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Discounts Not Your Thing? Alternatives for Cyber Monday

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Discounts Not Your Thing? Alternatives for Cyber Monday


You have the regular day-to-day tasks of running your business, plus vacations to work around and people visiting from out of town. You’re cleaning and trying to finish household projects. The holiday sales season might not exactly be top of mind right now. 

“Late November seems so far away. Do I really have to plan for that now?” you ask. The answer? Yes — especially if sale prices or discounts don’t make sense for your business. Coming up with creative ways to attract customers and maximize sales will take time, so start right away. 

Here’s why it’s important: Hundreds of millions of people will shop online during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, amounting to billions of dollars in sales.

Last year, in the middle of the pandemic, sales were up 15% from the previous year on Cyber Monday, and 21.6% for Black Friday. The U.S. economy in 2021 is growing at the fastest rate since the early 1980s. Combine this happy news with consumer excitement about life getting back to normal, and it’s easy to imagine an even bigger jump this year. 

So, planning for Black Friday and Cyber Monday is pretty important, right? But what if you can’t offer deep discounts or sale prices to bring in customers? Don’t despair; there are alternatives.

Ways to make the most of Cyber Monday without discounts

First, why not just run a traditional sale in the first place?

With seemingly every store or business offering some sort of major discount, your 40% off deal that gets a lot of attention the rest of the year has a good chance of getting lost in the holiday noise. Finding a different way to excite potential customers is a greater challenge than ever.

Beyond this, discount sales simply aren’t appropriate for all types of businesses. Some stores make a point in their branding to never discount their high-end merchandise. New or smaller stores often have tight margins and the most that can be discounted is only five or ten percent, which makes it hard to compete with larger shops. 

Still, other organizations might offer products or services that are available at a set price for a very specific, intentional reason. For example, if you sell $10 gift certificates that are donations to fight climate change, discounting these to $5 doesn’t make much sense — you’ll just raise less money. Instead, you’ll need to find a different way to sweeten the pot. 

If you find yourself struggling to stand out, or it just doesn’t make sense to run a “mega sale” for your organization, here are some other things you can do:

1. Donate a percentage of profits to charity 

Studies show that 86% of Americans favor companies that are responsible and caring, and give to important causes. And collecting donations at checkout can improve customer loyalty. When choosing what charities to support, consider ones that: 

  • Align with your customers’ values
  • Appeal to the widest variety of consumers
  • Are local to your area
  • Are related to your personal passion
child on the floor reading a book about fish

There are several ways you can do this. You might donate 5% of every total purchase, or when customers choose specific products. Or, you might donate a book to a child in need every time someone buys one of your books.

And make sure to let customers know who you’re donating to, why, and how the process works.

2. Offer a free eBook download with purchase

Think about information that would be of value to your customers and turn it into an eBook to include with each sale. The Free Gifts for Woocommerce extension can automate this process on your site. Or, set up a welcome email with a tool like MailPoet, which can send the book to customers via email. 

Not sure what to create? Examine common questions that your customers ask. What can you write about them? For example, if you sell coffee beans, you might write a guide to choosing the right grind for each type of coffee maker. Or, if you offer pest control services, you could include an eBook about the best ways to keep mosquitoes from getting inside.

3. Upgrade shipping options 

36% of online customers abandon purchases because they don’t want to pay for shipping. That means that offering free shipping is a huge opportunity for increasing Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. You could provide free shipping at no cost for all orders, or for orders over a certain dollar amount. Or, simply upgrade shoppers to expedited delivery for no additional fee.

free shipping banner at the top of Megafit Meals' website
Photo © https://megafitmeals.com/

But whatever you choose to do, make sure it’s clear to customers. Megafit Meals, for example, puts a notice above the header, where it’s immediately visible at the top of all pages.

4. Start with a free consultation 

If you offer a service, why not include a free consultation to get customers through the door? This gives you a chance to build a one-on-one relationship and start to earn trust.

But be specific when it comes to advertising the consultation rather than just listing it as a benefit. You might say something like, “We’ll include a free, 30-minute consultation during which one of our experts will review your marketing needs and opportunities.”

5. Include an extra night free 

With people itching to get out, hotels and campgrounds have been filling up fast. But when the rush is over, how will you keep those beds or campsites from sitting empty? 

Just because you don’t sell physical products doesn’t mean that you can’t make the most of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. One thing you can do is offer an extra night’s stay for free.

If you’re using the WooCommerce Bookings extension, you can pair it with the Free Gifts for Woocommerce extension to add an extra night when a customer books their reservation.

6. Sell limited edition products

People love the feeling of exclusivity. In fact, the more rare or desirable a product is, the more valuable customers consider it. You can make the most of this idea by offering limited edition products just for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. 

For example, you might release a special T-shirt design, behind-the-scenes video, or gift package. But no matter what you choose, highlight its short-term availability on the product page to establish the fear of missing out.

7. Give a free, bonus gift 

Free gifts are a good way to clear out inventory and add value to purchases. Do you have a bunch of extra products that you’re discontinuing? Throw them in as a bonus for anyone who purchases on Cyber Monday. Can you put together sample sizes of your lotions, bath salts, or seasonings? These are great for encouraging sales both now and in the future.

Or, consider including small, branded gifts like stickers, hot sauces, water bottles, or mini candles. These can be fun extras that make customers think of your company every time they use them.

gift products added to a customer's cartt

The Free Gifts for WooCommerce extension allows you to offer gifts to your customers in four ways: 

  1. Manually sending them
  2. Automatically adding them to the cart
  3. Giving customers a choice of gifts on the cart page
  4. “Buy one get one free” offers

Think through which one makes the most sense for your specific situation and customers.

8. Plant a tree with every purchase 

79% of customers favor companies that protect the environment. And environmentally-friendly products, services, and facilities are just one, simple way to show that you care for your community and the people who live in it. 

During your Black Friday/Cyber Monday sale, consider giving to a group that plants trees in your local area. Or, extend this same principle to other green initiatives, like beach or river cleanup.  

Be unique this season

If you’re not able to offer traditional Black Friday/Cyber Monday discounts, or just want a way for your store to stand out, there are still great ways to get involved! This is the perfect time to be creative, consider what your audience is really looking for, and make the most of the season.

What ideas do you have for marketing this Black Friday/Cyber Monday? Let us know in the comments.

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