20th September 2021 - 5 minutes

Black Friday 2021 Ecommerce Predictions and 8 Ways To Prepare

Black Friday 2020 recap 

Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM) are officially approaching fast. Businesses have only a couple of months to get prepared for the chaos of Q4. So now the question that is buzzing around every marketer’s head is; how to prepare for the biggest sale of the year? 

Let’s begin by casting our minds back to 2020’s Black Friday event. Last year – as many of us know – was unlike any other. With countries, cities and towns around the globe undergoing different stages of lockdown, the global pandemic left all of us wondering how the big Black Friday flash sale was going to pan out. 

Thousands of businesses had already folded at the wrath of Covid-19. Whilst others scrambled online fighting to survive and competing for the attention of the newer and larger online consumer base. In addition, during this time economic uncertainty had a lot of businesses worried about what next steps to take, what technologies to adopt and which trends to follow to see the largest return in investment. 

Although the event had many uncertainties in the lead up to it, it most definitely marked a milestone in the ecommerce industry and forecasted what future Black Friday’s will look like. Let’s look at the figures record breaking figures (stats taken from Shopify and Black Friday): 

  • Total BFCM sales: $14.13 billion USD globally (£10.24 billion) 
  • Average cart price: $89.20 USD globally (£64.80) 

There was a 76% increase in online sales since the 2019 BFCM weekend event, this can be put down to the fact that many of the shops were closed. However, even before the pandemic, ecommerce was on the rise and the pandemic accelerated it. The key takeaway is that online is here to stay. 

Ecommerce predictions for BFCM 2021 event 

Last year people were predicting that there would be a small dip in Black Friday spending due to the pandemic and closures of stores. However, these predictions were completely and utterly wrong! 

“Shoppers surprised us during Black Friday weekend 2020, spending $14.13 billion (up from $11.9 billion in 2019). That’s slightly slower growth compared to previous years, but still a healthy increase amid a year of economic instability. Holiday spending was up overall, too, according to the NRF.”

Black Friday news goes onto state: 

“We expect a strong spending appetite for Black Friday 2021. According to a recent survey from our sister site Offers.com, shoppers are looking out for value and deals — but aren’t planning to decrease their spending as the pandemic wanes. That combination of consumers being more discerning about value, while also being eager to spend, signals success for retailers during Black Friday 2021… This year, we predict that online Black Friday sales (combined Black Friday and Thanksgiving spending) will grow about 20% year over year and hit $17 billion.”

PureClarity’s predictions for Black Friday 2021: 

  • Black Friday will begin earlier and be even longer than years before.

There are rumours that Black Friday 2021 will be even longer than last year and start earlier, meaning that there’s more of a bigger window and opportunity for ecommerce businesses to promote and sell. 

  • Online sales will surge, breaking Black Friday records.

There’s no arguing with the figures above. Ecommerce capitalized the BFCM event last year and will do so this year too. Ecommerce stores need to be prepared! See below for more on how. 

  • People will still want to experience in-store shopping.

Granted that the stores will remain open and there will be no restrictions in place, I think that people will want to partake in the festive tradition of holiday shopping in physical stores as a social activity. However, I predict that the footfall number will be nutritiously lower than what it once was, before the Covid-19 outbreak, as people are still very health conscious and will be off put by large crowds. 

8 ways to prep your ecommerce store for the biggest sale of the year 

Still wondering how to prep your ecommerce store for the biggest sale of the year? Let’s dive into it! 

  1. Fast, flexible and secure checkouts

Shoppers come online for speed and convenience. You want them to spend their time filling their baskets, not heaps and heaps of forms. That’s why many businesses have now opted for fast payment checkouts. Using applications such as PayPal, ApplePay and customer accounts allows your customers to convert quicker, as it eliminates the whole process of entering billing and shipping information. The less clicks the better! 

Another commonly used method would be the new ecommerce trend ‘Buy Now Pay Later’. I am sure you have all heard of Klarna and ClearPay. These services  allow you to make a purchase and pay for the product or service at a later date. The total sum of the purchase could be spread out across multiple dates to make the price more affordable or collected in whole in 30 days time. It allows your customers more flexibility to what they can and can’t purchase, giving ecommerce stores more opportunity to sell. 

“I have seen a lot of multiple delivery options and different payment solutions, to give customers more choice and build trust. You’re giving me more options, meaning you’re giving me more reasons to want to buy from you.”

