The end-of-year holidays are around the corner, and many consumers have already started shopping for Thanksgiving or their Christmas presents. Whether you’re getting ready for the holiday peak sales season or for specific shopping days such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday, this time of year is shaping up to be a time of huge opportunity for retailers and independent boutiques, and data-driven planning can help you end the year strong.

Despite the many challenges of the past couple of years, spending during the holiday season increased by 16% in 2021, with many American consumers taking advantage of deals and discount promotions, and shopping between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday. The biggest shopping day of the year was Black Friday, with more than 100 million people making purchases in person at brick-and-mortar stores or online.

This means there is huge potential in this holiday season, and to help you take advantage of one of the biggest shopping events of the year, we’ve put together a checklist for how to prepare for a successful sales season in the coming weeks.

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Set your goals

Take some time to figure out what it is you would like to achieve this shopping season. Review your sales figures from the same period last year get a better understanding of your performance and what to expect so you can make accurate predictions. It’s also a good idea to bear in mind the current economic landscape, consumer trends and average order value to help you set realistic goals for this year.

Do a stock take

Analyze your inventory to identify your bestselling products as well as those that could do with an extra push over the sales period. That way, you can make sure to stock up on your most popular items to avoid selling out during peak shopping season. Alternatively, Black Friday is a good time to offer a discount on any excess products and drive sales on less popular pieces.

Promote, promote, promote

More and more customers are using social media as a tool to shop and discover new brands. Use your presences on platforms such as Instagram, TikTok or Twitter to promote any sales or discounts you’re offering to reach your customers. Create marketing content with eye-catching images and actionable copy that will drive consumers to your store. It’s also worth noting that is that consumers are not necessarily looking for a discount on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, they just want great products at a great value. So, if you’re offering any special incentives, such as $10 off a $100 purchase, or a special order bundle, then make sure you let all your customers know.

Prepare your website

Increased web traffic on Black Friday or Cyber Monday is a good thing, and you want your online store to be ready for all visitors. Make sure that your site is easy to navigate and that the customer journey from entry to checkout is seamless. If you have special offers or codes that customers can enter at the point of purchase, create banners with all the relevant information and place them at the top of your homepage for maximum visibility.

Do what works

Use all the tools at your disposal, from analytics, sales records and clickthrough rates to identify the products or promotions that are working for you this season. Note the offers that are having a good effect on your sales performance and do more of the same. If the opposite is happening, change course to another sales strategy. Not only will your reviews adequately prepare you for this year’s busy holiday season, but they will provide valuable insights and improvements for the future.

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