2nd October 2020 - 5 Min Read Time

Black Friday and Cyber Monday Survival Guide 2020

Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM) is unlikely to be affected by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic as retailers are increasingly switching their attention to selling online.  It appears the infamous launch to the winter shopping season will this year be in the most part cyber-driven. Overall retail websites generated almost 22 billion visits in June 2020, up from 16 billion in January 2020. Throughout this year there have been emerging shifts in consumer behaviour.  Online shoppers have demonstrated that they are as happy to buy online as they would be instore or over the phone whereas previously in store was the prevalent favourite. In addition, people who have never shopped online have tried it. These people may well continue to do so. Convenience and delivery options have quickly become the number one factors according to Google that determine where buyers shop online. With the ever changing lock down rules, convenience and home delivery is now key.

16 top tips to win this BFCM

Be BFCM operationally ready

  1. Make sure you’re site doesn’t crash! With the increasing number of people shopping online you need to ensure your website can carry and successful manage the increase in extra traffic load. Hosted e-commerce solutions such as Shopify and BigCommerce make this simple. If you host your e-commerce site yourself make sure you estimate the increase in traffic volumes.
  2. Widen out your customer delivery options and ensure that you have logistically considered where you can deliver to on time. Provide click and collect options where possible but ensure that your warehouse and customer service teams are geared up for the hike in orders and customer interactions.
  3. Ensure your stock management system is up to date. Its crucial that you have sight of your stock levels to forecast orders and replenish quickly.  There are inventory management systems suitable for all types of retailers and sync with your ecommerce store to manage availability. A good 2020 reference for these platforms is Software Advice.
  4. Open your website to additional customer groups. 2020 has seen a growing and successful trend of traditional B2B businesses directly selling B2C for example selling PPE direct to the consumer.
  5. Offer easy and hassle-free returns and make sure your return policy is clear and fair. If it is a hassle, then order will not get placed. It’s all about ease and convenience.

Be BFCM ecommerce ready

  1. Make sure your mobile site is ready.  Mobile commerce is one of the fastest growing areas online with over 1.2 billion people worldwide accessing the internet from their smartphones. In 2020, 49.2% of ecommerce sales are made through mobile devices. Your online store needs to be fully optimized for mobile as 60% of people either research online prior to buying or buy direct from a promotion they have seen via social media.
  2. Have the right tech stack in place that allows your website to perform seamlessly and provide the best possible online shopping experience. Acoording to Sleeknote, 80% of online shoppers and 63 percent of mobile shoppers think that new technologies improved their online shopping experience.  This is where you can certainly make your store stand out from your competition. Demand for ecommerce personalisation software such as PureClarity is on the up with their wide range of personalisation and customer engagement features. Google Analytics should be standard to understand your visitor behaviours and ESPs such as DotDigital or MailChimp can be fully integrated with your store. Taking your tech stack a step further and consider cart abandonment software to help understand and reengage lost customers, product review software such as Feefo give your products credibility and encourage conversion.
  3. Get to know shoppers better than they know themselves. Use AI to predict and offer real time and relevant product recommendations that they will love not only across your website but in your email campaigns as well. It’s amazing how customers will buy products they didn’t even realise they wanted.

Be BFCM marketing ready

  1. Have your promotional plans in the bag. It’s about creating the buzz up to BFCM itself. Plan out what you can do over next 6 weeks to create the excitement about what you will be offering.
  2. Work out what BFCM offers you can run and always ensure that they promote value being added. Plan your advertising strategy as to where you will promote these offers. Maximise all channels such as Instagram, Google advertising, product listing ads, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, email and on your website itself.
  3. Don’t underestimate the value of your email campaigns.  Emails have historically been the highest source of conversion for BFCM.  There are so many emails you can send from the lead up to the promotion, to creating urgency of when the promotion ends to following up post event.   Start to tease your customers with snippets of what is to come via social media and email.
  4. Use customer segmentation tools to show each customer segment promotions that are relevant to them. Visitors are like friends, ‘you make new friends but keep the old, the new ones are silver, but the old ones are gold‘.  Save your biggest rewards for your most loyal and valuable customers.
  5. Use popups on your website to convert visitors who haven’t yet bought with you to subscribe via email to receive advance notice of the offers before they are made public to non-customers.  Use popups for loyal customers to offer exclusive discounts to reward them for their custom.
  6. Up resource your Live Chat in the lead up to and throughout the BCFM sale period. Live Chat has fast become the most popular customer interaction tool online and retailers who don’t have will lose out to those that offer the convenience.  Retailers who can provide real time product recommendations within their chat will certainly have the advantage.

Be BFCM community ready

  1. Prepare to give back. While retail or corporate philanthropy isn’t new, we’re in the middle of a do-good renaissance where brands are giving back. The new age of online shoppers has grown in an era of recycling and social good.  Online shoppers prefer to buy from charitable companies as according to Forbes 81% of millennials said they want to support brands that give back.
  2. Be genuine. Take a look at how Toms have entrenched themselves in a specific cause. It doesn’t need to be a global concern like this. Local or regional is great. Think about how you can associate yourself with a concern your customers will know and be genuine in your efforts. A little does go a long way towards building loyalty to your brand on the run up to BFCM.

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