This year’s Black Friday Cyber Monday (BFCM) will be unlike any other. With COVID-19 shifting consumer spending online and fears of retail closures looming, the pressure is on for businesses to perform. If you want to make the most of this year’s biggest shopping event, it’s critical that you start planning as early as possible.
We’ve helped clients with their ecommerce projects over the years, but this year is a little different. Here are five things you should consider to prepare your store for Black Friday Cyber Monday and take advantage of the opportunity for your business to end the year strong, whatever that looks like for you.
1. Clean up your store
When a customer enters your online store– every second counts. In fact, 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load.
So, just like you might dust your shelves and stage your brick-and-mortar store, make sure your online store is in good shape. Here’s what we suggest you should check up on:
Update your copy and images for BFCM
With so much traffic online, it’s important to stand out– what better way to promote your holiday sales than with eye-catching graphics and visuals? Something as simple as updating your banner ads or changing the header/hero image on your homepage will help promote your store this BFCM.
Even if you don’t have a graphic design team, you can use templates from Creative Market, or use online design tools like Taler, or Canva to create great graphics.
Have you made theme changes or switched to a new theme?
According to Portent, slow load times can have a major impact on ecommerce conversions. They saw a decrease in conversion rate of 1.2% for every additional second it takes for a store to load.
If you’ve made site changes or added a new theme to your store, you can use the Google PageSpeed Insights tool to test your site. It provides tips and insights on potential ways to improve your load time.
Shopify has a great blog post on their Shopify Theme Inspector Chrome extension. The extension lets you analyze and debug Liquid rendering performance in your Shopify theme.
2. Automations and communications
Shoppers won’t be standing in line for hours to get a deal this BFCM– they’ll be sitting at their computers in their pyjamas spending hours researching the best deals. Make sure you’re communicating your offers as early as possible—and extending them beyond BFCM if financially (and operationally) feasible.
Communication is key
34% of U.S. shoppers indicated they would make their holiday purchases before American Thanksgiving. Here’s what you can do to communicate your deals:
🛍️ Build suspense and buzz around your upcoming sale for shoppers who are interested, but not yet ready to purchase
🛍️ Send “warm-up” emails in the weeks leading up to BFMC with hints and teasers for your customers – the earlier you send, the less it looks like spam…
🛍️ Send a thank you to your customers after purchase as a nice touch– just don’t get clingy– shopper’s emails are going to be blowing up during this time so aim to have an automated thank you email set up 5-7 days after BFCM is over.
🛍️ Create abandoned cart emails for visitors who abandon their carts. This will happen at a higher volume on BFCM, and an automatically triggered email will help capture some of those abandoned conversions.
Max out on customer service with a chat apps
Customers who chat with a brand convert three times more often and have a 10%-15% higher average cart value. It should be easy for your customers (and potential customers) to reach you during Black Friday Cyber Monday. The last thing you want is to lose a sale because a potential customer couldn’t get an answer quickly enough.
Don’t have the staff to manage the chat? Try coding simple responses or look at apps like Privy to manage pop-ups and SMS to store visitors. If you’re not ready for those options, there are still ways to use live chat strategically as a small business. To get the most out of live chat during rush hour, consider enabling it:
🛍️ Right after sending emails or launching promotions,
🛍️ On product pages you feature in your BFCM deals, to address any questions, and
🛍️ During key purchasing moments, like when someone is viewing their shopping cart
3. Tailor your landing pages for different customer types
Would you tell the story of your best night out the same way to your grandmother as you would your best friend? In the same way, consider creating tailored landing pages for your different customer types and creating ads to target those groups. You’ll get the right message to the right customer at the right time - the secret sauce to advertising success.
4. Gift Cards
People are never sure what to get when it comes to holiday shopping– gift cards are a great solution for those hard to shop for family members, and a great way to support local businesses at the same time.
Gift cards capture sales that would otherwise be lost to sold-out items, while giving you time (and money) to restock before the cards are redeemed after the holiday season.
5. Have a backup plan for your backup plan
As more shoppers rush online to make their BFCM purchases, inventory and shipping constraints will present challenges for retailers of all sizes, but especially for independent businesses. Additionally, consider that:
🛍️ Shipping will be delayed around North America– be sure to convey this in your communications and on your site to to manage your customer’s expectations
🛍️ Test and ensure your website can handle a surge in traffic
🛍️ Prepare for inventory decisions early and consider pandemic product trends
🛍️ Ensure you have the means to provide prompt and personal support
🛍️ Test your site and get feedback
Being prepared means routinely asking yourself uncomfortable questions and preparing for the worst. It’s much easier to handle the planning now, versus troubleshooting in the midst of the biggest sales weekend of the year.
The bottom line
Preparation, planning, and starting earlier rather than later are the keys to a successful Black Friday Cyber Monday. At BitBakery, we’re passionate about continuous learning, so we encourage that as you implement new strategies and tactics this year, make sure to document your decisions and the outcomes. That way you’ll have a benchmark for next year’s holiday season, while also allowing you to see what’s working for your business so you can do more of it.
These five tips should cover the basics of what you need to know for this year’s upcoming sale events. We hope it puts you in a better position to succeed during this holiday season.