 Lauren Collings, Senior Account Executive of Chilliapple, Ecommerce Digital Trends 2021/2022: An Agency Perspective

Providing your visitors with multiple payment methods instills trust into your customer relationships. If they know that you are giving them options from a range of repeatable payment collection companies, they are more likely to trust you to make that final conversion and continue to return. 

  1. Harness the power of AI product recommenders 

Artificial intelligence is all the rage in the world of ecommerce and it is easy to understand why. AI uses machine learning to collect customer data in real-time (buying habits, browsing history, etc.) to create algorithms that hit on what a customer will actually be interested in buying. Add this with product recommendations and you have the perfect customer conversion recipe. 

Aside from the fact that they drive sales, allow for better upselling and cross selling, and increase AOV, they are completely automated. They allow you to reduce resource time whilst increasing return of investment. Automation where possible is key this Black Friday and festive season. 

Many of our clients are already reaping the benefits of using AI product recommendations on their ecommerce stores. Prima Coffee, for example, from AI product recommenders alone has seen a 43.9% increase in average order value

“Layer personalised product recommendations onto your already compelling deals. Customers won’t be able to resist the relevancy factor. Use past browsing or buying behavior to populate the right recommendations – maybe a lookalike cross-sell based on similar product attributes. You could even surface items that similar customers went on to purchase next.” 

Dot Digital 

3 most effective places to include AI product recommenders (but not limited to) are: 

  • The homepage: You want online visitors to see relevant recommendations immediately. This is a great way to promote product awareness and begin connecting with your customers straight away. 
  • Product pages: What better way to upsell and cross sell than from your product pages? Your customers may be interested or better suited to a different product. Take the opportunity to show them that you know them better than themselves. 
  • Basket page: Including product recommenders on your basket page allows for last minute opportunity to increase average order value. 

Want to increase your ecommerce conversion rate?

  1. Use personalised pop ups to your advantage

Pop ups can be a great way to shout about an event, line of products or encourage your customers to complete a certain kind of action. Different kinds of pop ups can help with different ecommerce goals. The main two pop ups we will look at here are: 

Email capture pop ups 

An email capture pop up could be a great way to increase your customer base on the lead up to Black Friday and Cyber Monday. You could include a pop up on your site that encourages your online visitors to sign up to your mailing list to receive exclusive BFCM deals. Not only does this give you an opportunity to make contact with them after the event, it allows you to build more website traffic during the event. 

Standard CTA pop ups 

Whilst an email capture pop up would be more effective in the lead up to the event, a standard CTA pop up would be better at drawing attention to particular products during the BFCM event. A pop up that promotes your Black Friday deals and features a nice CTA that takes them to your Black Friday product listing page could increase page traffic and conversions. 

  1. Feature dynamic content across your site

Who doesn’t love dynamic content? Even more so when it is personalised. 

Personalised dynamic banners 

Use personalised banners with strong CTAs this BFCM to build product awareness, build loyalty and incentivise purchases by showing promotions and offers that are relevant to the individual. Banners are great at encouraging conversion and customer engagement, especially when they are segmented based on visitors real-time data. 

For instance, you could include a banner for first time visitors that shouts about your Friday deals more generally, and another for returning visitors that specifically refers to a particular brand based on what they historically viewed. Optimise the shopping experience by placing banners in any area of your website from homepage, search results pages through to order confirmation page. 

Countdowns 

Level up your banners with countdowns. Countdowns are a great way to instill urgency on a flash sale. Or alternatively create excitement around the lead to the event by counting down the days left until the big sale. You have probably seen them before during Black Friday as many marketers opt to include them on their ecommerce stores to create a buzz and encourage more conversions. 

Many ecommerce platforms such as Shopify, WooCommerce, and CMS like WordPress have countdown plugins that can easily be installed into banners or zones of the site. It might be best to get your developers to lend you a hand! 

Automated and dynamic pricing 

As well as dynamic pricing ecommerce businesses should consider automated pricing platforms. The ecommerce retail market is very competitive – even more so around Q4 with BFCM and Christmas. Managing an inventory of hundreds or thousands of products can be overwhelming. There’s so many factors that affect pricing. Using an automated pricing platform, such as BlackCurve and Namogoo, makes pricing much easier especially around busy seasons. They allow you to make better pricing decisions based on real-time data. This kind of strategy could increase your profit margins, online revenue and conversion rates. 

  1. Prioritise customer service and satisfaction 

It goes without saying that your customers need to be at the forefront of your ecommerce strategy for Q4. Yes it is prime time for ecommerce businesses to generate a high volume of sales and revenue, however if you do not have your customer service to a standard that is expected by today’s online consumer then you will suffer greatly during BFCM. 

