Just like the queues, the Black Friday Cyber Monday weekend is around the corner. Getting your eCommerce website ready for the rush is crucial to ensure you make the most of the mad spending period. It’s a chance to take advantage of heightened consumer interest, and an opportunity to experiment with new marketing and advertising tactics. We’ve summed up the importance of Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM) and explained how and why you need to get our eCommerce website up to scratch.
What can we learn from last year’s Black Friday / Cyber Monday?
In 2022, online shopping was the preferred option for shoppers during the Black Friday / Cyber Monday weekend. Last year alone, shoppers spent an impressive of $9.12 billion (£7.5 billion) during the BFCM weekend, resulting in a 2.3% increase compared to sales in 2021 (insert mind-blown emoji here!!). No one can deny a good deal, and this year is no exception. It is predicted that this year’s sales are due to increase even more and, with online being the preferred channel, getting your website up to scratch beforehand is so important to ensure you capitalise on the obvious opportunity that Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend brings.
People are keen to snatch up their goodies early, in fact, did you know that last year 31% of Black Friday shoppers started the day before (which begs the question… “why isn’t it renamed Black Thursday?!”), while only 15% of people aimed to begin shopping for gifts between midnight and 5 AM on the Friday.
Although you might have seen Black Friday Cyber Monday sales everywhere last year, there are some businesses that didn’t take part. Was this a smart business decision or was it a massive risk? If your business were to not take part, the obvious repercussion is missing out on sales to competitors who are offering discounts. Understandably you have a brand reputation to protect, and often slashing your prices for a few extra sales doesn’t do anything for your bottom line, especially if you already have tight margins – but there are tactics you can incorporate to get in on the Black Friday / Cyber Monday action without damaging profits. For example, utilising loyalty schemes or extracting value from your email database – but more on this later.
Why is Black Friday important for your eCommerce business?
In 2019, shoppers worldwide spent $717.5 billion during Black Friday, and consumer spending around this weekend is almost guaranteed again this year as consumers see it as the start of the festive shopping season. For retailers it marks the busiest time of the year.
According to Statista (2022), the main motivation for consumers when it comes to taking part in the Black Friday / Cyber Monday sales, is gift buying. 71% of UK consumers believe BFCM weekend provides better deals for buying gifts ahead of Christmas. With that in mind, it’s important to consider how your business can meet these needs. Can your product or service be bought with the intention of giving it to a friend, relative, work friend or even pet?
This time of the year is also a great time to build a fan base! Participating in Black Friday / Cyber Monday is an opportunity to open your brand and online shop to potentially thousands of new visitors. Although you may not want to think this way, realistically, people may not have heard of your business, but see this as an opportunity! The Black Friday / Cyber Monday season can be a great way to grow brand awareness and build your audience for future marketing, creating new brand champions and generating repeat sales for 2024.
With that in mind, remember, new customers need to understand who you are and why they can trust you. Displaying both company and product reviews is a great way to build social proof with new visitors. Using a third party review platform is social proof to new visitors, and using a Google-certified reviews provider means you can also display your star-ratings in Google Ads – pretty much guaranteeing a trustworthy first impression. Unfortunately, the reality is there are a lot of businesses out there trying to scam people that are keen on getting a good deal, which creates a perfect opportunity for you to show them why they should trust your business and chose you over others.
So you want to take part in the craziness, but how can you make the most out of Black Friday and Cyber Monday for your eCommerce business?
How to make the most out of Black Friday / Cyber Monday Weekend
Like a lot in life, making sure you’re prepared is the first step. There’s a lot to consider when it comes to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and it can be over whelming. So, we’ve created a 10-step checklist of some of the things you should consider to ensure you and your business are ready for the big weekend.
- Your sales period could be longer than you expect… plan for it
- Identify your top sales channels and make the most out of them
- Your past visitors and customers are important, retarget them
- Get ahead with your email marketing campaigns
- Is your site mobile friendly?s
- Testing…1,2,3, test and prepare your online shop for traffic surges
- Conversion rate. Let’s grow it.
