How to Meet Demand on Black Friday
By Rackbeat November 15, 2021
Black Friday is just around the corner. In fact, there are less than 2 weeks until Denmark’s busiest day of shopping, and that means you need to get a move on, if you haven’t prepared your business yet.
Luckily, we have the answers to how you can meet the imminent logistical troubles head on. If you’re a business that has an inventory and deals in shipping and sales, then this article is for you.
In this article you’ll find out how you make sure that you have enough inventory in stock to meet the demand, but not so much that you have a bunch of wares left over after the holidays. We’ll also touch on how Rackbeats different integrations can help you make Black Friday a piece of cake.
Why is Black Friday so important?
While Black Friday in Denmark may not look like the American version, this holiday is still incredibly important for retail and wholesale across Europe and the Nordics. Year over year we see an increase in sales over the five days that stretch from Thursday (this year November 25th) to Monday (November 29th). If your store has amazing deals, there’s a great opportunity to snatch a piece of the enormous revenue cake.
November has become one of the key months of the year for Danish retail, in part due to the adoption of Black Friday. Christmas (and December) is still the uncrowned king of revenue, but it’s important to note that a lot of November and Christmas sales happen during the 5 days around Black Friday. We’re talking about an incredibly opportune and hectic time, and that is why being ready is important, otherwise you might lose out on a huge percentage of the yearly revenue.
The Danes spent just north of 323 million $USD on Black Friday 2020, in spite of the pandemic, according to Dansk Erhverv, and they expect this spend to increase again this year. 61% of consumers shopped mainly online, while 19% shopped both online and in person, and the remaining 20% were found mainly in physical stores.
In fact, the average Danish Black Friday consumer spent ~372 $USD – 30% more than what was expected ahead of Black Friday, says Dansk Industri.
With the enormous rise of sales, sadly a lot of logistical problems do as well. The warehouse, POS, shipping, webshop, and accounting software all need to be able to keep up, so revenue isn’t lost in the process. Do you want to make sure that your customers are happy, your revenue is increased, and you don’t stress out during Black Friday? Then keep reading, and pick up a good piece of advice or two, so you’re ready for yet another record year.
So how do you actually master Black Friday?
There are multiple aspects involved in making a great Black Friday business strategy, but a good foundation should be based in the following categories: customer experiences, tools, and selection of wares. These categories are exceedingly broad, but fear not – we are going through them, step by step.
Optimizing the Customer Experience
Good customer/user experience can and should be found in all aspects of your business. Everything from marketing to optimization of sales flow can be found under this umbrella term, and therefore it is vital that you have a good understanding of this critical discipline.
You should already be well under way with your Black Friday marketing campaigns, but there are (almost) always more potential customers you can snatch up. For example, you could do this through email marketing and newsletters, letting customers know when your sale starts. You could also offer a sample, a taster if you will, of the great deals you’re offering on Black Friday, on social media, creating a bit of positive tension along the way. In short: you need to make sure that your customers are aware of what they’re missing out on, if they’re not placing their orders with you on Black Friday.
Aside from the low-hanging fruit we’ve just described, there are a lot of Growth Hacking principles that you can use, to enrich the customer experience and make your deals more enticing, thereby increasing conversion rates I.E sales. If you have a webshop, you could add a countdown at the top of the site, counting the days/hours/minutes/seconds to the beginning of the sale. A continuous live stream on Facebook could be another example of this, and both examples remind the customer that something is happening in ‘X’ amount of time. It also creates a sense of urgency, which can increase conversion rates, because the customers have a tendency to make quicker buying decisions under time pressure.
Example of a countdown banner
The customer experience is also important in relation to your website, and the click-through flow you find there. If a customer can’t find the products they’re looking for, they’re going to move on to the next webshop. That’s why it is a good idea to create a dedicated page or category specifically for Black Friday deals, so your customers get a visual overview of all the great deals at once, and in one place. This makes it easy and enticing for customers to buy more. If there’s an add-to-cart button directly in the grid view this is even better, as the customer won’t have to click through to the individual product page. Less clicks means easier to buy – thereby increasing your chances of maximizing your online sales.
