Your Black Friday Game Plan: 13 Tips to Drive E-Commerce Sales This Season

black friday

The days from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday capture some of the highest volume of holiday shopping, save for the Saturday before Christmas. And this year, there are no signs of sales slowing down. According to the National Retail Federation, holiday retail sales during November and December are expected to increase around 4% over 2018 to the tune of $730 billion, with up to 20% of online sales occurring on Black Friday through Cyber Monday. For many e-commerce businesses, this period is one of the most important opportunities to drive some serious sales and revenue for 2019.

No pressure, right? Don’t worry, we’ve got you. Check out our 13 tips below for how to have your best Black Friday and Cyber Monday ever.

Part One: Get prepared.

  1. Understand and segment your audience. A one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t really work in marketing—and Black Friday promotions should be no exception. You’ll want to personalize your advertising and promotion strategy according to your different audiences as much as possible. Someone who has purchased from you before and is an existing customer, for instance, should be messaged to differently than someone who hasn’t decided if they want to buy from you yet. The offer should reflect whether they trust and return to your brand, or need a little extra nudging to come over the fence.
  2. Evaluate last year’s performance. As with any measure, evaluating historical performance data can help you understand what your offer positioning should be. If you had a stellar Black Friday last year, you don’t need to re-invent the wheel and come up with a whole new approach for 2019. Build on what worked. As an added benefit, it could become an annual tradition that your customers remember, expect, and look forward to. Alternatively, if you didn’t see much success last year, drill down on where you think you could’ve improved. Did you need to do more promotion leading up to the sale? Was the offer confusing or difficult to execute? Knowing what you want to do differently this time around will inform your game plan moving forward.
  3. Get your pixels, UTM parameters, and conversion goals set up. Make sure you’re fully set up to track and measure performance from this year’s sale. Understanding your traffic, email engagement, bounce rates, and conversion rates is crucial for you to gauge how successful your promotion, pricing, and offer is for your audience. Invest in unique tracking numbers to know exactly which marketing channels are driving results during your Black Friday/Cyber Monday campaign and ensure that data translates across your organization with our Shopify, Google Ads, and Analytics integrations.
  4. Make sure your site is mobile-optimized. During last year’s busy holiday shopping season, a third of all online purchases came from smartphone users, with 40% of Black Friday sales coming from mobile devices. Ensure your website works well on mobile devices and bake testing out mobile into your QA process for launching the promos on your site. Your navigation to the offers should be easy and clear, with a one-touch CTA.
  5. Train your team on how to handle increased volume. Increased sales and site traffic means more support and sales contact. Empower your team to handle the holidays with confidence by setting up custom teams and queues for managing inbound calls or chats. You can also revisit call recordings to help train team members on how to handle common questions or concerns. If you’ll have team members working from home during the holiday, make sure they’re set up with the CallTrackingMetrics softphone so they can easily answer calls and provide support from anywhere.

Part Two: Build excitement.

  1. Refine your offer. If you’re anything like us, your email inbox on Black Friday is a whole mess of crazy. With customers receiving upwards of a hundred emails in one day (with multiple iterations from the same brand), it’s critical that your offer stands out and makes an impression. Be unique. Think creatively about what will be most enticing for your customer, and what you can offer that would stand out from the competition. Going back to personalizing for your unique audience types, what do you think will be most valuable to a new customer versus a repeat one? Consider offering expedited shipping or getting an additional item for free if you purchase a certain quantity, etc. You can also run limited-time deals throughout the day, such as extra-good deals before noon, or a 1-hour flash sale that includes an add-on for loyal rewards members. Also consider how you may want to alter or revive the offer come Cyber Monday. Just remember to keep it simple, clear, and concise so that customers aren’t confused about what they’re getting, immediately understand the value, and feel inspired to act.
  2. Get the word out early. Start building momentum and excitement up to 45 days prior to Black Friday. You can start sharing teaser ads all across social media or send out a “Black Friday preview” flyer or dedicated landing page over email. Consider putting a countdown widget on your site and Instagram stories so that customers know they have something to look forward to with your brand.
  3. Create scarcity. Build in natural demand for your promotion by offering only a limited quantity. For example, the first 100 people to shop get an extra add-on — then, it’s gone.
  4. Leverage social media. Get the word out and create momentum through all of your social channels. Vary your strategy by channel; an Instagram story, for instance, is a great place to give flash sneak peeks of deals exclusive to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, or to re-share images of influencers using your products and mention a deal is coming soon.

Part Three: Seal the deal.

  1. Monitor conversations and traffic. Throughout the day on Black Friday, keep an eye on performance so you can understand where you may want to refine your strategy for Cyber Monday. CallTrackingMetrics real-time reporting shows the volume of customer contact, where calls are coming from by channel/campaign, your return on ad spend, and how all of this varies throughout the day.
  2. Target qualified leads through scoring/keyword spotting. Understand the quality of conversations you’re having with customers who are contacting you using tools like call scoring (to indicate a sale) and keyword spotting, which allows you to isolate words spoken on a phone call, such as “Black Friday.” This data empowers you to narrow in on qualified leads to understand which channels are driving more qualified traffic, as well as contacts you may want to target with follow-up messaging.
  3. Leverage text messaging to follow up on abandoned carts. Set up a trigger in your CallTrackingMetrics account to re-engage customers who do not purchase or convert (based on tags or scores your team assigns) with a text message, inviting them to revisit your site or offer.
  4. Offer team incentives for generating sales. To help motivate your team to drive more sales, consider offering a team incentive for the agent who generates the most conversions over the phone. You can monitor this through scores as well as keywords mentioned on the phone and review call or chat metrics throughout the day.

With these tips, we’re confident you and your team will have a strong start to the holiday season. For further reading, check out our post on Surviving the Holidays: E-Commerce Edition!

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