REVEALED: Exactly how I’m preparing for the biggest shopping season in the history of eCommerce!
In today’s episode, I want to help you make as much money as you possibly can during this holiday season by sharing what I’m doing in my businesses.
As always, if you have any questions and suggestions, please feel free to leave a comment below. Don’t forget to share this with someone who needs to hear it.
What's Covered in This Episode:
Links From This Episode:
What's up everybody? Anton Kraly here and welcome back to the eCommerce Lifestyle podcast. If you're new here, just know that this show comes out twice a week, every single Monday and Thursday mornings with brand new episodes that are all designed to help e-commerce store owners, to increase their revenue, automate their operations, and become the authority in their niche. Now today's episode is a special one. I do an episode like this every year, but what I share is my updated Q4 sales strategy. Meaning, what we're going to do as we move into Q4, which we quickly are. It's already Q4. I'm recording this on October 22nd so coming fast, and this is what we're doing and to make as much money as possible this holiday season, which by the way, is expected to be the biggest ever holiday season for e-commerce.
Thanks to coronavirus unfortunately. Normally, it grows year over year anyway, but this is just accelerating the amount of people that are going to be shopping online. Because of that, it means more sales for e-commerce store owners. If you're listening, you're probably one of them, so you are in a good spot and it's a good thing. You have an online business and by the way, if you're listening right now and you don't have an online business yet, you don't have an online store, you're just maybe interested and wanting to learn more, be sure you go to dropshipwebinar.com after this podcast. I'll also link it in the podcast description, but dropshipwebinar.com is where I have a free training that shows you how to build highly profitable, semi-automated stores and I know people are thinking this.
The answer is yes, there is definitely enough time over the next month to follow my system, put things in place, and still be able to really capitalize on this holiday season. Again, dropshipwebinar.com, link in description. Now what I'm going to share with you, right? I'm not just sharing it to say, "Hey, here's what I'm doing." I'm sharing it because if you're running a store, I really do believe you should try to emulate this because this is what I've learned and really decided on after 13 years in e-commerce. Yes, this is all going to help me make more money, but by you implementing it, it should help you make more money as well.
Before I cover like the exact things we're doing, just so everyone's aware of the dates of what these busiest shopping times are, we have Thanksgiving this year is November 26th, Black Friday, November 27th, Cyber Monday, November 30th. Of course, Christmas is December 25th, and then New Year's being the 1st of January, but the thing is like the first busy day of the season is not Thanksgiving, right? Our Thanksgiving promotion, of course it's going to do well, but we don't just start it on Thanksgiving. We build up anticipation to it. We let people know that it's coming soon and by the time it hits, then sales are already like the anticipation I should say has already built up.
As soon as whatever promotion it is goes live, people are there, credit cards in hand, ready to buy, ready to place orders. Now I'll cover a few different things in this episode. The first thing I want to talk about is who should you promote to, right? Because it's one thing to have promotions, but who should see them? The first group of people, this is where a lot of that really high return on ad spend will come from is your remarketing audiences. Remarketing, meaning people that have already engaged with your company. I think of this two ways. One is our email list.
I don't care if you have 200 people that have abandoned cart in the last 12 months, and that's your whole email list, or if you have half a million people on your email list, either way, I consider that remarketing, and that's where a substantial chunk of revenue will come from. Now, the other part of remarketing is remarketing ads. What you spend money for, and for us, that means remarketing to people that have visited our websites, or engaged with our social profiles, specifically YouTube channels, but mainly Facebook pages and Instagram pages.
That's where a lot of remarketing comes into play, but again, the biggest one in terms of remarketing will be email, assuming you've been building your email list, followed by your remarketing ads that are showing on Facebook, Google, and Instagram to people that have visited your website. Now the next thing that is just as critical as anything here is what should you promote? Now, people might just think, "Oh, last minute, let me put together a Cyber Monday promo. I'm going to do 10% off storewide off everything." Yeah, you could do that, but honestly, it's not really that special. It's something that we typically do pretty much throughout the year anyway.