Abandoned carts are another example of a challenge that a lot of webshops are facing. Abandoned carts are when a customer leaves products in their carts without completing the purchase, either because they forgot, or because they started having doubts, and are now looking for deals elsewhere. A clear indicator that there are still products in the cart can help alleviate this problem, but there are other tricks you can deploy to increase your conversion rate, i.e. securing the sale goes through. A lot of stores are starting to use SMS and email to address this issue. If you know the customer’s phone number or email address you can (with caution, you don’t want to seem like you’re spamming) remind them of the products they left in the cart. In case the customer forgot you, and haven’t been able to find comparable deals elsewhere, a reminder is a great way of finalizing the sale. Tapping into the sense of urgency from earlier, you can also inform them of inventory levels – if there are only a few of the given product left in stock.
The Personal Touch
A lot of webshops have begun using a new(ish) tool: personalized messages that update the consumer on the product shipment status. Something as simple as a handwritten note can give your customers a sense of being taken care of personally, thereby increasing the chance of them returning to your store – especially when it’s time to do the Christmas shopping soon. Beware though, if you commit to this strategy, do so fully. The name of the customer written in different ink than the message, lets your customer know that you’re pre printing cards, and just filling out the name, and can have disastrous consequences.
What the Right Tools can do for Your Business
The logistical Vietnam that is Black Friday can only be solved with great software. Ideally, there are so many orders that manual order processing simply can’t handle it, even more so when you factor in shipping, warehousing, and invoicing. Luckily, there are lots of great software solutions out there and in the following section we’ll briefly go over the different categories of solutions, and we’ll highlight some examples of how they interact with each other.
POS / eCommerce platform:
Whether your business is completely online, from a physical store, or a combination of both, your customers need a way to purchase your products. Online, this typically happens through an eCommerce platform, and in the physical store through a POS-system. POS is an abbreviation for Point of Sales and is the evolution of the old school cash register, that can be tailored to the businesses needs to a far greater degree – compared to their classic and generic counterparts.
There are a lot of fantastic POS-systems out there, and here at Rackbeat we’re proud of being able to integrate with many of the best and biggest, quick and easy. On the POS side of things we integrate seamlessly with (among others) Servicepos, Shopbox and e-conomic. Shopify also has an omnichannel POS-module, if you’re an online/physical hybrid store.
Shopify and WooCommerce are two of the most popular eCommerce platforms we integrate with, but we also integrate with a bunch of the smaller platforms. They all synchronize inventory levels and sales orders incredibly quickly between themselves and Rackbeat. The synchronization actually happens in real-time, meaning an online sale will reflect instantly in your warehouse management system and the vice versa. That means you’ll never “accidentally” sell products online that you don’t have in stock.
Your warehouse is the beating heart of the business. When Black Friday comes knocking, it is important that you are on top of a lot of things: Stock levels of a specific product, cost price vs sales price, product numbers, order numbers, invoicing, and much much more.
Rackbeat is the platform that can help you automate many of the processes outlined above. When, for example, an order is placed on your webshop, it is automatically created in Rackbeat, fully equipped with an order number, product list, customer information, and profit margins.
In short: You’re doing a lot less of the heavy lifting, compared to, for example, operating your stock levels in an excel spreadsheet.
If the warehouse is the beating heart, the accounting system is the brains that give you an overview of the moneyflow. There are lots of accounting systems out there, and it can be a good idea to research exactly which system that fits your business’ needs. They vary greatly in functionality and pricing, and therefore it is difficult to provide a concrete recommendation, as functionality and price needs to match the business’ existing IT setup.
We do, however, integrate with the most commonly used accounting software, including e-conomic, Dinero, and Billy.
During Black Friday it is important that invoicing is automated, otherwise a sizable chunk of revenue can be lost. If invoices are created manually, that is a full-time employee right there, and therefore it is essential to set up a reliable accounting system.
