In the build up to last year’s Black Friday, many retailers were concerned that rising inflation would hamper sales and online retailers were even more apprehensive to see how shoppers would behave in the first Black Friday without restrictions since the Covid-19 lockdown. It turned out to be a hugely successful year with online sales up 2.3% compared to 2021 with over $9 billion spent online (Forbes).
This year presents a much more optimistic picture with the inflation rate in Ireland falling from 8.2% in December 2022 to 5.8% in July 2023. With this optimistic outlook in mind, retailers will have the chance to shine and can focus on doubling down on their efforts to deliver a successful Black Friday campaign for their businesses.
Our expert team has put together a list of key strategies and techniques below for winning Black Friday/Cyber Monday 2023.
1. Prepare your ecommerce store for Black Friday
Make or break details
Flashy Black Friday banners are always going to be top of mind in your Black Friday preparation but don’t forget about the small text. Use these areas to clearly communicate USPs that will influence conversion.
Here are some examples:
- Implement a banner under your main menu with USPs clearly outlined such as free delivery or discount codes.
- Give accurate shipping information on product description pages and delivery confirmation notifications.
- Ensure you have a clear returns policy outlined.
Create quality experiences
Picture this, your hours of marketing planning and spending pays off and you get customers to your store. Your ecommerce store offers an excellent customer experience and your visitors are converting. However a bulk of your deliveries are delayed and your customers quickly become dissatisfied and you run the risk of returns, low retention rates, poor reviews and an onslaught of complaints. Nightmare!
It’s important not to drop the ball when it comes to your ecommerce customer service especially during a period of peak activity where slip ups can happen. There are many ways you can enhance customer service on your store that will help to keep customers satisfied.
- Chatbots that can answer FAQs at the touch of a button.
- Live chat customer service features.
- Tools such as Gorgias can utilise AI to assist your customer service agents in generating quicker replies.
2. Grow and warm up your lists
When should you start building your Black Friday audience?
It’s becoming more and more well known in the world of ecommerce that building an audience for BFCM begins several months beforehand. Our performance marketing experts at StudioForty9 conducted a cohort analysis of our clients’ data to obtain insights into when the optimum time to acquire new customers is. Through this they discovered that there were certain times of year where customers were acquired that delivered the best value during BFCM. This early targeting allowed businesses to build up engagement and trust with the customers so that they were primed to spend with this brand during the sales. The best time of year to start acquiring new customers according to our data is June.
Warm up with quality content
Engage and build familiarity with your audience with consistent communication in the lead up to the BFCM period. Don’t just create content for content’s sake because your audience will see through that and don’t bombard them with communication, carefully consider frequency and timing.
3. Consider alternative discounting strategies
Getting trapped in an endless loop of discounts can constantly reduce your bottom line. Discounting will attract bargain hunters whereas alternative approaches are likely to attract more loyal customers who will return again and again.
Some alternative discounting strategies to consider:
- Offer value instead of percentage. For example a free pair of socks with shoes might cost you €2 but 10% off €50 will cost you €5.
- Competitions. Offer a great prize and get people highly engaged with your brand.
- Personalised offers. Rather than blanket 20% across the store, offer tailored discounts according to behaviour and attributes. For example you might offer 15% discounts to shoe lovers and 5% discounts for luxury items such as designer handbags.
- Free shipping. Incentivising spending over a certain amount to get free shipping.
4. Conscious shoppers & the “shop local” message
Most of us will be well aware of the rise in popularity around shopping local that occurred during the pandemic. Although this might not be front page news anymore, we now know how widespread the appreciation is for supporting local businesses and that should still be top of mind during Black Friday, especially for consumers who want to make more conscious purchases.
One survey on shopping local revealed that 64% of consumers cite supporting their local community as a reason to shop local and another survey confirmed that 84% of respondents said that a company’s trustworthiness was important for making a purchasing decision.
It’s important for Irish owned businesses to celebrate their connection with their local communities as contributors to local economy, employers and trusted brands people will know from being in store. Integrate shop local messaging into your messaging and participate in wider campaign initiatives such as Champion Green.
5. Upsell, cross-sell
By recommending complementary products or enticing customers to explore additional options, retailers can increase their average transaction value, foster customer loyalty, and provide personalized value. Here are some of the best techniques for upselling and cross-selling during Black Friday.
- Product Recommendations
Use browsing and purchase history to make personalised product recommendations. Display recommended products such as "Customers who bought this also bought” on product description pages.
Product bundling is a strategy in retail that involves creating and selling a curated collection of complementary products. You can bundle items together at a discount or with an added value “Any 2 t-shirts for €20” or pairing items together as a bundle for example a “Lip Kit” with lipstick and lip liner. Gift bundles are another way to bundle, gift baskets or sets take some of the work away for shoppers in combining gifts.
- Check out
When customers are in the checkout process, suggest upgrades or add-ons that enhance their purchase. For example if a customer is buying coffee, suggest a French Press or mug.
6. VIP experience
Engage your best customers by creating a VIP experience on Black Friday. This approach can set your retail business apart and drive customer loyalty. Offer VIP customers, such as loyalty program members or high-value clients, early access to Black Friday deals and promotions. This could be a few hours or even a day before the general public. Promote this exclusive access through targeted emails, text messages, or personalized invitations. On the day itself you could also offer special discounts such as bonus discounts, free gift wrapping, or exclusive Black Friday deals.
7. Nurture newcomers
Where many brands can fall down is using Black Friday and Cyber Monday as a singular event where they focus all of their momentum and then leave it all behind to move onto the next focus. By viewing Black Friday as an important lead generation activity and nurturing your leads,you have the potential to create repeat customers and even brand advocates.
Some important considerations for your lead generation strategies are:
- Include lead magnets such as carefully timed pop-ups or competitions on social media.
- Send a welcome email to customers who sign up to introduce and engage them with your brand.
- Reward new customers with future promo codes.
Get support optimising your omnichannel strategy with StudioForty9
Benefit from our experience for Black Friday and all year round. Helping you to build your online success is what we do at StudioForty9. We understand that businesses need to keep up with the constantly changing world of online retail and we can help you to deliver the best possible experience on your online store and other key marketing channels.
Contact us to get expert advice on platform migration, customisation or performance marketing, email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.