Episode 280: Talking Black Friday and Holiday Sales
Rob Cairns and Ryan Waterbury talk about Black Friday and Holiday Sales.
- How to sell.
- Why not to discount all the time.
- Make your sales different.
- Types of sales campaigns.
- Expanding of the holiday retail season.
Hey everybody, rob Cancer and today I’m here doing my monthly segment with Ryan Waterbury. How are you doing today, right?
I’m not too bad, little overnight rain. Finally, back to cool temps. It feels like fall all is good in the world.
Yeah, it sure does. It’s it’s running about, uh, for you Americans. About 68 Fahrenheit in Toronto this weekend, so it almost feels like spring forget fall. That’s that’s another story. And today we’re gonna jump into the whole world of Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Christmas sales and. And Black Friday is coming up. It’s wet three weeks away, give or take at the time of this record. And dumb, I honestly think it’s a little too late for some people to start prepping some stuff for Black Friday. What is your thought on that?
Oh absolutely. Yeah, you know, in in the beginning stages of some of the campaigns that I started working on for a couple of nonprofits that I work with. We started building campaigns in August for giving Tuesday and when we talk about Black Friday, it’s not just Black Friday. There are four major days in there. Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday and then giving Tuesday, yeah? You know it’s. The the Grand Slam of giving for every organization or business out there and. Really, preparation begins. You know, for retail operations you have your back to school stuff that starts in June and it winds up, you know in August and that’s when you start a whole new campaign series and companies that have a good marketing program. And our students have the budget. They never stop, you know, as one’s winding down there they have a little bit of a break, and then they’re stunning. Rate for the next big sales season.
Yeah, it’s so true and you know in retail they do the bulk of their business. Believe it or not, in November, December every year and it goes right through to the day after Christmas in Canada and in England known as Boxing Day. And there’s a story behind that. But even in the US today. After Christmas is like, absolutely bedlam.
Oh absolutely, there are huge sales and I hadn’t really realized it until I was with my current girlfriend and she worked retail and still does occasionally and and helps out with her her. Old employer. Uh, through the holiday season because they get busy, but her first day off. Uhm, after that season was the day after Christmas. And I had no idea the the sales that went on that day. Until she said. Oh finally, I could be a shopper and not not an employee, but it’s amazing that that yeah, it’s a it’s amazing the amount of revenue. That companies bring in, and I’ve worked retail wave many many years ago and 50% of the revenue for non profit organizations. Businesses happens from that Black Friday weekend to the end of the year.
Yeah, and it’s. Not just, it’s not just. Retail, it’s also the hospitality industry. I mean, people are moving around more if you’re fine, because airline Thanksgiving is one of the biggest travel weekends in the US. Every year Christmas is coming. That’s a big travel weekend in both Canada and the US. Restaurants are picking up more because we’ve seen a trend where a lot of companies have their Christmas party starting in the middle of November. They should just call them end of year parties. Really, they’re starting now, so you go into a restaurant. They’re busy, more people are shopping or going. Out so they’re eating out more into going out more with friends to catch. Up the whole the. Whole industry is just insane right now.
I think as we as a society and consumers get back into that sense of normalcy after being locked in and and shut down for a couple of years. That people in general the the. Largest portion of the population feels comfortable going out and socializing and being part of society again. So you’re absolutely correct that it’s not just retail. Uh, but uh, it’s you know, hospitality and eating out. I can tell you last weekend going out on a Saturday evening. I have not seen restaurants and bars as busy as they were then in a long time which is. It’s a good thing.
I was in a restaurant last night. That was that I always make a reservation for it because I don’t like waiting and it was just packed and I mean packed. And we sat last night for about 3 hours and still packed, but that’s good for the industry. The problem they’ve got right now is. Especially in Canada, because of all the. You know the government handouts during COVID and all that. They’re having problems getting workers to fill some of these jobs because they lost jobs, and that’s a bit of an issue right now, to say the least.