It's something that probably won't move the needle that much, unless you've never done it before, and you already have a huge audience. It works great, but again, if you've done it already for the past 12 months, then changing it to this is our promo for Cyber Monday, okay for your existing visitors and customers, why should I buy now? The way that I like to think about coming up with product promotion ideas for the holidays is really by looking at historic sales, and first off seeing what is already selling, right? What are our best-selling products, and which brands that we sell for, do we move the most volume for? Then what we'd like to do is reach out to our reps at the brands we're authorized retailers for, and simply just have a conversation with them.
I recommend you do this like literally today. If you're listening to this in the morning right when it's released, do it sooner, rather than later. Look at your historic sales data, see what your best-selling products are, see what brands they come from, and reach out to your brand's reps, or your sales associate, or the business owner if it's a small brand and just say, "Hi, hope all is well. I'm currently working with our team on planning our Q4 promotions. We're going to be promoting really heavily this year via our email list, via our remarketing ads, and via all of our onsite messaging, and I would like to know if there's any deals we can work out, where we can receive some type of incentive throughout November and December for all of our orders."
That's where I like to start the conversation to see if the brands... Again, this isn't going to work if you don't have a relationship yet, but if you have an established relationship, you're already moving products for certain brands. See if they'll give you some type of just straight up percentage off all of your invoices is for a 2-month period, and they're not doing this just so you're aware of how the conversation should go. They're not doing it out of the goodness of their hearts and because they are in the Christmas spirit.
They'd be doing it because they are realizing the value that they will get if they are your premier brand for the next two months, if they are the brand that's going to be featured all over your website, if they are the brand that's going to be focused in your online advertising over the next 60 days. That is where that mentality comes from and that's the first type of offer we're looking for when trying to decide what products to promote. Now, something else you can and should do is when you are talking to your different suppliers and you're trying to work out some type of incentive for you to sell more of their price product over Q4 is see if they there's anything they can do besides just straight up money off all purchase orders.
For example, let's say you sell sofas and you find who your top three brands were the past year, the top three brands you sold the most sofas for. Well, maybe the conversation with them, you're talking about a percentage off purchase orders, but you're also seeing if they can do anything to help create basically product bundles or packages. In the sofa example, maybe one of the companies makes the sofas, but they also make throw pillows to go on the sofas and let's just say, I don't know, map for those pillows, minimum advertised price is 200 bucks. Your wholesale price is only $80. Maybe they'll let you have those... Literally, they'll include them for free, or maybe they'll give them to you for 40 instead of 80, right?
For the less expensive products, maybe they can either throw them in with orders above a certain amount, or maybe they can give you a significant discount again, as the motivation and as the incentive for you to sell more of their products. Because then, when we start to talk about how to promote products, you can create these bundles, sell them at relatively low prices, not marking them up normal markups, but your margin will still be there, and the customer also gets this awesome bundle instead of having to spend an extra 200 bucks for throw pillows in that example. Now sometimes what's going to happen is you will talk to suppliers and they might say, "Listen, we would love to work with you, but we can't just offer a straight up discount. Like it's just out of the cards this year."
Okay. Well, what we revert to then, and what I would recommend you ask is I understand if you can't do it across your entire product catalog, but do you have any products you have excess inventory of, right? Is there anything in your warehouse that's been there for a while, that you want to move and that you can offer us product specific discounts on over these next two months? Going back to the sofa example, maybe supplier ABC makes a hundred different skews of sofas, and maybe they have 10 skews where they have excess inventory and on those 10 skews, they can give you a substantial discount off your purchase orders.
Meaning, you have more room to play around with discount codes and special offers and even product bundles on your site, which again have a higher perceived value to the customer and then can also obviously make you more money and drive you more sales. Now, something else I think you should think about, this is something we do throughout different holiday promotions is we create different collections, basically categories on Shopify for whatever that promotion is. Let's just say, first one is Thanksgiving. We're going to have a Thanksgiving sale, and maybe we start promoting that three days before Thanksgiving. Well, what we'll actually do is make a collection in Shopify that's called Thanksgiving sale and in that collection, we'll add all of our best-selling products.
