Black Friday has undoubtedly become the major selling event for all merchants. It has reshaped the retail landscape as it shifted the dynamics towards the online world. To say the least, it redefined the shopping behavior, the top selling categories of products and the type of discounts.
“Online holiday shopping revenue in the U.S. was $126B in 2018” with record-breaking online sales reaching $6.2B on Black Friday alone!
Customers are at the cornerstone of this new retail foundation: they’re becoming more informed, demanding, and powerful. They’re looking for convenience, speed, and competitive offers.
For instance, it’s no longer enough for business owners to offer a random discount because competition is becoming more aggressive. Learning about the metrics mentioned above, understanding the best practices, and ultimately implementing them can give your business the holiday boost it deserves.
Black Friday Stats
There’s no wonder why some are calling it the “Billion-Dollar Holiday”, Thanksgiving weekend stretching from Thursday till Monday resulted in literally outstanding numbers throughout the years.
All things considered, mobile shopping is the biggest winner in 2018 with about 67% of digital traffic coming from smartphones, according to Forbes. It’s important to note though that desktop shopping still holds the highest conversion rates.
In relation to the previous paragraph, Instagram saw a huge surge in traffic - up by 73% to be exact - mainly because people were looking for the best deals. Additionally, social messages increased drastically (92%) during the last two months of 2017.
Tech gadgets were the most popular in 2018 especially products like Nintendo Switch, Beats, iPads, and Amazon’s Echo. The demand for accessories, toys, and apparel this time of year is also relatively high compared to other top selling holidays.
Discounts & Profitability
Nowadays, it’s clear that 20% to 30% discounts don’t attract the wanted attention. On this occasion, clients mainly look for deals exceeding 50%, even that is considered low by some standards. Don’t be surprised if you see 80% and 90% offers!
That said, it’s no longer advised to go for sitewide discounts since they’ve proved to be less beneficial than order-specific discounts.
A bigger order means more profit for you and a larger discount for your clients - everybody wins
Assuming your advertising costs are the same, here’s how you’d benefit:
Naturally, offering larger discounts will entice clients to buy more, you will end up making more money AND building consumer confidence - it’s obvious who’s the real winner here!
Preparing for Black Friday and the Holidays
Making the best out of these occasions requires specific planning. The following guidelines will surely come in handy and help you maximize your profit.
You’ve got a lot to do and on several fronts so the earlier you start, the better! Focus on raising awareness and advertising your deals using social media posts and ads, pop-up notifications, and even dedicated landing pages.
Additionally, it’s highly recommended to launch an email marketing campaign. It’s an effective way to create direct contact with your clients and push them to check out your holiday deals. Encourage them even more by adding a special promo code.
In 2018, 3.5 BILLION emails were sent on Black Friday. In comparison, SMS and push notifications did not exceed 106 million.
Your website will surely experience heavy traffic, especially during peak hours. That said, it’s necessary that your online store stays up and runs smoothly the entire time. Customers are also expecting a mobile-friendly shopping experience.
More importantly, a safe payment gateway is a must so consider investing in an SSL certificate, at least on the cart page.
Online & Social Media Ads
Making yourself heard is a big deal and you have to do it the right way to attract a larger audience. Social media ads are the best way to do so and they continue to make the headlines as one of the main ecommerce trends. Don’t hesitate to post on every platform but focus on Facebook and Instagram.
It doesn’t stop there though, you should keep engaging your clients even when they’re on your website. A good idea would be to keep displaying your best deals using promotional banners.
You might not be able to avoid all issues but this goes beyond quick and responsive problem solving capabilities. A truly awesome customer experience should involve live chat support to tackle complications as they arise.
Almost 56% of men and 49% of women are likely to regret a purchase
Return & Refund Policy
The holidays are an exceptional time and you should treat them as such by making your policies more “understanding” and easygoing. Studies have shown that almost 50% of consumers regret buying one of their products so make sure it’s easy for them to return it in case they want to. Small tricks like this one can go a long way!
