Monday, November 19, 2007

Gluten-Free Black-Friday and Cyber-Monday Sale

It used to be that "Black Friday" was the day of the year when most retailers would finally go into the "black" (i.e., turn profitable) as sales soared as the Christmas holiday season kicked off with the shopping frenzy that occurs on the Friday immediately following Thanksgiving. Now, with the importance of online (Internet) shopping, there is also the concept of "Cyber Monday", where upon returning to work after the Thanksgiving break, most workers will (abuse / use) their employers' Internet connections (and time) to place online orders and set records for "e-sales" (online sales).

To coincide with these two phenomena, many retailers run very specific super-discount sales on highly sought after items. This makes a lot of sense when you need a "hot item" (like an Xbox 360 or Nintento Wii or Playstation 3) to draw people into stores - in hopes that once they buy a discounted game machine, and continue shopping for other (higher margin) items throughout your store. Basically, many retailers will put out a popular item at or near cost (in some cases below cost), just to make sure you get into their store to spend more money.

Now, where does this leave the little guy that sells only a single item or a few items? Well, I really don't know, but I'm about to find out as I attempt to partake in Black Friday and Cyber Mondy with my own "super-sale", where I will offer the lowest price ever on my Gluten-Free Desserts Book, but only for a brief period of time during these key shopping days. I will start by testing the concept out with my Gluten-Free Black Friday Sale, and then if that is a hit (or, perhaps even if not), I may also offer a Gluten-Free Cyber Monday Sale with the same deal -- on each date(s), the discount will show automatically when people click the "Order this Selection" button on my web-site's purchase page.

Much like other retailers, I'll be selling at a price that is definitely going to put a crunch on margins, but I'm going to hold out hope that people on a gluten-free diet (or those who know others on a GF diet) will take the opportunity to perhaps purchase multiple copies of my gluten-free recipes book (for this one-time, best price chance) to give as gifts to others with Celiac Disease that they know, and so forth. Only one prior to this have I even come close to the price I plan to offer - and that was at an in-person Celiac Conference event in Long Island, New York, where I offered a steep discount to make up for the fact I had no provisions for accepting credit-cards at the event (luckily, I can now accept all major payment types online!)

Here's my (rather uncreative) advertisement for the 2007 Christmas holiday gluten-free recipe book sale:



Here's hoping any additional sales volume makes this all worth the bother :)

I'll post a summary of my findings here later, under a "Finance and Investing" label/group, to share my experience. I'm doubtful I can compete with the giant retailers like Walmart and BestBuy, but what the heck, at least I will have tried.


UPDATE - AFTER THE HOLIDAY SALE - THE RESULTS

OK, the 2007 peak Christmas shopping days are behind me now. Here is what I saw for Gluten-Free Recipes book sales at my Gluten-Free Desserts Book website. "Cyber Monday" ran about 50% higher volume than "Black Friday", and both were decent volume, though nothing like the electronics-retailers are experiencing this year :)

We moved more books in two days than a typical two-week period. But, we still have a lot to do to increase our sales volume. I meant to advertise (with Google ads) this year, but never got around to it. Oh well. Maybe next year. lol.

Also, I plan to perhaps do one more pre-holiday promotion yet - taking the advice of another online retailer I know, and offering free priority-shipping or such when closer to Christmas, since people get concerned about receiving their gifts in time for the big event. I need to work out details yet, but that's the general thought right now.

So there you have it - Black Friday and Cyber Monday do exist, and from my experience, the online sales really are higher on Cyber Monday (with the same sale price offered on both dates - so level playing field for my "experiment").

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