Happy September! It's time to start prepping for Black Friday and Cyber Monday (really)
by Michael P. Hill
Happy September! Now that the kids are back to school and pumpkin spice everything has returned, it’s time to … get ready for the Black Friday and Cyber Monday holiday shopping season.
Yep, it’s the most wonderful time of the year!
Although it might seem far away, think of it this way: As of Sept. 1, 2018, Black Friday is just 83 days away — and Cyber Monday just 86 days away.
In case you’re wondering, that’s just a little longer than Kim Kardashian’s first marriage to Chris Humphries, just a bit short of the courtship on reality show “90 Day Fiance” and less than the typical lifespan of a dragonfly.
And those numbers have already gotten smaller by the time you’ve read this.
Although it’s hard to get in that mindset while your kids are still getting used to the new school year or picking out their Halloween costumes, there are key advantages to being a forward thinking entrepreneur:
Planning for BFCM (or any other major undertaking) can take time — especially to do it right. Starting now will give you the chance to plot your course and build a solid foundation.
Not only can you use this time to review what worked well last year, but you can also use the time to brainstorm new ideas.
From a more practical standpoint, starting early also gives you time to start working on copywriting, design, theme updates and shop customizations — or being sure that you have the time to hire the right people to do this work without waiting until the last minute — and potentially paying a premium for it.
Here’s a quick look at some ways to get the BFCM process started now.
If you didn’t conduct a BFCM “post mortem” last year (or you’re new to the Shopify game), it’s not too late to do one now.
If you’re store didn’t exist last BFCM, you could still try taking a “what if” review to generate ideas or strategies. You can also try researching what other Shopify stores have done in the past or have a good look at the BFCM marketing materials you’ve received yourself.
Evaluate your current customer base vs. your target audience — have you been reaching the right crowd? Are there areas you could expand into, other types of shoppers you could consider targeting in your BFCM marketing?
Plan and prepare content for your social channels, ad campaigns and blog posts now, so that you’re not scrambling for material at the last minute; schedule and automate postings ahead of time using your favorite social media management tool.
If you’ve been considering switching Shopify themes, now is the time to act. Switching to a new Shopify theme is a highly complex process — think of it more like a renovation than just changing paint colors — and it typically is more involved than most people expect.
Make sure your customer support is up to snuff and ready for an influx. Whether you use an app, have staff to help out, or it’s just you fielding any and all customer enquiries, be ready for a spike in support volume on and close to BFCM weekend.
Take a peek at our “last minute” list of tips — and see if there are things on this list you can do now rather than, well, at the last minute.
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