With the busiest time of the year fast approaching and the change in consumer buying habits post-pandemic, the scene is set for one of the most successful seasons for D2C & B2B eCommerce stores across the world. Black Friday and Cyber Monday, also known as “Black Week”, is arguably one of the most profitable periods for webstores, second only to Christmas – but is your online store set to not only cash in, but create long-lasting customer relationships that you can leverage for years to come?
If you are a Black Friday and Cyber Monday veteran, you’ll know there’s far more involved than simply discounting products. How long are you going to take part? Are you going to go all week, or will your discounts turn into pumpkins at midnight? The answer to this question might be dependent on several factors: inventory, fulfilment, and site speed, just to name a few. The event provides manufacturers and retailers with an opportunity to not only increase sales and revenue, but to create long-lasting relationships with a plethora of new customers, broadening your post-promotion audience. Here we will provide you with everything that you need to consider when taking part in Black Friday and Cyber Monday, to ensure long term success and ROI.
Preparing your webstore
Just as if you were running a bricks-and-mortar store, the first port of call should be to establish that your store is in tip-top condition to provide an optimal customer experience. Is your site mobile ready? Can your store handle a surge in traffic? Rigorously test your hosting infrastructure for load and ensure that the appropriate scaling mechanisms are available if required. Magento 2.0 is optimized to run using PHP7 and Varnish. Varnish Enterprise is a powerful, feature-rich web cache and HTTP accelerator that solves all kinds of video streaming, CDN and website acceleration challenges, with unmatched performance, robustness and flexibility for staying competitive at scale. You can also monitor page performance and identify areas for improvement using GTmetrix, a free tool that uses Lighthouse to score pages and offers recommendations on how to optimise them. Alternatively, Google also has a tool. Right-click on a webpage > inspect > Lighthouse > generate report. Voila!
Decide which products you are going to promote and discount. Will the promotion run site-wide or on specific products? Will consumers have to apply a code at check out, or will the discount be automatically applied? Amasty allows you to generate and import an unlimited number of promotional codes to your site in seconds, making coupon management as simple as possible.
Create a buzz!
The success of your Black Friday event relies on the right people knowing about your promotions and being able to find them. Once you have decided how long you are going to run the event and chosen your products, it’s time to start promoting. Organise paid media and paid social campaigns, designed with your audience in mind. Remember that the creative doesn’t need to sell your product, it has to entice and excite your audience enough to get their attention and encourage them to engage. Build suspense and create a buzz!
Within Instagram, there is a feature that enables you to allow viewers to set reminders for when your promotion begins. You may consider updating social media profiles with Black Friday creative too. If you have a CRM system, review previous data and utilise any segments or past purchase history to optimise your content and ads. What are the key characteristics of your audience? How old are they? Where do they live? What are their interests? Ensure that you have a robust content marketing strategy that is aligned with your social media campaigns. Tip, tricks, “how to’s” published in advance provide the consumer with everything they need to know to make an informed purchase when the day comes. Tools such as Hootsuite and Social Pilot are invaluable, allowing you to plan and schedule relevant social media content ahead of time.
Once consumers have landed on your website, you want to keep them there for as long as possible. Adding links to relevant content and similar products on product pages encourages users to click around the site. Consider adding “items usually bought together”, “you may also like…”. Klevu fuels conversions by making each user experience bespoke, serving them with products they are interested in, based on the individual consumer behaviour. Shoppers are three to five times more likely to buy when they can find relevant products quickly, but more than 30% of online shoppers “bounce” if they cannot find what they want quickly—representing a $1 trillion missed opportunity.
Before you encourage your customers to go ahead and fill their baskets, have you made certain that you not only have enough stock, but that you can get the goods to consumers in a timely manner? The aftermath of the pandemic combined with the fallout from Brexit, is causing a logistical nightmare for manufacturers and retailers alike, meaning it’s more important than ever to check that there are no issues with your supply chain. If there are concerns with supply chain, you might consider an “exclusive offer” with only a certain number of units available on a first come first served basis to manage expectations and avoid disappointment. Alternatively, consider “stock drops” throughout the promotional period. You’re managing stock whilst also creating excitement and demand. Subconsciously, consumers want to be in on the exclusive, limited time only deal!
Email campaigns can not only support your overall strategy but can be used to recover abandoned baskets and create loyal customers. Using audience segmentation and past purchase history, you can optimise campaigns to ensure maximum effect. What kind of messaging works well for different audiences? Consider a different message or tone of voice for those consumers you know to be bargain hunters, compared to your loyal customers. If there are concerns with supply and fulfilment, using platforms such as Klaviyo and dotdigital allows you to schedule campaigns, trickling offers through to consumers throughout the day or week. Email marketing also plays a vital role in the “care” stage of the See, Think, Do, Care methodology. Adding new customers into an automated journey based on their purchases, birthday, location, age etc. mean that you never miss an opportunity to reach out to them with relevant content, bringing them back to your webstore time and time again.
So, there is no issue with supply chain, you’ve got plenty of stock on the way and the orders are flying in – great! However, 3 members of the warehouse team have called in sick, and your courier is stuck on the M25 with a broken-down van – nightmare. Forecasting is critical to ensure that you have the resource for fulfilment. Does your warehouse have enough staff, or is it time to consider hiring temporary seasonal staff? Can your carriers dispatch a larger volume? Fulfilment centres such as Huboo Technologies help business across the UK and EU with their fulfilment needs, by collecting & storing, picking, packing and delivering your stock automatically. According to a study conducted by Brightpearl and Trustpilot, 77% of negative reviews are related to issues that happen after consumers click the buy button meaning that fulfilment is one of the key processes your infrastructure needs to have on point.
With the increase in traffic landing on your website, now is the perfect opportunity to learn as much about your consumer as possible. It is likely there will be a peak in traffic, so ensure that your selected analytics platforms, such as Google Analytics or Adobe Analytics are in place. There will be some valuable insights to be gained for the website in general, and your next promotional period. Behavioural analytics tools including HotJar and Microsoft clarity will allow you to track user behaviour on site, giving you the information you need to understand the user journey more clearly, from the moment they land on your site, to the moment they check out. These tools can also be used to highlight where users are dropping off and why.
There are a number of things to think about when preparing your webstore for Black Friday. Having a powerful and flexible platform such as Adobe Commerce, combined with a specialist eCommerce marketing team, means that you are starting with a sturdy foundation. A lot of the functionality required to fuel your Black Friday event comes out of the box or can be easily integrated. To understand how PushON can develop and prepare your webstore for a successful Black Friday, Contact our team today.