Yeah, and and that’s the same in the US, and I think that’s part of why some of these restaurants seem extra busy because they are short staffed and the time from seating at table to the end of your meals extended because of shortage in kitchen staff and waitstaff. But to see people out and spending with inflation up not still. Not a very good economic outlook. That’s a positive thing. And you know what, we’re, you know, talking about, you know we kind of talked about getting ready for this season. Uhm, if you hadn’t started, you know in August. There are still some things you can do, but now that we’re three weeks away, you’re really behind the 8 ball to do anything, and you know whether it’s digital ads, e-mail marketing. I think those are going to be. Your best bets? If you were planning some print campaigns, good luck. That that takes a longer time from print to delivery to in the hands of consumers, but. Yeah it, uh, you know, there are still some things we can do, and the important thing is, if you haven’t started, send an e-mail to your list and I hope you have a list that you’ve been maintaining and that that you send it to the appropriate people that you know. List segmentation. We talk about that a lot, and you know we’ve talked about e-mail marketing, but really, what it comes down to is. If I purchase something from your store, let’s say I purchased a pair of hiking boots I I don’t want to see an e-mail for sale on women lingerie. I’m not, I’m not the, I’m not your demographic. I’m not going to buy that. Well, maybe I would, but. Uh, that’s I’m not. A likely buyer. Let’s put it that way, uh? Yeah, what?
Were you in Captain John’s head this week? She thought she. Had the one from the other day and now you got me.
I had to. I had to slide a. Joke in there.
Yeah, I I I get. I get the point of it all. Yeah it’s it’s so true it’s like it’s like don’t sell the guy buying. Come tax through the dishwasher right? It’s it’s that old problem again and and you’re you’re 100% bang on, right? Because this is what some big brands don’t do well so. I like to look. At brands like Old Navy. There’s a brand in candy in US and I don’t think they do a very good job in their list. They they just send out. Uh uh, blasted newsletter that says here’s a percentage off and they don’t segment it and I’m getting all these newsletters for female clothing and it’s like I’m not buying this crap. Why do you? Why do you send it to me, do you not? See my profile. This is a male like that’s a very simple segmentation by gender. And that’s not difficult to do. Versus some of the other segmentations. And frankly. If they threw me. Deals based on Windows. Why not probably buy more right so? I mean, that’s something Amazon does really well.
I was just going to go there with Amazon and part of why Amazon does it really well is the fact that. But they’re collecting data on their own platform based on your searches on their platform, they’re not relying as much on Google searches, and you know what? They browse what you browsed on. You know somebody elses website to show you ads. On a third party. Modern browsers like Safari, grave two of our favorites block trackers. Now the pixel blocking and I’ve talked on a number of podcasts that they are of cookie marketing. It’s dead. It’s not completely dead. There are ways to do it, but collecting that information. Uh, about? So you is easier when you work with Amazon because they have what we call first party cookies and your search data is is there’s so they’re very good at doing cross sells and upsells and that like 99% of. Consumers out there. We’ve all purchased on Amazon. If you Scroll down, you’ll see that other customers purchase this item. Plus this item, plus this item. And if it’s a small electronic toy, it might be a set of batteries that go to operate that toy. Very sensible things that you’re likely to buy, but they show that to you, so you’re likely to buy it as a convenience right. At the same time and. And those are what we call you know, cross sells. Uhm, you know another one that I’ve seen. Amazon does this really well too is they’ll show you comparisons. And they they show you the next model up, and that’s what we call an upsell where they show you something else that has a couple more features and it might be a little bit more, but they dangle it in front of you because it it’s nice and it’s going to make them a little bit. More money.
But that’s all.
Done through data mining and, uhm, you know Amazon, you know that we’re talking about does it really well? Because they can, because they own the data. There’s nothing blocked because you’re on their platform and logged in.
Yeah, I I so agree. With that the other. Thing though work at 2IN. In your marketing is. Try and do something different and I’ll give you an example of this. I had a client and I’ve shared this with people for private label shared on this podcast who. Uhm, which is weird and I took his back in the days when Facebook ads were really performing. I took his Facebook ad and I flipped it upside down and not only did I flip it upside down and maybe add 100% in black and white. I took all the color out in yet so I used every trick I could they get. Eyeballs on it. Well, the result of that campaign was a $2000 ad spend turned into a $50,000 sale. I will take that sale every day, all day, all year long. And that’s sometimes you just gotta think out-of-the-box as a marketer or not do the same old thing all the time.
Yeah, absolutely the uh, and you know, it, uh, it used to be a lot of it used to be difficult to find the right buyer for your product. And there was a lot of research that went in. And you know, when we had cookie tracking. We knew what you were looking at and what your interests are. Well, that still exists when we talk about social media ads, I don’t want to completely bash Facebook and Instagram ads because they still do work. And how they work are things based on your demographic interests, like groups that you’re interested in on the platform. I’m, you know, I’m talking about buying hiking boots. I’m also I I purchased those boots that I’m talking about for hunting and I’m a member of a lot of upland hunting groups, so I typically see, especially this time of year during the season when I’m more active in those groups I see ads. Or very relevant things that I’ve purchased in news out in the field. Hunting vests other. There are other things like dog this because I belong to a number of dog groups and hot my dogs.
