The digital shopping frenzy season is here: Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

The COVID-19 pandemic fuelled a surge in online shopping in Canada in 2020. That trend is expected to continue during the 2021 holiday shopping season, beginning with Black Friday on November 26 and Cyber Monday on November 29.

According to Statistica, more than four out of 10 (43%) Canadian consumers plan to make purchases on Black Friday in 2021, increasing from the 41% of consumers who did in 2020. Over one-third (35%) of Canadian consumers plan to make purchases on Cyber Monday in 2021, up from the 34% who did so in 2020. Additionally, 34% of Canadian consumers will shop online for Boxing Day sales in 2021 versus 32% in 2020.

Black Friday Shopper

A separate consumer survey by the Retail Council of Canada (RCC) finds Canadians intend to spend more during the holiday season this year (an average of $800 or more) than they did in 2020 (an average of $739). The RCC study also finds:

  • Of Canadian consumers who intend to buy goods from local retailers, 81% will do so because they want to support local businesses that have suffered during the pandemic.
  • Another 35% say they will buy locally because of the quality of customer service.
  • 28% say they will shop locally because the products offered by local businesses are unique, or they feel safer shopping close to home.

No doubt all of that is welcome news to Canadian small businesses. However, the opportunity Black Friday and Cyber Monday present also pose considerable liability risks for any small business angling to get in on the action. Notably, there is a real need to ensure your organization has both product liability and cyber liability insurance. Especially if you sell goods and services online whether through your company’s website, or a third-party marketplace like Amazon, Wayfair, or Etsy. That’s because you are liable for any injuries, illnesses, or property damage a customer suffers from goods they buy from you, whether you designed or manufactured them or not. Furthermore, you’re responsible for the safety and integrity of any of your customers’ data that you store on your computing systems.

How to Prepare Your Small Business for the 2021 Holiday Shopping Season

Time is short, and the list to prepare your business to take advantage of the last few weeks of the year is long. Here are a few things to do to ensure your cash register rings often on Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and throughout the holiday shopping season:

  • Get creative and offer irresistible deals. Consumers expect Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Boxing Day deals to wow their socks off. Sure, significant discounts on products are expected, but they may not always be feasible to your bottom line. Focus on making your customers feel they are getting real value for their money. That may involve bundling products, including discount coupons for other goods they can use in the new year, or offering free shipping.
  • Optimize your website. Ensure your site is updated and ready for an increase in traffic. Add an attention-grabbing banner on your homepage to direct consumers to the deals you’re offering and create out-of-stock and low-stock pages to let customers know if you’re running out of inventory. Plus, make sure your site is optimized for people who prefer to shop using a mobile device. Statistics show 56% of Canadians prefer to shop using a smartphone compared to 48% who use a laptop, 30% who use a desktop computer, and 26% who do so on a tablet.
  • Get social with your deals. Social media is a significant influence on Canadian shoppers. An Accenture study finds YouTube has the greatest impact on Canadian online shoppers’ purchasing decisions (53%), followed by Instagram (46%) and Facebook (43%). Moreover, a PayPal Canada study finds 33% of Canadian men and 26% of women shop on social platforms.
  • Leverage email marketing. All the online or offline sales you generate on Black Friday and Cyber Monday can potentially fuel your holiday and Boxing Day sales goals. Collect your customers’ email addresses and get their permission to send them promotions on future deals you’ll be offering during and after the holidays. Email marketing lets you send personalized messages to your customers and generate customer loyalty by luring them back to your store or website with exclusive offers.

COVID-19 made 2020 a challenging year for Canadian small businesses. Though 2021 continues to be difficult at times because of the lingering pandemic, it appears we are increasingly inching toward economic recovery. Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the forthcoming holidays may be the much-needed elixir small business owners need to make up for lost revenue. But don’t allow an unexpected mishap, accident, or error to upend your finances. Get a free quote and explore your insurance options and speak to a licensed Zensurance broker to ensure you’re covered from any potential liability.

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