For more great Black Friday marketing tips, head over to our past article here.
With the surge in all things virtual over the past two years, it is more important than ever to make sure your e-commerce storefront is equipped to handle its potentially biggest Black Friday yet. According to Adobe Analytics, in 2020 consumers spent $9 billion online shopping the day after Thanksgiving (that is a whopping $6.3 million per minute!), up 21.6% from the year prior. The pandemic has steered many shoppers to do their deal-hunting online, and those who have traditionally preferred brick and mortar are becoming increasingly comfortable with the idea of shopping from their homes. It is imperative that business owners shift their strategies to evolve with the changing consumer behaviors.
Early bird gets the traffic
The sooner you begin preparing, the better! Many retailers begin getting ready for their biggest day of the year months in advanced and publicly promoting offers one month early. Being proactive with marketing allows time for changes, as well as A/B testing, to ensure campaigns are properly tailored to your market. However, you can still pull off record-breaking numbers with a few well-planned weeks. Two great strategies that successful retailers follow are 1) Purchasing traffic as early as possible, before prices skyrocket, and 2) fine tuning AdWords ads with highly motivated verbiage, emphasizing lowest prices or best deals.
Here are some key dates in November/December to tailor market materials for:
- Singles Day (China's biggest shopping day) Nov 11
- Thanksgiving Day Nov 28
- Black Friday Nov 29
- Cyber Monday Dec 2
Marketing throughout the month should centered around creating buzz and getting customer's anticipating your deals. This can be done through countdowns, emails, social media posts, teasers, etc. The more targeted, the better, as online shoppers have come to expect a unique, personalized shopping experience. Here are a few ideas:
- Have a cohesive marketing strategy across all online channels- website, email, and social
- Use Amazon and Google Merchant Center as additional sales channels to increase visibility. For lesser-known brands and businesses, customers seeing your product next to established brands gives a greater feel of legitimacy, which helps build customer trust. Keep in mind, with the amount of products o these platforms, it's hard to stand out. Set aside some advertising budget for each sales channel
- Emails targeted to a select group of people have much higher open rates than generic email blasts. One way to do this is by leveraging VIP customers and offering even deeper discounts. These shoppers typically spend up to three times more than the average customers.
- Generate hype by giving sneak peaks of door busters or teasing major deals that will launch around that weekend
- Influencer posts on social media is a great way to increase visibility (even a very targeted micro-influencer approach)
- Post-Cyber Monday offers for last minute shoppers/those beginning gift shopping
Year after year, sales are beginning earlier and discounts are becoming deeper. As Chase Fisher, founder, and CEO of Blenders Eyewear states, "You can’t go into Black Friday and put 15% off, 20% off and expect to do well. Everything comes down to your offer—it’s the one time out of the year you can lower your prices without feeling like you’re losing brand integrity." It takes careful planning to create deals that incite a sense of urgency, while ensuring margins stay high.
This can be especially challenging for retailers now that Black Friday is no longer a singular event. The shopping weekend, starting Thanksgiving and ending Cyber Monday, has now been coined "Black Fiveday". One way to make sure inventory stays stocked during this period, while protecting profits, is by promoting strategic category-specific sales. This allows extra inventory to be ordered and it works well with targeted marketing.
In addition to discounts, future incentives, such as gift cards with a purchase over a certain amount, will encourage customers to return after the holidays
All the time and money allocated to Black Friday preparations will be rendered useless if your website can't withstand the influx of traffic that your marketing efforts will drive in. It is imperative to stress tests well in advance to identify vulnerabilities so you are able to resolve them before the big day.
Keeping your website live is only part of the battle- decreased website performance can also have a huge impact on business. Slower page load, by even a second, could drive your customer to a competitor. Present day shoppers are increasingly impatient and used to instant gratification.
Mobile users are especially impatient with slow sites. Mobile optimization is increasingly important and often overlooked. Shopify reports that mobile transactions accounted for 66% of all sales on Black Friday 2020. Keep in mind, it is different than mobile responsiveness, which is how the website adapts from desktop to a smaller screen size. Mobile optimization involves tailoring the experience to the mobile user by offering features like one-click purchasing and dynamic payment methods. Mobile-specific UX updates that streamline the checkout process can have a huge impact on conversion.
Need some extra hands and guidance as we head into the holidays? Give us a call, and we'll help you smash your targets!