Black Friday and Cyber Monday are key dates to look forward to as the year draws to its end. These big sales days are gaining momentum around the world and consumers are eager to get the best deals. The figures speak for themselves: during Cyber Monday 2020, brands witnessed a 15.1% increase compared to the previous year according to Forbes, making it the biggest online shopping day in the US. And European countries are increasingly aware of the great bargains these events have to offer.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday represent both an opportunity and a challenge for brands. Retailers must step up their game to be competitive on their respective markets. And considering that many consumers take advantage of these days to do some holiday shopping, they must become a part of their holiday strategy.
So which elements should your brand focus on to best perform this year?
Prepare your website for peaks in traffic
During both days, chances are online activity on e-merchant websites will drastically increase. Traffic generally increases by more than 200% and the first peak takes place as soon as the day starts. This sudden overload is far from being harmless and can lead to slow loading and bad user experience. Therefore, the risk is to lose customers, despite the attractive offers. Considering that almost half of the users abandon their shopping after 3 seconds of loading, anticipating peaks – especially when they are easily identifiable – is essential.
Planning additional resources, testing the different services (such as the gift card or the payment) by simulating an overload, or planning a backup plan in case of problem are all simple steps to help prevent unexpected trouble, and ensure the best performance during Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Develop a mobile strategy
Mobile is a popular channel for consumers. During Black Friday and Cyber Monday, m-commerce accounts for 20% of sales, and the increase in mobile sales is three times higher than on desktop.
This type of consumer behavior should not be ignored if you want the best results. Customer experience, smooth shopping process, … mobile browsing must be just as good as on a computer.
And to make an app more attractive or a website more responsive, brands can work on special mobile campaigns: offer limited promotions, or specific rewards like digital gift cards.
Get rid of barriers
To succeed on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, brands should take a close look at their customer journey and try to get rid of the elements that make it harder for consumers to make a purchase. In other words, they need to reduce barriers to purchase and shopping card abandonment. These can cause a major profit loss if not carefully studied.
There must be enough elements to reassure the customer (warranties, customer reviews, certification labels, …). And inventory management is also important. Although limited quantities create a sense of urgency and excitement during promotions, there is nothing worse than when a consumer orders a product, and it ends up being out of stock.
Delivery and payment are crucial in the validation process of the purchase. The delivery service must be impeccable, fast, reasonably priced, and flexible. The payment process must be safe, easy, and secure, and the brand must offer payment methods that match consumer habits. Let’s not forget that 34% of consumers leave a website if their usual payment method is not offered.
Finally, many new visitors will not already have a customer account. Most of them will be there for the promotions, and some will want to buy quickly or make an impulse purchase. Creating a customer account to validate the purchase can be a barrier, especially if the customer only came to buy a gift for a loved one and doesn’t intend to come back again. That’s often the case when buying a gift card. In these cases, it’s important to provide a path without identification, to maximize sales.
Choose the right products
First, brands and retailers will have to carefully consider and select the products they want to promote and on which they are willing to offer a special promotion. For a large-scale operation like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, brands must choose the right products, those that will draw a crowd.
Some products are more sought after than others. Purchases are predominantly driven by clothing, shoes, and accessories, but electronic sales are also a great hit. Brands will need to analyze consumer behaviors, know which products are most likely to appeal to the greatest number of people, and study what competitors are planning. They also need to take stock of the target and the objectives.
Generally, two strategies stand out:
– Some will apply a very attractive promotion on few trendy products
– Others will choose to reduce prices on discontinued and unsold items to make room for the new year.
Generate enthusiasm for Black Friday
Before the big day, brands must plan and coordinate their promotional actions, but more importantly, plan the communication process. Brands are well advised to distinguish themselves from the many incentives that consumers will receive.
The first important thing is to inform customers that the brand is taking part in this event. This can be done through a dedicated page on the e-commerce website, highlighted by banners for example. The brand should also communicate via social media, and optimize its referencing.
The earlier a brand starts communicating, the more likely it is to create excitement among consumers. It is necessary to anticipate and be visible, so when Internet users are going to search for information or ideas for Christmas gifts your brand stand out in the results. It is also useful to launch emailing campaigns in advance, you can add a countdown to arouse interest.
Stand out thanks to your promotions
During Black Friday and Cyber Monday, many brands will be running promotions. Consumers will be spoilt for choice. The idea here is to stand out from the crowd and attract enough attention to generate traffic and take full advantage of this operation.
There are two different ways to stand out:
- The brand can choose to stand out by the way it communicates its promotions. Many will use emailing, which have certainly proven effective, but brands can also explore other ways. Text messages, for example, have a 90 to 97% opening rate. You can also use push notifications based on geolocation. If a customer with the brand’s app or an e-gift card registered on a wallet walks by a point of sale, the brand will be able to tell him/her about current promotions.
The brand can also choose to stand out through the promotions themselves. Over the past few years, many promotions have been directly linked to the price, or have taken the form of discount coupons. This classic format has less and less impact on consumers. The digital gift card, however, is an innovation that’s perceived as a real reward. Your brand can send an e-gift card of a specific amount to its loyal customers, or offer a digital card based on a certain purchase amount.
Suggestions for further reading
8 marketing trends for the holiday season