Welcome back. It looks like you were just as eager as us to find Black Friday eCommerce success – that’s great! Part two of our Black Friday guide will stretch beyond factors like mobile optimisation, customer behaviours and preferences to bring you an array of hints and tips with example best practices.
Be Different: Creativity is Key
When creating your Black Friday campaign, or any for that matter, remember that you’re likely to be in competition with another brand. You must stand out. Picture this. There is a single person wearing a bright, neon yellow coat in a crowd of people wearing neutral colours. They will sure stand out and be the topic of many conversations, just what a retailer during Black Friday wants.
So, tell a compelling brand story. As loyalty pretty much gets thrown out of the window, it is a great opportunity for you to show off your best side to secure those sales from new customers, whoever they are. A customer’s primary focus is on finding a good deal. Make it as easy as possible for consumers to find the products they’re looking for and deliver a frictionless checkout experience.
Tip: Always do something different. Don’t stand still and don’t just repeat what you did last year. You need to stand out from the crowd.
Inspiration For Your Campaign
Think outside the box. It can be worth using third-parties to help improve your performance and be innovative with your campaigns and brand message. If you need some inspiration well you have come to the right place. Check out these four great campaigns from Black Friday 2016.
Sephora decided to bring exclusivity to the table by mentioning the season spring before many have gone shopping for their Christmas tree. With key phrases such as “exclusive launch” and “one day only”, it shows readers they’re getting breaking news about exclusive content. This encourages the reader to buy now before it’s too late.
Chubbies went all out with their email campaign for Black Friday weekend. By in-keeping with their brand tone, they tapped into the funny side of their target audience by using comedy to promote their sale on ‘schworts’, (a clothing garment mixing sweats and shorts).
Through great imagery and minimal but clever headings and text, it was pretty clear what they were trying to say: The Christmas season calls for tonnes of treats including chocolates, big roast dinners and lots and lots of alcohol. You need a comfortable clothing to cater to the masses of food you’ll most definitely be indulging in.
Not only did Chubbies tell you that their items are comfy, they showed you they are comfy. Putting their thinking caps on, they were able to create a funny image of their ideal customer lounging on a sofa pouring holiday treats into his mouth, that gave you a persuasive push into making a purchase.
When Amazon first launched the Echo with Al voice recognition system Alexa, they decided to promote their new product with full marketing force. By tailoring their landing page to encourage users to prompt Alexa with questions like, “Alexa, where are the deals?” or “Alexa, order a Star Wars robot” they gave users the key to unlocking special discounts. Pretty clever!
Don’t Copy-Cat Competitors
It’s true, your competitors could create amazing marketing campaigns, driven to generate multiple sales around major retail events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. But what works for them, doesn’t always work for you. Focus on what makes your brand and your customers happy.
You must be aware of what your competitors are doing and what is proving a success for them, to stem your campaign ideas from. But, this should provide food-for-thought rather than dictating your strategy. Once you’ve set your strategy, stick to it.
Streamline The Customer Journey
As customer expectations have evolved, streamlining the customer journey is crucial for meeting the needs and wants of buyers. Black Friday offers can swamp consumers. If they are interested in your product, you want them browsing it, adding it to their basket and making the sale as quickly as possible, so they don’t get distracted by other brands. But how do you streamline the customer journey to make sales more likely?
Particularly on eCommerce sites, it is best practice to simplify each and every process from finding the desired products, checking out, delivery methods and so on. This ensures that you capture your customer’s focus and get the sale in a few steps as possible. Not only is each stage in the customer journey shortened but it is ordered to continually push customers to the end goal through creative calls to action.
How to Simplify the Customer Journey
Follow these simple step to simplify the customer journey:
- Reduce the number of clicks needed to find desired products
- Allow customers to buy products by a tap of a button (“Buy Now” as well as “Add to Basket”)
- Reduce the number of steps required in the checkout process
- Give customers the option to buy your products without having to sign up for an account
- Suggest products for customers with an account based on their previous buys to give them personalised products they are most likely to be interested in
Loyalty Is (Almost) No More
Have you ever wondered if you’re paying more for a product than you need to? For many shoppers this kind of attitude is being embraced with open arms and why shouldn’t it be? With the process of researching products, suppliers and different deals being simplified with the internet, it’d be surprising to think, products would be purchased straight away, without seeing if it could be bought for a cheaper price.
Loyalty is becoming less important. Instead, simply finding a good deal is the primary focus for many which makes it the key to unlocking a happy customer. As a successful eCommerce provider during Black Friday, it is your job to make it as easy as possible for consumers to find the products they’re looking for and deliver a frictionless checkout experience.
