There may be 365 days in a year, but for most retailers here in the US, the ones to look forward to only happen towards the end—November, to be exact. Once Thanksgiving rolls around, it signals the start of the holiday shopping season, which means more customers and more sales. And while every retailer, including print-on-demand businesses like you, wants a piece of the pie, things can get a little hectic.
This is especially true for Black Friday and Cyber Monday—the two biggest shopping days of the year. Customers are looking for the best deals and they want them now.
But how do you make sure your online POD store is ready to compete with all the other businesses out there without any hiccups in your operations?
Well, you better read on because we’re about to give you the lowdown on everything you need to do to get your POD store prepped and ready for these two massive shopping events!
Get To Know the Dates
First things first, you need to know when Black Friday and Cyber Monday are happening so you can start planning your promotions and campaigns around these dates. This year, Black Friday falls on November 25 and Cyber Monday is on November 28. These are the two weekdays that immediately follow Thanksgiving here in the US, which means that most people will have the day off from work or school.
This extended weekend is when people start their holiday shopping in earnest, so you need to make sure that your online store is able to accommodate the influx of traffic and orders.
A Little Bit of History…
Did you know that the story behind the term “Black Friday” isn’t as rosy as it’s now made out to be? It’s actually quite the opposite.
Back in the 1950s, the phrase was used by factory managers to refer to the post-Thanksgiving day when they would have to deal with the influx of absentee workers (Dictionary.com). This was because, for many people, Thanksgiving was the start of a four-day weekend, which meant that a lot of workers called in sick or simply didn’t show up for their shifts.
A decade later, Philadelphia police officers started using the term to refer to the traffic mayhem and chaos that came with the surge of shoppers in the city during Thanksgiving weekend. Eventually, retailers and marketing companies have started taking advantage of the Black Friday momentum, spinning it as the perfect time to snag amazing deals and discounts on holiday gifts.
As for Cyber Monday, this term was coined much later in 2005 by a team at Shop.org, resulting from the trends and shopping behaviors of consumers on the first Monday after Thanksgiving weekend (Insider Intelligence).
Fast forward to 2022, both Black Friday and Cyber Monday have become two of the biggest shopping days not just in the US but also in different parts of the globe.
Why Should You Gear Up For These Shopping Events?
Still thinking if you should put in the extra effort to get your POD store ready for Black Friday and Cyber Monday? Here are some reasons and figures that might convince you:
The Momentum is There
For the past decade or so, Black Friday and Cyber Monday have been gaining more and more traction, with people getting more and more excited about these shopping events each year. Just take a look at these numbers:
- Adobe’s 2019 data shows that shoppers spent over $9 billion online on Cyber Monday deals. This record can be attributed to the growing number of people shopping on their mobile devices—a trend that’s only going to continue in the years to come.
- Reports by the National Retail Federation (NRF) reveal that 179.8 million American shoppers hit the physical stores or shopped online during the five-day Thanksgiving weekend in 2021. 88 million online shoppers were recorded on Black Friday alone, while 77 million for Cyber Monday.
It’s the Best Time to Clear Out Your Inventory
If your store is operating solely on the print-on-demand model, clearing out your inventory isn’t a problem at all. Nonetheless, these days are still perfect for promoting your designs or products that haven’t been getting enough attention or sales in the past months. As long as you bundle them with the right deals, you can expect a significant increase in your orders and overall sales!
It’s Perfect for Generating Leads and Growing Your Customer Base
Black Friday and Cyber Monday aren’t only great for boosting sales. These two events can also be excellent opportunities for you to generate leads and grow your customer base.
This is especially true if you plan to offer exclusive discounts or freebies that can only be availed during these days. By requiring interested shoppers to sign up for your newsletter, follow your social media accounts, or provide their contact information, you can easily turn them into leads that you can then nurture and convert into paying customers in the future.
How To Prep Your Store for Black Friday & Cyber Monday
Finally, on to the main event! Here are some of the best ways to prep your store for Black Friday and Cyber Monday:
Make Sure Your Website’s Up and Running
You wouldn’t want to miss out on any sales or leads just because your website crashed in the middle of the Black Friday or Cyber Monday rush, would you?
