Get In Front of the Holiday Spending Windfall
U.S. Shoppers will spend record amounts on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday
More money will be spent online than ever before and world history, as we move into the fourth quarter and holiday shopping in the United States. Kicking off the shopping season, Black Friday deals are already in place. Retailers have traditionally seen huge profits since the 1960s from Black Friday. However, while Black Friday deals and sales have continued to climb in-store, online sales have been consistently increasing at a rate of 17% year-over-year. With more and more people shopping online, it created the need for a new shopping day of deals. Cyber Monday has outpaced Black Friday and is expected to have record growth again this year.
Brick-and-Mortar Retail vs. E-Commerce
According to RetailMeNot’s survey data, brick-and-mortar retail will be alive and well this holiday season. About half of shoppers surveyed said that they are willing to wake up early on Black Friday and Cyber Monday to snag an attractive deal in a store, and 17% of those surveyed said that they have even missed Thanksgiving to get a good deal on Black Friday.
Despite more than half of survey respondents saying that they will go to a store to make a holiday purchase this year, RetailMeNot’s Tarleton predicts that e-commerce will continue to grow this holiday season, as it has over the past few years. According to Adobe data, online sales over the 2016 Thanksgiving weekend (which ran November 24–27) totaled $9.36 billion and were up 16.4% year over year. Also in 2016, Black Friday set a new online sales record, with e-commerce sales surpassing the $3 billion mark for the first time and growing by 21.6% year over year. Thanksgiving Day online sales in 2016 totaled $1.93 billion and were up 11.5% year over year. (2017 Black Friday And Cyber Monday Predictions, Deborah Weinswig)
Cyber Monday Has Become Even Bigger than Black Friday in Terms of Online Sales
Cyber Monday is growing in popularity and becoming a bigger holiday shopping event. More than 56% of consumers surveyed by RetailMeNot said that they plan to make a purchase on Cyber Monday this year, compared with 39% last year. In 2016, Cyber Monday was the largest online sales day in history, according to Adobe data: shoppers spent a record $3.39 billion online on Cyber Monday last year, up 10.2% year over year and surpassing the Black Friday online sales total of $3.34 billion. (https://www.forbes.com/sites/deborahweinswig/2017/10/27/2017-black-friday-and-cyber-monday-predictions/#2f03309c5f14)
So what can a local traditional business due to compete in this retail season?
Small Business Saturday
Many retailers offer deep discounts on their products and services the Monday following Black Friday. In the middle of this online retail craze, sit our local traditional business owners. Struggling to keep up with the major big box stores, Main Street has certainly been affected. A new effort to increase awareness and support of local retailers emerged with American Express launching a campaign five years ago, Small Business Saturday. Small business Saturday occurs this Saturday November 25, 2017 and is also expected to do better than last year. Many consumers, while looking for discounts and deals still want to support their local businesses.
“The estimated 112 million shoppers and diners who reported spending money on Main Street last Saturday  represent a 13 percent increase over the year prior, according to the Post-Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey from the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) and American Express.”
Consumers came together to show their love for small businesses on Small Business Saturday. Among those who shopped on the day, 32% reported attending a community event, and 81% reported encouraging friends or family to shop or dine at small, independently-owned retailers and restaurants on the day as well, both on par with 2015. Additionally, consumers and small businesses helped rally support for Small Business Saturday and their favorite small businesses on social media channels. (Small Business Saturday® Results: 112 Million Consumers Shop and Dine Small on Small Business Saturday – More Than Ever Before)
PC Magazine’s The Small Business Holiday Season Survival Guide has these 6 Tips
1. Run a Social Media Contest
“This is a cost-efficient way to engage with customers and prospects during the holidays,” said Freberg. “For example, an SMB might decide to give away gift certificates to lucky followers who post the best holiday-themed images via social media that feature something relative to the SMB’s product/service.”
2. Promote Holiday Sales Online
“An SMB’s website and social networks should promote holiday sales throughout November and December to create awareness,” said Freberg. “Shoppers will be seeing countless deals online, so SMBs cannot afford not to do this.”
3. Pay-Per Click (PPC) Advertising
Create small ads that promote your holiday specials and place them on search engines. Each time the ads are clicked, you are charged a set price. When users click your PPC advertisement, they’re directed to the relevant page on your website. Balboa Capital recommends your business outsource PPC advertising to an independent Web specialist or search engine optimization company.
4. Send Holiday-Themed Emails
“Follow CAN-SPAM rules for commercial email messaging, and send holiday-themed emails that invite customers and prospects to take advantage of special holiday sales and offers,” said Freberg. “SMBs that use email marketing must give recipients the option to stop receiving emails, so they should consult with an email marketing company or small advertising agency to ensure that best practices are used.”
5. Host a Holiday Kick-Off Event
“SMBs of all types can start the holidays in style with an event that attracts shoppers from their local community,” said Freberg. “It can involve holiday décor and signage, live music, a local press release, and holiday promotion or discount for attendees.”
6. Free Gift With Purchase
“Most big-box retailers offer aggressive promotions during the holidays to entice shoppers, and SMBs can do the same without breaking the bank,” said Freberg. “Offering a free gift with purchase can help drive sales for specific items while providing a nice incentive to customers. A good strategy is to offer a free gift with purchase that works with the product that is being purchase. For example, a drill bit set might be a free gift with the purchase of a high-end drill.” (Read the article here).