Prepping For Black Friday (2.5 Tips for Customers and 2.5 Tips for Companies)

 

As Black Friday and Cyber Monday fast approach, the question in every consumer’s head can run something like this: Where will the good sales be taking place? Should I skip Thanksgiving altogether and shop early? When is a good time to start rapidly click “Refresh” so that I’m the first one to buy the $10 plasma TV on (Insert e-commerce website here)? From the business side (or the ones creating these coveted deals), it can be a little tricky trying to find the proper balance between discounting too much or losing customers for not discounting enough. Fear not! I’m here to arm you folks with the 2.5 tips and tricks you need to know for this upcoming shopping season!

For the Companies:

1. It’s estimated that the 2013 year will see somewhat of a surge in sales, but nothing serious. Consumers are stashing away disposable income as the economy continues to flounder. Unemployment for the younger demographic (who typically drive trends) is at a record high in some areas. This might sound bad, but there is a silver lining. Many companies are turning more towards an online-focused sale in hopes that Cyber Monday will draw the crowds needed to turn margins into the black. To ensure that you maximize your online presence, your site will need to be both engaging, user friendly, while offering plenty of choices and ease of use. AliExpress is a great example (they literally have thousands of vendors, but do very well at targeting consumers based on their search history). Use the info you have on customers from the previous months to forecast anticipated demand. Ensure that servers have enough capacity to handle the crowds!

2. Many companies will be offering steep discounts and freebies. This basically means a free for all into the price war abyss. We want to avoid this. Try to focus on offering large discounts or freebies on a few select items, and then discounting everything else to a reasonable price .For example, Macy’s is offering free snow globes (akin to last year) for the first several hundred shoppers. Draw customers in with a loss leader, and let them pick and choose their items by further discounting items 10%-15% off the total price.

a)Link up directly with your to-be shoppers via catalogs, mailing lists, advertised word of mouth, or “leaked” sales. Online forums and coupon sites are a great way to do this, and should ensure higher traffic to both stores and online sites.

For the Consumers:

1. The cards are in your favor! Companies will be offering competitive discounts to get rid of last season items, as well as attempting to lure you in with everything from cash giveaways to great buy one get one free deals. The best way to ensure you get all of your holiday shopping done early is to prepare a list of what you want, where you will purchase it, and in what order. Planning is half of the battle; the other half will be making sure you get everything while it’s still in stock! Most apparent is going for what you need the most versus going for what is the cheapest. For example, if you know your mom really wants that dress, which is 60% off, but a guitar is 90% off, go with the dress. It’ll make your mom happier (plus you can probably get that guitar a bit later)!

2. Coupons are your friend. Many online retailers will be offering promos that look something like “Enter freebiez123 for a buy one get one free deal on woolen socks!” Be sure to know where to find the best coupons (whether it’s online or in person), and whether or not they can be combined with purchases. If all else fails, simply ask for a discount and cite Black Friday as the reason (A friend of mine did this for a well known clothing store, and was able to get an additional 15% off her purchase price)!

a) Don’t give up Thanksgiving just to shop. Regardless of how good the deals are, you always want to spend time with your family. It doesn’t make sense to give up a turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie…well you get the picture. Enjoy Thanksgiving, and save shopping for the actual Black Friday (or Cyber Monday), instead of rushing out on Thanksgiving evening. You’ll thank yourself later when you have those cherished memories to add to your scrapbook.

Now that you, the competent consumer or savvy business leader are armed with these tips, get ready to maximize savings (or maximize revenue)!

 

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