In 2017, UK shoppers spent £3bn on Black Friday alone, and reports show that more and more consumers are heading online to get the best deals on Black Friday rather than shopping in store. The Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM) period is now one of the most important dates in the e-commerce calendar, and it’s no longer just a day event. Sales are being spread out over longer periods with businesses starting earlier and earlier each year.

To help in the run up to the big event, we’ve put together our top 9 tips to nail your sales this Black Friday.

1. Plan, plan and plan again

November will be here before you know it, and once it arrives shoppers will begin holding off on purchasing in anticipation of the better deals they could get on Black Friday. By mid-November most shoppers will already have a firm idea of where they want to shop to get the best deal, so think carefully about when you promote and launch your Black Friday offers. To ensure you’re at the top of shoppers minds when Black Friday comes around, it’s vital you start early and run a teaser campaign to build anticipation and encourage more sign-ups. If you don’t you could be risking precious revenue.

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2. Know your customers

‘What products are my customers most interested in?’, ‘Which channels do they use most?’, ‘Where should I be promoting my offers?’ These are all questions you should be asking yourself when planning your BFCM strategy. The more questions like this you can answer, the better you can target your Black Friday campaigns to maximise conversions. Think about where your customers browse online - is it Facebook, Instagram or Google? Perhaps it’s different for different customers. Customer journeys are no longer linear, so ensuring you’re targeting buyers in the right places is key.

3. Segment your audience properly

For your message to really resonate with your audience, it’s crucial that you segment your database. Moreover, for the best results you’ll need to undertake CRM data hygiene practices, cleansing your lists to remove any old, inactive buyers and reduce duplication. This is especially important in today’s post-GDPR world, where retailers are under scrutiny for their data handling management. Black Friday will be the first big retail event since the new regulations came into effect, so email lists should be fresh, starting from a clean slate. Once you’re confident with your data hygiene, create segments based on criteria, such as geo, demographic, past purchases, and repeat vs first time buyers to target different audiences. Today, consumers expect an individualised experience, and you’ll reap the rewards if you craft your message to each different audience.

4. Keep your offers fresh

Think carefully about your offers and how your customers perceive them. It’s important that you’re offering something of real value to your customers, otherwise you risk losing them to competitors. Even better, come up with different offers for different audiences so they’re truly targeted. Offers need to be compelling, yet simple enough for customers to understand. Don’t overcomplicate things. Plan your budgets, bearing in mind they should be significantly higher over this peak purchasing period, but remember to make sure your margins can handle whichever offers you choose to go for.

5. Get creative

Try new things with your campaign designs. Whether using emails or overlays or both, use a countdown timer to emphasise when deals are expiring, creating a sense of urgency to drive conversions. Consider adding animations to emails and overlays to engage with your customers. Present offers at different points throughout the user journey to maximise conversions. For example, technology can detect when a customer is about to leave a site, so take advantage of new technologies and offer customers something to entice them to stay and purchase with you.

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6. Optimise the online experience

Make sure your user experience is really simple, encouraging shoppers to progress through the customer journey. Test your promotions rigorously to ensure you’re using the most effective offer, visual and message that will resonate with your audience. Make sure your checkout process is streamlined, making it quick, easy and efficient. Remove any clutter and feature your best selling products at the top of the page. If a product is sold out, remove it from the site or offer to notify the customer when it’s back in stock. It’s also key to sync up your Black Friday and Cyber Monday campaigns so customers don’t hold off for deeper discounts on Cyber Monday. Have related but different strategies, and make it clear from the offset what your offers are going to be so customers don’t wait around in the hope something better will come along. To get the best out of this, build out flows for every customer journey.

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7. Make it multi-channel

Use multi-channel campaigns to build awareness and drive sales across different platforms, channels and devices. There are 23 billion connected devices in the world today, and it’s expected that m-commerce transactions will surpass e-commerce by 2019. With so much technology available at our fingertips, the number of digital touchpoints businesses can use to connect with their customers is growing, and businesses need to ensure they’re making the most out of every channel, and optimising campaigns for every device.

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8. Target abandoned baskets

On average, 75% of customers who start their baskets will leave without purchasing. There are many reasons why a customer might abandon their basket - they may have been distracted, pushed for time, not ready to purchase or maybe they found a better deal elsewhere. Whatever the reason, it’s important to remember that the initial interest was there, and there’s still opportunity to get that customer to convert. By sending a personalised basket reminder campaign, our data shows that you could convert on average 20% of those abandoned baskets, and mixing up your visuals for Black Friday will engage more customers.

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9. Connect your online and offline shopping experience

Black Friday was traditionally an in-store event, but in recent years we’ve seen a shift towards online shopping with £1.4bn being spent in online sales over the Black Friday weekend. So it’s important to think about how to connect your campaigns and initiatives online and offline. If a customer has already been in store to purchase something, you don’t want to email them about it later. Consider using loyalty programs and technology, such as beacons that can track a customer’s in-store journey, to join up online and offline. One example of how to connect online and offline can be found in UGG, who were placed 1st in Total Retail’s Top 100 Omnichannel Retailers report this year. They scored full marks for their ability to offer a shared cart across channels, and for their cross-channel loyalty program.

At Cloud IQ, we help clients on their CRO journeys, increasing conversion and reducing cart abandonment. If you want to learn more about proven techniques to boost your sales this Black Friday, or to speak to one of our conversion experts about how you can increase revenue by 8-16%, please get in touch.