Black Friday: 4 Tips to Help Prep your eCommerce store for Success
The essential tips to prepare your retail eCommerce store for maximum revenue this Black Friday Cyber Monday 2022.
How is it that we are preparing for sale season already? It feels like yesterday we were recapping the winning trends of 2021 Black Friday, Cyber Monday weekend. Historically unpredictable and equally lucrative, we can expect the fervor of sale shopping to continue from October right through the holiday season.
And, if the past few years have taught us anything, it’s that the show must go on.
While in-store shopping returned en masse toward the end of 2021, here in Australia online shopping continues to be the shopping channel of choice and is gearing up to be the main stage for 2022 Black Friday sales. Brands and retailers have constantly found ways to supercharge their strategies and outdo competitors during this period, and this year is shaping up to be no different.
If your store is properly prepared and you leave room to get a little creative, 2022 can be your biggest Black Friday and Cyber Monday yet. Yep, this BFCM it’s best to be prepared for anything and everything.
2021 BFCM quick recap
First, let's recap on last year:
Peak period: Black Friday saw the highest shopping volume during the weekend, with peak sales of more than $3.1 million per minute at 12:02 PM EST on November 26.
Average Spend: Australian shoppers spent $158.80 AUD more than the weekend average.
Devices: Globally, 71% of BFCM sales were made on mobile devices compared to 29% on desktop.
Abandon carts: In recent years, the abandoned cart rates on Black Friday and Cyber Monday have been roughly 80%.
2021 BFCM trends sticking around for 2022
From our learnings from last year and observing the trends for today, these are the trends that will still be in play this year.
During 2021 BFCM shoppers (ages 18-34) were more likely to purchase an item directly from social media, with platforms like TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest responsible for giving these online transactions a leg-up.
And, for shoppers who are looking for that one dress to wear to their Christmas party and want to pick it up ASAP - don’t forget to add Click and Collect to your omnichannel experience. Just be prepared to put in the groundwork on inventory and store transfers.
Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL)
Ensuring your customers can pick and choose how they’re going to make their online purchases is imperative to holiday shopping. Especially if you’re expecting millennial and Gen Z demographics - the rise of mobile payments now accounts for one-third of digital purchases. It’s about keeping up with gift-giving and the desire to treat oneself.
On Cyber Monday 2021, usage of BNPL services saw a bump with revenue up 21% year over year and orders up 1% year over year.
The Kick-off Questionnaire
Once you've got your head around last year's learnings and this year's trends, consider the below questions to get your online team on board to have a rewarding sale season with no surprises (we hope).
1. What’s the offering?
At what discount will your customers crack? Check your historical retail data regarding what you implemented last year, and whether or not this discount kept your a) customers happy and b) your profit margin healthy.
2. When will you hit 'GO'?
Will you jump onboard the momentum of the actual day or go early to get the first dibs at your customer’s holiday wallet? Don’t forget sales on Shopify peaked at midday on Black Friday 2021, but do your due diligence to reference what worked or didn’t work in the past.
3. How will you reward your top customers?
Your loyal VIPs don’t want to be treated like your bargain shopper who doesn’t even know your brand name. Make sure you offer them something special to ensure they stay loyal this holiday season.
“During the sale, it's important to reward your most valuable customers with extra value during BFCM. A special VIP offer can be the differentiating factor between your brand and a competitor, so be sure to roll out the red carpet for your most valuable customers. This extra TLC can come in the form of a special offer, a deeper discount, exclusive bundles, free shipping, or even just early access to the regular sale.” - Logan Edgelow, Director of Growth Strategy at Kulin
4. How will your store differentiate between Black Friday and Cyber Monday?
How you determine the market positioning for your sale, will help you drive your audience to either your BF sale, your CM sale, or a sale named to suit your brand - that just so happens to land on BFCM weekend.
5. What is already working?
Measure what’s already getting you conversions. Consider: - the pages that are driving traffic, - where your customers are coming from, - the CTA’s, and - how customers behave before checking out.
Then, optimize those pages and improve the ones that aren’t performing.
Our tips to a successful BFCM in 2022
1. Ensure the onsite experience is seamless
Let’s assume a segment among your Black Friday cohort has been to your site multiple times, wish-listed, and bagged what they’re going buy-buy-buy as soon as you give the green light. They’ve made up their mind! The onus is on you to ensure your checkout is so frictionless, that not even grandma would call you up to complete her purchase.
Importantly, Mike Belasco, CEO of Inflow, advises against testing any major site experience changes during this time of year. “But you can always consider adding easy seasonal elements to your menus, highlighting gift-giving options (like wishlists and product recommendations), and emphasizing scarcity and urgency with live inventory numbers and shipping deadlines,” he recommends.
Multichannel cart continuity is another essential onsite element to build into your eCommerce strategy. This is when your customer may load their bag on mobile, but switch to desktop to complete their purchase (for security, visibility reasons, or what have you). Websites that fail to save users' carts between devices will come as a serious blow to your bottom line. Cart continuity eliminates the user’s need to add all the items to their cart again, to improve the user experience and increase conversions.
