October 22, 2020

How To Prepare Your E-Commerce Store for Black Friday & Cyber Monday

Cyber Monday is more like Cyber Fun-day when you and your team are ready for the influx of sales. Cyber Monday and Black Friday are right around the corner, and this year, you can expect more than 165 million shoppers to be spending money and searching the internet for the best deals.

This year, more than ever, it’s essential to prepare your e-commerce business before the rush begins. The biggest retailers in the U.S. are locking their doors on Thanksgiving Day, which means they are turning their attention towards capturing more online sales. This means even more competition for shoppers, so getting it right and starting early matters.

Last year, sales for Black Friday were 334% higher than a normal day in sales. As for Cyber Monday, sales topped 330% of an average day for most retailers. We can expect these numbers to prove true this year as well, with a great emphasis on online shopping and sales. 

When Should You Begin Your Black Friday Prep?

Photo by Shopify Partners from Burst

The earlier the better is the key to e-commerce success for your Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. 54% of shoppers begin planning their Black Friday shopping in early October.

In fact, 12% of Black Friday bargain hunters begin looking for deals in summer. This means that if you’re wondering if it’s time to begin Black Friday and Cyber Monday prep, the answer is a resounding “Yes!”

How Can You Begin Prepping for Black Friday and Cyber Monday Now?

1. Begin Your Email Marketing Campaign

E-mail remains one of the most effective ways to draw customers into your e-commerce store. While it may come as a surprise to you, email marketing remains 40% more effective than social media marketing. This means crafting an effective e-mail campaign can get you onto Black Friday shoppers’ radars and can solidify that spot as the busiest shopping weekend of the year approaches.

When creating your e-mail campaign, be sure to catch your audience’s attention without running the risk of being quarantined to the spam folder. Be sure you play to your biggest strength: Knowing your customers.

  1. Personalize your emails to address your customer by name.
  2. Use shopping history to tailor deals to your customers’ tastes and interests.
  3. Offer exclusive deals to existing customers.
  4. Allow customers early access to deals and previews of sales.
  5. Don’t just sell to your customers. Provide them with valuable information regarding your niche.

Not only will personalizing your emails make your customers feel valued, but it will endear you to them long after Black Friday has passed.

Make your email marketing better than the competition’s. Always check-in with your brand message, tone, and mission. Your competition may lose sight of brand consistency—don’t fall into the same rut during the Black Friday holiday. Consumers want to buy from brands they trust. A sudden shift in tone or message can lead to consumer distrust. Keep in mind that humor, compassion, and friendliness will help your business stand tall among other e-commerce shopping options.

2. Use Your Social Media as a Marketing Tool

Making your social media posts stand out isn’t always easy. You want your content to earn your e-commerce brand likes, shares, comments, and follows. So, what’s the secret to standing out in the sea of social media?

  • Always use high-quality photos of your products.
  • Be authentic. Your posts need to be more than just advertising.
  • Write captions that are captivating. People love the ‘got ya’ effect on social media.
  • People love Instagram freebies — you will love increasing your social media impressions, follows, and sales.
  • Build suspense by dropping hints about Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals
  • Put your best deals forward when Black Friday arrives
  • Use a countdown to Cyber Monday campaign to hype your brand before the holiday
  • Don’t forget your link in bio or to link to your site via Facebook

3. Keep Your Site Ready for High Volumes of Traffic

Don’t. Let. Your. Site. Crash. Having your site go down on Black Friday or Cyber Monday is your worst-case scenario. Black Friday shoppers may want deals, but they do not want to wait for them. Your website needs to be ready to get your customers in-and-out quickly and function flawlessly. 

Even big retailers see sales drop when website response time slows down. Nordstrom saw an 11% drop in sales when their website response time slowed by just half a second. 62% of shoppers aren’t willing to wait more than 3 to 5 seconds for a page to load, so be sure your website is prepared for spikes in traffic.

While you’re troubleshooting your website be sure to streamline your checkout process, as well. Most shoppers jump ship if the checkout process is too laborious or takes too long.

4. Invest Your Time in Mobile Optimization

Photo by Shopify Partners from Burst

Mobile transactions reached $3 billion last year on Cyber Monday. And in 2020, we expect even more e-commerce will be completed on mobile devices. COVID has pushed more consumers to shop using their mobile devices, which leads us to predict record-breaking numbers of Cyber Monday mobile shoppers this year.

The first step you will want to take is to ensure your entire site, including the checkout process is mobile-optimized.

Then, decide if creating a mobile app for your shop is right for your business. Having an app can be a great way to make shopping easy for customers and puts you on their screen in one more way.

5. Use Multi-Channel Selling

Multi-channel selling allows you to cash-in on the success of Amazon and other large e-commerce platforms. Cyber Monday is practically synonymous with Amazon, so why not meet your shoppers where they go, anyway? Listing your products on Amazon can boost your Cyber Monday sales, especially if you list as a Lightning Deal. If you are planning to list with Amazon and use their Fulfilled by Amazon option, you will want to do so ASAP. It takes about 2 to 3 months to prep inventory and ship it to their warehouse before it can go live.

Walmart is also a major player when it comes to Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals. Selling on Walmart Marketplace can get your products in front of millions of shoppers. You can also store your inventory in Walmart fulfillment centers and use their fulfillment services to pack and ship goods to your customers.

6. Aim for Customer Retention

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the first step in maximizing your e-commerce business’s revenue. Yes, Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals will generate mind blowing sales, but you also want to sustain higher sales numbers beyond the holiday season. Generating a loyal customer base that returns to shop at your store in the future not only increases your sales but increases your revenue. This is because return customers save you advertising money.

Before Black Friday gets any nearer:

  • Evaluate your return policy—the easier the policy, the likely customers are to buy from you (and buy, again).
  • Update your website to have a FAQ page—customers don’t want to wait to find solutions or answers, enable them to help themselves and they’ll be happy.
  • Increase your customer service staff and standards.
  • Encourage customers to sign up for your loyalty program.
  • Include paperwork directing customers to your website or to directly emailing your company when you list on Amazon or Walmart Marketplace.

Stay in the Black this Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Beyond

Photo by Thom Bradley from Burst

The Black Friday holiday is rapidly approaching, but don’t panic. With effective and prompt planning your e-commerce business will ride the revenue wave. Seller’s Choice can give your business the push it needs. We’ve helped businesses prepare for Black Friday and Cyber Monday for years. With our expertise in digital marketing, Amazon solutions, along with web design and development, you will see results without the worry. Contact us to find out how we can help your business soar.

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