If you’re like most retailers, you probably see Black Friday as the perfect chance to get rid of lingering stock, build engagement with customers, and take advantage of a huge opportunity to boost sales.
But there are dangers too.
There’s a serious risk, for example, that you might become swamped with orders you can’t fulfill. Or that you won’t be able to provide customers with the usual level of customer service. Perhaps the biggest potential pitfall of all is being outdone by your competitors.
It’s essential to prepare for Black Friday and the surrounding buying period. Laying the groundwork well in advance will ensure you maximize conversions, sales, and average order value, all while delivering a value proposition that exceeds that of your competitors.
In this post, we’re going to outline a handful of practical tips that will enable you to make the absolute most of Black Friday, leveraging it fully as the revenue-driving opportunity it is.
Sound good? Let’s dive in.
We’re not going to bombard you with stats. There are a few crucial pieces of information, however, that should inform your overall strategy.
Here’s what you need to know:In 2018, the total sales for #Thanksgiving, #BlackFriday and #CyberMonday respectively were $3.7 billion, $6.2 billion, and $7.9 billion. Because of this, it's essential to account for all three major shopping holidays. Click To Tweet
Most retailers start promotions a few days before these major dates, during which time all discounts apply.
The majority of browsing will take place on mobile devices. You need to commit to creating a seamless mobile experience for customers, applying your strategy equally to desktop and mobile. Similarly, advertising should be tailored for mobile, with social media promotion and retargeting a priority for mobile apps like Instagram.
Because the bulk of purchases will take place on desktop, you should also optimize desktop checkout processes.
Shopping is split fairly equally between genders and demographics, with a slight emphasis on “Gen X”. While you can advertise more aggressively to certain groups in your customer base, you should cater to everybody, segmenting and marketing to them accordingly.
Before you get started with specific optimization tips, there are a few general principles to keep in mind. These form the basis of any successful Black Friday campaign and are essential if you want to be fully prepared.
Here’s a quick checklist of the fundamentals:
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Ok, so onto the tips themselves. Here are nineteen practical ways to build and engagement and boost conversions during Black Friday.
When you send emails to customers telling them about your Black Friday offers, most will click through to either your homepage or a dedicated landing page. This is your opportunity to reiterate what’s on offer and provide any voucher codes.
Black Friday landing pages should be loud and obvious. Leave visitors in no doubt about what’s going on and what they have to gain.
Your homepage will be the main point-of-entry for many Black Friday shoppers, so make sure you impress them.
Many visitors will land directly on product pages without first seeing your homepage or landing page. On product pages, it’s essential they understand that Black Friday discounts apply.
You should also make sure customers understand that a discount is site-wide (not just for a particular product) if applicable. Let them know that offers are part of a Black Friday promotion.
Finally, reiterate any discounts on the cart and checkout pages, thus eradicating customer doubt.
If possible, try to offer a flat rate that applies to all products. And include this guarantee visibly on your homepage, landing pages, and any marketing materials.
Along with landing pages, your homepage, product pages, cart pages, and checkout pages (yep, there’s a lot), you should also highlight Black Friday prices on category pages. By covering all the bases, you’ll ensure that all of your site’s visitors know about your offers.
Including discounted prices isn’t the only strategy when it comes to category pages. You also have an opportunity to highlight some of your best offers with banners and on-page “ads”. If these ads can be personalized, even better.
Evoking a sense of scarcity is one of the most powerful things you can do as an online retailer. Customers that see a product is in low demand will be more motivated to buy. And Black Friday is the perfect opportunity to build urgency and scarcity.
Build urgency by ensuring that discounts apply to sale items as well as full-price items.
This is an excellent tactic for two reasons. First, it encourages customers to make a purchase right away rather than come back at a later date on the assumption that normal sale prices will apply.
Second, it further incentivizes customers with the possibility of savings over and above the typical sale price.
Well-designed content delivered through mobile apps, especially on platforms like Instagram, will build interest in the run-up to and during Black Friday. Mobile ads are also an excellent opportunity to target unique customer segments.
It’s becoming increasingly common to hear the term “Black Weekend” along with “Black Friday”. The idea behind “Black Weekend” is that discounts apply over the weekend after Black Friday, not just on that specific day.
If it’s feasible, extending discounts to the whole weekend can significantly boost sales. It’s important, however, to maintain urgency throughout this period. Remember to display dates and include notifications about the length of the sale period on product pages.
