ready for the holiday shopping season!

Define Your Offer

Deciding what promotions you want to offer now gives you plenty of time to create a wide selection of deals that your customers will love. You don’t want to be the shop your customers look forward to placing a large order from only to be disappointed that there aren’t many bargains available when they visit your site on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, and this lack of preparation can negatively affect your eCommerce shop’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday reputation.

Instead, you should start deciding what discounts and promotions you want to offer no later than late summer or early fall to give you plenty of time to figure out what fashion styles, new tech products, or other items are trending and will likely be your most popular items this year and make sure they are included in your sales. Getting an early start also gives you the opportunity to fine-tune your decisions later in the fall if trends shift, or you notice your strongest competitors are offering better discounts.

Check Your Site Speed

Although your first and second-quarter eCommerce sales were likely higher than they were in the past, Black Friday and Cyber Monday will still lead to a steep increase in site traffic, and making sure your eCommerce shop is ready to handle it is a must. Your potential customers may not stick around if your site is exceptionally slow, won’t load features properly, or keeps crashing when they try to check out, and taking the time to test your site speed so that you know what you are working with well in advance can help minimize problems with your site this Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Draft Your Marketing Campaigns

Many shoppers start looking through ads and pondering what deals they want to take advantage of several weeks in advance of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and you can’t throw together basic marketing emails and social media posts the week before Thanksgiving and expect them to stand out from everything else in their feeds. Instead, invest time in creating aesthetic social media posts and emails with interesting subject lines that grab your followers’ and subscribers’ attention and build their interest in shopping your sales.

At Future Holidays, we care about helping our clients plan strategic Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales and promotional materials that have a positive impact on their holiday sales. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you create effective email marketing campaigns, design and maintain your eCommerce shop, and adjust other areas of your marketing strategy to best support your goals or for other tips for how to prepare for Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2021!