Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM) offer a huge opportunity in ecommerce for sales and gaining new customers, but only if you have an effective Black Friday ecommerce strategy over the holiday shopping season. Here’s our guide.
Why Black Friday Matters In Ecommerce
According to Shopify, shoppers spent an average of $102.10 per order during Black Friday Cyber Monday 2022. Interestingly, customers sought out independent businesses with high-quality products; 52 million shoppers bought from independent brands. On top of this, cross-border sales were quite popular, with the most common being between the U.S., U.K., and Canada.
These stats show that not only does Black Friday provide a huge sales opportunity for online businesses during the holiday shopping season, but it also has the potential to grow your reach to international customers.
But it will take preparation to experience those benefits.
The same Shopify statistics showed that 84% of shoppers plan to do research to compare products before making a Black Friday purchase. You need to start working on your Black Friday marketing strategies as soon as possible if you want people to seek out your store when the big day comes.
Black Friday vs. Cyber Monday
Although they are clumped together, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are two distinct entities. Black Friday occurs on the Friday after Thanksgiving, and traditionally, it consists of massive in store sales. Cyber Monday occurs on the following Monday, and it offers similar blow-out deals, but online.
However, over the years, these major shopping days have transformed into something a bit different. Although brick-and-mortar shopping is still very popular on Black Friday, the rise of online shopping has led to Cyber Monday deals bleeding into Black Friday. Brick-and-mortar stores that have online shops will often offer different deals in-store versus online, and online stores may stretch their BFCM deals all weekend long.
According to Adobe, 2022 Black Friday sales reached $9.12 billion, and Cyber Monday sales reached $11.3 billion. The Saturday and Sunday in between saw $4.6 billion and $4.96 billion respectively, which was still higher than any other day during the holiday season. This highlights the importance of the entire weekend for ecommerce, not just the Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping days. To take advantage of this, you need to make sure that your marketing strategy is on point.
That’s what we are here to guide you through.
How To Prepare For Black Friday
Getting the most out of Black Friday Cyber Monday is all about planning ahead. Customers do their research to ensure that they’re getting the very best deals when online shopping, and you need to make sure that they choose your online business long before the big weekend arrives.
Here are some tips to guarantee that your customers come to your online store first.
- Prepare well in advance. Decide your Black Friday Cyber Monday deals and start cultivating excitement weeks before the big day. This will allow your customers to make decisions on their purchases ahead of time, clenching your products as their top choice before the big day. You can also offer early access promotions to get on top of the action.
- Use data to choose your promotions. Don’t go in blind. Place the best deals on your bestsellers, but also use this as an opportunity to promote some of your low-sellers. Consider putting the products that you struggle to sell as part of a package with your best-selling items to generate interest.
- Make sure that your shipping strategy is on point. Customers want fast shipping, but they also want it to be sustainable. Offer free standard shipping, ensuring that your customers get their order in a reasonable timeframe, and offer free carbon neutral shipping as part of your BFCM sale. Learn more about using apps to reduce your carbon footprint here.
- Share your promotions everywhere. Your Black Friday Cyber Monday deals won’t mean anything if people don’t know about it. Blast them on your social media channels. Put them as a banner on your website’s homepage. Use pop-ups to make sure that your customers know about the upcoming deals. Partner with influencers who can build hype around your products. Once you have created a Black Friday plan that can’t be ignored, shout it from the rooftops.
How To Create A Sustainable BFCM Marketing Strategy
As you create your BFCM marketing campaign strategy, you need to keep sustainability in mind. Although the big consumer holidays can be huge for businesses, they also carry a significant environmental footprint. (See what we have to say about Green Friday, the eco-conscious alternative to Black Friday.)
Don’t let this sales opportunity put you behind your sustainability goals. Instead, make sure that you implement sustainability practices within your BFCM strategy.
Here are some tips.
