This year, inflation is forcing many shoppers to budget and strategize during the holiday season. In fact, a recent survey of Canadians showed that most are planning to start their holiday shopping earlier than usual in order to spread out costs.
For ecommerce businesses, this trend could mean more online sales during Cyber Week. The same study showed that 63% of customers are planning to shop on Black Friday, and 50% intend to take a look at Cyber Monday deals.
In other words, if you’re aiming to increase ecommerce sales, it’s worth making the most of Black Friday. It’s an opportunity to generate online sales, make new fans, and strengthen bonds with existing customers.
In this article, we’ll go through the key steps to boost your ecommerce sales this Black Friday.
Step 1: Define your goals
The road to a successful Black Friday campaign starts with setting clear and achievable goals.
Whether you’re a seasoned ecommerce store or just starting out, defining your objectives early will help you make confident decisions and measure your success later on.
Start by looking at your historical online sales data. Analyze previous Black Fridays and other high-sales periods to identify patterns and trends. This information will help you set realistic revenue targets for the upcoming Black Friday.
Consider both short-term and long-term goals. What are your one-day revenue expectations, and how do they align with your annual revenue objectives? Setting Black Friday targets that fit into your broader financial strategy is essential.
Keep in mind the competitive landscape. Research your industry and competitors to understand the market potential and set your revenue targets in a way that outperforms your peers.
Customer loyalty and acquisition goals
Black Friday isn’t just about making more sales; it’s also a valuable opportunity to strike a balance between acquiring new customers and strengthening your relationship with existing ones.
When setting customer acquisition goals, think about the number of new customers you want to attract, the cost per acquisition (CPA) you’re willing to incur, and the marketing channels you’ll use to reach your target audience.
But while reaching prospective customers is essential, don’t take your loyal customer base for granted. Setting objectives for nurturing and retaining existing customers is equally important. These could include targets for upselling, cross-selling, or encouraging repeat purchases.
Segment your customer goals to tailor your approach. You might have separate targets for first-time buyers, returning customers, and high-value clients. This will help you design more precise marketing strategies tailored to each group.
By investing in both new and old customers, you’ll not only expand your reach but also maximize the value of your loyal customers.
Step 2: Prepare your ecommerce store
Now that you’ve set goals, make sure your online store and operations are equipped to support them.
In 2022, Black Friday saw three times as many website visitors as an average day at the same time of year. You’ll need to make sure your ecommerce site can handle the extra attention.
This is a great time to do an audit of your site. Review everything that supports a smooth user experience, including product search and navigation, the accuracy of your product listings, and the ease of your checkout process.
Any issues with your website functionality, such as slow product page loading speeds, could be made worse by an upsurge traffic. On Black Friday, website visitors have high expectations, limited time, and plenty of options, so they’re not likely to stick around for a poor user experience.
Even if they complete the checkout process, they might come away with a negative impression of your ecommerce store, making them less likely to be loyal
Don’t forget about your mobile shoppers! In 2022, mobile purchases accounted for 51% of all Black Friday sales in the USA. Review your store’s app or mobile-responsive website carefully.
Inventory and fulfillment
Having too little, too much, or the wrong stock could seriously undermine your Black Friday efforts. Make sure your inventory management is in a good place well ahead of time. Here are the key things to consider:
Assess inventory levels – Start by identifying your best-selling products, seasonal items, and any new arrivals you plan to feature on Black Friday. Inventory management solutions like Breadstack can help you get a clear understanding of your current stock levels and product performance.
Stock up on high-demand items – Prioritize restocking high-demand and best-selling items well in advance. Anticipate which products are likely to be the most sought after during Black Friday and have ample quantities on hand to prevent stockouts.
Invest in safety stock – Consider building in a safety stock or buffer inventory to account for unexpected surges in demand. This buffer can help prevent out-of-stock situations and maintain customer satisfaction.
Tighten up your supply chains – Review your supply chain logistics and relationships with suppliers. Ensure that your suppliers are prepared to deliver the quantities you need on time.
Plan for storage and warehousing – Make sure you have adequate storage and warehousing space for the extra inventory. Keep your warehouse well-organized to speed up order fulfillment.
Evaluate packaging materials and shipping options – Ensure you have enough boxes, packaging materials, and shipping labels. Plan for efficient order processing and quick dispatch to avoid delays.