On the top of the page, we'll add the products that we can do the best on, either the biggest discounts or the best bonuses, and those will be at the top of that new collection. Now this new collection, again, first we'd have one for Thanksgiving. Then we'd have one for black Friday, then Cyber Monday, then a Christmas sale, then a new year sale. What we would do with this collection, again, category for people that don't use Shopify is have it linked pretty much all over our site, but that's where we'd want people to be going. We'd want it to stand out. We'll have it in our main navigation bar. It'll be one of the first links. It'll literally say we'll have all the different collection names, but the first one will be Thanksgiving sale.
It'll be bolded, it'll stand out, and we'll be trying to drive people to click there so that they can get the deal and again, see what the special thing is for this special time of year. Now, something that I think everybody should think about whether or not your suppliers incentivize you and give you discounts again across everything or across some specific products is try to think what else can you offer as bonuses that are really something special, again that'll get people to pull the trigger and purchase from you during the busiest shopping season of the year. The way you would think of this is as those bonus gifts.Now with the sofa example and the throw pillows, that could be something where you create a product bundle, or those throw pillows would be the bonus gift, but let's just say you're in a niche and you work with suppliers that don't make other products, right? They don't have anything like that. Well, you could try to source products from other brands that you can use as bonuses, and we've done this different ways. We've done it in niches, where it makes sense to be product specific, to get something related to the category we sell in, but we've also done it where the bonus gifts have nothing to do with our niche. The reason we've done that is if there are literally just is nothing available. I'll give you an example first of a product specific bonus. Let's say you sell like butcher blocks, right? Big kitchen island, butcher blocks that people put in their kitchens, and I don't know, let's say your average order value is a thousand bucks. Well, maybe for the holiday season, the promotion you want to do as a bonus gift is if you order a butcher block from us that is a thousand dollars or more, we're going to include this All-Clad saucepan, or we're going to include this Le Creuset. You realize I know nothing about cooking, so I'm just going to say saucepan again, but whatever it is, see if you can find deals on other products from other sites that would benefit your ideal customer, and that's something that is niche specific that will definitely increase the amount of people that are purchasing from you versus a competitor that just says, save 10%, or save 5% or free shipping. That will get you the sale every day of the week when the shopper is seeing both offers. Now I'll give you some examples too of the general bonus gifts. These work really well leading up to holidays because these are things that people might want for themselves, or they might want to literally gift to somebody. In the past, we've done things like iPad... Oh, not iPad. We've done iPod minis back in the day, like the super cheap iPod now. I mean, it's still relatively expensive, but super cheap compared to an iPhone. We've done them. We've done like smart home things like Philips Hue light sets and these are just cool things, right? That if you think they would resonate with your customer avatar, and if you can afford to say, "Hey, you get this thing for free if you spend over a thousand dollars with us," then it's worth it and again, it will get you the sale over the competition. Now, the other thing that we always do, and this is something I want you to do as well is think about how and where you should promote these offers on your store and again, this applies throughout the whole fourth quarter. Obviously, as we go up to Thanksgiving, the promotion is for a Thanksgiving sale. For Black Friday, it's black Friday for Cyber Monday, it's Cyber Monday. Leading up to Christmas, we basically are using the messaging of order before X date to get the product before Christmas. Then you can have your New Year sale as well, but the first thing you want to do is change your notification bar. Basically, the bar that goes across the top of your website. I know not everybody uses them, but if you're a member of Drop Ship Lifestyle, you definitely do. By the way again, if you're not a member of Drop Ship Lifestyle, go to dropshipwebinar.com after this podcast, but what we do there is put whatever it is, right? Thanksgiving sale, whatever the promo is, click here, and the click here will take people specifically to that new sales page, that new sales collection that talked about earlier. If the notification bar is talking about the Thanksgiving sale, they click it. It'll take them to the collection that's called Thanksgiving sale that has all of our best offers listed there. Also, on our product pages. Again, if you're a member of Drop Ship Lifestyle and you have our perfect product page template, you know that we have our promotion section on the product's page. Typically, this is the free shipping, maybe free white glove