Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the biggest selling days of the year for eCommerce as well as most high street shops. Golden quarter profits are maximised for businesses at this time of the year with meticulous planning and execution – allowing sellers in all industries to thrive in big ways. Black Friday and Cyber Monday were adapted in the UK from our friends across the pond just under a decade ago. Since then, retailers in the UK have profited greatly and plan much of their year around these two important selling days.
Last year alone, the UK accounted for over 10 percent of all global Black Friday searches online. To maximise ROI, here are some logistics and selling tips to consider for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
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Plan Black Friday and Cyber Monday selling early
The first fulfilment tip for the busy season is to get clear and organised in your planning. There is a great quote by Benjamin Franklin that says, “failing to plan is planning to fail. “It’s true with many areas of life – and that includes selling online.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the two selling days of the year that should not be overlooked or planned last minute. This is because shoppers love getting a great deal – so they’re more likely to splurge during this time. You are competing for attention and therefore you should be developing a sound sales and logistics strategy to expand your efforts. You should be strategizing several months in advance to obtain the best results – and consider even starting Black Friday and Cyber Monday selling weeks before the date to get ahead of the pack.
When is Black Friday 2023?
Black Friday 2023 will happen on Friday November 24th this year. This means Cyber Monday will be on November 27th. It’s best to get the word out early ahead of these dates. Customers are known to start their research well in advance of Black Friday – even up to 12 weeks before. Using a sound PPC and marketing strategy along with promotions can create some buzz around your brand early on – helping to maximise your ROI.
What to plan for Black Friday Cyber Monday selling
You should plan discounts, decide the best items to sell, understand how much stock you’re going to need available, and what upsells and bundles you’ll offer. It’s also important to offer free shipping. Today 66% of online consumers expect free shipping on every purchase they make online.
On top of this, the largest online retailers (including ASOS and Amazon) offer next-day delivery, so you should offer the same to your customers. Shopping from home convenience is available to everyone nowadays – however, those companies with the quickest delivery times will always win over customers.
If you are currently unable to offer next-day delivery, then how? Learn how to offer same-day dispatch and next-day delivery to encourage more sales. Is it time to automate your eCommerce order fulfilment with a 3pl? Tackle these issues early on prior to Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Offer product bundling & upsells
Product bundling means multi-item orders. This sales strategy increases your average order value (AOV). Fans of your products often want many items – so bundling items together and slightly decreasing the individual prices of each item to one unique price provides more value. Therefore, if your average order value is £5 on one hot-selling item, you create the opportunity to increase the AOV to £10 or £15. This is especially helpful for brands with multiple offerings – such as cosmetics, wellness products, dog treats, etc. Bundling your products and services in one package enables customers to receive a better deal overall.
When you work with a 3pl like Selazar, bundling is easy on the online dashboard. So, it is best to plan ahead which items sell best and which will make the best bundles. You can make multiple bundles if you have an abundance of products. Research shows that well-designed bundle offerings can increase total revenues by 30 percent and encourages new customers to try out your products.
Also, combining slow-moving stock is still a good option within your bundles. Pairing high-in-demand items that bring a lot of value with “a little something extra” can offload your excess slow-moving stock in a big way – so they should be considered in this process.
Upsells vary slightly in relation to bundling. They are more of a recommendation for related products that do not include a discounted package overall. When your customer is purchasing an item, they should be referred to something that will naturally fit together. For example: Toothbrush and toothpaste, paper and pencils, socks and shoes, coffee and coffee mugs, face cream and hand cream, sports equipment and accessories, etc.
Upsells and cross-selling increase average order value while fulfilling the customer’s needs. What are your potential bundles and upsells? Decide them now. As you can see on the picture to the right (credit: Beeketing.com) an offer is made right before checkout. The customer is already interested in what is offered because they are ready to checkout. Adding related products may be interested in adding those “extra items.” Maybe they didn’t think of it. Maybe it’s just a great deal. However, there is an urgency already to buy and receive items. That’s why this makes it an opportune time to add extra related items.
