In 2019, Black Friday sales hit USD$7.4 billion, which was an all-time high for this annual sales event. With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic restricting brick and mortar stores’ operating hours and availability, expect even bigger online sales this year – and potentially more traffic to your e-commerce website.
1. Start marketing – NOW!
When it comes to retail, shopping seasons seem to be starting earlier and earlier these days. Black Friday is no exception. In fact, 82% of shoppers begin their holiday shopping before November 1st. With concerns about slow supply chains and product availability due to the ongoing pandemic, people might actually start earlier. Don’t wait – start planning your sale now and let people know about it early to build interest and excitement.
2. Test the speed of your website and checkout process
Black Friday shoppers are busy. So many websites, so little time. The last thing customers want is to be bogged down on a website that’s slow to load, or has a long, cumbersome checkout process. If you slow your shoppers down, they’ll move on to the next website before completing a purchase. Improve your site speed before the big day to provide a great customer experience and get more sales.
3. Have an automatic backup website ready
Sometimes, bad things happen – like a website going down on Black Friday. Stay ahead of the game by having a backup website ready to step in if there’s an emergency. Talk to your web host about an automatic backup strategy that’s got your back. After all, Black Friday only comes once a year and if you miss it, you miss it.
4. Optimize your online store
You can market your Black Friday sales all you want, but if your online store is hard to navigate, appears cluttered, or operates poorly, your customers won’t be around for long. Revisit your website to ensure that:
- Your product descriptions are crisp, clear, and focus on the benefits of the product so it’s clear how the product solves your customer’s needs
- Product images are bright and clear
- You lead with your best selling products
- Your Black Friday discounts are highlighted to accentuate the deal you’re offering
- The path from your product pages to checkout is smooth without too much unnecessary clicking
- Accept a variety of payment methods and a seamless checkout flow
- Everything performs as well on mobile as it does on desktop
5. Use email marketing
Your most engaged audience consists of the customers and subscribers on your email list. Foster excitement in your Black Friday merchandise with sneak peeks, early access, and insider information on what to expect on the big day through your email newsletter or as standalone messages.
Here’s when you should be sending your emails:
• About four weeks before the sale
• Once every week until Black Friday
• The night before Black Friday
• The night before Cyber Monday
Your audience will be well-informed about your upcoming deals and among the first to land on your website once the sale goes live. You can also send emails after the sale is over to follow up and keep in touch – as well as whet their appetite for your holiday sale!
6. Write Compelling Email Messages
You want your email messages to be as engaging as possible to elicit excitement about your upcoming offers. Here are some tips on how to make your emails as captivating as possible:
• Develop enticing subject lines that open with the recipient’s first name, if available, to make it more personal and improve your open rate
• Create a powerful email headline that’s crisp and to the point, but don’t be afraid to have some fun
• Use lots of whitespace in the design so the email doesn’t appear cluttered
• Copy should be used sparingly, and only to enhance the product images and highlight the savings
• Design the email so it flows nicely and keeps the person’s eyes moving down the page.
Above all, be sure to always test your emails on a mobile device, so they look great and perform efficiently for shoppers who like to read emails on the go.
7. Make your deals irresistible
Have you ever shopped on Black Friday expecting awesome deals, find a product you want, and then see that it’s only 10 percent off? A deal is a deal, but 10 percent isn’t the Black Friday deal your customers are expecting. Many retailers – including your competitors – offer steep discounts on Black Friday, so make sure your pricing aligns with customer expectations. If you don’t want to eat that much into your profits, you can get creative by offering “buy one get one free” deals, free shipping, or awarding a ton of loyalty points instead.
8. Post your upcoming deals on your social media platforms
Don’t forget about that big social media audience of yours. They follow you to make sure that they’re the first to be in the know of any new sales you offer. Start posting now on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and anywhere else you connect with your target audience. You can also try a paid Facebook ad to target segments and reach potentially thousands of more customers by having your ad appear right in their timeline when they’re most active online. Best of all, the ROI on cost-effective Facebook ads is more than worth the effort, especially with the awesome sales potential of Black Friday.
9. Identify cross-selling and upselling opportunities
Black Friday shoppers are motivated buyers. Not only are they on your website to browse, they’re there to buy. This is the perfect opportunity to cross-sell other items that naturally fit with their primary purchase. For example, did they order a webcam? Give them a selection of ring lights or headphones to go along with it. Offer them ankle weights and yoga mats when they purchase workout bands. Makeup mirror and cosmetics bag to go with lipstick. The possibilities to cross sell – and make more money – are virtually endless.
10. Use conversational marketing
As shoppers drop in on your website to peruse your deals, they might have some questions or need fast advice. Companies have been using forms for years to gather customer information and respond to queries, but on Black Friday, who has time to fill out a form and wait? There are deals to be had! A much more effective and immediate way to serve the needs of your customers is to use conversational marketing in the form of a chatbot on your website. Chatbots can be automated to answer search queries or provide general information, or they can be linked to a live service representative to provide a more personal customer experience. Either way, conversational marketing can help reduce sales conversion time because, especially on Black Friday, there’s no time to lose.
11. Give remarketing campaigns a try
Ever notice that when you visit a website and browse through their products, you suddenly seeing ads for those same products everywhere? That’s because that website placed a “cookie” on your computer so they can tailor their ads toward things you’ve already shown an interest in. Running a remarketing campaign is a powerful way to keep their brand top of mind with their customers, and it will work to bring customers back to your website too – even after they’ve visited your competition.