Your customer is lazy! Have 100 tabs open! Distracted easily! To decrease abandoned cart rates and maximize your revenue - and keep their eyes off Amazon - consider implementing the big wallets where many consumers already have their payment details locked and loaded. With PayPal, Amazon Pay, ApplePay, or GooglePay they’ll be done in a couple of clicks.
2. Optimize your store for mobile
As we get to the spendy-end of the year, with BFCM and holiday season on the horizon, you are guaranteed to miss out on valuable revenue if your site is not mobile-optimized.
A responsive mobile web design is key to keeping your hard-earned visitors from bouncing. We already know the uptick in mobile checkouts across the globe, so here’s your chance to capture those mobile holiday purchases and maximize your sales revenue.
And as Inflow's Mike Belasco reminds us, “Remember that almost half of online sales are made on mobile or tablet devices - so your web development team should analyze how your site displays on these screens to ensure important features aren’t lost or impossible to use.”
Be sure to refer to your real-time data and analytics to see how you can leverage certain attributes to personalize the experience for your user. Don’t forget to use a clear CTA, a detailed product summary, and include related products and upsells at the checkout.
Logan Edgelow at Kulin adds, “Make your purchase path easy to scan with content that educates and adds value at every step. The more clearly a user understands your product, its benefits, and your BFCM offer, the more likely they are to convert.”
The team at Kulin also suggests using 1:1 (square) images, descriptive product titles on your product pages and include the product category in the title in case there's any potential confusion between the image and title.
Most importantly? Don't be vague and force prospective customers to dig for answers.
3. Have your email flow ready to go
By this time of year, you have probably generated a world of insights you can use to your advantage in your email flow. This is not the time to try something crazy and new. Your email database comprises of your high-spending, most convertible shoppers, so don’t go scaring them off.
Take your best performers and use them as a template for your sale communications, and test well in advance to ensure they don’t end up in junk or spam boxes.
Given you have a variety of different buying personas for your sale, it would be wise to consider different emails for different segments. Such as:
Perhaps your VIPs get more exclusive messaging and first access to the sale?
Do you segment your database by the historical number of purchases made?
Perhaps you go by location, and drive them to geo-locational product?
Consider those who have never purchased before, and how you might address them.
Nick Flint, OMG Commerce’s Email Marketing Strategist suggests key email engagement techniques, like directing your database to gift-able collections (‘tis the season), or presenting an interactive size guide to reduce returns.
“For fashion brands, I like to be forward-thinking with the content,” Flint says. “What's the weather going to be in a month, and how can you guide their outfit decisions?”
To add excitement and exclusivity Flint suggests, “Add a keyword to your emails for October that they can text to opt-in for the best BFCM deals. For example, text "DEALS" to 12345 to get early access to our Black Friday sales. That way you can turn your email subscribers into SMS subscribers as well."
4. Implement your ad strategy well before your sale
Ok, hard part alert.
If you’re an eCommerce manager who does all the things, including digital marketing, then you’ll know the trial and error of ad creation, updating your catalog and keeping up with Facebook/Meta, Mark, or whoever wants your ads to start doing backflips - is an eye-watering task.
And that’s just in your day-to-day. In sales periods, digital ad costs are significantly jacked, so what can you do? Keep calm and get in early.
Logan Edgelow of Kulin agrees, “It's critically important to get your ads approved and build out your campaign structure as early as possible to avoid any approval disruptions, as there are typically delays in the week leading up to BFCM.”
According to Meta’s 2022 Mega Sales Guide, the first objective for your ads before big sales is to start driving awareness. Edgelow says, “Purchase intent being at an all-time high during BFCM offers a unique opportunity to capitalize on cheaper alternate awareness channels ahead of time. Leveraging more affordable placements like TikTok or Instagram Reels to retarget during BFCM is the key to combating the inevitable CPM spike.”
Through automatic bidding to a broad audience, Meta claims that campaigns seen at least 1 or more times per week are 4x more effective at driving long-term sales.
Secondly, you’ll need to acquire new customers through dynamic ads. Meta recommends 6+ placements on carousel, reels, and stories and instructs a cost cap bidding strategy that can be used to gain customers with marginal profitability.
Meta again, pushes video creative, “leverage video to capitalize on discoverability via storytelling.” Going deeper, OMG’s Google Strategist Alan Cover instructs, “If you are running YouTube Top of Funnel ads, you should be collecting audiences for ‘viewed-video’. This will allow you to retarget those who have experienced your YouTube ads recently through Google Display, Discovery, Search Ads, Shopping PLAs, Performance Max and more YouTube content.”
This will ensure your sale communications are seen by a greater number of people, who are familiar with what you’re all about, and maybe have already purchased by the time your sale rolls around.
By getting ahead with data-driven email flows, a seamless website experience and mobile optimisation, your online store can truly enable the 2022 Black Friday Cyber Monday sale to be the most painless, and profitable yet. One that will set you up for a stellar holiday sale season.
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About the Author
Anna is a writer and journalist, with seven years experience in copywriting, digital marketing and eCommerce. Anna has worked with leading Australian fashion, beauty and lifestyle brands over the past seven years, including sass & bide, Sportscraft, and Peppermayo. She now runs her own freelance business, Papercut Copy, and will never not feel weird about writing her bio in the third person.