Online sales events such as Click Frenzy, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Amazon Prime Day and Afterpay Day have become staples on the eCommerce calendar.
These events are attracting more customers each year. In November 2022, Click Frenzy and Cyber Weekend (which includes Black Friday and Cyber Monday) combined to create the largest month in Australian online shopping history, with more than six million households making online purchases1.
With this level of popularity presenting an opportunity to expose your brand to more people, we take a look at the different strategies businesses are using to get the most out of these sale events.
Does the early bird catch the customers?
More businesses are going out with sale offers early, before the actual online sale date.
For example, while the November 2022 Cyber Weekend sales were the largest on record, the spike actually began a few days ahead of the event itself2. This marks a big change to Christmas spending habits: while businesses have long considered December an important month in the calendar, November is now just as important due to these online sales events3.
With cost-of-living pressures impacting households, it’s no surprise that many people are keen to catch an early bargain – almost one-third of the holiday shopping is now done in November4, with two-thirds of shoppers believing they’ll save money if they go online5.
So, how early should you go into the sales?
Many retailers are looking to other events to bookmark their sales dates; for example, Cyber Weekend sales are commonly starting once Halloween is over and can continue into the traditional December holiday shopping season. Other sales, like Click Frenzy and Afterpay Day, answer this question for businesses with specific sales dates that can’t be stretched out.
Different businesses apply different strategies in deciding whether to join sales like Black Friday early or stick to the official dates. Going out early supports the idea that you get a piece of the spend pie early, before shoppers have used up all their budget. David Jones took to the sales four days early in 2022 in an effort to secure Christmas shoppers for more of that newly important November period.
Meanwhile, global fashion brand Zara is renowned for sticking to the official sales dates in order to build high anticipation and stand out from the crowd of early birds. There’s no right or wrong answer, and in some cases it makes sense to test and learn via different sale events throughout the year. But, whatever you do, make sure it’s communicated clearly to your customers so they know whether to grab and early bargain or pace themselves for the final countdown.
How to choose which sales to take part in
Online sales events have become an important tool in the eCommerce business kit. But there are lots of them, and it may feel challenging trying to keep up with them all.
While no one can tell you which, or how many, online sales events your business should participate in, there are some ways to decide which ones are a good fit.
- Be clear on your goals. Planning what you’d like your business to achieve from a sale can help you to become clearer on which ones are right for you. Are you looking to purely make a profit, or is this an opportunity for your business to connect with new audiences?
- Consider what each sales event requires. For example, Click Frenzy requires you to register your sales within their website with a fee that depends on the number of deals you’re promoting, while others allow you to host your own sales. Do your research on the requirements of each sales event and work out which ones are realistic for your business.
- Check your capacity. There may be some times of year that are more suited for you to take part in an online sales event. Which ones do you have the time and resources to plan for well and to keep up with additional demand?
Use online sales to build a loyal customer base
New customers may shop with you during your promotions in online sales events, but simply finding you doesn’t guarantee their return. It’s a great shopping experience that will keep them coming back. Increase your chances of converting first time shoppers into loyal customers in a number of ways:
- Make your site the best it can be. Do a review of your website before any online sales events, making sure it’s looking its best and providing a great customer experience. Customers resonate with clear imagery, detailed product descriptions and easily accessible information on your delivery and returns policies. You’ll also need to check your site has the ability to handle more traffic – check this with your website host. Shoppers are more likely to return if they’ve had a seamless experience.
- Make your socials work hard. Use your social channels to build loyalty by creating exclusive specials for your followers, giving them early access to your sales, or running a competition.
- What’s your point of difference? This is the time to become familiar with your point of difference, and then highlight this to make customers want to come back. Maybe you’re able to provide a personalised note in the package that will make your customers feel special. Perhaps you’re keen to share with your customers how using the Australia Post App will create a positive, more convenient and transparent delivery experience for them.
- Utilise your emails as a resource. Email lists provide high conversion rates during sales events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, so your email list may be at the top of your sales marketing strategy. Ahead of the sales, try promoting via your social channels the benefits of subscribing to your emails and give subscribers exclusive access to special discounts.
- Utilise your post-sale data. When the sales event is over, it’s time to reflect on how to transform more new shoppers into loyal customers. Start by learning more about the behaviours of the people who purchased your goods: where did they find you? When did they shop? What did they buy? All of this can help you to tailor your messages to help attract them to your website more often. Delve into your website and social analytics to find the information that can help you develop a strategy for the next sales event you participate in.
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