There are few times of the year more daunting than the period that leads into Black Friday and Cyber Monday [BFCM]. There’s a lot to think about – what are you going to sell? What deals are you going to offer your customers? How are you going to tell your customers about your offers and get them onto your website? How are you going to funnel customers to your deals when they hit your website? Is your website and server BCFM-ready? Is your warehouse prepped for their most hectic time of the year? How are things going to be for your customer service team? Just a few questions needing to be answered – let us help!
We might be overstating the obvious here, but if you don’t have your Black Friday product and pricing lined up by the start of November, it’s time to get a move on. No, seriously, get on with it. Without the right product at the right price in time for Black Friday, you’re not going to have the success you’re hoping for. Ask yourself – what has been selling well this year? What can you offer your customers a great deal on without operating at silly margins? What have you got lots of stock at that you can sell at a great price?
If you don’t ask, you don’t get. In many industries, suppliers and manufacturers are becoming increasingly supportive of their retailers for these key events like Black Friday. There’s a good chance they have some deals prepared for you to buy into on a first-come, first-served basis. Doing deals with your suppliers puts you in a position to offer your customers something they can’t refuse.
Whether it’s gathering dust in your warehouse, or one of your suppliers has come to you with a great offer on product from a previous season, it’s not a problem. Experience tells us that the customer isn’t too worried about whether it’s from 2019 or 2020, it really doesn’t matter – a deal’s a deal after all!
Get your pages built early! Do your keyword research! What were your target customers searching for over Black Friday last year? Use this data to get your pages built around some well-researched keyword targets. Build a neat hierarchy of Black Friday pages – a main landing page and some highlighted sub-sections – and get some signup forms added! Doing this gives you a chance to ask anyone that stumbles across your well-optimised pages prior to Black Friday for their email address – nice! You can even tempt them in by offering early access to your deals!
You’d be daft not to – monitor your competitors! What did they run over Black Friday last year? Were there specific brands they focussed on? Did they give customers early access? How good was their offering when you take all the fluff away? Keep notes of what your competitors do each year – you might see something you want to imitate the following year, or you might see them missing the mark or running campaigns in ways you wish to avoid.
Structuring your Black Friday period is something you want to build into your marketing calendar as early as possible. Are you going to stick to Black Friday and Cyber Monday as single deal days on their own? Are you going to run offers through the whole weekend? Or are you going to run a special offer every day for a whole week? All viable options – just make the call early and build your marketing messaging around it!
As the week goes on, things can change. Monitoring your Black Friday sales and stock levels might result in you wanting to tweak the offering as you go, so it’s best to be prepared as possible with your communications. Schedule your email communications in your marketing calendar and get them built early (alongside social media posts, stories, notifications, homepage banner updates and any other channels you use). If anything changes in your messaging, you’ll be able to tweak it but getting to the point of being over-prepared is the holy grail for this week.
Don’t Muddy the waters! Wherever you’re communicating your Black Friday messages, keep the message clean and your deals simple to understand. Our experience shows us that simple WAS and NOW pricing is the easiest way of cleanly communicating your great deals. If you are going to look at the blanket BLACKFRIDAY10 code, just make sure your current pricing can handle the dent in margin – you don’t want to come out of the week without a healthy profit.
If you’re on a SaaS platform, like BigCommerce, there’s not too much to worry about in terms of handling the influx of visitors to your website, it’s all taken care of at the platform’s end. However, if your website sits on a stand-alone server, make sure it’s up to coping with a sharp rise in traffic. Speak to your web developer about your bandwidth, and get more if you need it! Downtime on Black Friday can be disastrous.
It’s not all about you! Your business’ service teams are in for some hectic days too! How can you make it easier on them? Let them know what you're going to be offering your customers. Give them an orders projection, keep them in the loop so there are no nasty surprises, and put them in the best position possible to fulfil orders and keep your customers happy.
So, how did it go? What can we learn? That’s what it’s all about, right? Take notes, save your marketing calendar and have a debrief with all your business’ Black Friday stakeholders. There are no doubt things that didn’t go quite to plan, or could’ve been planned out better – let’s get these ironed out for 12 months’ time and aim for more success – Black Friday 2021 will be here before you know it!
Good luck to all our ecommerce friends about to embark on another Black Friday! And remember, if our marketing team can help you plan the next one, don’t forget to reach out!