Chanukah and Black Friday. They go together like latkes & sour cream. That eight day Jewish holiday of lights and Chanukah gifting for friends, family and coworkers is one of the biggest shopping seasons on the Jewish retail calendar, aided in no small part to Black Friday and Cyber Monday. But standing out in an Amazon-first world is challenging; over 50% of holiday shoppers are convinced that Amazon and Walmart alone will have the best holiday deals this season for any holiday.
So how can Jewish retailers – online and brick & mortar – with an eye on December 2nd, the first night of Hanukkah, adapt to capture a larger share of shoppers wallet for Chanukah gifts this Black Friday / Cyber Monday weekend. Ironically, in order to go big in Chanukah food, toys and gift sales, you have to focus on a lot of little improvements. Here are 10 smart ways to win Chanukah gifting season and profitably leverage Black Friday, Cyber Monday and beyond.
Know the Holiday Calendar
Rejoice! Black Friday falls earlier than usual this year and the full holiday shopping season is a longer-than-usual 34 days! Not only will you have the advantage of selling more Chanukah gifts earlier this holiday season, the expanded calendar can help you capitalize on gaining more lucrative repeat purchases in the same time period.
According to RetailDive, 31% of shoppers plan to spend an average of $472 on Black Friday, edging out Cyber Monday average spend of $415. That means you need to focus your energies on the full five-day weekend of shopping instead of simply those two days (don’t forget, Thanksgiving is shaping up to be a huge shopping day as well!).
But don’t just pay attention to the sales calendar; know the shipping calendar. Be transparent with customers about when their items will ship and when expedited shipping cutoffs occur. There’s nothing worse than having Chanukah gifts arrive on the fifth day instead of day one due to delivery issues. We should know; we had a client who suffered from holiday fulfillment issues due to FedEx de-prioritizing their gift items in favor of big box retailers during the critical holiday season. Be prepared with a contingency plan to either fulfill orders locally or manually if the need arises. And reward patient customers with a gift card or thank you offer because delivery expectations are extremely important to consumers these days.
Think Buyer’s Too, Not Just Gifters
It’s very easy to think that everyone is in the mode of gifting their children, spouse, parents, siblings and co-workers. True, children do make up the bulk of purchases for gifters, simply due to the number of kids on their list. Here’s a reality check, though: nearly one quarter of shoppers are self-gifting. In fact, $1 out of every $7 spent is on self-gifting.
Many shoppers take advantage of Black Friday / Cyber Monday to stock up on items they really want and spend a good part of December stocking up on gifts for everyone else. Millennials self-gift more than most and actually gift their pets nearly the same amount as themselves ($98 and $92, respectively.)
So when you’re brainstorming creatives and copy for your email, social, and paid search campaigns with your Jewish marketing strategists, take those self-gifters into account just as much as the gifted. The ultimate gift that covers all audiences: the ubiquitous gift card plug: 68% of gifters plan to purchase gift cards in lieu of actual gifts.
Create Evergreen Web Pages
Quite simply, like the aptly-named holiday tree, an evergreen page is a web page that is live online all year round. For example, if your website is JudaicaPalace.com and you’re hoping to maximize your Chanukah sales, your page JudaicaPalace.com/ChanukahGifts should stay live all year. Why is that important? Search engine optimization. By implementing evergreen pages for large holidays and seasons, your site and, more specifically, your Chanukah page will maintain it’s searchability on search engines through the sheer fact that the page is being indexed all year.
By using evergreen pages, you no longer need to do a last minute scramble to find the right content for the right page; you’ll have months to perfect it before showtime. The challenge? What to put on the page when those 8 days of gifting are over. (hint: we got some good ideas for you!)
Gift Guides & Wishlists
Most consumers don’t start making their gift list until October. Which means that consumers are basing their gifting on either recent mentions of needs and wants by their friends and family or because consumers saw an item online or on social media, got inspired by it’s gifting potential and had an “AHA!” moment.
