Black Friday is named after the day in which retailers try to boost their sales with attractive discounts to be “in the black” by the end of the year. This sales term refers to healthy profitability and good financial status. With that in mind, these peak times are your best chance to give your own sales a big upswing. It is best to take advantage of them whenever it’s convenient to your specific industry. But how to do it? Start with clever preparation and streamlined processes ahead of schedule.
What peak periods will I likely encounter?
There will be several peak periods you will encounter as an e-commerce business. Some will be specific to your local region or country, while others will be internationally recognized dates. Here are some of the most common peak times for e-commerce that you will likely encounter throughout the year:
- New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day (December 31st and January 1st): many people see the start of the year as an opportunity for a fresh start and new resolutions. Thus, it’s pretty standard for businesses to offer products that reflect these same ideals to increase their sales, in categories including health, wellness, and organization products.
- Valentine’s Day (February 14th): one of the most significant peak periods ofin the year. This international celebration of love and relationships sees customers buying flowers, sweets, jewelry, and other romance-themed gifts.
- Easter (April 4th to May 8th): the dates for this peak time vary each year. Easter celebrates the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, so it’s indeed one of the most significant events on the Christian calendar. It is also considered the beginning of spring in many places, playing a role in the popular tradition of Easter eggs. In any case, this holiday is a massive opportunity to sell themed gifts and bargains.
- Mother’s Day (May 10th) and Father’s Day (June 21st): these popular dates encourage customers to treat their parents, usually with gifts. As such, both times are important e-commerce peaks, with promotions starting well before the day in question.
- Halloween (October 31st): the ancient Celtic traditions celebrating the end of the harvest season are reflected in today’s Halloween celebration of ghostly tales, dressing up in costumes, and handing out sweets and chocolates. It is an excellent opportunity to promote your business with some spooky marketing and themed products.
- Black Friday and Cyber Monday (late November): this weekend includes the most significant retail events of the year. Cyber Monday was initially introduced as an e-commerce promotional event to rival the brick-and-mortar-based Black Friday sale. Both events complement each other in today’s online world and ended up merging to become one huge sales peak period.
- Christmas and Boxing Day (December 25th and December 26th): the festive season is a huge deal when it comes to buying gifts and e-retail. Themed promotions and gifts are a must for any business that wants to capitalize on this peak period.
This list is by no means a comprehensive one. You should be aware of many other peaks, depending on your line of business, such as International Women’s Day, Earth Day, and more. If you ship globally, you should also be aware of regional and international occasions, such as the Lunar New Year, Thanksgiving, or St. Patrick’s Day. It is a good idea to maintain a marketing calendar so that you can plan out the most important e-commerce dates for each month.
When are the biggest peaks in e-commerce?
For many e-retailers, the last quarter of the year usually means intense stress. At the end of November, Black Friday and Cyber Monday come thick and fast. They herald the heavy end-of-year holiday shopping season. According to previous sales statistics, your e-commerce business can expect 30% more orders in November compared to an average month — and on top of that, you could see an 80% sales increase in December!
The rest of the year also offers a wealth of opportunities that you can leverage to boost your sales through the roof in the short term. However, you can’t plan for every peak. For example, if you work with social media influencers and one unexpectedly goes viral, your team might start sweating with higher workloads quicker than expected. Therefore, your processes should run smoothly, even outside peak times.
Kill your peak killers
Want to know how to make peak times work for you? To do that, you need to find out how and where your peak killers hide. To do this, consider the situation from a customer’s point of view, or think about what annoys you the most when shopping. For example, if your customers come to your online store during a shopping frenzy, but your store can’t cope with the onslaught, you’ll miss out on sales. In the worst-case scenario, you could also lose your existing customers.
Sneak preview: these are the 6 biggest peak killers
- Page not found: is there a 404 error? If your online store cannot handle the stress of increased web visitors, this will negatively affect your business. The result of poor store performance is lousy sales.
- Running out of stock: your customers want their goods right away, so you’d better not disappoint them. Ensure all processes are in place so that you can keep supplies arrivingsupplying on time regardless of demand.
- Overworked employees: is your staff on the verge of a nervous breakdown? Your employees should be up for a challenge, but it can harm them and your business if they are overworked or overstressed. Peak times shouldn’t come as a surprise, meaning they can be planned — for example, by increasing capacities.
- Customer support: does this item also come in blue? The more orders you receive, the more questions you will be asked. Therefore, it is essential to always offer the best customer service — especially during peak times.
- Shipping problems: where is my package? With so many shipments being fulfilled, missing or delayed packages can be a nightmare for customers and your business! The more you automate your processes, the easier it will be to consolidate orders and handle shipments quickly and easily during peak times.
- Product returns: did something not fit correctly for your customer? Returns are a part of the shopping-intensive parcel phase. These processes, too, can be planned for in advance and simplified. With automated order handling, you can efficiently manage your returning orders while cushioning the peaks.
So, what can you do if you already know what your peak killers are? We’ll tell you one xentral business hack in advance: always pay attention to your performance. Online shops often ship up to three times their average volume during peak times . You can cushion your peaks by having a flexible pool of supporters on hand, such as interns or temps. They can help your team compensate for the extra shipping volume. Plus, you always have the help of your business software, like xentral.