Black Friday and Cyber Monday, or “BFCM,” have become so popular with consumers worldwide that online merchants simply cannot afford to skip offering sales during this period. By implementing the steps below, your business will be primed to stand among the Black Friday and Cyber Monday winners.
Considered the kick-off to the holiday shopping season, BFCM occurs on the Friday and Monday after American Thanksgiving, which falls on the last Thursday of November. (For 2022, Black Friday is November 25 and Cyber Monday is November 28).
In the last decade or so, the entire weekend has become a huge promotional period, and sales seem to get earlier and earlier each year. E-commerce merchants can really reap the benefits of participating in Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.
Success is not a given though. Participating in BFCM only works if online merchants take the necessary steps to maximize profits and keep customers coming back even after the season ends.
The following strategies represent ways to optimize your Black Friday marketing. It’s important to start preparing as early as October, so your website is set and ready to go.
1) Optimize Your Website Performance for a Streamlined BFCM Customer Experience
Consumers across all industries are not just wishing for stellar customer experiences, they are demanding them. Here are a few stats to consider:
- 73% of customers say customer experience (CX) helps drive buying decisions
- 52% of customers say they are willing to pay more if it means getting a better CX
- 89% of consumers moved to a competitor following a negative CX with a brand
- Businesses that focus on improving CX can realize an 80% increase in revenue
Undoubtedly, “customer experience” encompasses multiple factors. But, there are many technical elements specific to online merchants. For example, website speed. Research indicates that 90% of online buyers will abandon a website or mobile app if it loads too slowly.
Even if everything goes smoothly with your website loading all the way through to checkout, it’s imperative to make sure the checkout process itself is consumer-friendly. Too long or complex of an experience or technical issues can cause customers to abandon their cart at that crucial last step.
The Solution: Take care of your tech and interface priorities before BFCM. Make sure to:
- Make key updates to your website/hosting platform
- Scan for any broken links
- Test the checkout process—and make any necessary adjustments
- Prepare for increased web traffic; much more than daily operations
- Ensure your website works on all devices and browsers
Finally, consider setting up an automated abandoned cart email follow-up to entice customers to return to their cart., if you don’t already have this option in place. They got to the finish line, so why not do everything you can to help them cross it?
2) Humanize the Customer Experience during BFCM
While tech can do a lot of the CX heavy lifting, there’s still a human component underlying it. In high-risk industries, it’s especially critical to create a top-notch, responsive customer service presence. The value of human-to-human interactions cannot be understated—particularly when it comes to building customer loyalty. And, the data supports it:
- 80% of consumers feel more “emotionally connected” to a brand when customer service solves their problem
- 60% trust the reviews coming from friends and family members when considering a new product/service
- 30% of consumers will pay more if it means excellent customer service
The Solution: Review your CX process for any gaps where responses to customers can be delayed, blocked, or fall through.
Ask your team: If something goes wrong at any point in the browsing-to-checkout process, are we equipped to handle it in a timely manner? If there’s any hesitation at all, it’s time to make some key decisions about upgrading customer service potential. Remember, you’ll be receiving more traffic than normal during BFCM, so consider every possible scenario.
Finally, make sure you have enough staff coverage to quickly respond to customer requests by phone, email, or chat. Yes, it’s a holiday weekend – but not the right time for ecommerce merchants to take a vacation.
3) Identify and Create Great Black Friday Offers ASAP (Even if You Don’t Yet Promote Them)
Of course, Black Friday and Cyber Monday wouldn’t be so successful if not for all the great deals merchants offer. The smart move is to identify your pricing deals as soon as possible. Create multiple offers to identify best performers and segment your target customers where possible.
Potential offers may include:
- Bundled services or products. Take dormant products and bundle them into a single discounted offer or subscription.
- BOGO or Buy One Get One free offers.
- Subscription extensions for existing customers. For example, offer a nine month extension for the cost of six months.
The Solution. Three key steps can help you prepare potential deals and offers:
- Start with research. What marketing campaigns and pricing deals did your competitors run last year? How has the market changed? Look to industry trends to support your approach to discounts, coupons, and subscriptions.
- If yours is a product-focused business, consider your stock supply. How will you handle limited or nearly sold out items? Are you prepared to ship out a large volume of sales quickly?
- Make sure your website/online store accurately reflects the deals you plan to promote. Imagery, site structure, product/service descriptions are all pieces of the BFCM marketing puzzle.
4) Learn from This Year—So You Can Be Better Prepared for the Next
The Black Friday to Cyber Monday timeline doesn’t end when the clock strikes midnight. It’s crucial to review and reflect on performance and lessons learned.
The Solution: Follow-up for feedback from your team and customers.
Some questions you might ask your team after the fact include:
- How impactful was our Black Friday marketing? Which marketing channels stood out as winners (e.g. social media, email, paid search, etc.)?
- What was our abandonment rate at checkout? What might have contributed to it?
- Did we experience any technical glitches? If so, what was the cause?
- How were our numbers compared to last year? The year before?
- Is there a way to maximize the momentum of Black Friday and Cyber Monday?
Also consider proactively following up with your customers. Customer feedback is so valuable because it gives you insights you may not have identified otherwise. Because customers place so much weight on the CX, they’ll likely have no hesitation to tell you what worked and what can be improved. A simple customer survey deployed via a trusted survey platform might reveal problems you never even knew existed.
The bottom line
The numbers don’t lie. The Black Friday through Cyber Monday shopping span is ripe for profits for online merchants. The most successful companies are those that perform their due diligence in preparation for this profitable e-commerce holiday. By taking the steps above, your business will be ready maximize revenue and meet customer needs.
Contact us if you are interested in optimizing your payment processing transactions during Black Friday and Cyber Monday (and beyond).
Vendo offers comprehensive payment processing services to high risk industries, including content platforms, cam operators, and e-commerce sites. Our innovative, AI-powered tools offer merchants simple, secure, and seamless payment solutions, along with expert customer support from integration to end-user concerns. Our expert team works 24/7 to shape your vision into reality.