Those things are.
Very relevant and you know the the ones that really. You’re absolutely correct that one putting the end in front of the likely buying party. But two, after a while, uh, there’s a thing called AD blindness, especially on social media platforms for you to scroll by. That’s where that good creative really comes into play. That not only are you putting something relevant, uh, in front of a, uh, proper demographic, but it’s different and it causes them to stop. You really want someone to do what we call stop the scroll and take a minute and look at that ad and take action.
So true, so true. And so we’ve talked a little bit about ads you’ve touched on e-mail list and a place that I want to touch on this website, and I think you know where I’m going is simple things. Did you check your payment processor before you started the sale #1? Did you make sure you have the proper bandwidth and infrastructure on the back end for your website to handle the increased in traffic during this sale #2? And #3, did you bother to do a security audit of your site and make sure the security is good because the hackers increase during this time year? And did you check any forms in the entire checkout process on top of the payment processor to make sure it’s all working all before you? Launch that sale.
Oh absolutely uh, this time of year, and especially since people over the past couple of years had shifted their buying practices to online. We’re seeing more card skimming and and card testing, so testing that checkout process to make sure that. It’s secure. And your payment processor Stripe is one of my favorites. They’re very good at fraud detection and denying charges right off the bat, so you don’t have problems with that and have any chargebacks, but that’s you know. A popular hack right now that people will go, and this is more important with nonprofits that have open donation forms that they will go and test card numbers to see if they work. So if you have a donation form. Not just you know your retail checkout process, but this is an important piece here that one you need security on your form and to use a trusted payment processor. Uhm, that has good fraud detection and because. That’s hard to get back, and sometimes that money comes out of. Your pocket and I hate. I need to see that with charitable organizations. That just aren’t prepared. Be absolutely right with you know. Overall website preparedness. When we you know talk about running ads I. I had a client that. Didn’t tell me that they were going to run a cross promotion from two of their sites that don’t seem more than. A couple sales update. And they ran an e-mail marketing campaign. And and all of a sudden they were seeing 1000 sales an hour and it it crashed the site. And I said, well, what’s going on and they said, well, why can’t I, let’s say, handle this and I said your site is optimized for this level of traffic. This is your plan. If we want to scale up for this period of time, great, but we need to plan for that. And you know when we talk about 50% of the revenue comes in those last couple months of the year. There are some companies that run a Black Friday sale and people wait. And they wait to buy. And this is kind of a become a thing in the in the WordPress world that. You know? Black Friday uh people wait because there are 3040% off deals. Sometimes lifetime deals that that happened on that day and you know they might do a few sales throughout the year. If I’m working on a project and I need. A tool I go and buy it, but. There are some. That I kind. Of wait until Black Friday so I can. Buy the agency package at a discount. It’s just good business sense, but. If if you’re running a sale all the time and you know you sell 90% of your product only at the sale price, well, that tells me that’s just the real price of the product. So you have to be kind of astute on, you know, running, running sales and how you do them.
It’s so true and and you gotta be very careful at how you promote and when you promote and I honestly think like in the long run you know I’ve talked about this many times on podcasts and publicly is playing the discount game all the time. It’s just a race to the bottom. It’s OK. To get an infusion of cash in, but then sooner or later you gotta say, OK, this is what the product’s worth, so I’m not gonna play that game anymore. And and I think we need to be very careful of that to be. Honest with you.
Well, yeah, I I bring that up just because you know Amazon used to have the prime day in the middle of the summer and we had other retailers like Target and Walmart that got wise to those tactics. And now they have their own online marketplaces and they run sales at the same time. Or before prime Day or after and. So prime this year, Amazon ran a second series of prime prime days this year just a few weeks ago. And you know.
They’ve already got Black Friday advanced specials up on Amazon. As of this week, so I was in my Amazon account buying stuff yesterday so they have gone into the mode and there I read a really interesting report, their demographics and their numbers showed that they did better. With the sales in October than they do with the Prime day Sicels in. July and that’s why. They’re actually looking at their numbers and saying, how do we make this and the other ones like the targets? The Walmarts are just copying and Black Friday is really AUS thing. But I’ll tell you we have Black Friday sales in Canada and no question. All the. Time self.
Yeah, just the. The sale season and the the buying season just has been extended. Especially this year, it seems, uh, we just finished up up the Halloween holiday and I saw Halloween sales I. I think the past couple years were the first years, at least in the WordPress world. I saw some. Specific sales on Halloween just to spark some extra revenue, but what that’s doing is that’s spreading out the buying season, so when we you know started out talking about Are you ready for Black Friday?
