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July 21, 2023 - By Hawke Media

8 Big-Picture Items to Address Early for the Holiday Rush: Your Black Friday Cyber Monday Checklist

As soon as Prime Days are over, you need a plan for the even bigger online shopping days: Black Friday and Cyber Monday. By now, you should have an idea of the sales you are going to run, goals for how you will execute on the influx of customers hunting for the deal, and a Black Friday Cyber Monday marketing checklist.   

US consumers have spent around $9 billion per Black Friday for several years, and virtual shopping is expected to continue to trend upward. More customers are starting their shopping early, and more are focused on holding out for deals thru Cyber Monday, so the function of Cyber Week is continuing to evolve.

That’s why we created this list of essentials. We’re tuned in to the pulse of this year’s customers based on exclusive Hawke AI data, the economics of BFCM, and the challenges we’re all facing as brand marketers and ecommerce professionals this year. Here are eight things you should check off your list for a successful selling season.

1. Calculate What You Can Afford

Given current economic conditions and your YTD tracking, forecast what kind of shopping eagerness you expect. The best way to cut through the Cyber Week noise is with a compelling offer.

Figure out what your brand can afford to offer. The best offer will get you the best business, but you may not be able to afford a certain sales price without losing money.

Promote products at the lowest possible rate that doesn’t lose profits (or lose the profits, if the brand awareness will balance it out). Don’t forget to calculate your marketing budget to promote the sale. Remember, it’s a limited-time offer, but you need to swing for the fences in terms of your offerings to feel secure to buyers in 2022.

If you’re concerned about losing money by selling too much at a steeply discounted rate, consider a limited quantity. This will still get eyeballs on your product and gives your brand a safeguard.

2. Get Shipping Materials Ready

Supply chain issues aren’t in the news the way they were in 2021, but there are still plenty of delays that can impact small and medium-sized businesses. Remember, every ecommerce business needs the same kinds of supplies all at once. That means if you haven’t pulled together your shipping materials for the influx of orders you’re expecting, you might be missing the boat. 

The solution to this is to audit what you have, so you can ensure that the paper and plastic shipping materials you have exceed your stretch goals. If you do an inventory and come up short, consider how you can source your materials locally, or at least domestically. This both precludes overseas shipping delays and reduces your environmental impact.

The longer your supply chain is, the more likely you are to find it interrupted during this holiday season. Shorten, streamline, localize, and understand your supply chain. Visible, transparent, and domestic supply chains will fare better than the rest.

3. Diversify Your Media

Our own Director of Growth, Madena Ghani, says to balance between top, middle, and bottom-of-funnel tactics. Return On Ad Spend (ROAS) is a terrible metric in digital marketing because attribution is all over the place. Instead, look at your Marketing Efficiency Ratio (MER), which combines all your marketing efforts and results.

Quote from Madena Ghani of Hawke Media

4. Aim for Sustainability

Most Gen X now say they are willing to spend more for sustainably sourced products. That, plus the rising spending power of Gen Z, makes ecologically friendly products and shipping more important than ever.   

Sure, it’s all well and good to say “go green” this Black Friday, but what are some actionable ways you can implement that? 

  • Go digital. For last-minute sustainable surprise and delight, consider adding digital offerings this holiday season. Instead of printing a book or selling a physical item, ask, “How can I make this digital?” Digital offerings require almost no supply chain, which means they’re easy to offer last-minute and they’re more sustainable. 
  • Source locally. The more you source from the area around you, the faster you can implement new offerings and the more sustainable you’ll be. 
  • Use green materials. You may be using green materials and not even know it. Or maybe you want to shift your offerings to be a little greener. Using materials like glass, bamboo, or recycled plastics is a tiny way you can both be more sustainable and boast about it.  
  • Partner with those who are already making change. When selecting partners, choose those dedicated to sustainability and making change. Then you can name-drop those partners and instantly win approval from your customers and would-be buyers.  

Sustainability has to be genuine. You can’t fake it, really, and if you get caught trying, it won’t be pretty. 

5. Sell Your “Why”

This season, your audience is being flooded with offers that come with 10% to 20% off coupons. 

Email send volumes skyrocket each holiday season. You need to do something to stand out from the cacophony of voices shouting at prospective buyers from their inboxes.  

Millennials and Gen Zers want authenticity and transparency, but they also want a cause. When angling your BFCM efforts, be sure to have an intention beyond just lining your pockets. Donate to a charity and talk about it. Have your team volunteer together as a team-building exercise. 

Find your why outside of the money and the rest will come.  

6. Recycle Your Content

If you haven’t created BFCM-specific content, you can always tilt your evergreen content to be themed with holiday messaging. This works especially well in design, and keeps you from having to overspend on creating content that’s good only for the holiday season. Take a look at your best-performing articles and see if they can use a holiday twist. 

7. Make Yourself Available

Availability may sound broad because it means something different for every business model. Be available to answer basic questions, provide agile responses to customer service issues, and present your offerings through several channels.  

If you sell a physical product in a brick-and-mortar location, consider offering pickup or delivery. This will be particularly effective during the holiday season due to shipping and predicted postal-service delays. 

Being available also means creating stores and content that are responsive and accessible to the significant percentage of consumers shopping exclusively on their mobile devices. 

By the start of November, major competitors like Amazon (where over 15% of total online holiday shopping takes place) have started their early bird promotions. Being available to customers this year may be as simple as moving on your promos ASAP. 

8. Hear from Hawke Experts

Need a helping hand? Just because it’s nearly BFCM 2021 doesn’t mean you’re too late to take advantage of the holiday gold rush. Hawke Media’s partners and professionals can whip up a last-minute holiday selling-season strategy faster than your mom whips up her famous holiday cookies.

You can also hear from Hawke and our partners on these topics from last year.