A free shipping service is definitely a game-changer! It’s an efficient way to attract customers, avoid abandoned carts at checkout, and more importantly, sell more.
Some retailers try to avoid it since they don’t want to pay the shipping fees themselves. However, they can make it more profitable by setting specific conditions that will allow their customers to qualify for it. A good way to do so is by defining a minimum required purchase amount.
This will ultimately drive your clients to spend more so they could benefit from the free service. All things considered, you don’t have to do it all year long but consider offering it during the holidays.
Goals & Analytics
Definitive objectives are an integral part of every sales plan. Create a set of realistic (yet optimistic) goals and take the necessary measures to reach them. The key elements to consider here are:
- Source(s) and volume of traffic
- Conversion percentages
- Short and long-term goals
- Advertising channels
- Analytics tool
Creative Ideas & Promotions
You should always try to set yourself apart from the competition and the best way to do so is coming up with lucrative and beneficial deals.
Limited Time Deals
Remember those crazy 1-hour offers you hear at the supermarket? Their best feature is the sense of urgency they create. You can do the same thing on your website by adding a countdown on your best deals.
Promotional bundles are a cross-selling and up-selling technique and they shouldn’t be underestimated. A good idea to boost your sales is by putting together smart bundles containing complementary items which will make the original product irresistible. Throw in a helmet and protective gear with that bike, at a special price of course!
The perfect offer contains complementary or complimentary items
Gifts & Giveaways
Another way to increase the average order value is by offering to add a complimentary product to your client’s cart once they reach a specific purchase amount.
Get into the holiday spirit and give all orders above 200$ a small yet beneficial gadget like a power bank or a speaker. Encourage them by throwing in a free item that they might need. No one says no to free stuff!
Wondering what has contributed to Amazon’s great success? Personalized data-driven recommendations are another excellent sales technique that boosts cross selling.
Unlike promotional bundles, the client doesn’t have to buy all the items to benefit from the deal. This gives this feature a huge advantage over the bundles since you don’t have to offer a discount.
The product recommendation section smartly displays the most relevant products based on the customer's shopping behavior, past purchase history, most popular or trending products, most viewed products, and other important criteria. Simply put, it drives the customer to buy more.
Online stores have seen their sales leap by up to 75% thanks to Product Recommendations.
Games & Competitions
Believe it or not, you can make the shopping experience even more enjoyable by adding fun games and, more importantly, great rewards. There are numerous ways to do that, the easiest way though is a simple Q&A.
Beyond Black Friday
It’s understandable that Thanksgiving weekend can be overwhelming but don’t forget that it’s only the beginning of the holiday season. Christmas may still be a month away but it’s recommended that you start preparing right after Cyber Monday.
Take advantage of engaging with your customers on Black Friday to promote gift cards. For instance, you can promote this feature when sending the confirmation email of the Black Friday order.
Ultimately, work on building confidence in your brand since recurring customers are an important asset for every successful company.
Don’t forget that it’s not about buying a product anymore, it’s the shopping experience that makes your customers come back!
Ecomz is an award-winning ecommerce platform that allows merchants to create their dream store, manage it like a pro, grow it better and faster. It is the only solution that offers the ultimate shopping experience to customers thanks to an AI recommendation engine, a suite of advanced marketing apps, and innovative multi-channel capabilities.
Ecomz operates in more than 55 countries, serving more than 7,000 merchants helping them generate over $50M in sales. Named 2018 Top 5 B2B website by Seamless Conference, 2017 Top 10 Business by ArabNet, Ecomz has also been recognized by Google, Disrupt San Francisco (TechCrunch) and MIT Silicon Valley Program for its achievements and has been awarded by the 2018 Touch Innovation Program (TIP) and BLC Bank’s 2018 Brilliant Lebanese Award (BLA).