Black Friday + Cyber Monday guide

Black Friday + Cyber Monday guide

Last year saw a record rise in Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.

Cyber Monday alone raked in a record $3.45 billion in sales, while Black Friday and the Thanksgiving weekend brought in $3.34 billion.

This marked a 16.8% increase from a year ago – a humongous boost for the ecommerce sector. That being said, one thing is clear – people are ready to splash some cash! So why shouldn’t you try to grab a piece of this billion-dollar spend?

Before you dismiss the Cyber Weekend opportunity as something reserved for the big players, let us show you how you can make it rain this year and win the biggest holiday shopping event in 2018.
Black Friday + Cyber Monday guide 1

Cyber Monday and Black Friday are Cyber Weekend now

First, there was Black Friday and Cyber Monday – two major but mostly unconnected shopping events. Black Friday was initially focused on consumer electronics, whilst Cyber Monday was dedicated to things like jewellery, clothes and home stuff. Originally, the term Cyber Monday was coined to mark the day in the calendar when people would wake up and realize that it’s almost Christmas and they haven’t got any presents – so they’d go on an online shopping spree when they were supposed to be working… When we gave this day an official title, the shopping frenzy reached another level.

Distinction between Black Friday and Cyber Monday is long gone

Once merchants got a glimpse of the size of the sales opportunity that comes with merging Black Friday and Cyber Monday into a long week of non-stop shopping in-store and online, a new kind of commerce Frankenstein was brought to life – and it could be best described as Black Friday And Cyber Monday And A Few Days Before And After And A Bit More If You’re A Trendy Brand. But that’s an awfully long name, so let’s stick with Cyber Weekend.

In short, Black Friday and Cyber Monday have evolved into a single mega sales event that lasts an entire week (or even longer). You can surely feel that Christmas is coming!

However, last year’s sales figures have demonstrated that while orders are coming in all week, Cyber Monday stands out as the biggest holiday shopping day on the calendar. More than 122 million people shopped online on Cyber Monday last year, generating nearly $2.7 billion in online sales – that’s more than double what online shoppers spent on Thanksgiving ($1.3 billion), Black Friday ($1.97 billion) and both the Saturday and Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend combined ($2.5 billion).

So, if there is one day you should circle in red on your calendar this year, it’s Monday, 26th of November.

How to Win The Thanksgiving Weekend?

Black Friday + Cyber Monday guide 2
Image credit: Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

If you haven’t started yet, you should really double-down on preparing for the busiest shopping time of the year. Here are the four building blocks of an effective Cyber Weekend sales strategy:

1. Plan Black Friday & Cyber Weekend Sales

You can’t expect people to just stumble onto your shop on Black Friday… You have to get creative and grab their attention.

Planning is a cornerstone of a successful Cyber Weekend sales strategy. Think about your promotion plan – who are you going to target? Which channels will you use to reach that audience? What irresistible offers will you make? When will your promotional campaigns go live?

What’s Your Goal?

Your ultimate goal is to sell, and answering these questions will help you construct a clear, step-by-step action plan that will lead you to that goal. Just winging it is never a good plan, by the way.

Researching your competition is also part of the planning stage. The last thing you want is launching an offer that’s less appealing than your main competitor’s – say, you’re offering ‘$10 off’, when they come out with a ‘50% off’ promotion.

Think about other ways of beating  your competition without hurting your profit margins – what extra incentive could you offer? Leveraging your bestselling items or turning slow-selling stock into gifts could be a feasible option.

Research shows that shoppers respond particularly well to the following incentives:

  • 64% of shoppers say that free shipping convinced them to make a purchase
  • 50% say that limited-time offers help them decide when/where to buy
  • 25% say that a free gift with their purchase is an appealing incentive
Black Friday + Cyber Monday guide 3
Image Credit: ban.do

Determining which deals and discounts would appeal most to your target audience is incredibly important. Pulling the right triggers and tapping into the most powerful emotions will help you generate more sales.

2. Prepare Tactics

There are certain merchandising tactics that ecommerce marketers swear by, including countdown timers, loss leader pricing, optimizing for mobile and implementing teaser campaigns via social media.

Be sure to set up the countdown timers in a prominent spot on your store to elicit a sense of urgency and prompt your prospects to buy now (or regret when the sale ends).

Loss leader pricing is another interesting concept to explore

It basically means you select one or more popular items and sell them below their market cost (at your own loss) in order to get customers to come to your shop rather than go to your competition. That’s in the hopes that once you get the prospects browsing around your store, they’ll be tempted to add additional items to their basket. And the profits you make from those other items will compensate for your loss on the leader.

Since 64% of last year’s Cyber Weekend sales were attributed to mobile and overtook desktop for the first time, it would make sense to prepare for a similar scenario this year. Ensure that your mobile shopping experience is smooth like Jagger to prevent shoppers from bouncing and you from losing sales.

Lastly, consider how you’ll drive customers to your store.

A trusted and much touted tactic is PPC ads. I won’t get into the nitty-gritty of how to set them up, but let’s just establish the fact that it’s like playing your ace in a card game. The two key questions you should ask yourself before investing in PPC ads are: 1) what will your offer be? 2) Do you have enough stock?

Similarly, set aside time for your social content calendar. Before the promotional campaign goes live, sort out your social posts and emails that have potential to help you generate traffic and create buzz. Scheduling teaser posts, last-chance notifications and reminders in advance is a surefire way to make the most out of this sales opportunity.

Black Friday + Cyber Monday guide 4
Image Credit: Quirky

3. Take Actions

Be sure to orchestrate all your assets to go live at the same time for the maximum impact and exposure. And even if you’ve automated most of these efforts (social posts, emails, sitewide discounts, PPC ads, etc.), allow yourself some time to check that everything deploys as planned and without major mess-ups.  

At this point, leveraging the leader loss pricing strategy could be your best bet to increase sales almost instantly. For instance, some ecommerce shops offer a huge price drop for the first 50 customers only or make irresistible limited-time, limited-quantity offers to drive a high volume of traffic.

Keeping the big picture in mind, you should also focus on getting your upselling and add-ons right. You could be making tons more money just by getting your customers to slightly increase their order. Amazon is renowned for its upselling powers and makes the most out of the “Frequently bought together” and “Customers who viewed this item also viewed” suggestions.

And last but not least

uild some jaw-dropping last-minute deals to draw in bargain hunters. Preparing some last-minute deals to go out via email and social media is an effective way to capture the last-minute shoppers’ attention and drive quality traffic. According to Shopify, email delivered the best conversions during the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales last year, achieving a 4.29% conversion rate, followed closely by search in second place (3.04%). To get more customers to engage with your emails and posts, include keywords like “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” in your subject line and copy and use segmentation to make emails more personal and relevant to each customer group.

4. Reflect

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Source: Chubbies

While there are some helpful, general trends out there that can inform your decision about  which products to promote and how, nothing will beat your own sales data.

Once the Cyber Week shopping craze dies down, remember to gather and analyze your sales and marketing data. This is the only way to figure out what went well and why, which tactics should be scrapped and how to make sure you do better next year.

The most successful shops begin preparing for the next year’s biggest shopping event soon after the New Year to give themselves plenty of thinking and implementation time and avoid last-minute chaos.

So, reflect for a bit, and then move on to data-driven action.

Smash those targets!

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