- Offer free carbon neutral shipping with each order. BFCM results in an elevated carbon footprint associated with more deliveries and returns. While many companies choose to offer carbon neutral shipping through EcoCart as an optional add-on, as part of your Black Friday deals, you can consider adding it for free. This will help reduce your carbon footprint over the holiday season, and it may entice sustainability-minded customers to support your business.
- Minimize returns by avoiding flash sales. Although Black Friday marketing is often about impulse buys, these types of sales can promote wasteful spending. Minimize returns and waste associated with unwanted products and purchases by offering sales throughout the entire weekend rather than creating urgency.
- Optimize your shipping logistics. Before Black Friday, do everything you can to ensure that your sustainable shipping logistics are on point. Invest in third-party warehouses to reduce shipping distance. Consolidate orders as much as possible. Offer product pick-up rather than door-to-door delivery. These small actions can take great steps toward reducing the carbon footprint of this holiday.
- Donate a portion of sales to an environmental cause. The fact is that, no matter how much you do to take responsibility for your environmental footprint over the holiday season, you’re still going to have an impact. Counterbalance that impact by donating a portion of your sales to an environmental non-profit. Make sure that this non-profit aligns with your core values. For example, if you seek to eliminate plastic from your operations, donate to a cause that removes mismanaged plastic waste from vulnerable communities. Not only will this help you take responsibility for your impact, but it can also help you stand out above your competition. It’s a win-win!
Read more: How to Avoid Greenwashing
10 Black Friday Marketing Tips
Clearly, Black Friday is an important day for ecommerce merchants. Here are some marketing tips to make sure that you are making the most of the Black Friday Cyber Monday weekend.
1. Generate anticipation in the days before Black Friday
Customers start researching their Black Friday plans well ahead of the holiday. You need to create hype surrounding your holiday sales so that you don’t get left behind. As you promote, consider things like offering Buy Now, Pay Later, pre-Black Friday deals, the option to hold products, and more.
2. Decide on the best offer for your store
Perhaps the most difficult part of Black Friday Cyber Monday will be deciding the best offers for your store. You want your offers to be better than anything else while still gaining a profit. Here are some offers that tend to get great results.
- Exclusive product launches help customers feel special. Wait until Black Friday to sell hyped new products, and slash the prices to encourage people to try them.
- Bundles are a great way to pair your best selling items with your low-selling items. This can help boost the popularity of your not-so-popular products, or at the very least, it will get them out of your inventory. Use data to guide your bundles to make sure that they’re desirable.
- Sitewide discounts are a great way to get people shopping. If you only offer discounts on certain items, then you may be leaving out a portion of your market. You don’t have to make things complicated. By offering a BOGO sale or 30% off everything, your customers can shop happily without getting confused about your sales.
3. Don’t just stick to Black Friday
Even though Black Friday technically starts on Friday, many consumers are ready to shop on Thursday night. Don’t wait until your customers have already spent their BFCM budget. Offer some pre-Black Friday deals on Thursday. Include major discounts on some of your big-ticket items to make your customers feel really good about getting ahead of the game.
4. Individualize your messaging
With the advent of AI tools, customers expect personalization in their marketing. Not only do they want to be spoken directly to, but they want their product recommendations to reflect their likes, too. As you develop your Black Friday strategy, make sure that you individualize your messaging. As your customers shop, include pop-ups that showcase Black Friday promotions of products that the individual may be interested in, send targeted emails that highlight products you know this particular customer wants, and at the very least, use their name when sending marketing texts or emails. This will cultivate a personal connection, making them more likely to support your store.
5. Humanize your brand
Today’s customers want to support brands that align with their values and take a stand. Don’t just sell your products. Sell your story. Bring people into your sustainability journey, and show them how buying your eco-friendly clothing, for example, will help make the world a better place. Use lifecycle marketing to cultivate long-lasting relationships and ensure that you’re a company that your customers love to support. People want to buy from a person, not a faceless corporation. Put a soul behind the products as you market your sales.
