Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM) are considered the most important sale period for ecommerce stores in the Western World. Sales can increase by up to 30% of normal turnover, and November can be the most profitable month for many webshops. Despite BFCM not grossing as much globally as Singles Day, it’s vital to prepare your store to ensure the best profits from this opportunity.
Well known world-wide, Black Friday began in physical stores in the U.S. Huge discounts see people queueing for hours before racing in to snatch the best deals. This tradition has shifted into the ecommerce world, with the addition of Cyber Monday. Now, the event usually lasts the full weekend. Consumers anticipate the sales to come and they are more than ready to click the “Buy” button. It’s without a doubt you will experience an increase in orders.
The Ultimate Black Friday Ecommerce Guide for 2019
Is your webstore ready? If you fail to prepare, then prepare to fail. If you miss the opportunity to market for BFCM, you’ll lose out to your competitors who are advertising to catch those eager customers. And if you fail to prepare operationally for the influx of orders, you may find the company struggling to keep up.
Read our ultimate Black Friday ecommerce guide where we list 30 tips to prepare you for the biggest weekend in ecommerce.
- Black Friday & Cyber Monday marketing strategy
- Conversion-increasing tips to boost sales
- The optimal webshop shipping (and return) process
Without a clear marketing strategy, it’s likely you will miss out on many potential visitors. Read the Top 10 tips below to adjust your marketing strategy for the coming Peak Season.
1: Create a BFCM Strategy
If you don’t have a clear plan in place, you risk letting the peak period slip by. Without a plan, traffic could be lost with the fierce competition for attention in the ecommerce industry during this time.
Make sure to write a plan that ensures you are present in every step of the buyer’s journey, with multiple marketing activations to trigger those purchases.
If you already have a marketing strategy, ensure to assess your current methods. Take into consideration what will work best for Black Friday & Cyber Monday, and consider whether you will need any extra or alternative activity.
2: Brand Recognition
Ensure your potential customers can recognise your brand. Once they have visited your webshop, they should be able to clearly identify any marketing activity they receive afterwards.
A consistent brand image doesn’t just allow consumers to quickly identify your brand, but it also creates trust and helps consumers make quick decisions. This is particularly important for the sale period. You want customers to instantly recognise your store and click “Buy” on that special deal.
3: Social Media Advertising
Online advertising is an effective way to reach your target group quickly and effectively. This is particularly true with the attractive deals for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Facebook advertising is one of the easiest ways to reach customers. You can easily set up advertisements to help reach your customers as they scroll through both Facebook and Instagram.
It’s a common thought that approaching existing customers with great offers can generate higher results than simply trying to attract new customers.
Don’t let users get away without making a purchase. Retargeting will allow you to display adverts to those who have already visited your store. So if someone has been eyeing a particular product, use social media to effectively advertise that product directly to them again. Maybe even include a time-dependent deal to push them with “FOMO” to make them purchase the product.
5: Search Engine Advertising
Most consumers will wait for the Black Friday weekend event to make their move, as they expect the coming sales. It’s likely they’ve already done the necessary research and will already know what product they want to purchase. This means they have the intent to buy.
Therefore, they might just directly search the product in Google to find where they want to make a purchase.
Make sure your store is the first in the Search Results by using Google Ads (or any other search engine advertising you see beneficial). This gives you a very high chance of capturing a user’s attention and making the sale. Bid on the products with the biggest discounts to maximise your conversion rate and return on investment, beating your competitors with an attractive offer.
6: Use Specific Keywords
Keep in mind that consumers often use different keywords around bargain days and during the holiday periods.
For example; “black Friday shoe deals” or “Christmas gifts for men”. Take advantage of this by creating landing pages, content or blogs that aim to rank on these keywords.
Bonus Tip: show your Black Friday and Cyber Monday at the top of the search results with Google Ads.
Create a specific Black Friday ad campaign. This gives you the chance to come up above standard advertisements with the best offers.
7: Email Marketing
Email Marketing still reigns king as the channel with the highest conversion rate.
Reach your target group directly. Especially when consumers are eager to make purchases, sending your most attractive deals straight into their inbox can peak interest and push conversions.
The more personal your email campaign can be, the better. Try to entice users with products they’ve added to wishlists, or suggestions based on their previous purchases.
Email marketing can also prove very effective as a last-minute boost. Add a countdown to the end of the sale to put pressure on users to make the purchase.
8: Use Bait to Increase Purchases
Attract visitors with a high in demand product with a steller promotion. Choose something that you sell often (so you know there is interest). It’s even better when this product also has a high margin so you can create a very attractive deal.
The ideal “bait” will be priced just under your “Free Shipping” threshold. This will encourage visitors to add something more into their cart to avoid paying for the delivery.
However, even if users don’t want to purchase this particular product, the “bait” can push them further into your site. After seeing such an attractive offer, users will want to browse your other products to see if there are any more great deals going on.
