Analysis: 10 tips to make the most of Event Days

Singles Day, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are a big part of the online shopper’s sales calendar. For retailers, these event days represent a great opportunity to attract new shoppers to your online store and to grow the value of your existing customers.  In this article – adapted and updated from one we published in The Full Download 2020 – we provide some useful tips to help retailers maximise the benefits from their investment in 2021 sales event.

  1. Have a plan. There’s no successful sales event without a plan. What is your goal or target? Do you just want to beat last year’s sales figures or is your event more purposeful - like getting rid of excess stock or promoting a new product line? Start out by looking at all your products and plan your deals and discounts in advance. 
     
  2. Know your product margins. Understanding your product margins lets you know what can be discounted and by how much. Discounting products to get customers in, or to make an additional purchase, is a great short-term tactic but it can’t be sustained over time.
     
  3. Make contingency plans. Consider a number of “what if” scenarios and how you’d deal with them. What if we are in lockdown, how will that change your approach and ability to deliver? What if you sell out too quickly – can you restock? Can your pick and pack team cope with demand? After doing the hard work with events you don’t want to be in a position where you can’t meet customer expectations.
     
  4. Prepare customers to buy. Customers don’t suddenly switch on to an event on the day. They research well ahead. So, prepare them in advance. Make sure they know your sale is coming. The more you can prime them, the more they’ll come to your store, instead of a competitor's. 
     
  5. Reward existing customers. Reward existing customers for choosing you and for recommending you to others. It could be a first chance to shop for exclusive stock or bundles.  It doesn’t have to be a big discount, just something that shows them you value them.
     
  6. Your website is everything. How it looks, how it loads and how it copes with the demand will drive how your customers experience you. Stress test it well before the event. Make sure it can handle the upcoming load and is set up for mobile. If it doesn’t work well on mobile, you risk losing a whole generation of customers. 
     
  7. Cut through the clutter. Remember, it’s a cluttered time for advertising so think about what will cut through. In 2020, we saw retailers use an extended time before event days to create space for their messages to get through, rather than relying just on one day. 
     
  8. Enticing and clear offers. Create standout banners, hero images, headlines and calls to action for your event day promotions. That key visual is often what’s going to carry your campaign for the event day. Make sure it’s compelling enough to entice the shopper. 
     
  9. Track everything. Set up tracking on your website with good analytics that show you how your marketing is performing. Understand where customers came from, how they found you, where they lingered and what they bought. There are apps that let you see how many of your site visits are converting to sales. Some help you identify what pages are working while other can tell you where customers are getting stuck, or abandoning their cart. There are plenty of smart tools out there to help build your knowledge about what in your sales event offer has worked. This will be invaluable in planning for the next event. 
     
  10. Think beyond the event day. The true value of tactical event day promotion is the long-term value you can derive from customers. This is especially true when you offer discounts. As part of your planning, be clear how you’ll follow up event day sales, engaging with new customers and turning them into regular shoppers and advocates for your online store.

The data used for this eCommerce Spotlight is card transactional data supplied by Datamine

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