So create your own AHA! moment and give customers the gift of Chanukah inspiration. Being that you are the industry expert in Chanukah gifts within your category (of course, you are!), you’re in a unique position to dictate the hottest gifts of the season. Essentially, that means creating a Gift Guide: a list of items that you say customers will love to gift and people will love to get. Customers, especially women shoppers, need that inspiration to envision a gift for friends and family, as well as motivate them to checkout now.
And, of course, Gift Guides are strong agents of search engine optimization. Create multiple Gift Guides for different product verticals and keep them live all season long (if not longer). Be sure to update products for stock messaging, pricing, and shipping to maximize conversion.
How Mobile-Friendly Are You Really?
Go ahead, take a good hard look. Don’t shy away if your mobile experience is less than stellar. But be prepared to act if it’s lacking because holiday mCommerce (sales via tablets and smartphones) is growing fast, representing 43.8% of all ecommerce business this holiday season.
Here’s another important fact: More than a third of millennials and one out of four parents now spend more than six hours on their mobile devices, 500% more time than they spend watching television. Don’t even get us started on how that number dwarfs newspaper advertising or mailers. Needless to say, mobile-first and mobile-centric are buzzwords you’ll need to internalize.
But more important than a mobile-first perspective is knowing what improvements to look for. If you’re an eCommerce retailer, you should be diagnosing the mobile path to purchase – from visit to conversion – and determining what roadblocks, distractions, PDP improvements, and ease-of-checkout mobile customers will experience and what they expect. Go ahead and take off those rose-colored glasses because a deep-dive into the mobile (and desktop, for that matter) experience for your customers will be the difference between winning Chanukah or flaming out.
Start Earlier Than Black Friday
Fun fact: 38% of consumers actually complete their gift lists early in November; in fact, women vs. men. So, when Black Friday comes along, they’ve done most of their shopping already and you’re only getting the poor man’s share of the wallet.
The cure for capturing a greater share of wallet? Start your marketing earlier in November than Black Friday. Create Early Black Friday sales, Friends & Family campaigns and promote your Chanukah Gift Guides early on. Boost traffic on site and create inspiration for your best customers, ensuring your brand is top-of-mind in their eyes earlier in the buying process.
Start earlier in the season and fall back on the can’t-miss dates of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. You’ll be able to A/B test new ideas, creatives and offers so you’re ready to go big at 12:01 AM on Friday.
Focus on Conversion, Less on Sweet-Talking.
Let’s cut to the chase. We did mention that Gift Guides are great, but when it comes to actual Black Friday, no one wants to see your Gift Guide anymore. They want your cold, hard sell. How much off, how great are your Chanukah deals, how fast can they get it, and can they get everything they need in one place. Don’t sweet-talk it, just hard-sell it.
And since they want the cold, hard sell, focus on your highest converting marketing channels, which, for most businesses, is email marketing. Compared to other channels, email marketing delivers $38 of ROI for every $1 spent, which means you’ll make more via email than paid social, paid search and other advertising channels.
Focus your efforts on building a strong email list and create personalized, dynamic messaging (we specialize in personalization!)that resonates with holiday shoppers and decreases the chances of churn. But again, put on your game face and get your hard sell on.
Overdeliver on Service, Returns & Delivery
Nice, you finally got customers to search, add to cart and begin to check out; they clearly found the perfect Chanukah gift. But what happens if you run out of stock? Or if you can’t fulfill on delivery in time for December 2nd? Can you get more stock from your supplier now or drop-ship items? How will you handle expedited shipping to get items to customers in time for Chanukah? And what about managing returns – 68% of US shoppers said they would be more inclined to shop with retailers that offered automated returns capability (such as labels, scanned returns, etc.), an important part of the online shopping experience.
Think about your stock and inventory levels now and whether you have enough Chanukah product to see you through the busy shopping weekend based on your own business’ sales projections. And upgrade your customer service to handle the questions and outcomes. With more visitors landing on your site and more customers purchasing your products, it’s likely that you’ll have more customer support to handle before, during and after the BFCM weekend.