Checkout is one of the riskiest stages of the customer journey. A quarter of visitors will leave your site after beginning the checkout process (after landing on the checkout form).
In order to reduce your checkout abandonment rate, reiterate discounts. Show the Black Friday discount next to the checkout form so that customers aren’t in any doubt about the low price they’re getting.
Telling customers exactly what’s on offer isn’t necessarily the best strategy when it comes to Black Friday promotions.
Of course, it’s important to showcase your best offers and target customers with personalized ads. But it can also be effective to advertise “general” offers. In order to find what they’re interested in, customers have to visit your site and “dig for gold”.
The key to this strategy is finding the right balance. You shouldn’t be too specific and destroy the element of the unknown. But at the same time, you shouldn’t be too general, thus eliminating any interest completely.
When’s the last time you had a conversation with your customers via Instagram or Facebook messenger?
Your first thought might be, “That’s impossible! I have hundreds of thousands of customers.”
But you’d be dead wrong. Messenger bots now make it possible for retailers to interact directly with customers and send them personalized offers and suggestions based on an array of data-points.
Send curated Black Friday offers to your social media audience via messenger based on their past behavior and interests. There are many online services that enable you to do this quickly and inexpensively.
A significant part of Black Friday marketing is about building excitement and engagement in the run-up to the buying period.
One excellent way of doing this is by giving customers a taster of what’s to come in a pre-sale event. It’s like a mini Black Friday for one day. Executed well, these kinds of events can whet customers’ appetites, making them eager for more.
Segment customers as much as possible on landing pages. Showing buttons that allow customers to click through to applicable areas of your site will ensure that they see relevant offers. Something as simple as “Shop Men” and “Shop Women” can work wonders.
Customers that arrive on your site via promotional emails, adverts, or click through to a landing page, will already be aware of your Black Friday sale. But what about other visitors to your site?
Including a site-wide header means that every visitor, whether they come to your site directly, through a Google search, or any other method, will know what?s going on.
Your discounts will likely run on for several days, so ensure you have a retargeting strategy in place during that time. You can even offer discounts for retargeted customers after the official sale has finished.
Just keep in mind that retargeting isn’t limited to Facebook. You can send retargeting ads on other social media and ad platforms and via email.
In fact, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday are all ideal times to send retargeting emails – there are big discounts and a willingness to buy on the part of customers, not to mention the urgency that comes with a time-limited sale.
Check out the following articles for some more retargeting tips:
One of the reasons to opt for a Black Weekend sale rather than just Black Friday is because those extra two days provide ample time for retargeting.
Black Friday is the perfect time to offer cross-sells and up-sells. Customers are eager to buy and take advantage of all the discounts you’re offering.
Here are some great places to offer cross-sells and upsells:
For more tips about cross-sells and upsells, check out our article about increasing average order value.
When conducting email campaigns, personalize content as much as possible. Send customers alerts about discounts on items they’ve viewed in the past, added to their wishlist, saved for later, and so on.
Customers are much more likely to buy when they see that substantial time-limited discounts apply to items they’re definitely interested in.
What’s more, you should cover the basics when it comes to sending Black Friday emails. Refer to customers by their names and segment by important factors like location, gender, age, etc. wherever possible.
In an avalanche of Black Friday marketing emails, it’s easy for customers to feel alienated. Personalization will overcome this problem.
Here’s an absolutely crucial point to round off with.
Make sure customers can see the discount code! Display it visibly everywhere – on ads, in emails, on landing pages, on product pages…anywhere you can think of!
Even better, include a link that lets visitors quickly copy the discount code to their clipboard. Alternatively, state that the code will automatically be applied at checkout, removing the need for customers to remember it.
More than anything else, making a success of Black Friday is about one factor: preparation.
If you start early, you’ll achieve two things. First, you’ll ensure that all the groundwork is in place. There are lots of different elements to coordinate – from segmented email campaigns to personalized messenger ads – and it’s essential to prepare well in advance.
Second, you’ll have a chance to test the effectiveness of marketing styles and promotions, and hone in on the winners in time for the big day.
Problems always arise during Black Friday sales, but with the right plan in place, you can be confident that you’re ready to maximize reach, conversions, and sales, and overcome any issues that arise.
Now, time to start creating your landing pages.
Do you want to ensure you’re 100% ready for Black Friday? We’ve written an in-depth 117-point optimization checklist that covers everything you need to know. There are practical tips for every part of your site, from your homepage to your “About Us” page.
Ensure that you’re ready for one of the year’s biggest shopping holidays by downloading it now.