Monitor and replenish – Implement a system for real-time monitoring of inventory levels. To avoid being caught guard by unexpected demand, consider setting up automatic reorder points and alerts to restock products as they approach low stock levels.
By preparing for potential spikes in demand, you’ll create an ecommerce store environment that attracts and retains customers on and beyond Black Friday.
Providing excellent customer service during high-traffic periods is all about preparation. Customers may have extra questions about your promotions, return policy, gift options, or unexpected issues with your website or stock levels.
Train your customer service staff to handle a higher volume of inquiries, live chat messages, and calls. Meanwhile, make sure they’re well-versed in your policies and procedures.
To take some of the burden off your staff and make things easier for customers, update your website’s FAQ section and user interface text, along with the details on your social media platforms. Feature accurate information about shipping times, returns, and any Black Friday-specific promotions.
Step 3: Craft a marketing strategy
A well-executed marketing strategy is the engine that drives Black Friday success. Your approach should involve multiple marketing channels and tactics to reach and engage your target audience.
Key elements of your Black Friday marketing strategy include:
Email marketing – Build an email list for each customer segment, then design campaigns to build anticipation with personalized offers.
Social media promotion – Use social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to tease offers, share countdowns, and run targeted ad campaigns, creating buzz and excitement.
SEO and paid ads – Optimize your website for search engines and run paid ads to ensure your products are easily discoverable.
Content marketing – Use blogs, videos, and other content to educate and inspire your audience while showcasing your Black Friday deals.
A multi-pronged marketing strategy will maximize your reach, engage customers, and create excitement around your Black Friday promotions.
Step 4: Design irresistible promotions
Crafting irresistible discounts and promotions not only attracts shoppers but also makes them more likely to buy.
Plan discounts strategically
The goals you set in Step 1 should help you figure out how best to structure your discounts. Here are a few examples of ways to increase ecommerce sales on Black Friday.
Bundles and package deals – Bundle complementary products together and offer them at a package discount. This can entice customers to buy more.
Limited-time offers – Create a sense of urgency by featuring limited-time deals. Countdown timers and flash sales can drive immediate action.
Clearance sales – Consider offering deep discounts on clearance items to clear out old inventory and make room for new products.
Launch a customer loyalty program
Implement customer loyalty programs that reward returning shoppers with exclusive discounts, early access, or points they can redeem for future purchases.
Black Friday is also a great opportunity to kickstart a word-of-mouth campaign. Give thought to a referral program that offers discounts or incentives for successful referrals.
Offer free shipping and other perks
Entice customers with free shipping during Black Friday, especially for higher order values. Shipping costs are a significant factor for online shoppers.
Provide extra incentives like gift wrapping, extended warranties, or freebies with purchases to sweeten the deal.
Gamify to engage and reward customers
Gamify the shopping experience by introducing games, contests, or spin-the-wheel promotions. Customers can win additional discounts or prizes.
Reward customers for their engagement with your brand by offering exclusive deals for completing actions like leaving reviews, sharing products on social media, or subscribing to your newsletter.
Gamification deepens customer loyalty by creating a sense of progression and emotional investment. It can be an effective way to excite and retain customers.
Step 5: Analyze and follow up
After the Black Friday shopping frenzy, it’s crucial to conduct a thorough post-mortem analysis to gauge how well you met your goals and build on any new opportunities.
Analyzing sales data and performance – Dive deep into your sales data. Examine which products sold well and which strategies were most effective to increase ecommerce sales
Adjust for the future – Use your insights to fine-tune your overall strategy. Implement the lessons learned into your marketing, inventory planning, and customer service for upcoming sales events.
Follow up on customer relationships – Maintain engagement with the customers you acquired or nurtured during Black Friday. Encourage them to return for future purchases.
Prepare for future promotions – Black Friday is just the beginning of the holiday sales season. Make sure your business is ready for the next series of holiday events, and keep building on the momentum you’ve gained.
A springboard for growth
Black Friday is not just a day; it’s a chance for ecommerce businesses to gain momentum in customer acquisition, customer loyalty, brand awareness, and operations.
By following the five essential steps outlined here, you can do much more than just boost ecommerce sales for a single day.
You’ll build stronger customer relationships, put your strategies and processes to the test, and set the stage for year-round success.