Black Friday is back in the news!

This annual retail promotion began in the US but has become very popular in the UK over the past three years.

The biggest shopping sales day of the year falls on November 25th this time around… and lasts through the following week! A bumper spend of £5 billion is predicted across this festival of bargain hunting.

What’s more, retail consultancy firm Salmon anticipates this year should prove the “tipping point” for purchases made via mobile devices in the UK:

“More shoppers than ever [will] buy their goods from their smartphones with an estimated £2.55 billion purchases to be made via mobile.”

That’s a lot of potential customers coming to you as an online seller by that method!

And if you’re a seasoned online seller, you’ll also know there’s another amazing phenomenon that happens around the same time…

… final pay packets before Christmas are received!

Who wants to traipse from shop to shop and queue for what seems like an eternity for the must have (and probably already sold out) toy of the year? All that leads to is several hours of stress, being stuck in the crush of heaving shopping crowds and a ‘restorative’ large glass of red!

Many of us (me included) prefer to do our festive shopping in a more civilized manner – and from the comfort of our own homes. There’s no denying the relative ease of shopping online.

Billions of pounds will be spent online over the next few weeks as the buying bonanza heats up. And that’s why this next piece of information is very important…

Black Friday may be just around the corner, but brace yourself: Cyber Monday is coming too. Both of these dates are far easier to deal with as an online, rather than offline, seller.

Coming up on the Monday immediately following Black Friday, Cyber Monday occurs this year on November 28th.

A clever bit of marketing, this ‘occasion’ was created to persuade people to shop online, first happening first in 2005 when issued a press release entitled: ‘Cyber Monday Quickly Becoming One of the Biggest Online Shopping Days of the Year’.

And… it stuck. We’re still talking about – and hopefully profiting from – Cyber Monday over a decade later!

I tend to have a major panic around the end of November/beginning of December when I realise I ought to start actually purchasing Christmas presents – and I’m certainly not alone in that.

There appears to be a collective panic around this time, and that’s when internet sales rocket, websites crash under the strain of visiting traffic… and you might find that the very thing you are looking for has suddenly sold out… even though there were 754 in stock yesterday.

And this is exactly the same time as Black Friday and Cyber Monday are taking place! So…

Sellers, act NOW to get in on the seasonal online sales action!

With Cyber Monday only days away, you absolutely, definitely must get cracking if you want your products to be visible online.

And with this outcome in mind, I want to give you some tips to maximise your Christmas sales online – whether on eBay, Amazon or within your own webstore – and hook some of those masses of buyers!

Follow these seven steps to get prepared for Christmas sales

1. Double-check your keywords and make sure they are super-relevant to your product. If buyers can’t find your items, then you won’t make any sales.

2. Make sure you appeal to ALL potential customers. Use eBay’s auction listings for bargain hunters and ‘Buy It Nows’ for those who won’t wait for an auction to end.

Make the most of Amazon to mop up those customers who are loyal to one site only.

And use your own website if you want to offer an extra service such as ‘Gift Wrapping’. Believe me, in the run up to Christmas, people are impatient so you need to cover all bases.

3. If you only have a small inventory, add a few lines to the description of your products hinting that your item is the “perfect gift”.

This can be implemented for most products, with a bit of creativity, and will subconsciously play on your potential buyers’ minds, making them more likely to purchase.

Also consider adding the keywords ‘Christmas Gift’ to your title. This can help you pick up some extra sales. But don’t remove relevant keywords just to fit those extra keywords in.

Do it if you have spare space. Don’t if you don’t.

4. Consider adding a ‘Best Offer’ facility to your eBay ‘Buy It Now’ listings, then automate the ‘Accept/Decline Offer’ option to remain competitive. That should help pick up those extra sales from people who don’t want to pay the full price but still want to purchase immediately.

5. If you have an eBay shop, use ‘Markdown Manager’ to offer seasonal discounts or limited offers to buyers.

6. Buyers adore fast dispatch so consider offering super-fast delivery options to buyers over the Christmas period.

7. When possible, make sure you answer questions from potential buyers promptly.

This could be the difference maker for a sale, especially in the run up to Christmas when there is plenty of choice from sellers and it’s easy for buyers to become cheesed off.

If you haven’t listed anything online yet, make Black Friday the incentive you need to get started.

If you are already up and running, then take these points in to account to ensure you get the most out of the festive season.