delivery, maybe save 5%, save 10%, but you'll want to swap that as well with each holiday specific promotion. People know again, urgency wins. Thanksgiving, Cyber Monday, Black Friday, have that in the promotion section of your product pages, and this is like the one time of year where I actually am okay with timers. We use timers on our e-commerce stores and they make sense. If you have the Black Friday sale that ends at midnight on Black Friday. Stick the timer right there on the product page because it's real and it makes sense. It's not going to throw people off or make them think you're a scam, like so many of these burner dropshipping stores that show countdown three left, two left, one left, oh five minutes. This is real urgency, so this is when it makes sense to use them. Also, if you're not already using exit intent overlays on your store, meaning when people go to leave, you have something display over the screen, again, this is a great time to do it and make the exit intent messaging being about the whatever holiday it is sale, and have the button that they click take people to that new collection page. Again, Thanksgiving sale, it'll take them there. They'll see all the best offers. Also, hero images on your homepage. Whether you have one big image or a slider, either way, show this off there, so that you can drive as many people as possible to that collection page for the holiday specific promotion. Same thing when it comes to email, this isn't an episode about email marketing, so I'm not going to go deep into it. If you want, like our templates that you can copy and paste and modify a bit, check out my program called Inbox Funnels. It's all about email marketing for e-commerce. You can learn more, just go to ecommercelifestyle.com, click on courses, and you'll see Inbox Funnels there. I'll link it in the description as well, but you want to be sending out emails that are specific to all of these holidays and again, we do the same thing. The links in those emails go to the holiday collection page, whatever holiday that is, so people go straight to the best offers. Now advertising, yes, we do a lot of it around the holidays. Again, most of it's remarketing. I'll just start by saying like our normal campaigns, like our normal alpha beta shopping campaigns, we don't really modify them. They run as is, but when that new traffic comes to our store, they see all of that onsite messaging I was just talking about, so they know what the relevant promotion is. The one way we changed things up a little bit that you can too is inside of Google shopping, you can have promotions. Whatever the coupon code is, if that's what you're doing, add that as a promotion inside of Google shopping. That way, when somebody searches for your stuff and they see it in the Google shopping results, it will show them what the promotion currently is. That is definitely worth doing. Now other types of ads, right? Display ads, create some display network ads for Google, the image ads. Again, whatever the promotion is, show it off, linked to that collection page. Search text ads. If you have again the best-selling brand on your store, we'll call them supplier ABC, and they make a deal with you where you're getting money off of the purchase orders, and they're going to include some type of bonus gift, well, I would bid on every keyword I could for search text ads for that supplier's name. My ad would basically say whatever it is, like Thanksgiving sale, save 10% on supplier, ABC products and/or receive three throw pillows. Again, whatever that thing is, shop now offer expires with the date, and they can click that. It'll go right to that collection page on your store. Definitely this is a good time to take advantage of search text ads based on what promotions you decide to go with. Also, Google discovery ads, image based, very similar to display network, but work great for remarketing. Then of course, Facebook ads, Instagram ads. We do this all in one campaign inside of Facebook Business Manager, and we show image ads to all of our previous website visitors, taking them to those main collection pages. Guys, I know that was a lot to cover in a podcast, but that is what we are doing to make sure we have an extremely successful Q4. I am super excited about it. Unfortunately, can't really travel anywhere this year. It's been a lot of just routine, same old thing day in, day out, but this is a good time to at least change things up with the business a bit for these next couple months. Have fun with it, have some record setting years, and make a lot of money. As always guys, if you got value from this podcast, I would really appreciate it if you can go to Apple podcasts. I'll link it below or whatever podcast player you use, be sure you click subscribe you get notified every time new episodes go live, every single Monday and Thursday. If you haven't left a review yet, and you think it's worth five stars, please do leave five stars and leave a comment. It means a lot and yeah, if you're brand new and you're like, "Anton, this is a ton of information. I want to see exactly how it's done. I want to get started before Q4," go to dropshipwebinar.com right now. Dropshipwebinar.com, and I will link that in the description as well. Thank you all. I appreciate you, and I will talk to you on Monday in the next episode of the eCommerce Lifestyle Podcast. See you everybody.