6. Make sure your landing pages are designed for conversion
Your home page needs to immediately entice a sale. Things like load times, aesthetics, and trustworthiness all play into whether someone will purchase from your site. You need to make sure that your BFCM sales are instantly clear, that your site looks professional, and that it loads quickly—according to Portent, a site that loads in one second has a 3x better conversion rate than a site that doesn’t. If your site doesn’t load instantly or if it isn’t easy to navigate, it could immediately lose a sale.
7. Fortify your store
Site insecurity is a big reason why people abandon their carts. If they don’t feel secure in providing payment information, then they aren’t going to give it to you. According to Baymard Institute, 19% of carts are abandoned because online shoppers don’t feel secure. Make them secure by fortifying your store with proven cybersecurity measures (and advertising those), accepting third-party payment methods, like PayPal, and clearly outlining your data and security protocols.
8. Don’t go out of stock
On the biggest shopping day of the year, the last thing that you want to do is go out of stock. This will take some logistics on your part. You need to make sure that you don’t run out of inventory, but you shouldn’t overstock, either. How you plan this will depend on your business. The good news is that if you discover that you are running out of stock, you can quickly pivot and use it as a marketing opportunity. Offer to put people on a waitlist, and frame it as a celebration; your product is so great, that you sold out! Your customers won’t want to miss out on the next restock.
9. Always have a plan B
With so much shopping traffic, something is sure to go wrong. Whether you run out of stock, your site crashes, or you get overwhelmed with questions, something out of the ordinary is bound to happen. Prepare for this by anticipating as many issues as possible and creating a plan B for each scenario. Remember, customer service comes above all, so if a problem arises, make sure that your customer experience remains at the center of all your problem-solving.
10. Make sure that the process is seamless
According to the above-linked study from Baymard Institute, the second most common reason for people abandoning their carts was the requirement to create an account, and the fifth most common reason was a complicated checkout process. Both of these indicate that people want to purchase their products with nothing more than a couple of clicks. While you can incentivize signing up for a loyalty program or newsletter, refrain from making it a requirement to complete a purchase. Ensure that your customers have to submit just enough information to complete the sale, and use autofill when you can.
How To Prepare Your Ecommerce Store For Black Friday
Once you’ve promoted your Black Friday sales, you need to make sure that you’re ready. The most disastrous thing that could happen on Black Friday is for your site to crash or slow down due to traffic, pushing people away from making a purchase. Here are some ways to prepare for Black Friday.
- Check your site speed. Even on high-traffic days, customers expect stores to load super-fast. Check your site speed, and make sure that it will still run at a high speed, even with high traffic.
- Audit your checkout process, and address any pain points. This process needs to be fast and easy for your customers while remaining secure. Gain customer feedback from loyal customers to determine where your checkout process can be made easier before the big day.
- Have all hands on deck. Make sure that you have customer service representatives available 24/7. Have at least one developer available on call to address any crashes or glitches. Ensure that your warehouse staff is ready to pack orders and send them out as quickly as possible. When your customer service is on point, people will be less likely to sweat the little stuff.
6 Black Friday Marketing Strategies To Try
Now that we’ve touched on some general Black Friday strategies, let’s talk about specific things that you can try to build excitement around your BFCM promotions.
1. Use social media to bring customers to your website
Today’s online shopper behavior shows the younger generations make many of their purchasing decisions from what they see on social media. Whether you are directly marketing your products and sales on your social media channels, investing in paid ads, or partnering with influencers, these can all be huge for creating hype around Black Friday. Here are some key ways to use social media.
- Use trending Black Friday hashtags. Hashtags will help make your social media content more searchable. By using trending BFCM hashtags, you’ll put your company in front of those looking for great deals.
- Make your Black Friday sale a Facebook event. Not only will this build excitement, but it will also help you see roughly how many people are interested in your Black Friday deals.
- Create a preview of products that will be available on sale. This will help build your follower base as you promote the preview beforehand, and it will generate interest in your sales.
- Reward your followers. As part of your BFCM sales, offer special discounts to those who can prove that they follow you on at least one of your social media channels.