- Is your checkout experience up to scratch?
- Offering support is crucial, provide prompt and personal customer support
- You’ve got new customers… keep them around!
- Your sales period could be longer than you expect… plan for it.
With shoppers starting earlier and considering whether to buy online or in-person, start communicating your offers as early as possible. Like we mentioned earlier, shoppers are starting to grab their deals as soon as possible so it’s important to get ahead of this and plan for a longer sales period. Start your marketing strategy earlier than planned so that your customers are exposed to your business before your competitors, meaning you’ll be at the forefront of your consumers mind when thinking about the gifts they’ll buy. Ensure you have the stock and availability to provide for as many customers as possible, whether that be the loyal ones or new ones.
- Identify your top sales channels and make the most out of them.
Are you selling across multiple channels? For example, your website, on social media and perhaps even in-store. If not, then it could be something to consider. This way, you’ll be able to promote your business and offers across your social channels. Once you’ve done this then it’s important to identify your most popular channels, whether that be Instagram, Facebook, TikTok or more. Again, having a marketing strategy for social media promotion is also important. Look at your insights across all platforms and cater your offers to the demographics of your followers on each channel. Once you know that your Facebook audience prefers one thing and your Instagram audience prefers the other, then you can cater to this and give them deals that they’ll love!
- Your past visitors and customers are important, retarget them.
First off, if you haven’t heard of re-targeting, then let us sum it up. Retargeting is a digital marketing strategy that allows businesses to display targeted ads to individuals who have interacted with their website or other online content in the past. Meaning all those past customers that have visited your site before will be ideal to promote to during your Black Friday weekend sales.
Although your new customers are important for sales, don’t forget about your past and loyal customers. Re-engaging with customers that visited your online shop and purchased from it will increase brand recognition, improve customer engagement and retention, and provide cross-selling and upselling opportunities. You can do this through ads specifically. Using your existing data, you can create near-bespoke ad campaigns that show customers the products you know they are interested in. In utilising retargeting, businesses can increase conversions, increase average order values, and achieve a higher return on investment.
- Get ahead with your email marketing campaigns.
Email marketing will be crucial for Black Friday / Cyber Monday success, but it’s likely to be a busy time (when isn’t when it comes to eCommerce marketing though?!), so start planning, creating and scheduling way in advance for optimum impact.
First off, optimise your site by making it easy for visitors to stay informed about your upcoming sales and consider enticing sign ups by offering early access to sales. Everyone loves to feel special and that includes consumers. Giving early access to sales to your loyal and subscribed email consumers not only encourages earlier sales, but it also builds that relationship between your consumers and your business. Email marketing is another great way of showing what you have on offer as well. Customers will be able to view your products and services at a glance and see if anything takes their fancy. Again, do your research, look at your data and see what type of products will be best to show within your emails depending on what this demographic already engages with and purchases.
- Is your site mobile friendly?
During last year’s Black Friday season, 78% of web traffic came from smartphones. This means it’s essential for businesses (big and small) to assess their site for mobile friendliness. Having a great, easy to use website is one thing, but having it perform well for mobile is another. A few questions to ask yourself to assess how mobile-commerce-ready your site is:
- Is your website mobile responsive?
- What’s your online store’s user experience like on mobile?
- Is it easy and intuitive to make purchases on your site?
- Is your site easy to navigate and find content on mobile?
- Is your site fast and does it run smoothly on mobile?
So, get testing and assessing and make sure your shoppers can use your mobile site easily whilst they’re scrolling or out and about.
- Testing…1,2,3, test and prepare your online shop for traffic surges.
The last thing your customers will want when trying to grab their quick deal on your website is a slow performing site. Always remember: a slow website will lose customers. In this day in age, we’re used to getting what we want quickly, whether that be takeaways or Amazon next day delivery, and a website is no exception. In fact, just a 0.1 second increase in site speeds can result in an approximately 10% increase in conversions. Every second counts… literally! Your consumers will click off your site and head to another if they can’t see what they want quickly. Not ideal if you’re trying to get those sales up!
