Black Friday, that same old Black Friday! We heard all tales of Black Friday – the golden opportunity for merchants to increases sales or basically just dispose of slow-selling items FAST while maintaining fantastic relationships with customers. But Friday is not always that glorious. You know what the worst scenarios of this probably-turning-to-a-horror event are?
- You are buried alive in a pile of orders with out-of-control inventory and angry customers. Not to mention that unhappy shoppers are the worst when they decide on the final punishment of prolonging bad reviews.
- Or you just… kinda miss the chance to make any differences. It is competitive out there. Everyone is on the same mindset – crazy sales on everything! There is a possibility that your impressive 70% off tag becomes unnoticed.
Which one is worse: becoming overload with angry shoppers or having no customers at all? Don’t worry. With these simple tips, we assure you can enjoy the #SetandForget spirit to kick off this holiday shopping season!
I – Black Friday Survival Kit: What you need to prepare
It is totally reasonable to start preparing from now. Customers just don’t wait until Thanksgiving to start searching for products. In fact, they may spend time window shopping as early as October. Guess what, your competitors are probably planning sales campaigns right now.
1. Make sure your website is highly converted
Website optimization is no easy task for e-commerce merchants. Put the visual design work aside, you also have to make sure that the user experience (UX) is so good that visitors are quickly converted from shoppers to buyers. If you are extra tech-savvy, then you could do the job yourself. However, in case you are just a beginner (and you have no budget for a team of developers to create animations or games on web whatsoever), just take a look at below critical elements:
- Web loading time: 46% of shoppers have said they’ll never return to a slow website. You could lose customers due to heavy-image load or some slow plugins set up on the store. A quick recommendation is to use Compressor.io to cut down images and take a look at trustworthy apps that use the after-load system.
- Mobile priority: More than a billion dollars was generated in online sales from mobile devices in 2016. You may say your theme has already supported mobile access, but double-check! You could use apps like Mobile Converter to upgrade the website UX.
- Visual design: Visual doesn’t rank high in my list. But a website with great graphic design builds a more trustworthy impression of visitors. It is not just about beautiful experience, it is the best proof that you care about your customers, and you put every effort in your store.
2. Collect a massive database
Whether you are an e-commerce beginner or an online business master, you should first concentrate on collecting the database. The first step in your newsletter list expanding plan could be a simple call-to-action at the footer of your page, asking visitors to subscribe for future promotion details. This method sure works, but don’t forget social media. You can do better than leaving small icons to navigate customers to your fan pages. What is better, you ask? A pop-up offering 5-10% discount when shoppers share and like your social channels could do the trick (and with Beeketing’s Better Coupon Box app, you ask them to subscribe to your email list too!)
To reduce the chance of unimpressive shoppers leaving your site, you could use smart exit-intent coupon pop-ups. Hence whenever the shoppers hover their mouse near the tab bar, a friendly and yet fascinating coupon wins them back.
➤ In case you are wondering how to set up such coupon pop-ups, check out this article for reference: How to build massive email list (& social followers) with coupon popups
And you know what, this method could continue until and after Black Friday. The larger your community is, the more sales you would get.
3. Giving out early hints on social media
In e-commerce, the website is the classics, but your fan pages are the style. Why style? Social media allows you to have a more personal connection with both your current and future customers. Before you officially launch any events, you could leave hints or announcements for your social followers on the fan page.
Sephora released a quick update on Facebook about Black Friday while suggesting more reveals on Pinterest. Guess who got new followers on both above social channels?
Basically, this tactic helps you seed the shopping spirit in your customers’ minds. When Black Friday is coming near, customers are always planning out their wish-lists. What you do is just putting up yourself on the list, and remind them that they are valued. Or better, you could even help them plan by recommending exciting offers or holiday ideas.
4. Smart Promotions
Don’t just limit yourself by putting the “Seasonal sales” tag on every single item. We understand it is a common tactic for every e-commerce business owner, not to mention such kind of promotion is highly desirable to most shoppers. The problem is how to get the best out of it.
- Cross-sell relevant products with bundles: Giving out offers on product combinations is a smart way to raise the average order value. So instead of putting only one product on sale, you could create discounts for the bundles. And it actually can increase the customers’ satisfaction also if you come up with some useful ideas. For example, who would resist an interesting discount on a portable charger when they buy a phone?
- Up-sell higher-end items: It works amazingly in sale season. Just suggest shoppers upgrade their products with more premium versions. Basically, people tend to purchase when they sense extra benefits compared to the actual order value. So the trick here is if everything is on sale, buy more is actually save more.
- Utilize the price game to sell even more products: Basically, you give out incentives only for shoppers when their carts reach a certain amount of money. This way, customers are much encouraged to fill their carts with a broader range of choices. Importantly, it feels more like winning a reward than purchasing some sale off items. Customers would have much more engaging experiences.
