Those two days for e-commerce owners, marketers and everyone involved in retail are at least that exciting as the upcoming final season of Game of Thrones is for its fans and as scary or stressful as the winter is for John Snow. Nevertheless, it’s the time when significant revenue is possible, so focus on taking actions to make the most of it! What’s the difference between these two events? When is it this year? How to prepare for it? The answers you can find below.
What are Black Friday and Cyber Monday and why they are crucial for e-commerce?
Black Friday is the day following the Thanksgiving Day. This year it’s on November 23rd. It comes from the US, but it has been gaining its popularity in many countries all over the world. Black Friday has been widely recognised from the 2000’s. What does it mean for shoppers? Huge discounts, special offers, limited supplies and long queues (or even camping in front of the stores). It’s also the beginning of Christmas shopping season, which is the busiest and most profitable for retailers in the whole year. Black Friday changed from a one-day event into a full weekend shopping period.
The next day after Thanksgiving Day is Cyber Monday (this year: November 26). It was created for promoting online shopping among customers. After Black Friday, retailers offer special offers dedicated to online shoppers. Last year in US Cyber Monday broke the record $6.59 billion worth online transactions. Mobile sales reached $2 billion over a 24-hour period for the first time in the US history (Source: CNBC).
Those two events (five days) resulted in shopping by 174 million Americans who spent an average of $335 per person (Source: Pixlee).
If you would like to know how Black Friday influences sales in your country, check this infographic prepared by Picodi.
Get ready for this hectic period, filled with special offers and sales.
How to prepare for so-called „Black November” in 3 stages?
1. Update and optimise a website and social media
A lot of consumers can potentially shop in your store on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Of course, your e-commerce and social networks should always be actual, but pay extra attention to it now as you won’t have the time to manage some mistakes and complaints properly at Black Weekend.
First of all count your products to sell precisely the number you have, not more. Also, it’s essential for you to prepare special offers for your clients. Based on that check if every description and picture of the product is added to your online store. As online shopping depends on trust, you should give as many information as possible, so you’ll make the shopping decision more manageable for your potential clients. Give specifics like the type of fabric, size in centimetres and so on. Seems obvious, but just go through every product and make sure they all have these parameters.
When it comes to technical aspects of the website, you should check a few things. Every little button and function works irreproachable, including payment process. The speed of the online store is crucial: just a few seconds too long can result in shopping interruption. Black Friday can be a stressful time, as the discounts are limited so shoppers won’t waste their time on the website which loads too long. How to measure website speed? Use tools like Google PageSpeed, GTmetrix. Try to estimate how many users will visit your site and check if your server will handle it.
Huge profit means large cash flow and lurking hackers. Take care of your customers and make sure their payments will be fully secure. Make sure you’re GDPR ready, as well as online tools that you use for marketing etc. A backup of your website would also be a great idea. Think of it as the insurance - you’ll never know what can go wrong and which data you can lose.
Mobile & UX
Nowadays shoppers buy online to save time during other activities. Optimise your website for mobile. Make it functional and simple. User experience should be as comfortable as possible. Don’t try to create fancy solutions, because they can confuse visitors. If you update your website with occasional banners and pop-ups, make sure they’re not annoying, and they don’t cover essential elements.
Social networks as a vital source of information about your store also have to be updated. Check the shop section on Facebook. Upload actual products and update descriptions. Make sure directing to your website works flawlessly. Add pixel to your site to use it in remarketing campaigns. In the context of customer service manage the reviews about your store and consider chatbots for automated communication. Update your brand’s bio, and profile and cover photo, also add a call to action button which will redirect to your store.
Don’t forget to establish analytics. You’ll get a huge amount of information about your audience for the future.
2. Prepare special offers
This is what the Black Friday and Cyber Monday is all about. Take your time designing the best offers, most suitable for your clients.
Check out the trends for your branch. If you’re in fashion, find out what’s hot this autumn and winter to choose the best products for promotion. If some of the products are not selling great, Black Friday can be an excellent way to get rid of them. Research last year’s special offers provided by your competitors and learn from the best (but don’t copy!). Segment your customers and create proposals for a few groups - the more personalised, the better.