If you’re an online-only business, you are probably shipping out an insane amount of orders, and to make that task easier, it is a good idea to enlist a shipping management service. To tell you more about that, our colleagues at Shipmondo have helped us explain the benefits of using a shipping management service.
Shipmondo has experienced that one of the features that the customers liked the most, was delivery to a parcel shop or parcel box. But that can lead to great challenges for the shipping professionals and the shops where parcels can be delivered, which can have a hard time keeping up. Therefore you should add multiple shipping agencies. This can make your deliveries more flexible as you open up for more locations and home deliveries. With Shipmondo you can ship with GLS, dao, PostNord, Bring, Danske Fragtmænd, and DHL express, all in one place.
Shipmondo has gathered the Shipping agents’ distribution plans on Black Friday, so you can get a better overview of what you’ll be able to promise your customers.
We mentioned personalized messages for the customers earlier, as a way of creating a better customer experience, and Shipmondo is a strong partner in this. They have a built-in tool on their platform that allows you to write completely personalized messages on both SMS and/or email. You can automatically add the information you have on the customer, such as name, package number and track’n’trace link. That helps you build a brand that is close to the consumer, and that is valued, especially on Black Friday.
When you integrate your Rackbeat account with your Shipmondo user, data is instantly synchronized between the platforms. That means that whether you prefer to register shipping in Rackbeat or Shipmondo, the shipping is automatically created in the other system. It’s completely free to integrate the two services, and with the integration you are getting an enterprise level setup with very little cost.
You can read much more about Shipmondo and the advantages they offer on their website: www.shipmondo.com
The Right Product Range
The third element you need to be on top of is your product range.
As the readers of the blog do not all sell the same product or have the same target audience, we’re not going to recommend specific products. There are however guidelines for the ‘type’ of product that you should be selling on Black Friday.
Products with a high profit margin:
Great deals are the essence of Black Friday, and a good way of attracting customers is being able to offer large discounts on the product card. If you’re going to offer a 50% discount, it is a given that you need to have at least 50% profit margin on that product during regular seasons. The higher the profit margin, the higher discounts you can afford to offer.
Products with high perceived value:
The products that are perceived as a luxury are great items to sell on Black Friday, as you can put a big discount on them. These products are usually jewelry, electronics or kitchen equipment, that people have a hard time justifying a purchase of during a regular season, but become much more persuasive when they’re 25% off.
The products that do well all year round are usually also some of the ones that do great on Black Friday, because customers are already interested in them during the year. They’re ready to buy already, and the extra discount is often more than enough to make them press proceed to checkout.
If you’re a dropshipping business it can be a good idea to look for new suppliers that offer products that are in high demand on Black Friday. We’ve written a seperate blog on Dropshipping, that relays the pros and cons of Dropshipping in 2021.
Almost all businesses have a sale at the tail end of a season, because they don’t want to be stuck with inventory that isn’t going to sell in the coming season. Black Friday is a great enabler for the sale of these items. If your summer sale has left a surplus stock in your warehouse, then Black Friday is a top opportunity for reducing the price drastically, and sneak in a few more sales of seasonal products before the end of the year.
Great advice is 100% off
Black Friday is less than 2 weeks away, and we hope you’ve become even better equipped for the challenges your business is facing. With an optimization of the customer experience, new digital tools, and the right product range you can go extremely far, and make this Black Friday the best in your business’ history.
Bring these tips along for the Christmas season as well, as that is right around the corner, and there is a lot of overlap between the two holidays.
Remember: Black Friday is the new black!
Start using your new tools!
There are less than two weeks till Black Friday, and starting with Warehouse Management simply can’t wait. Rackbeat offers a free 14-day free trial period without the need for committing to anything, or pulling out your credit card. You can work with your own data, in a fully functional environment, so you can start using Rackbeat over the Black Friday Weekend!
Also make sure to check out our great colleagues at Shipmondo – with Rackbeat and Shipmondo you can rest assured that the products are picked, packed, invoiced and shipped to the customer – no muss, no fuss.