And sometimes, you don’t need to board on the sale train at all! If you have decent revenues throughout the year, you can donate money to charities instead. It would be a good strategy for a branding campaign. However, if you are looking out for profits, make sure to check out Boost Sales app for your store (it sounds biased, but this app could help you create smart offers effortlessly).
II – Enjoy the Sales Season like a Pro
Now you have a set of Black Friday survival tools: a functional website, a long subscriber list, a well-cared fan page, and some exciting promotion ideas. You are ready to set the campaign and enjoy the holiday season. In fact, yes, you can actually stay away from the working-ass-off merchant crowd to sit back and relax (while still getting more revenues!)
So what to do on Black Friday?
1. Maximize the conversion rates
After all the hard preparation, your effort pays off when customers add some items to their carts. But then, they leave within a blink and possibly never come back. Almost 70% of shopping carts are abandoned in e-commerce, which means you are probably losing 70% of your revenue. No matter how large your sale amount is, there are various reasons for the clients to reject your temptation. So the question is, how to win them back?
Create a sense of scarcity
Retail chains like Target or Walmart needn’t care much about scarcity. People would just queue in lines in front of their stores anyway. But what if you have no brick-and-mortar stores, or worse, you are just starting out your business? Easy. You could shout out “Hurry up, my products are almost out of stocks!” through apps like Countdown Cart. So with this app, whenever the shopper accesses a product page, a progress bar will show up announcing the how serious the situation of inventory is. Then after a few seconds, a small notification pops up revealing many people are having an eye on this particular product.
Give out extra incentives on check out cart
Sensing the scarcity of your products, the shoppers decide to put some of your items in their carts. Then what? Unfortunately, there is still a great chance that they would abandon their carts and explore some stores else. So why don’t you take action even before the second thought sparkle in their minds? You could give out even more offers at their check-out cart. The key here is time.
This countdown clock offer is created by Checkout Boost app. Besides countdown timer, it also allows checkout share on social media or exit-intent offers.
So when the customers add some products to cart but refuse to check out, a pop-up offering free gift in limited time would immediately trigger the shoppers to proceed their purchasing process. The clock is counting down, your customers would have 2 options whether to check out now or to be in rush browsing more products before the time runs out.
Okay, let’s face the truth that they may feel that your promotion is not that tempting. Well, some picky shoppers would just refuse your gift and leave instead. But it’s not too late since we could remind them of the carts with email automation.
2. Take care of buyers with email automation
Email marketing remains as one of the most effective marketing tools for online business owners. What emails can do is not limited to announcing Black Friday promotions to customers. This method of communication nourishes the relationship between owners and shoppers, then encourages customers to purchase. You could send emails to:
- Welcome customers: say hello and wish them a happy shopping time in the sale season! Emails like this could be automatically sent with apps like Happy Email. Whenever new customers sign up on your web or purchase something from your store, a sincere thanks would fly to their inbox in 30 minutes. You could even send out small discount codes for next purchase to polish the first impression and build a trustworthy relationship. The best thing is, it encourages them to re-purchase efficiently!
- Remind the abandoned carts: Whether they are having eyes on other sale-off products from your competitors or just forgetting their ready-to-checkout carts, a friendly reminder email could bring them back.
- Personalize recommendations: The best part is you can use emails to suggest best-fit items to customers due to their browsing behaviors and sales history. For example, if you are selling pet accessories, apps like Mailbot could use artificial intelligence to recommend cat stuff to cat-owners. Obviously, if the customers keep browsing in the cat category, it is not likely they are raising a dog.
All those kinds of emails could be scheduled and sent automatically. So what you need to do is just drafting some template but yet personal emails for Black Friday promotion campaigns, then enjoy your day.
3. Real-time customer services
Customers may expect faster responses on Black Friday. Make sure that you check your social inbox and mentions frequently, in case your shoppers are having technical issues or questions about your products or policies.
Or better, you could try adding live-chat app on your website. Apps like Quick Facebook Chat connect your Messenger inbox with your store website. Hence you could even work on your phone without looking at the computer all day. To save time, you may also prepare yourself some templates for frequently-asked questions.
But before adding any app, also make sure that your website has every necessary information a customer may need like check-out instruction or pricing policy. It is a good idea to add an FAQ page to your store, or even Black Friday specific FAQ!
4. In case the customers are unhappy
Things could go wrong any day, but it would be worse on Black Friday. After all, if you cannot handle your services well during such a competitive time of the year, it would leave a much worse impact on the shopper’s experiences.
So the quick solution is first sending out a sincere apology for any inconvenience customers have. Then you could generously offer discount codes to calm down angry customers and win their trust back.
III – Are you ready for the Black Friday?
Even though you must have heard all those horrors of Black Friday: the crowd of people fighting or terrified merchants trying to keep things in place. However, it is not as scary as you think.
The key is all about preparation.
Stay in touch with customers. Make sure you are highly visible. Optimize all those kinds of automation and you can enjoy the holiday season with ease, just #setandforget.