To avoid this, make sure to test your website beforehand and ensure that it can handle the increased traffic that comes with these shopping holidays. You can do this by simulating traffic to your site using Load Impact or other performance testing tools. If your store is powered by e-commerce platforms like Shopify, make sure you have the right apps and features that can support your promos and deals, as well as the increased traffic and orders.
Build Excitement Through Teasers and Announcements
Keep in mind that your competition is also gearing up for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. So to stand out and get people excited for your promos, start releasing teaser images or videos, as well as announcements, a few weeks or even months before the big day.
You can do this through your website, social media accounts, or even email marketing. Just make sure to create a sense of urgency by setting a date for your promos and deals, and encourage people to start checking out your store early to avoid missing out.
For example, you can inform them about your flash sale schedules or start giving out your free shipping vouchers early so they’ll fill up their carts beforehand and be ready to purchase on the big day.
Bundle Your Products or Services
It’s already expected by shoppers that brands will be slashing their prices on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. So to make your deals even more attractive, consider bundling your products or services together.
This does not only allow you to give bigger discounts, but it also helps increase the average order value (AOV) of your customers. Not to mention, it can also encourage them to try out new products or services that they might not have considered purchasing before.
For example, if you sell custom hoodies, you can create a bundle that includes a hoodie, a pair of joggers, and a tote bag. You can also offer couple’s discounts or 2-for-1 deals on products that are typically purchased together.
Prepare Your Customer Support Team
If your store is already getting a good amount of traffic and orders, then chances are, you’ll be getting even more once Black Friday and Cyber Monday hit. And with that comes an increased volume of customer inquiries and questions that need to be addressed.
To ensure that your customers will still receive the same level of support and assistance even with the increased traffic, make sure to adequately prepare your customer support team. This includes hiring additional customer service reps if necessary, as well as providing them with the necessary tools and resources to do their job efficiently.
You can also create a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page or use chatbots to help deflect some of the support inquiries that you’ll be getting. Just make sure to properly train your team on how to use these tools and that your customers will still be able to reach a human customer service representative when they need to.
Get Your Marketing Materials Ready
Your promos and deals are useless if your customers don’t know about them. Thus, apart from making teasers and early announcements, make sure you’ve got your marketing materials ready well in advance. This includes everything from your boosted ads, to TikTok videos, social media posts, and email campaigns.
You can also create new landing pages or sections on your website that are dedicated to your Black Friday and Cyber Monday promos. This will make it easier for people to find what they’re looking for and take advantage of your deals.
Partner With Influencers and Other Brands
One great way to get the word out about your Black Friday and Cyber Monday promos is to partner with other brands and public figures. This can be done through cross-promotions, social media takeovers, or even influencer partnerships.
For example, you can team up with a complementary brand and offer a discount to customers who purchase from both of your stores. Or you can have an influencer promote your deals on their accounts through a live unboxing, a giveaway, or even a sponsored post.
Just make sure to choose partners that are relevant to your niche and are actually known by the shoppers you wish to target. This way, you can tap into their existing audience and reach a whole new group of potential customers.
Find a Reliable Print on Demand Partner
All of these efforts will be for naught if you’re not able to fulfill your orders on time. After all, nothing is more frustrating for customers than not receiving their purchase when they were expecting it. Plus, handling returns and refunds can also be a huge headache, both for you and your customers.
To avoid all of that, make sure you have a reliable print-on-demand partner that can help you with the production and fulfillment of your orders. This way, you can focus on running your store, promoting your deals, and answering customer queries during these hectic times.
Ready To Boost Your Sales and Traffic This November?
Preparing for such big events doesn’t have to be stressful. Yes, you’ve got all your competitors to worry about. But with the right preparation, you can definitely get a leg up on the game and make your store the go-to destination for Black Friday and Cyber Monday shoppers in your niche. So start putting together your game plan today and get ready to make the most out of these biggest shopping holidays!
And if you’re still searching for a reliable print-on-demand partner, look no further! Awkward Styles can guarantee you a stress-free and seamless experience when it comes to fulfilling your orders. We’ve got your back every step of the way, from start to finish! Just sign up for an account now and let’s get started!