11 Ways to Guarantee a Smooth & Successful Black Friday & Cyber Monday

Holiday shopping is here. Not only are Black Friday and Cyber Monday two of the biggest shopping days of the year in the United States, but they also signal to most consumers the beginning of the “holiday shopping season.” 

This time of year is hectic for everyone, but particularly those who work in ecommerce. Having a successful Black Friday and Cyber Monday can (and WILL) set the tone for your holiday sales success.

A sale, particularly one during one of the biggest buying periods of the year, is a great starting point for new & renewed customer relationships. It can bring old customers back and new customers out of the woodwork. Research shows that over 50% of holiday shoppers begin researching/buying gifts in October, so it’s time to put your best foot forward.

Here, we’ve outlined the 11 ways for you to guarantee a smooth and successful Black Friday and Cyber Monday!

1. Understand the Power of Your Online Presence VS Brick & Mortar

Online retailers saw a staggering 220% increase in daily traffic on Black Friday in 2016. Despite the fact that generally retailers have reduced prices during this time, 2016 also saw nearly 22% increase over the previous year’s sales, totaling $3.34 billion in sales.  Cyber Monday was no different with retailers seeing 155% increase in daily traffic and $3.25 billion in sales. With the internet, apps, and reliance on mobile technology on a constantly climbing incline, this year is projected to be even bigger. Aren’t you glad you’re here?

The massive advantage that ecommerce companies have over traditional brick and mortar retail is the concept of the marketing pitch: “You don’t need to leave your family to get a great deal.” In recent years, there’s been a major push-back against stores encouraging customers to skip family holidays to stand in line for a new plasma screen TV. Well, we agree, that’s ridiculous.

If you’re wondering why so many stores are closing their brick & mortar locations and going fully digital (see: Bebe, Teavana, BCBG, and the list goes on…) it’s because the convenience of e-commerce, particularly during the hectic holiday season, is unbeatable. By offering Black Friday specials that your customers can purchase from home, you’re leveraging this situation.

2. Think MOBILE

Last year was the first year that mobile purchases surpassed desktop purchases on Black Friday, according to IBM, and nearly 30% of all purchases were made on mobile. This year, it’s going to be much, much bigger than that. Make sure your site is optimized for mobile, and the beginning-to-end customer purchase experience is quick and easy.

3. Post Post POST!

Social media is the easiest way to tease/promote your Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales. It’s free, it’s easy, and your social audience is FULL of warm leads. If they’re following you, they LIKE you, and that makes them even more likely to purchase.

There are two ways to approach posting on social media regarding your upcoming promotion. Either you can simply post about it on your social channels, or you can try to boost the buzz about your promotion by using one of our favorite social media techniques.

4. Be Visual

The holiday shopping season has already begun, so it’s time your visuals reflect that! Make your hero images, banners, ads, and social accounts get your customers thinking about the upcoming holidays, and make sure they know that your product/service would be a great gift. For Black Friday & Cyber Monday in particular, focus on creating visuals that tease customers and let them know you’re going to be offering a promotion during that time. Make sure they KNOW and are EXCITED!

5. Create a Sense of Urgency

If customers think there’s a limited supply, time is running out, or that they might miss out on a sweet deal if they don’t act NOW, they’re going to act now. For example, a store I frequented on Black Friday when I was younger offered 40% off coupons to customers who arrived before 9am, 30% before 10am, 20% before 11 am and 10% off the rest of the day. Obviously, people were scrambling to arrive as early as possible, because they didn’t want to miss out on the BIG deal. This urgency pushed consumers to buy quickly.

6. Create a Sense of Exclusivity

Consumers love being on the “inside.” There’s a feeling of importance (and urgency) when you’re offered something that isn’t being offered to everybody else. Exclusive promotions and sales are a GREAT way to utilize the feeling of exclusivity that people love so much. Whether you do this by offering additional bonuses to people who follow you on social media or are on your email list, acknowledging that this particular subset of customers is MORE important than others will generate the sense of exclusivity conducive to purchasing.

7. Use Your Email List (!!)

If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a million times: USE YOUR EMAIL LIST. Your email list is another spot where you have lots of warm leads. You’ve worked hard to get these subscribers, so announcing Black Friday & Cyber Monday sales are a great occasion to put that list to use.
What if you’re struggling with a low open rate for your emails?

If that’s the case, don’t get down on yourself, most digital marketers face this problem in the beginning. Do something to set this particular set of sale-announcement emails apart. Add an emoji to your subject line that emphasizes the sale or the limited time or try using a super intriguing subject line.

8. Offer a Site-Wide Sale

Consumers love sales. It’s that simple. If something you want is a little out of your price range but it goes on sale, you’re much more likely to get it. We’ve all left something in a shopping cart because we couldn’t justify the cost, but an email prompting us to get the same product for a lower price might get us to venture back over to that cart.

9. Offer a Coupon Code

If a side-wide sale isn’t something you want to do, consider offering a coupon code. The psychology of a coupon code makes consumers feel like they’re special, like they won an exclusive thing, because they have the code. You can email this code to customers that are already on your list, or you can have an offer available on your site (via pop-up, banner ad, whatever).

10. Be Ready

“Failure to plan is planning to fail,” said the wise Alan Lakein. And, when it comes to e-commerce around the holidays, he definitely wasn’t wrong. Though this seems obvious, it isn’t always so.

The primary thing that ecommerce businesses need to be ready for is an influx of traffic to your website. Your technology NEEDS to be ready, because consumers will bounce quickly from your site if there are frustrating technological issues. Double check with your host/provider that an influx will not be an issue. Additionally, be prepared for an influx of emails, customer questions, and sales during this 4 day span. Be ready to ship, to chat, to respond. Most of all?

11. Post Sale: Fulfillment & Customer Experience

When Black Friday & Cyber Monday are over for the customer, that doesn’t mean they’re over for you. Providing a quick, easy, successful experience is KEY to your Black Friday & Cyber Monday generating results that will positively affect your business long-term.

Two major benefits of sales are unloading product and creating a customer relationship. Once someone has bought from you once, they’re WAY more likely to buy from you again…IF they have a good experience. Be ready to fulfill your end of the transaction, whether that means shipping product ASAP, outlining your return policy/details properly, communicating with your customers or answering questions.