To discount or not to discount
So Black Friday is big news nowadays. This major retail event has well and truly crossed the pond to our shores and signifies the start of the Christmas shopping season here in the UK, rather than the Celebration of Thanks that our American cousins enjoy.
The trend of discounting for the event is now not the mad rush it once was, thankfully. No one wants to see grown adults fighting over televisions, or have the pressure of dispatching a weeks’ worth of orders in one day before the weekend – especially if your operation is not 24/7.
Now it tends to be about an over and above discount period that lasts the week leading up to Black Friday, with a new bigger promotion launching for Cyber Monday. In fact, the Black Friday event is responsible for the whole of the ‘peak period’ to have moved earlier, with many shoppers now completing their lists by December. This means retailers are going into the main Christmas sale earlier every year, to compete for those last minute buys.
However, some retailers are choosing to simply opt out of the event all together. While I understand the reasoning, shoppers have almost been conditioned to start their Christmas shopping at this time so you run the risk of losing out on significant sales by not participating. Especially when you remember that shoppers are likely to have just been paid and are ready to purchase.
If you’re an eBay or Amazon seller, they like to secure the big deals with the merchants early. This means you’ll need to have planned how much stock you’ll have of an item and what price you are willing to sell it at well in advance of November. So if you haven’t done it yet I recommend adding that to this weeks to-do list. And don’t forget to factor in the commission when you work out the biggest discount you can go to – shoppers usually expect at least 30% off around this time.
Amazon usually send out emails asking for submissions for lightning deals, though this will only be open to those who use FBA (Fulfilment by Amazon) or who are eligible for Amazon Seller Fulfilled Prime.
For eBay, the daily and weekly deals are usually arranged by those very small accounts that have account managers, or through your contact at your aggregator (if you use one). Again, these need to have a lot of units behind them, be the right sort of product that eBay are looking to push at that time, and be a really high discount – so it won’t suit every business to participate in it.
However, if you sell via these channels but don’t want to or can't participate in the big deals there are still some additional sales to be made. The traffic to the sites during that time is huge so you should try and attract some of these customers with your own promotions. Here’s a few tips for this.
- Ensure all product data is complete – especially item specifics. Customers will usually know what they are after and will use filters on the site
- Make sure your product identifiers (GS1 GTINs) are added to your listings to ensure the products feature on Google Shopping and in the new merchandising functions on eBay
- Free delivery promotions work very well at this time. This helps with search rank visibility too, i.e. fast and free on eBay
- Add-on bundle deals and step up discounts (10% off a £50 spend, 20% off a £100 spend etc) work well too. It’s a great opportunity to increase the basket value and clear through some slow movers, (just make sure it’s a complimentary product!) Don't forget you will need to allocate a new GTIN for the bundle itself, as the set of products you create becomes its own product
- Consider using sponsored product ads. You get free credit for these on eBay and they are pay per sale rather than click
- If you don’t usually use FBA, consider putting some of your products in there during this period, as Amazon prime customers will not see them otherwise. Using the stickerless option for your identifier for Amazon FBA will mean you won’t need to relabel your items with ASINs as they just use the GTIN – it just needs to be visible at a single item value, which it usually will be if it’s on the packaging
Products that get higher rate of sales tend to see a halo uplift in visibility after the event too.
Look out for my next blog coming soon, on Black Friday timelines.
Looking back at key stats from peak 2016 to give you an idea of what to expect in 2017