Cart abandonment is one of the biggest issues when it comes to eCommerce. For many retailers, there’s nothing as frustrating as a customer who visits your shop, adds products to the shopping cart and then abandons it before buying.
To help combat cart abandonment, it’s best to analyse the whole shopping process to understand when it is that customers decide to leave your store and stop it from happening. Monitoring your customer’s behaviour gives you insights into what they like about your brand and what they don’t which is often the key factor that makes them leave your site. Website visitors can be tracked and analysed through tools such as Google Analytics.
Another great way to ensure you get those wandering customers back onto their customer journey with your company is through email campaigns to target cart abandoning customers and the beloved remarketing.
Remarketing Your Offers
Remarketing is a fundamental tool for eCommerce sites.
Image credit: ThinkPyxl
What is Remarketing?
Simply put, remarketing is the practice of using a script on your website that targets individual users so that they receive adverts on websites such as Facebook and Google promoting the products they have previously viewed on your website.
How to Remarket an Offer
It’s pretty simple really. Remarketing on a variety of search engines or social media channels is simple. The most popular of each tends to be Facebook Ads and Google AdWords.
Facebook Adverts are shown to Facebook users who are recognised as the target audience for the brand by their demographics, interests and so on. For example, an advert can be targeted to people in a certain area, talking about a certain topic or interested in a particular activity. As more users are on social media channels like Facebook, promoting content on these channels can be more beneficial for brands, rather than advertising in search engines where competition can be higher.
“Facebook ads are so important to brands because of the extra reach, exposure, and targeting options available to brands who advertise on the network.” – Simply Measured
Facebook ads appear within the user’s timeline. The above example shows an advert for running shoes for a user who has recently browsed on Amazon.
Google Adverts are in the Google AdWords system which helps to market your goods and services in the Google Search Engine and affiliate sites.
For example, if your advert promotes personalised mugs, this advert can be placed on a blog catered to homemade gifts and personalised presents.
Stagger Your Marketing Activities
Peak traffic on Black Friday is inevitable. That said ‘Black Five-day’ is probably more realistic. Offering shoppers multiple deals throughout the weekend period from the Thursday before right through to Cyber Monday.
Retailers will benefit from feeding customer deals gradually throughout the week, rather than bombarding them with major discounts all in one go. And of course, not only does this have sales disadvantages, it is highly likely website traffic will sky-rocket and could lead to website crashes and incorrect product orders.
Top Tip: It is best practice to keep your consumers surprised with different deals each day to reduce strain on infrastructure and fulfilment teams.
Control the traffic volume
Assuming your Black Friday campaign has driven lots of eager customers to your eCommerce site, your traffic will increase during the period of the event. It is important to ensure that you are able to cater to the masses of online shoppers during this time. Have employee on-hand support 24/7 in case any problems occur. With an eCommerce site, opening hours are 24/7. If your site has a problem at 3am in the morning, customers shopping during this time will not be able to make a purchase. It’s a good idea to get a technical team together to work day and night to keep the site from operating correctly – that’s if you want to maximise your sales which I assume you do!
Remember: If your website stops working you will lose sales and customers. Make sure you are able to control the volume of traffic entering your site! If you expect you can’t, implement a queuing system on your site or alternatively request for increased capacity during times when you expect your traffic volume to surge.
Don’t Be Over-Reliant
Don’t be over-reliant on Black Friday. Although you may expect a surge of customers coming your way, it is not guaranteed. You must find a balance. Instead of overstocking yourself, you want to have just enough to cater to your customers, without leaving yourself with masses of products that no one wants.
On the other hand, not having enough products to meet the demand isn’t that helpful either. If a viewer can only view your products they might not consider you again when making a purchase. It’s a common thought: seeing multiple products online that are “out of stock” is pretty frustrating.
It’s best to find the middle ground. You want customers to be able to buy your products, without overloading them with goods. Having said that, many brands tend to favour having all of their stock sold with demand still coming in for their products. That doesn’t mean you should under-supply your products. If there are no products available, there won’t be any sales made.
- Focus on mobile optimisation
- Plan everything well in advance
- Tell a compelling brand story
- Streamline your route to purchase and remove friction
- Research, monitor and test site performance and scalability
- Set the right expectations and communicate effectively
- Be agile, react efficiently and re-market to customers
- Use your data to deliver the right offers and personalisation
- Be unique, innovate and think outside the box
- Maximise your opportunities but ensure you can quantify your results
We also discussed how best to prepare your eCommerce store for a successful Black Friday in the first part of our Black Friday blog series.