You might have already missed out on some things because your competitors have already been running sales and been running promotions well before Black Friday, and if they’re if their needs are met and satisfied as a consumer. Black Friday may come around, and they’re not going to buy anything like I I think you mentioned to me the other day. Your Christmas shopping is already done.
Yeah, gonna wrap by the way, just. Who cares? I’m like but but that’s because I’ve also changed my buying habits. The way I shop everybody knows from my family. I hate shopping malls more than anything, so I either shop in big box stores so there’s like just Staples or Walmart or Costco’s who have outside entrances in. And around lesser place there’s an area in the GTA where we have within 5 minutes or there we have 50 big box stores so that makes life easy and anything I don’t buy in a big box store I guarantee is coming on because you know, with gas prices being so much and people not having stock and certain things like. Today I ordered a. A laptop sleeve from my mother. A nice one ’cause she’s going on a trip. A nice laptop sleeve in the computer store. Good luck to jump on Amazon and get it in two days. Much better luck you know and it’s not just. The fact I don’t have to get it, it’s the level of service. A lot of these retailers and malls don’t know how to service or customers. It’s actually disgusting because if they service they would excel in their competitors out of business. But that’s you know, another another story for another podcast. Sure, I.
I just wanted to emphasize the point that if you’re a smaller retailer, these are the things that you’re competing against and that it. It it takes time and and thought to you know reach your ideal customer and I’m not going to say it’s too late. There are still some things that you can only find in small retailers that that you really want really unique things and. That’s where I talked about building your e-mail list, and you’ve got probably got a social media following. You don’t necessarily have to buy paid ads. I think it would help. But you you need to be visible and at least do something to remind your customers about the great things that you do. And this is true for nonprofits and, you know, giving Tuesday is a big day and you know I will. Uh, you know, mention that that there there are a lot of nonprofits that do really well on that day, and you know, I’ve already gotten. And you know hard snail mail. From a couple of the conservation organizations talking about that day, and in urging some increased giving, but particularly with nonprofits after that, you know, the the Grand Slam weekend Black Friday weekend through giving Tuesday that end of the year appeal. Is really important. And just kind of shifting gears away from retail. But to talk about there’s there’s other things other than buying physical products. There are lots of great organizations out there in this whole period where there’s a lot of cash flow that. You got to remind people that they need to save a little to give to their favorite charitable organizations and the really good orgs do an end of the year letter or an appeal and talk about all the good things that they did throughout the year. And they remind their donors that they’re still worth giving their money. To you and I worked with a dog rescue, so I always. I always joked with, you know other non pro. You gotta have the picture of the sad puppy dog and and it’s especially funny because my favorite charity is A is a dog rescue. But it’s true. You need to appeal to your your best owners and let them know that hey, we’re still doing some good things and it’s not just about buying that perfect.
So what I would suggest, and it’s an interesting thought. They all wait till the end of the year. They all do it in the busiest Christmas buying season. Nadir they all do it when everybody cash taped, and I almost wonder some some of these charities suspended there. Ended the year letters in May in June, in February in March. And you say why and so? Let’s hold this up. There’s a thing in marketing and is really good book hobby inside. The advantage for rubber boom. And I typed this book all over the place. A shout out to Paul to be for that recommendation. Many many years ago. And what that book talks about is making your business different. So if I’m in charitable. Organization why do I want to do my biggest appeal? At the biggest shopping time of the year when nobody got any money, wouldn’t it be better off doing it? In March or February. It’s an interesting thought when you think about it.
I absolutely, uh, there’s a probably more expendable cash for your likely donor at that time of the year, and that might be a better time of the year to do it.
Yeah, it’s it’s just an interesting thought process, right? And you know so. Anymore, right? It’s always great having a conversation and. Well, we should, though I think we’ve given some Roosters. A couple good ideas of things to think about, whether they agree or disagree with us. Send us hatemail world. We’re all good for that. We get it. We get enough hate mail on Twitter anyway, so you might. Well, just add to the. Pile, that’s all OK.
I yeah I I’m not opinionated on Twitter at all.
No no me neither. So if you want to get ahold of Ryan, how’s is the best way?
I am on every social media, major social media outlet out there at one dog solutions including Twitter. If you want to e-mail me Ryan@onedog.solutions. Or visit my website onedog.solujtions .
And make sure when you do ask him why his two office managers are sleeping all day and not doing any work ’cause this is becoming a big problem in the. Water rate household.
Always afraid that. Try and take care and have a wonderful day.
You as well.