9: The Power of Video
Use video to stand out during Black Friday. Every other webstore will naturally be focusing on all online marketing strategies. Video gives your visitors the chance to assess products better. It also helps to increase the attention value of your advertisements.
Sharing a look behind the scenes is a fun strategy, personalising your webshop and increasing trust and respect from your consumers.
The more you know what your visitors are looking for, the better you can persuade them to purchase with a great promotion.
By giving your visitors the opportunity to create a wishlist, you can directly send them a great promotion.
After following the above tips, you will be sure to have an influx of traffic during this period. The next challenge is to get these visitors to convert. Read below to increase your conversions this Black Friday.
11: Promote Relevant Products
It’s understandable that products all have a seasonality. You probably have your own sales data that shows what products do well at different times of the year.
This knowledge can help you organise your webstore, as well as inform you which products to promote during this time of the year.
Highlight the relevant products on your homepage, or make sure to prioritise the correct products at the top of product categories.
12: Exit Intent Pop-Ups
Persuade Webshop leavers to stay on your site with an exit intent pop-up tool.
The software recognizes when a visitor is planning to leave your webshop and shows a pop-up with a special offer to entice them to continue shopping. Otherwise you simply just lose a visitor.
Pop-ups can sometimes be annoying, but this is one of the most effective ways to increase your conversions. Try to use a very attractive offer that has a time-limit. This will increase the “Fear Of Missing Out” in your user and keeping them on the site, especially if it’s for a product they are interested in.
13: Free Gifts & Special Discounts
Shoppers are likely to compare multiple webstores before they make the purchase. To complete and make sure they buy from you, give them something extra.
From free shipping to a special free gift, use the extra edge to entice consumers through the checkout.
14: Follow the Leader
As consumers, we generally look at others to make choices. In a shopping street, people generally trust stores when they see other shoppers with the brand’s bags, and online, the rise of influencers has shown consumers trust influential people’s recommendations highly.
Show in real-time what other visitors are buying, as well as showing what products are best-sellers. There are various plugins which can help for this.
15: Shopping Cart Reminders
Abandoned shopping carts are the biggest frustration of every ecommerce store. Many consumers simply forget they have put a product in their shopping cart, or they have doubts about the price.
By sending these visitors a reminder (with a discount) on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, you can still persuade them to place an order.
Sometimes, your visitors need a little push in the right direction. Show them related products, or send them a promotion on products based on their search behavior and purchase history.
Some examples for personalised suggestions:
- The best-selling products of a certain category
- Products that match the items already in the shopping cart
- Combinations that other shoppers made with a certain product
- General extras that your potential customers could use and enjoy
17: Promotion Page
If your webstore has a mass of products, but you are only offering a discount on certain products, then it’s best to create a special BFCM promotion page.
Shoppers can see at a glance what your best offers are. This increases the chance that they will find a suitable promotional product and place an order immediately. Otherwise they may get bored and leave your site if they have to scramble through your whole product selection.
You also avoid disappointed customers, with the discounts clearly only applied to that particular selection of products.
18: The Fear Of Missing Out
The fear of missing out because of low stock can push visitors into action. Shortage of availability has long been one of the most powerful marketing principles that you can apply.
By discounting only a limited amount of stock, or setting up a live stock tracker, you ensure that shoppers want to purchase straight away, just in case they miss out.
19: Time Pressure
Similarly to the above, initiate the fear of missing out with time limitations as well. Bargain days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday make customers feel obliged to buy immediately, with the promotions usually only running for a limited time.
Emphasize this urgency and increase conversions with a countdown timer and reminders that the sale will end soon.
We all know how important it is to connect with customers. Chatbots are almost always seen by your visitors, and help to ensure more interaction. If you’re not using a chatbot, it might be advantageous to try one out.
When your visitor has a question that can be answered directly with the help of the chatbot, you prevent a potential customer from getting bored of waiting for someone to reply.
You can even get chatbots that can help suggest recommended products to your users, helping you personalise the visitors experience.
Tip: welcome your visitors via chatbot with a nice message. You could even use the chatbot to spread a special discount code for the Black Friday sale.
A good shipping and return policy is very important to keep customers satisfied. Don’t underestimate their importance in your success this sale period.
Read below for our tips on how to avoid any hassle with your shipping and returns, helping you to stay efficient and increase profits.
21: Shipping Costs & Delivery Times
It is vital to be clear about the shipping costs and delivery times, especially during the holiday times. Even when you don’t have competitive shipping terms.
With great discounts on the right products, it’s without a doubt customers will be more than willing to place orders. However, unclearness surrounding shipping can put users off, even leaving them disgruntled if a surprise comes after they place the order.
Tips for clearly communicating your shipping policy:
- Use a banner to promote shipping options, their costs and times. If it’s too much information for a banner, then link to a page with all the shipping information.
