The countdown is on, with less than 50 days to go until Black Friday, is your eCommerce store ready? With many national and international brands confirming that this year they will be offering some of their best discounts yet. As the majority of people admit that the bulk of their Christmas shopping will be taking place online this year, Black Friday is the perfect opportunity to get your business in front of new customers.
Search is really powerful and getting consumers attention is becoming increasingly difficult, combining a search campaign with ads offers a fully integrated digital marketing approach for Black Friday 2020.
As 2020 goes, it has been very unpredictable, however when it comes to Black Friday, it is going to get very busy.
In America for Black Friday 2019, 124 million people admitted to shopping in stores, 142.2 million shopped online and 75.7 million did a combination of the two, according to NRF. As fewer people are shopping in-store as a result of the pandemic, it is predicted that 50 million more people will shift their shopping online for 2020, meaning much more competition.
Now, when it comes to the UK, although we are the most active in Europe during Black Friday, our figures do not match that of America. A comparative figure, from Statista, is that in 2019 offline spending (that in stores) reached £1.4 billion and online spending was £1.1 billion. It is likely that in the UK we will experience even more shoppers moving online for 2020.
What & when is Black Friday & Cyber Monday?
Black Friday first began in the USA, as a way to encourage those that have celebrated Thanksgiving to begin their Christmas shopping. It became more popular in the UK between 2010-2013 and the first truly momentous year was in 2014, when it was the peak pre-Christmas online sales day. This year Black Friday falls on 27th November.
Cyber Monday is a continuation of Black Friday, where online sales dominate rather than those in stores. This year Cyber Monday is on 30th November.
Consumers are already increasingly searching for more information around Black Friday, as can be seen below in Google Trends for the past 90 days. A lot of mainstream publications are already sharing their predictions on the best deals and those to avoid.
We start working on our clients’ Black Friday campaigns in Summer, with the potential traffic increases that we so often see it is increasingly important to make sure your eCommerce store is ready. There are a few areas that we put extra emphasis on, these include:
- Capturing data using Google Analytics & Facebook Pixel – we do this as, we predict, websites are going to get an increase in website traffic and new visitors, after Black Friday & Cyber Monday has passed we want to make sure we can continue to get their brand in front of those potential customers
- Gift Guides – a majority of shoppers during Black Friday are purchasing gifts for friends and family, it is important to give them as much information as possible on the products that they are looking for, this is also a brilliant opportunity to upsell
- Optimise their website – as mentioned consumers are keen to learn as much as possible about Black Friday, with over 1,500 keywords linking back to the term, with a potential total volume of eight million. It is really important that your brand has information that is relevant to “Black Friday” so that when consumers are searching they are finding your website
- Preventing a website crashing – the worst possibility when launching an incredible Black Friday sale is your website crashing from too much traffic. Over the years we have seen this a couple of times and it has been detrimental to the business. We recommend having a CDN, working on the most up-to-date software, having a secure server and potentially running a crash test
We work with a lot of eCommerce businesses who sell across multiple channels. We recommend selecting your most successful channels, look at those that have been the most lucrative to your business and put more resources behind these. An example of this is we work with an eCommerce business who sell through Amazon, eBay and use Google and Facebook Ads. Their most successful channels have been Google Shopping and Facebook Dynamic Product Listings, this is where they are going to be putting the focus of their campaign.
We also recommend that if you are looking to use Google advertising for the first time for Black Friday, set this up immediately. Do not wait until the day before Black Friday as the Google algorithm can take two weeks to learn about your online store and to optimise the performance of your ads to make sure they are shown to your ideal customers. If you are new to Google or Facebook Ads and want to use them as part of your upcoming Black Friday campaign, feel free to get in touch and we will offer some no-obligation advice.
Another area that we recommend to our clients is to consider an individual budget specifically for Black Friday and Cyber Monday rather than eating into your standard monthly budget. It is especially likely this year that more businesses will be bidding on your terms and to bid on these will be more expensive. This leads us on to make sure that you have done thorough keyword research to explore new opportunities around the products that you offer. As well as to make sure that you are appearing where your potential customers are searching.
One of the best ways to plan is to plan for the worst. Make sure that if the worst possible outcome takes place you have secure backups in place. For instance, say the fulfilment company that you usually use for your deliveries become too busy with other clients, what plans could you put in place to avert this possibility. It is really important to prepare for an array of situations. One area that is worth noting is that many clients we work with experienced delays in receiving their products from the manufacturer during the pandemic, it is paramount to make sure this will not have a knock-on effect to your customers. Especially if they are first time buyers as you want their first experience with you to be as faultless as possible.
Think about the worst-case scenarios for your business and create contingency plans wherever possible. It’s much easier to handle the planning now, versus troubleshooting in the midst of what could potentially be the biggest sales weekend of the year.