Make sure to test and prepare your eCommerce shop in the following ways: assess the architecture of your site, making sure it’s not overloaded with unnecessary scripts or plugins that could slow it down. Then, keep customers engaged by minimising pop-ups displaying deals and special offers, increasing the likelihood of conversions. Finally, optimise your product pages for conversion by including clear calls-to-action (CTA), descriptions, and easy payment methods.
- Conversion rate. Let’s grow it.
So, you’ve got people to your site, that’s great! But now you need to convert those visitors into paying customers. It’s good to know your industry averages and standard conversion rates to benchmark against. Make sure to consider geographic location, gross merchandise value (GMV) to assess business health, and targeted industry vertical (such as apparel and accessories, home and garden, or health and beauty). Then, you’ll be able to see how you compare to other brands of the same size and industry. You should identify gaps in your brand’s conversion strategy from awareness to customer and find opportunities for improvement. Learn from industry leaders – look at what they’re doing and what tactics you could implement to increase your conversions. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel.
Hopefully, with all this in mind, you’ll be able to convert those interested customers and hit those Black Friday / Cyber Monday targets!
- Is your checkout experience up to scratchOffering support is crucial, provide prompt and personal customer support.
It’s all very well encouraging your customers to place items into their shopping basket and encouraging them to make their purchase, but you need to play your part in ensuring the checkout process is easy and stress free. Almost 70% of shoppers abandon their shopping basket! By having a smooth, thought-out purchasing process you will decrease your chances of cart abandonment drastically. Like we’ve said before, keep in mind that your consumers want their deals, and they want them fast so the less clicks the better. Using online checkout services like Shop Pay, Apple Pay, and Google Pay accelerate the process by auto filling saved information and reducing the keystrokes or clicks required to make a purchase.
- Offering support is crucial, provide prompt and personal customer support.
Black Friday / Cyber Monday weekend can be a stressful time for business but also for shoppers so your consumers are looking for a lot of support from the businesses they buy from. This can be for finding a particular product, navigating your site, making a purchase, and then returning if needed. However, this time of year can be a great way to show your customers that your business listens and provides that extra support that other brands don’t cater to, this will then encourage returning customers if they have a good experience with you. They then will tell other people, and before you know it, you’ll have a trusted and reliable following.
Consider the customer service options you offer – for instance what is your delivery and returns policy like? Will customers be able to speak to someone if something goes wrong with their order? Make it easy for your customer to talk to support whilst they’re purchasing by offering live chat or live video chat. If your consumer can’t find where to speak to someone, this will only increase their frustration, which could reduce conversion rates. So, make sure you have all customer service information clearly displayed and available to customers.
- You’ve got new customers… keep them around!
The popularity around your business shouldn’t end when Black Friday / Cyber Monday weekend comes to a close; now you have new customers with the potential to become repeat buyers. At this point, it’s time to maintain the relationship and encourage repeat sales. Keep your customers engaged year-round by staying active on social media and sending out post-sale emails to your subscribers. The typical user spends about 2.5 hours per day on social media, making this a great way to remind your consumers about your business whilst they’re scrolling. We’re going to mention re-targeting again because this is a great opportunity to keep exposing your brand to this audience and ensure you’re the ‘go-to’ within your industry.
If there’s one thing you can take away from this and apply to your Black Friday / Cyber Monday experience, it’s: prepare! Preparation, planning, and starting earlier are the keys to a successful Black Friday / Cyber Monday season.
This time can be daunting for many businesses, but it is also a great way to build your customer base, gain trust from new customers and ultimately, generate sales. If you’re want to see how we have helped previous businesses with their eCommerce website, then take a look at our case studies. And if your eCommerce site is in need of some help ahead of the upcoming holiday season, then get in touch with the CDA team and see how we can help you cash in on the Black Friday / Cyber Monday craziness!