- Use a pop-up that lets visitors know about the latest shipping time. Make sure to include relevant, important information so users aren’t annoyed by the pop-up.
- Share your shipping policy via social media. Even if you don’t offer free shipping, a shipping deadline is a good activation to get people to place an order.
- Mail existing customers and visitors who have left their shopping cart on the last day of the shipping deadline. This reminder could trigger them into action.
- Make sure your “Frequently Asked Questions” is up to date and includes clear details about your shipping policy. This page is often consulted and when all information is clear, it saves extra questions for customer service as well as reassuring customers with the right knowledge.
22: Return Policy
It is also important that, alongside your shipping policy, that you clearly state and give details regarding your returns process.
A mistake that many webshops make is to hide their return policy, and create ambiguity around the process. It is often thought that customers only care about free shipping, but a pleasant return policy also plays a major role.
It is likely that visitors consult this before they make a purchase, so communicate your return policy clearly. This is especially crucial for the holidays, when the chance of returns is greater.
23: Packaging Material and Supplies
It may seem simple, but packaging material and supplies can be easily forgotten. But it’s without a doubt that if you’re shipping more products than usual, you’ll need more packaging.
Running out of supplies can cause chaos and a lot of stress, costing time and money. Therefore, make sure to stock up. Luckily, packaging isn’t something that you can’t carry into the next months. It will get used, whether during the Black Friday weekend, or in the following months.
24: Manual Errors
It’s without a doubt that during an extremely busy period, errors are going to happen. And it’s clear that mistakes lose money and time, as well as resulting in unsatisfied customers.
To prevent errors and to work efficiently, you can use the Sendcloud shipping software. Automate most of your shipping process and enjoy avoiding annoying errors that come with manually controlling the shipping process.
25: Multiple Carriers in the Checkout
The peak pressure isn’t only just felt by webstores, but of course the carriers also see a huge influx as well.
Having multiple carriers as an option means you can easily switch carriers if any problems or bottlenecks occur with any of your choices. Then you can easily switch and prevent irritated customers from delays with the delivery.
You can easily allow multiple carriers in your checkout, even if you do not have your own contract with all of them.
26: Flexible Shipping Options
By combining multiple carriers, you can also offer multiple delivery options. This is one of the best ways to increase your conversions and make customers happy. It gives them the power to choose how, when and with who their package will be delivered.
- Next Day Delivery: usually a step up from standard shipping, offering Free Next Day Delivery during the holiday season as an added treat to your consumers that can push them to convert.
- Same Day Delivery: something that’s slightly harder and more expensive to offer, but it’s certainly a nice last-minute option for the holiday season.
- Evening Delivery: most people work during the day, and evening delivery can be really valuable for this situation. Especially during the business of the holiday season, time is very important and evening delivery can be ideal.
- Saturday Delivery: Just like evening delivery, this helps the customer save time and not have to make special arrangements to receive the package.
- Pick-Up Point Delivery: pick-up points are ideal for individuals who want to collect their package on their own schedule, without having to make any arrangements to receive the package at home. It’s also often a cheaper and more environmentally friendly option also!
27: Insured Shipping
With the big increase of packages going through the shipping process, it’s unfortunately more likely that packages could be lost or damaged.
Depending on what kind of products you send (and especially their value), you can choose to send shipments insured.
28: Personalised Tracking Mails
Customers want to proactively track the status of their order, eagerly awaiting its delivery. Tracking mails are ideal for this, and to strengthen your brand.
With Sendcloud you can set up branded tracking mails, with your brand’s logo, colours, and even linking banners and social posts.
29: The Unboxing Experience
Tracking mails are therefore a great opportunity to strengthen your brand, but it doesn’t stop there. You can also reinforce this when the customer opens their order.
Branded packaging, a personal card, and even a discount code for the next order or a small gift can leave a good impression.
30: The Return Period
Smart consumers buy gifts for the holidays during a Black Friday sale. However, the disadvantage to this is the legal return period of 14 days has already passed before Christmas.
By giving customers the option to exchange or return products past the e-commerce peak, you motivate them to order from your webshop. Research has shown that a long return period means that customers actually return less, because they become “attached” to the products, or find another use for it.
31: A Simple Returns Process
Of course, no one wants returns. But unfortunately, it’s an inevitable burden. To ensure that you do not spend too much time on this, it is important to automate the process as much as possible.
With the Sendcloud Return Portal your customers can create their own return ticket.
This makes it a lot nicer for your customers to make a return, turning something negative into something positive. Your customers will highly appreciate the process, and likely return to your store if it’s handled quickly and efficiently without inconvenience.
It also saves you a lot of processing time, with both parties being informed of the status.
Good Luck for Black Friday & Cyber Monday 2019!
Finally, we hope this Black Friday ecommerce guide has given you plenty of advice to consider and implement. And we hope you get the most out of this holiday season sale.
If you have any questions, or maybe your own tips to prepare for the sales, then please leave a comment!