Outsource order fulfilment to reduce mistakes & profit loss
Logistics and order fulfilment is one of the most complex technology problems facing eCommerce businesses. When you outsource supply chain order fulfilment operations, you relieve your team from dealing with routine error-prone tasks. Third-party logistics are experts in what they do – including managing inventory, picking and packing, and sending packages quickly with next-day delivery.
Many eCommerce businesses waste valuable time combing through multiple systems to find the most efficient way to send shipments from origin to destination. Each carrier has different processes, making managing orders and tracking shipment progress more challenging. Leaving it to the experts with multiple courier partners can be automated with an experienced 3pl. Whether a medium or large-level enterprise, wearing multiple hats can be a recipe for disaster if not managed properly.
As mentioned in our previous article, dispatch speed is your competitive advantage; shipping time matters. Shipping faster has a direct correlation to customer acquisition and retention. One study found 87% of online shoppers identified shipping speed as a key factor in their decision to shop with an eCommerce brand again. This customer touchpoint reduces abandoned carts online and directly affects revenue.
Any eCommerce expert will tell you that there are numerous factors when determining the reasoning for abandoned carts by customers online. Some of those reasons being extra shipping costs too high, the checkout process is too long, or companies requiring too much information. There are various reasons; however, shipping speed is one of the biggest reasons.
42% of online shoppers abandon shopping carts due to delivery dates
Customer satisfaction has varying factors, from great products to good return policies, but minimising the window of time they get to their products (instant gratification), the better off your sales will be. Use a 3pl with next-day delivery to boost sales and keep customers coming back to you.
Poor inventory management affects Black Friday selling
Not managing your inventory correctly can be catastrophic for your business. Inventory management is a fine art and must be given careful consideration for scalability, profit, and retention.
First off, if you’re not using any inventory management software, you’re going to have difficulties – especially if you’re selling through multiple channels (Shopify, eBay, WooCommerce). When processing multiple orders, you must know how much stock you have at all times. You have to know when to restock and make sure you don’t sell items that aren’t available, which will cause delivery delays – and alienate your customers!
Many businesses still use antiquated systems of managing their sales manually. In the digital commerce age, better systems and better data solutions manage inventory smartly and efficiently. They also give critical data that helps to inform your selling strategies. Understanding the trends and opportunities of your most in-demand items will benefit your profitability and margins.
You need to be able to trust that your business is being looked after by the right people and the right systems so you can focus on growing your brand.
Get your inventory early to prevent delays
As with any business that wholesales its products, it’s crucial to order inventory early, specifically for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Supply chain operations continue to be an ongoing issue and therefore heeds priority right now.
First, you must calculate precisely how much stock you think you can sell for Black Friday and Cyber Monday – considering monthly and annual average sales. This means making educated predictions on how much stock you can unload. Too much stock ordered means excess stock – but too little means losing out on potential sales. Having more stock available, however, is still a better option because it can still be sold moving forward. Therefore, take some time to be meticulous in your sales forecasting for this special time of the year.
3pl ISP consideration
Lastly, if you decide to finally automate your eCommerce fulfilment and work with a third-party logistics provider – it is pertinent you get your stock in early. During this time of the year, 3pls are the busiest ever, with excess stock being received every single day. The start of the process for stock management is what’s known as ISP (Inbound stock process).
During ISP your stock has to be removed from packages and logged within the system. Every box of items is scanned and organised before it is given a pallet location. Though ISP is typically completed within a day – there can be small delays with an abundance of brands sending stock last minute for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Responsible businesses send their stock weeks or even a month ahead of time to prevent delays for Black Friday and Cyber Monday selling.
Are you prepared for Black Friday and Cyber Monday selling?
I hope these tips have helped to give you some insight into your selling and logistics strategy. Start planning early so that your business has the best chance of success. The adage “work smarter and not harder” holds true. If inventory management takes up too much of your time and it is directly affecting your ability to scale your business, then it may be time to outsource your order fulfilment. If you’d like to know more about Selazar and our operations, then set up a free no-obligation discovery call today. Happy selling.