Few ideas for special offers:
Discounts - the most popular one, just cut the price off. Shoppers expect sales in this period, so make it at least 20%. You can discount every product or focused on special ones like trending, last season etc. The good idea is to mark those products visually so the customer can notice them quickly. Try Facebook feature “offers” to attract your audience and redirect to discounted items.
Free shipping - must-have for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Many stores already deliver products with no fee. Even if you have that too, maybe you can propose free shipping abroad.
Extra item - „buy 1, get the 2nd one for free” - Who would resist? Appeal your customers with offers that are truly profitable, not only those hard to realise (for example: if you shop for 200$, you’ll get 20$ for further shopping - that’s not attractive enough for an occasion like this).
Cross promotion - cooperate with other stores to promote each other. For example: buy in X (fashion store), get the discount in Y (beauty store).
Appreciate regular customers - reward loyalty of your customers and prepare something really special and personalised for them, so they’ll stay with you for even longer time. Identify the clients who not only spend a lot but also spend regularly.
Special offer ideas to drive sales during Black Friday and Cyber Monday
Mini tactic for November
Create different offers for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The first one traditionally takes place in-store. It also transferred to online shops, but Cyber Monday is an online fiesta for shoppers. It can be the occasion for last minute offers. You can plan discounts for different products for those two events, but you can also treat Cyber Monday as the final sale day. Black Friday usually lasts more than one day (a whole weekend or more) while Cyber Monday’s offers should be valid only in this 24 hours. Taking part in the Black Friday craziness means competing with offline stores. The other idea for e-commerce is then to organise a Cyber Weekend.
Consider the timing
As e-commerce you can go global, which means many time-zones. If your store is not one of the biggest choose the later hour to start so, you don’t have to compete with e-commerce giants (they usually prefer early birds actions).
Have you read?
3. Tell the world about your Black Friday discounts
This step is about distribution and promotion. You should plan the whole process so you won’t feel confused during this stressful time and won’t forget about anything. Here you can find some tips on how to get with your special offer to your customers.
Make it about waiting. Create an image that it’s the best time for shopping, announce discounts in general (i.e. up to -70%), show a sneak peek of the offers you’re planning. Make it a bit mysterious and reveal the details in time. Visualise it on your website (ticking clock) and post about it in your social media. Instagram stories can be a suitable format for this.
Help your clients with customer decisions. Prepare useful content with ideas for gifts (for a girlfriend, grandpa, daughter, friend and so on or even more specific like 9 gift ideas for a technology lover). Support this content with targeted campaigns to get directly to an audience interested in these topics. On social media use emotional content with pictures of people so your e-commerce can get more of a human face and get more customer-friendly. Shoppers are getting more and more aware, so highlight the specifics about your products, like where they’re produced, what fabrics do you use etc.
Social media and Internet, in general, will be cluttered, so try to stand out. Prepare original graphics and simple animations to inform your audience about discounts. Use the language of benefits for a better effect. Pin the main post about Black Friday and Cyber Monday on Facebook and Twitter. Use Instagram stories as it’s one of the most engaging forms. Create occasional unique hashtags to make it significant.
Don’t try to get with your communication to the whole world. Focus on your targeted groups to achieve your business goals. In Facebook use remarketing (thanks to pixel implemented on your website); therefore you can direct adds to customers who have visited a certain page or left your store before payment etc. If you installed it before you can now promote products which someone viewed some time ago and for example inform him or her about the discount for that product during the Black Friday sale. As mentioned before - segment discounts and also target your add to particular segments so that it can be the most effective.
Social media is not the one solution for promotion. You’ve probably heard of marketing automation in case of newsletters, but there’s also another way to use it - thanks to web push notifications. With this tool, you can send information while your customers browse the Internet (any page, not only yours). You can present them a new blog post, announce the Black Friday and Cyber Monday discounts that way or remind about abandoned carts. PushPushGo enables creating targeted campaigns so you can make your communication personal. Treat your customers with an individual approach to gain their trust and sympathy.
Even though we advise you above to promote and distribute your content on many platforms - you can’t make your communication aggressive and annoying. Keep it simple and user-friendly. Remember that your customers probably subscribe to many newsletters and follow many pages on social media, so you’re not the only one who’s fighting for their attention.
Eager to know more about marketing just before Black Friday and Cyber Monday? Join eCommerce Web Academy: JOIN