Make inventory decisions early
Picking the products that you want to promote over Black Friday, should have been decided by now, if not, we recommend taking some time out of your day today to decide. It is even more crucial to do this sooner rather than later if you are relying on suppliers to source or manufacture the items. We recommend forecasting the amount of merchandise you will need, your eCommerce platform is likely to have the functionality to give you a “Sales Report”, this can show you your most popular products as well as your most popular items from last Black Friday if you had a sale.
We recommend identifying your best and worst-performing products and this is where we recommend applying the 80-20 rule – more about this can be found here.
Optimise Your Product Pages
Once you have decided on the products you will be using in your Black Friday sales, you need to make sure your product pages are up to date, and as optimised and as helpful as possible. A good trick is to include seasonal keywords such as “Black Friday Sale” and “Christmas Gifts” this helps to promote what the sale is for and also helps with your keyword rankings. By having your product pages fully optimised you are giving search engines plenty of time to index each page.
Create the best possible offer! A common strategy around Black Friday is to create “your best ever sale” on a popular item and then use this to attract customers to your store. Once those customers are on your website, they are more likely to purchase other items. This is often referred to as a “loss leader”, with the money lost on the sale of the item, recouped in the other items they will purchase.
Black Friday is the perfect “can’t miss, best ever sale” opportunity. If you are intending to send an email to your subscribers, we recommend focusing on your best sale item to entice them to your store.
If this method does not suit your business model, a couple of alternatives that our clients have used in the past include:
- Offering a product bundle
- Adding a “game” element to your offers (sign up to win a prize/spin to win etc)
- Something that Amazon does very well, create a time-sensitive deal
Once you have attracted new visitors, there are some tried and tested methods to boost your average order value, for instance, free shipping on orders over a certain amount, offering seasonal bundles or recommended products based on the products in their basket.
Social media is one of the best ways to encourage visits to your website over the holiday season, with a lot of social media platforms being free, it is important to take full advantage of what you have to promote your deals. Platforms such as Facebook and Instagram are great for pushing high-demand products and showing how good looking your brands are. As well as posting on your social media platforms organically, it is also a good idea to check out advertising, especially on Facebook as this allows you to decide on the type of audience that you are targeting with your sales, you can also choose the length of time it is shown for and how much budget is going behind the post.
Content Creation & Blogs
Content creation and blogging play an important part in your Black Friday promotions as it helps you to attract a significant amount of organic traffic to your site before and during sales. If your business has a reasonable budget for marketing, then it is a good idea to put some money behind blogs and make sure you have them promoted on your social media channels. Other content formats including infographics and PDFs are a good idea for promoting your Black Friday sales because they allow you to be a lot more visual and include more data and information.
It is important to remember to optimise your content for SEO before uploading. This includes adding internal links to category and product pages and making sure you include a call to action and selling points to convince people to buy from you.
We are still shocked to find that many businesses come to us, not profiting off remarketing. It is so effective, as you can easily retarget past visitors, and you can do this based on their intent, whether they viewed a product page, whether they put that product in their basket and so on. This is such an effective way to share your Black Friday offer with people who may have forgotten about your store and wouldn’t have checked out your sale without prompting.
Depending on what functionality and code you have on your website this is something that we can implement on short notice, and will definitely reap the benefits. For more information on remarketing, visit our web page all about it here.
Abandoned Cart Strategy
During Black Friday, basket abandonment rates increase to 75%. There are many reasons why people abandon their online baskets, but normally, the main reason is that shoppers are comparing prices with multiple websites to find the best deal. If you already have an abandonment email campaign set up for Black Friday, then you could try and alter your trigger timings to see whether different times work best for you. Another way to optimise your abandoned cart strategy is by looking at the creativity behind it, with Black Friday only happening once a year, you need to make sure it looks engaging and draws customers to come back to your website.
Last year Black Friday campaigns saw some of the highest conversion rates through email marketing that some of our clients had ever experienced. We really recommend creating a thorough marketing campaign and starting it now (if you haven’t already).
We recommend planning a campaign that will both build suspense and buzz around the offers, sometimes a fantastic way to do this is by giving away little hints to what the offers may be. You can also create a “VIP” category, where you can send a selection of customers, at your discretion, early access to Black Friday deals. Not only does this help you to engage with your audience on a different level, but this will also help develop brand loyalty with that customer.
We also recommend a Thank You note in the email when they have purchased, this can personalise the experience further for them. Also, helping to develop that relationship. Another must-have for any eCommerce store is having abandoned cart emails. Many potential customers will be shopping around during Black Friday, they may get sidetracked or distracted, therefore it is really important to follow up with those who put the item in their basket.
This is a really good opportunity to almost nudge those potential customers to remind them of the item. It is also worth noting some of our clients in the past have honoured the offer they put in place on Black Friday until Cyber Monday to give the customers time to purchase.
Black Friday Tips for eCommerce Stores
These are just a few tips to optimise your digital marketing campaign for Black Friday. As the countdown is on we recommend choosing the most relevant to your business, if you want any advice on any of the above, please do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More articles by Jessica Milner