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A 13 Point Checklist To Ensure Your Brand Is Black Friday And Cyber Monday Ready

Black Friday and Cyber Monday (AKA BFCM) may be months away, but the hype has already begun, with reports on where consumers can find the best deals gathering pace. But consumers aren’t the only ones who should be preparing, brands should be too. Because the earlier and more prepared they are, the better they’ll perform during this massive eCommerce event, which is getting bigger every year.

According to Adobe, in 2017, US$5.03 billion was spent online on Black Friday in the US (up 16.9% YoY), and US$6.59 billion on Cyber Monday (up 16.8% YoY). This upward trend is also borne out in our own ChannelSight data, which shows a YoY increase in retailer traffic of 275% on Black Friday and 198% on Cyber Monday.

There’s no denying the wealth of opportunity BFCM represents. But capturing it requires careful, considered and informed strategizing. Our latest eBook, ‘9 Ways Your Brand Can Win Black Friday And Cyber Monday’ details exactly how you can do this, and we’ve also put together this handy little 13-point check-list to boot!

1) Start Early

It’s never too early to start preparing for BFCM. According to the National Retail Federation, 40% of holiday shoppers start researching and buying as early as October, and all the big retailers are offering deals earlier each year too.

So, your BFCM 2018 campaigns should be well advanced by now. Don’t be afraid to start building hype around your sales. Tease consumers via emails and social media with sneak peaks of discounts to come.

2) Be Prepared

BFCM is a huge online shopping event, and you need to plan for all eventualities. Ask yourself questions like, ‘can our website handle a surge in traffic?’, ‘are our suppliers prepared for a jump in orders?’, ‘is our inventory stocked for increased demand?’, and put contingency plans in place just in case.

3) Have At Least One Jaw-dropping Sale

Have a ‘door-buster’ sale on one or more of your most popular products to attract consumers to your eCommerce store. Once there, it’s likely they’ll grab more deals as they progress to check-out.

Amazon ran a selection of deep discounts last year that saw it come out the biggest winner of BFCM 2017, with the Echo Dot being its best-seller overall.

4) Create A Sense Of Urgency

Consumers expect scarcity on products during the holiday season. Up the ante here by working in urgency here and there with language such as ‘limited quantity remaining’, as this can have a powerful effect on sales — a report by Experian found emails with this have at least 14% higher click-to-open rates compared to average marketing emails.

5) Think Mobile First

Mobile was the star of BFCM 2017, with more consumers than ever using their phones to grab deals. This is representative of the wider move to mobile, and is down to continued optimizations on the platform, with the larger retailers in particular making the mobile path to purchase ever smoother.

So, this BFCM, make sure your brand has a mobile-first mentality where purchases are quick, easy and intuitive.

6) Have An Omnichannel Presence

As the lines between physical and digital blur further, more holiday shoppers are hunting for bargains online and in-store, often on mobile, while in-store. Then there are those researching online and buying offline, a trend known as ROBO.

So, ensure you have an omnichannel presence this BFCM. One way of doing this is with ChannelSight ‘Where to Buy’ technology, which seamlessly blends digital and physical, showing consumers where they can buy products online and offline.

7) Ensure Your Social Strategy Is On Point

According to SaleCycle, social media is the most important channel for Black Friday promotion, with 29% of retailers rating it as their top channel. So, prioritize your brand’s social strategy this BFCM.

While it’s important to get as creative as possible to stand out amid all the online noise, you’ve got to get the basics right first. Here are the steps to take:

  1. Choose the most engaged channel/s
  2. Define your goals and metrics for success
  3. Created dedicated landing pages
  4. Time your posts strategically

8) Don’t Neglect Email

Email is as important during BFCM as it is year-round. Last year, Shopify found it had the highest conversion rate at 4.29%, while SaleCycle found it was the second most popular way of promoting BFCM campaigns, with Black Friday emails outperforming business as usual emails by 52.5%.

But don’t use it purely to acquire new customers. Use it to retarget and (up)sell to current and/or legacy customers too. You should also strongly consider setting up cart abandonment emails to bring easily distracted holiday shoppers back to check-out to complete their purchase.

9) Target Millennials

Millennials are big spenders during BFCM (the NRF found they comprised 45% of shoppers during BFCM 2016), so ensure you have campaigns that resonate with this demographic.

This includes the likes of online reviews and social media, video content (shoppable video in particular is enjoying a moment, as per our previous blog), and influencer marketing.

10) Offer Same-day And Free Delivery

According to Dropoff, 78% of holiday shoppers are more likely to buy where same-day delivery is offered, while Salesforce reported that 85% of holiday orders they tracked last year offered free delivery.

So, if your budget allows, offer same-day and/or free delivery on all your BFCM orders this year. You can also use ‘Where to Buy’ technology to give consumers the option to purchase your product from partner retailers such as Amazon that offer a variety of attractive shipping options.

11) Leverage The Power Of Retailers

The superstar retailers dominate BFCM, and, unsurprisingly, Amazon is top dog. Indeed, last year, 55% of all online transactions on Black Friday were on Amazon, while Cyber Monday was its single biggest shopping day ever. Walmart, Best Buy and Target were among other big retailers reporting strong figures.

The smart strategy here for brands is to partner with these retailers rather than try to beat them, and ChannelSight’s ‘Where to Buy’ technology provides the perfect solution, as it gives consumers the option to buy from your brand site, or that of their preferred retailer.

12) Deliver Customer Service Excellence

BFCM will be one of your busiest periods, so ensure your customer service team is ready. They need to be easily and readily accessible, with quick, courteous, respectful responses, even if a customer is rude and/or impatient. You should also consider integrating live chat on your store to prevent people leaving your site if they don’t get help quickly enough.

13) Offer Hassle-Free Returns

BFCM shoppers are more stressed and rushed than at other times of the year. Offering hassle-free returns makes their lives easier and may also be the deciding factor on a purchase. For more information on this, see our guide to devising a stellar eCommerce returns policy.

For all the expert advice you need on getting the most from BFCM, download our eBook, ‘9 Ways Your Brand Can Black Friday And Cyber Monday 2018’ here. And to learn more about how ChannelSight ‘Where to Buy’ technology can drastically improve your eCommerce endeavors all year ‘round, contact our team today.

Global Brand Consultant 

Mark GilroyA 13 Point Checklist To Ensure Your Brand Is Black Friday And Cyber Monday Ready