Start before September to maximise Black Friday 2018 – optimum timeline

Al Keck, MD of Infinity Nation gives us his overview of how to plan for Black Friday.

For the major retailers, Black Friday planning starts almost 12 months before, on 1st December. The more time retailers can allow to plan and implement activity, the better. And it’s not just for the big brands; we’ve seen that early planning is a consistent feature of high performing retailers, large or small.

We analysed the retail businesses we work with and those who started working on their strategy after September, on average, had revenue growth of 8 percent YoY. Businesses who started before September had a much more lucrative period, seeing revenue growth averaging a sizeable 102 percent YoY.

If the trend for implementing a ‘Black Friday week’ continues, as we think it will, retailers should be ready to push the button to respond quickly to competitor activity. And alongside online activity, ensure the logistical side marries up, such as accounting for additional demand for key promoted stock.

If you haven’t yet started planning for Black Friday 2018, schedule some time aside and start today. Based on our experience, here’s the optimum Black Friday 2018 countdown timeline:

Immediately: Mobile Optimisation 
Ensure your site is mobile-optimised and that your Black Friday offers page is optimised for SEO. By doing this first, you are allowing time to gain traction. Alongside mobile-first and SEO optimisation, see that your Black Friday comms strategy is nailed, taking into account last year’s learnings.

18 weeks: Data Capture 
Make sure you are capturing new data for retargeting and CRM activity.

16 weeks: Comms Calendar Organisation                                                                                                                        

Ensure your comms calendar is fully mapped in a clear and coherent manner, allowing for category activity (e.g. 20% off this category) and discounts on product combinations.

15 weeks: Internal Communication

Liaise with your team and ensure they understand your activity plans.

14 weeks: External Communication
Speak with your hosting provider to make sure the site will stand up to a spike in traffic to avoid any loss in sales due to technical malfunctions.

12 weeks: PPC

Start optimising your PPC campaigns.

10 weeks: Digital Communications 

Build all of your digital communications including emails and online ads.

5 weeks: Social Media

Plan Facebook retargeting and prospecting.

2 weeks: Competitor Activity 

Monitor for competitor activity. Be ready to react quickly and push the button on your campaign.

1 week: Begin Trading 
Push Black Friday activity live and start trading.

Black Friday: The Final Push

1 week after Black Friday: Christmas Planning 

Now’s the time to plan the run into Christmas. There are just four weekends to go, so there’s a lot of trading to do over this period. A clear and enticing plan is the best way forward towards success.

4 weeks after Black Friday: Evaluate your 2018 

It’s important to capture learnings to implement your successful strategies in 2019 Black Friday activity and to also learn from any mistakes.

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