Prep Your Store for the Best Black Friday (with Just 4 Tactics)
The holiday shopping season seems to creep up quicker than expected every year. It seems like as soon as the dust settles from one year, it’s time to start strategizing for the next. And when you look at the growth of the holiday shopping season alongside the rise of ecommerce, it’s no surprise why.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are still two of the biggest days of the year for ecommerce stores. In 2021, nearly 180 million people took to the shops over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, averaging over 300 bucks of purchases per person, which is impressive given the changes in the economy and the industry.
The coronavirus pandemic pushed more people to shop online instead of in-person, economic uncertainty was still a pervasive vibe in the US, and promotional models shifted in retail as a whole that extended holiday deals over months instead of concentrating them into just a couple days.
Despite the ebbs and flows of the shopping season and consumer behaviors, one fact remains—these are still the most popular shopping days of the year. Preparing for these events can involve months of stressful work, selecting and securing holiday offerings, ensuring adequate inventory to fill orders throughout the season, planning marketing campaigns, and updating your website. Simply making out your to-do list can take quite a bit of time (and look a lot like a CVS receipt by the end).
If that sounds overwhelming to you, you’re probably in good company. The good news is that preparing for holiday shopping doesn’t have to be so stressful (and it’s totally with it). Here are four easy tasks you can do now to reduce the stress, get prepared, and improve your Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and every-day-in-between ecommerce strategy this holiday season.
Step 1: Build up the Hype for Black Friday
Even though you have weeks to go before Black Friday, now is the perfect time to start building anticipation and making your brand everyone’s holiday shopping go-to. What can you do to create a Black Friday ecommerce strategy that will make your store a standout for shoppers?
First, look to the oldest tool of the trade—marketing. Set your sales goals for this holiday shopping season and start to map out tactics for how to meet them. If you want to sell 100 products on Black Friday, you have to plant that seed with your shoppers ahead of time.
You could start by polling your customers. Asking them about their gifting priorities or wish lists lets them feel heard, engaged, and piques their interest. Give them sneak peeks of this year’s hot items, post teasers on social media, and start creating mini ads to sprinkle in your email newsletters, social channels, and website popups or landing pages. (Need more creative ideas for Black Friday marketing? Check out these marketing ideas if you're hungry for more inspiration.)
Give potential customers a reason to get on your email list now, whether it’s with free giveaways, exclusive discounts, or exclusive access to products on your site. These marketing tactics don’t require a ton of techy know-how or time, and they’re effective for getting your brand on buyers’ radar.
The more excitement you build beforehand means your audience will be ready to shop and spend at your store first when Black Friday and Cyber Monday finally arrive.
Pssst! Remember to reward your loyal customers for shopping with an incentive to return even after Black Friday for more shopping and great customer experiences.
Step 2: Gird Your Email Marketing
Mildly related to the first step, this is more of a logistical task to tackle. Once your content is ready to launch, email marketing is your rocket ship. Don’t be caught off guard—prepare your email strategy now.
Don’t wait until it’s time to send the Black Friday announcements only to hit a glitch or snag that keeps your emails out of shoppers’ inboxes. Check (and double-check) your links, your images, your email lists and segments, and your CTA buttons. Make sure everything is working like a dream so that your Thanksgiving is full of more time with family and less time putting out email fires.
Now is also a great time to dig into any email marketing insights you’ve gathered since the last holiday shopping season. Did you get any customer feedback you can use to tweak emails and make them more effective? Which subject lines had the most impact? Was button color a deal-breaker? What types of A/B or split testing have you conducted?
Even minor changes can mean big jumps on open rates, click-throughs, traffic, and conversion, so consider all the details before deploying emails to your entire list.
Nearly half of online merchants don’t bother to test their email campaigns before big sends. If you’re new to A/B testing, here’s an easy step-by-step tutorial to get you started with split testing and help you improve your Black Friday ecommerce strategy and sales this year.