2. Encourage fast action while promoting mindful shopping
BFCM brings in sales because it has a sense of urgency. These deals are only available once per year and as long as supplies last, which pushes people to buy over the consumer weekend. However, creating urgency can also create waste. As a sustainable ecommerce company, you need to strategize ways to tap into this haste while promoting mindful and ethical online shopping. Here are some ideas.
- Promote your sales well in advance while still creating a timeframe. This will give shoppers time to research exactly which products they are interested in buying while taking advantage of amazing deals that are only offered for a short period.
- Sell Black Friday exclusive products. These could include bundles of existing products that are only available as a set over the BFCM weekend.
- Use countdown timers until the Black Friday weekend. Beneath the timers, provide clear details of your sales.
3. Use website pop-ups to improve conversion rates
As shoppers come to your site leading up to the big weekend and on the weekend itself, use pop-ups to promote your sales and improve conversion rates. Here are some ways to boost sales and cultivate excitement.
- Personalize the pop-ups using targeted offers of deals that might interest them.
- Create a “Before You Leave” pop-up that includes free offers and other deals.
- Hide a discount code on your website.
- Utilize a “People Also Bought” pop-up right before they checkout.
The key is to find a balance. Pop-ups can improve conversions, but if you have too many pop-ups that impede the checkout process, it could lead to an abandoned cart.
4. Assist in the buying process
Don’t passively sit by waiting for your customers to find you. In the days leading up to BFCM, and on the weekend itself, do everything that you can to assist in the buying process.
- Be available to your customers and ensure a fast response rate. This can be done through a combination of chatbots that can quickly respond to frequently asked queries and real-live customer service agents.
- Post Black Friday guides in the weeks leading up to the big day to ensure that your customers know exactly what will be available.
- Go live on social media to showcase your products and build hype around your sales.
- Engage with your followers on social media by responding to their comments and answering any questions.
5. Increase average order value
One way to take advantage of Black Friday is by building interest in products beyond what your customers came for, thereby increasing the average order value. Your BFCM promotions might bring a customer to your ecommerce site just for one item, but if you play your cards right, you might make them fall in love with some of your other products, too.
- Cross-sell and upsell products by offering higher discounts for larger purchases.
- Offer freebies with certain order sizes.
- Create even better deals for new customers who sign up for your loyalty programs.
- Take advantage of Buy One, Get One Free sales
6. Turn opportunistic buyers into loyal customers
Another potential side effect of BFCM sales is converting new customers into repeat customers. You can do so by creating a unique buying experience that makes them want to come back for more. Here are some tips.
- Offer an additional discount for signing up to your loyalty programs.
- Send them a special coupon as a thank you for their first purchase.
- Encourage social shares by offering a discount if they post their unboxing experience.
- Include a personalized note in their shipment.
How To Boost Your Conversion During Black Friday
Did you know that partnering with EcoCart can help boost your cart conversion? Just ask our happy customers! Face the Future, for example, saw an astounding 200% increase in the number of purchases per customer after offering our carbon neutral checkout option.
While customers crave an amazing deal on Black Friday, they want one that makes them feel good. By offering carbon neutral shipping as part of the checkout process, they can enjoy your BFCM deals guilt-free.
Here’s how it works:
- We calculate the carbon footprint of each order.
- When customers opt-in to carbon neutral shipping, it supports a verified project to offset the carbon footprint of that order.
- You can track your efforts and share your results using our carbon dashboard and end-to-end sustainable shopping experiences.
After the Black Friday hubbub has died down, you can share the results of your carbon neutral shipping to help bring more customers to your store. We even integrate with Yotpo and Loyalty Lion so that you can include carbon neutral shipping in your rewards program. You and your customers will love the offerings from EcoCart.
Black Friday offers an amazing opportunity to bring customers in and cultivate loyalty. By offering carbon neutral shipping with your Black Friday orders, you can showcase your commitment to sustainability, resulting in cart conversion.
Ready to know more? Reach out to our team for a demo today.