“Commerce has always been conversational. From sales to support, conversations are still at the heart of how customers build personal connections with brands they love. But things have changed, and business owners must adapt in return.” 

Shopify

Consumers want to experience an in-store experience online. Offering support options such as live chat and chat bots is a great online alternative to traditional face to face conversations. Some software solutions, such as PureClarity, offer live chat features that are 100% ecommerce focused to increase engagement and conversions. 

Moreover, be honest with your customers around deliveries, returns and other fulfilment requirements. Customers will appreciate honesty rather than experiencing disappointment from over promising. 

  1. Segment your audiences 

Segment your audiences to create unique experiences for individuals. Customer segmentation tools, like PureClarity, allow you to connect better and build longer lasting relationships with your customers. 

Segmenting your audience based on a range of factors; such as, demographics or behaviours will ensure that you are targeting the right people with the right content to maximize conversions. 

Segments to consider this Black Friday increase conversions: 

Returning visitors 

Creating specific content for returning visitors is a great way to connect with them on a deeper level and promote your Black Friday sales. You could have a banner that welcomes returning visitors back and points them in the direction of your flash sale: “Hey Hannah! Nice to see you again. Start where you left off.” 

Or you could include AI product recommendations based on what they previously were browsing through or purchased: “We thought you might be interested in these products.” 

This segment could include specifics such as how many times they have visited, if they have visited more than two times and made a purchase, if they have visited X amount of times and not made a purchase – the sky’s the limit. You could have multiple segments for specific types of returning visitors to make the content even more targeted. 

First time visitors 

First time visitors are always a good segment to create for any business. It is a fantastic opportunity to set the foundations for a long lasting relationship. Again a dynamic banner is always effective to promote a flash sale or a promotion. 

Alternatively a pop up that appears after a three second delay would be a great way to either point your visitors in the direction of your sale or capture their information so that you can continue to reach out to them. “Enter your email address below to receive exclusive Black Friday deals straight to your inbox!” 

Free delivery thresholds 

People love free delivery. Including a free delivery threshold will increase your average order value, online revenue and conversion rate. This kind of promotion can be advertised through pop ups and dynamic banners. 

Our suggestion would be to include some copy in your Black Friday sale banner: “Spend over £40 and receive FREE delivery!” and include a pop up on the basket page as a reminder. You could create a segment for visitors who have between £20 and £39.99 worth of products in their basket to receive a pop up saying: “Spend X amount more to receive FREE delivery!” 

“Sounds crazy since you’re already offering bargains left, right, and center. But adding a small incentive to boost spend at the check-out can increase AOV across the board. Free shipping and next-day delivery (on orders over a certain amount) are great ways to tempt customers to add on some extra items at the checkout.” 

Dot digital 
  1. Make data-driven decisions based on analytics 

One crucial thing to takeaway from this blog today is to make data-driven decisions based on real time analytics and insights this Black Friday and Cyber Monday. All marketers need to review their data, analyse and then act based on the findings. 

Review which campaigns and marketing techniques were the most successful last year and see if you can improve on them. Take a look through your current campaigns and see which ones your customers are engaging with the most and make adjustments where necessary. 

Use Google Analytics, social analytics and social listening tools to see what the trends are at the moment and where your traffic is coming from. If you are seeing that you receive a lot of traffic from PPC campaigns, create some specifically for your Black Friday flash sale and consider investing more into PPC for a higher return. 

Moreover, consider implementing AI into your marketing strategy. AI uses machine learning data to automate personalised content and recommendations based on a range of factors. This way you know that you are going to be showing the right content to the right customers in real time.  

  1. “Your success is our success”: Up your game with PureClarity 

PureClarity is an award-winning specialist in ecommerce personalisation and customer engagement. We offer merchants an easy-to-manage and affordable solution creating seamless and unique personalised online experiences. 

Long gone are the days of having one website that serves all customers. Online shoppers now expect to see offers and promotions and in particular products that are relevant to them alone. Online merchants who do not segment and target each of their customer groups will be prone to high bounce rates, low conversion, average order, and repeat visitor rates. We have the right tools and expertise to help you succeed and stand out this Black Friday. 

The features / tools included within PureClarity are:

  • AI driven product recommendations
  • Personalised pop ups
  • Personalised content
  • Live chat
  • Powerful personalised emails
  • Personalised recommendations within search
  • Customer segmentation 
  • Real time analytics 

Sky rocket your revenue

Start a no-commitment 30-day free trial and enjoy all PureClarity features on your website.

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