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Chief of Client Success at DIVISA, helping fashion businesses implement digital strategies that will drive growth and scale revenue.
When most of us think of Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM), we imagine big crowds, big one-time deals and huge inventory blowouts. However, if you examine the complexities of the entire fourth quarter, you will find that there is much more to gain from a comprehensive strategy for the entire quarter than a one-time site-wide sale. To make the most of the biggest quarter of the year, there are a few key components you must consider. The good news is that even if you have not started planning yet, you still have time to implement tactics that can improve your overall performance.
Keep in mind that Q4 isn’t only about BFCM; there is so much more to the holiday season than these two days. The reality is many consumers have already spent their holiday shopping budget before BFCM even hits.
Here are five tips to help you improve your Q4 promotional strategy.
1. Define Your Goals
Not every brand has the same plan when it comes to the fourth quarter. While some brands see big events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday as a way to offer big discounts and liquidate inventory, others see it as the best time to launch new collections or acquire a larger customer base.
Either way, make sure you go into this season with clearly defined goals that are actionable and measurable.
2. Identify The Major Peaks In Momentum And Plan Ahead
Based on data we gathered from the 83,000 e-commerce businesses that use our technology, the four major sales peaks during Q4 are the period leading up to the holidays, Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the period after BFCM before the December holidays. Looking at trends over the last few years, most consumers decide what products they’re going to buy as early as October. A good portion of consumers who are more concerned with having access to inventory before their favorite products sell out have already spent their holiday budget before BFCM even kicks off. Alternatively, we’ve found that sales during Cyber Monday and the week following are even better than Black Friday itself.
With these peaks in mind, start planning your promotions as early as possible to give yourself enough time to fully map them out. You’ll also need to plan your inventory as well as your strategies for brand awareness and new customer acquisition.
3. Align Your Promotions With Available Inventory
Before you set goals for your Q4 strategy, make sure you understand what your inventory will look like during that time. Aligning your promotional strategy with your inventory planning will help you avoid stockouts.
Also, be sure to align your promotions with winning products. Look at your historical data to identify products that sold well previously, and assess the average daily units sold. Once you have that information, you can get an idea of inventory depletion dates and use that to predict how much inventory you should be stocking for the holiday season.
4. Develop Your Creative Materials
Creative materials are the backbone of a successful ad campaign. With that being said, all materials for Q4 should be created, approved and ready to be scheduled by mid-October. Preparing content in advance, rather than at the last minute, will give you a higher probability of success.
Be sure to plan a healthy mix of lifestyle content, evergreen video ads and text-only content to use across all platforms. All content should be engaging, branded and genuine. Try adding user-generated content into the mix for an uplift in sales and brand affinity.
5. Track Inventory In Real Time And Adjust Strategies As Needed
If you are not using inventory management software and are dealing with a significant increase in demand, I suggest looking into a platform that will work for you. Understanding real-time inventory levels allows you to adjust your marketing strategy so it aligns with your inventory levels. One tip is to plan on doing an inventory analysis right after Black Friday and Cyber Monday to help you determine whether or not you have to make any adjustments to your promotions in December.
Overall, the most important part of a good Q4 promotional strategy is having the inventory to support it. While creative assets and good deals are crucial, simply put, you cannot sell what you do not have. This season, shift your focus to winning products and high-inventory items, and you will see the full potential of your strategy. Early planning is also crucial. Go into this season prepared and ready for success.