Make sure your business is prepared for Black Friday

Make sure your business is prepared for Black Friday

Amazon introduced Black Friday to the UK almost a decade ago and since then the sales event has grown to be a huge success for many e-commerce sellers.

Although Black Friday began as a single day of sales it now often runs for longer and once more, Amazon is very much leading the way. Many retailers now run offers for the entire Black Friday weekend or even for a whole week. Amazon takes it even further, with Black Friday sales that can last for 12 days and requires them to double their workforce in November and December by taking on thousands of seasonal workers.

If you are an Amazon seller you are bound to want to take advantage of the opportunity to grow your sales. So, here are some essential tips you can follow as you gear up for Black Friday in November.

Understand how Amazon promotions work

To begin with, you need to make sure you understand how Amazon’s promotions work. Even if you’ve run promotions on Amazon before, it is worth going over them again, so your efforts aren’t derailed by a mistake you could easily have avoided.

Go through how they calculate the discount being offered and their promotion rules. Also make sure you clearly explain your terms and conditions, so customers understand what makes them eligible for a particular offer and the outcome of applying the discount. The same goes for your promotional messaging, which needs to be straightforward and not leave any room for misinterpretation.

Research products

The products you choose to put on offer can make all the difference to your success on Black Friday.

Take the time to research and source products that are likely to sell well. You can work out which products to sell based on your historical sales data. You could also use a tool like Jungle Scout to help you estimate the sales and profit you can expect from various products.

Social media is another useful source of information on what products are popular. So there really is no reason why you should risk losing money by guessing which products to sell.

Be savvy about sourcing products

After you’ve done your research, it’s time to source your products.

If you are worried about how buying products for Black Friday will affect your cash flow, you could negotiate with suppliers, especially if you have a longstanding relationship with them. You could ask for a discount on larger orders, or negotiate more favourable payment terms, such as a smaller deposit to pay before shipment.

When sourcing products from abroad, it is also worth considering the value of the currency in the country you are buying from. If your currency is worth more to the seller, consider asking for a discount to take this into account.

Check your inventory

Being unable to fulfil orders on Black Friday can tarnish your reputation and result in you losing instead of winning customers. According to Amazon, ‘Customers who submit orders for products that are not in stock are likely to leave negative feedback, especially around the holidays. To ensure that buyers cannot place orders for out-of-stock items, keep your inventory updated.’

Overbuying can also be a risk, so take your projected sales into account when you decide how much you need to buy.

Use product bundles

Bundle offers can be useful for several reasons. They can be a handy way of encouraging additional sales, particularly if you create a bundle with products customers often buy together.

If you have products you’ve been struggling to sell, you could bundle them with more popular but related ones. Bundles can also be a great way of winning a place in the Buy Box. This is the white box that appears on the top right hand corner of the product detail page with a call to action to ‘Add to Cart’. The Buy Box accounts for 82 per cent of Amazon sales but not every seller is eligible to get the coveted spot.

There are several ways to increase your chances of being featured in the Buy Box, including offering a competitive price, since most products on Amazon are sold by several sellers. Another option is to be the exclusive seller of a particular product but this isn’t easy, so instead you could create a unique bundle. The bundle will be treated as a product and help you win a place in the Buy Box.

Bundles are also great for sellers who use Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA), since they are treated as a unit, so you’ll be charged less.

Offer free shipping

Shoppers flock to Amazon because it’s convenient, so you want to avoid putting barriers in their way. During the Christmas period, when shoppers are likely to buy several products online, all those shipping fees can be off putting. Offering free shipping may just give you the edge you need over your competitors. Amazon says free shipping can also increase your chances of winning the Buy Box.

Mike Cockfield is managing director of Khaos Control Cloud.

Further reading on Black Friday

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