Ensure that all of your support channels are up and running and that you or your team will be active on them for the entire weekend. The last thing you want is to leave your potential customers hanging while they have important questions they need you to address before they make a purchase. Returns are a big focus area: 28 percent of the gifts people purchased were returned, totaling a value of $90 billion. That’s a big drain on your balance sheet. By over-delivering on the post-purchase experience, customer service could help defray that burden.
Overdeliver on service and you’ll see more satisfied customers with higher lifetime value, not just seasonal value.
Monitor Your Competition (But Don’t Copy, Improve!)
The Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend comes around every year, so it’s likely that your competition has been through this process several times before and knows what works for them and what doesn’t. Be prepared to pay attention to what your competition is doing this Black Friday so you can learn a few tips from them about what they do and when they do it.
Start earlier than your competition: Thanksgiving Day. Thanksgiving Day saw a surge in online spending in the U.S., with purchases growing 18.3 percent to $2.87 billion compared to last year’s $2.41 billion, according to Adobe Analytics, so positioning your Chanukah sales and offers earlier and earlier will give you first-mover advantage to mobile-first customers.
Pay attention to the types of Chanukah sales they offer, what products go on sale, how they alert their audience, how they drive traffic to their store, whether or not they use ads, what their email and social campaigns look like and more. In fact, start even earlier than
Keep your finger on the pulse of your competitor’s Black Friday marketing strategy so you can find their strengths and weaknesses and use them to your advantage, if not this Black Friday then next.
Aim for the High AOV
Average order value (AOV) is one of the biggest parts of any ecommerce business’ Black Friday marketing strategy. You can lead with doorbusters and loss leaders all you want; the key to true profitability will be larger purchases, which lead to higher profit margins. Since you’ll be selling your products at a discounted rate, it’s important to increase the average order value that every customer spends on a visit to your site to offset the discounted rates. Hedge against margin loss by selling in high quantity, boosing AOV.
Incentivize customers to purchase more by creating bundles and kits. Don’t just sell a Chanukah menorah at 60% OFF; sell the oil, candles, wicks and placemats in one higher priced, super convenient bundle. Convenience is the key to modern ecommerce success so not only would customers find the bundle cheaper overall, the bundle will save customers time on shopping for those accessories elsewhere. Cross-selling – providing items that complement their core purchase – is a key factor in bundles so look at past historical purchases to glean insights into what customers have bought in tandem with their main item.
Create opportunities to upsell your products to better/more profitable versions of the product. Customer is eyeing a small gourmet food basket, train your customer service staff to seize on the opportunity to sell them on a larger basket with more varieties. Or recommend they get multiple baskets in lieu of one for everyone on their gift list. Upsell your customers to bigger sizes or multiple units of the product is an easy way to increase AOV.
Bolster Your Brick & Mortar
Is brick & mortar dead? According to the Black Friday data, let’s just say it’s aging gracefully. This holiday season, total retail sales in the US will increase by 5.8% to $1.002 trillion, the first time over the $1 trillion mark. Brick-and-mortar sales will jump 4.4% to $878.38 billion and, although its share of sales is steadily declining, it still represents the majority (87.7%) of all holiday sales.
To win more brick & mortar holiday sales, focus on the in-store marketing experience – what feeling and emotions are you giving over with your store design, how are you teasing with loss leaders at the entrance and encouraging greater spend (AOV) in-store, and what data points are you gathering to upset and cross-sell customers all season long.
Pay even more attention to search as well. According to Hitwise, the search phrase “Near Me” have increased 600% since 2015 and those searches spike during the holiday season as customers look for retailers that are open locally. For a brick and mortar location, this is marketing gold and, if you’re a well-stocked local store with compelling holiday hours, we recommend you push a larger portion of your budget to bidding on those search terms.
TO SUM IT UP: Chanukah’s timing during the largest shopping weekend of the year is a boon for your business. Standing out from the crowd – both online and in-store – is a huge challenge in a mobile-first world. These 10 Black Friday strategies will help you stay competitive, maximize your share of wallet, and win more Chanukah business this year. Let’s get it done together.