Plan Early! Understanding the significance of Black Friday and Cyber Monday is absolutely imperative in best utilizing the pre-holiday ramp up in online shopping.
Friday, November 25th, 2011. It's the first day after US Thanksgiving. This marks the "official" beginning of Christmas shopping. Many brick-and-mortar stores open early and offer door crashing deals that are similar to Boxing Day sales, and online retailers should consider doing something similar. Last year comScore reported $648 million in online sales. This year? It's going to be bigger.
Monday, November 28th, 2011. It's the Monday immediately following Black Friday. Last year, comScore reported Cyber Monday as the highest online spending day of 2010. It went down in history with 9 million online transactions totalling a whopping $1 billion in online sales. That's an increase of 16% over 2009's sales. If we see a similar percentage growth, we're looking at about $1.2 billion. That's friggin' huge.
Simply put: You can make a lot of money on these days, but you have to start soon. Check out the peak in search volume for the term "gifts" via Google Insights:
The graph illustrates how Black Friday is the beginning of online holiday shopping. From that day on, holiday gift buying is only on the rise. You can see a similar spike in search volume for terms like "gifts for christmas," "christmas gift," "christmas idea," and "top gifts." If you want to be ahead of the game, start using these keywords in your titles and product descriptions early on to rank higher in Google.
You can also try bidding on some seasonally targeted AdWords keywords to get an extra bump in sales. Try bidding on keywords related to your niche and the holiday in question. For example: if you sell iPad accessories you could try placing ads on something like "iPad christmas gifts." I know it's not even Halloween yet, but you have to start preparing for holiday gift buying far in advance to be properly prepared. Here are some other things you should be thinking about:
- Decide whether you're going to be offering winter or holiday specific items;
- Make sure you have plenty of your best-selling items in stock;
- If you need any special product photography, get it done soon;
- Write a blogpost teasing consumers about upcoming products;
- Start planning any promotions/sales you're going to be offering;
- Planning a new product release? Try releasing it by Black Friday to capitalize on buying fever.
Tell us your tips on getting ready for the holidays in the comments!