Step 3: Set up Some Enticing Landing Pages
Engaging. Intriguing. Alluring. Irresistible. Those are all adjectives you wanna achieve with your Black Friday and Cyber Monday landing pages, and the good news is that they’re a relatively low lift for ecommerce merchants to set up.
Landing pages are an increasingly vital component of ecommerce shopping, and especially effective ones can reap a 10% conversion rate. When was the last time you landed on an online store that didn’t greet you with a well-timed pop-up offering you a discount or special in exchange for your email address or phone number?
Encouraging customers to join your email marketing list gives you added opportunities to nurture their loyalty and ask for their business. To make the most of landing pages at this time of year, direct customers to special Black Friday or Cyber Monday deals, limited-time specials, and bundle buys. You might even consider creating a bit of FOMO with exclusive deals just for those days, including buy-it-now deadlines, customer loyalty rewards, and countdown timers.
Creating landing pages doesn’t have to be hard work. If your email provider doesn’t already offer landing page templates, consider platforms like Mailchimp and Leadpages. They offer flexible plans that enable you to easily design, schedule, and launch landing pages in hardly any time at all. And with their fast integration and big libraries of templates, you don’t have to lean on your tech or creative teams too much.
If you’re new to landing pages, consider creating some early test pages as part of your pre-season promotions. Offering customers an opportunity to “test the waters” and see how great your ecommerce store is well before the holiday can not only help you become the ace of landing pages, but also be a key part of your early holiday promotions, getting your name out, and creating a shopping buzz.
Plus, don’t forget to optimize landing pages for mobile shoppers. Last year 71% of ecommerce purchases were made on a mobile device, as opposed to just 29% shopping from their desktop computers. In addition to viewing landing pages on your computer, test them on your phone and tablet—and have your trusted advisors, associates, friends, and even your mom try them on their mobile devices as well.
Step 4: Enhance the Gifting Experience Itself
In ecommerce, we’ve been made to believe that if the product shots are great, the button colors are tested, the copy is ace, and the ads are getting clicked, then the gift-giving experience will work itself out. People are buying products as gifts, right?
But when your shoppers have to figure out gifting logistics like gift notes, shipping details, and the last-minute scramble, the gifting experience actually isn’t so great for your customers. Imagine if you could erase that friction? Bust open the gateway to more gifts? And what if you could have more insight into what products are being purchased as gifts and how many of your shoppers head to your store as a gifting destination?
Thankfully, you don’t have to head to the drawing board right before the holidays. Instead, preparing a frictionless, thoughtful customer experience specifically built for gifting takes just a few minutes and a trip to the Shopify app store.
Make your customer’s gifting experience an unforgettably positive event by installing Zest gifting on your site. It’s a quick and easy install and having a “Send as a Gift” button right alongside your “Add to Cart” buttons will make you the holiday shopping hero.
Weaving Zest into your Black Friday and Cyber Monday ecommerce strategy will make buying from your site even more attractive to online shoppers. Shoppers can take advantage of your holiday deals, and they can send those gifts and thoughtful gift messages instantly via text, messaging app, or email. It’s a gifting experience sure to delight both giver and receiver with its ease of use for both brand and buyer.
Four Steps to a Knockout Holiday Season
This is the year to smash records and unwrap what your store can do during the holidays. These four to-dos will turn the spotlight on your Black Friday promos, benefits, and experiences not available with your competition.
Zest makes holiday shopping easy for both you and your customers. When you combine its features with your other holiday promotions you’ll be able to give people not just what they were looking for, but what they didn’t realize they needed until they saw it in your ecommerce store.
Having a creative and simple gifting solution for your customers will give you the leg up this holiday season, especially when they share with their friends how easy it is to shop with you.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are huge events and critical shopping days for nearly every online business. They can be huge for sales—and for stress if you’re not prepared. Implementing these four simple Black Friday marketing strategies can take little time and yield big benefits for your holiday ecommerce strategy this year.