Black Friday and Cyber Monday are almost upon us. But are you ready, as an eCommerce business, to take full advantage of these events? Hi, my name is Francisco, and I am the owner of Planet Marketing, a Digital Marketing agency. My company specializes in Facebook Ads, Google Ads and Remarketing. Over the years, I have worked with quite a number of eCommerce websites. I therefore, understand the challenges that they face, particularly on the back of the Covid 19 pandemic. In this article, I am going to;
What Should eCommerce Businesses Expect this Black Friday and Cyber Monday?
This coming Black Friday and Cyber Monday will be very different. It's something that I have previously written about. Covid 19 has pretty much changed the way through which people buy goods and services around the world.
Ecommerce businesses that hope to survive need to adapt to the times. Anyone that fails to do this will be leftout. But what does it mean to adapt to the times? Well, Covid 19 has brought about a number of peculiarities. The following are but a few of them;
- Social distancing means people are no longer willing to go out to do their shopping.
- Brick and mortar businesses are, therefore, under serious threat. To survive, they need to adapt to the times.
- Most established retailers are strengthening their online presences in view of these challenges. One only has to look at Walmart to understand what we are talking about here.
Ecommerce guide for Black Friday and Cyber Monday
Those are but a few of the peculiarities that businesses face in today’s operating environment. It’s clear; therefore that everybody needs to adapt to survive. I have previously talked about how restaurants can adopt eCommerce as a way of coping with the lock-down blues. The following are tips on how eCommerce businesses can effectively gear up for Black Friday and Cyber Monday;
1. Expect an influx of customers
This is something that we have already noted at the top. People have become rather unwilling to risk their lives by needlessly leaving their homes in the midst of the COVID 19 pandemic. That does not mean, however, that people have stopped buying altogether. Generally speaking, eCommerce sales have been inceasing over the past few months. In the United States, that translated into a 30% increase from Q1 to Q2.
In fact, the current environment presents a lot of opportunities for eCommerce businesses. You can expect to sale more this time around as people do their shopping on the internet. So, this is something that you need to bear in mind. The question to ask yourself is; “am I ready for the expected influx of sales.” If not, then you need to take steps to remedy the situation.
2. Take your marketing to Social Media
It may be true that eCommerce sales are expected to grow strongly this coming Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but don’t expect customers to spring out of nowhere. What you need to do is to go out there to tell people about your upcoming Black Friday deals. But where can you go? Which platforms are the best when it comes to marketing for eCommerce concerns? One place that you should focus on is Social Media. But Social Media has many facets.
Do Facebook Marketing
Facebook Marketing has really taken off over the past few years. This is one platform on which you really need to focus this coming Black Friday. I have already noted that I specialize in Facebook Ads. If you need help in this regard, feel free to get in touch with me. I will set you up in such a way that you get the most out of Black Friday and Cyber Monday! But how can you do Facebook Marketing for Cyber Monday and Black Friday?
Choose the Correct Campaign Objective
Effectiveness in Facebook marketing starts with getting your Campaign Objective right. You have 11 options in this regard. However, you can only choose one per Campaign. If your shop is based on any of the major eCommerce platforms that are out there, such as Shopify and Magento, you may wish to choose Catalog Sales as your Campaign Objective.
Check out my article on how to create Facebook Ads for Shopify Stores. I show you how to effectively upload your Catalog to Facebook. One thing that you need to do is to use Facebook Pixel. That’s Facebook’s version of remarketing, which I will talk about later in this article.
Get your audience targeting right
That’s important when doing Facebook Ads Marketing. Getting your target audience right determines the success or failure of your venture. Again, this is an area on which I can help you. One thing that I have noticed with Google Ads is that they can rather misplaced. It’s not unheard of for someone in Zimbabwe to get shown ads from the Philippines.
The good news about Facebook Ads is that this does not happen. You can narrow down your target audience to as specific a focus as is possible. That way, you can be sure that your eCommerce ads will be shown to the right people in time for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
3. Run Promos
People will be buying online this coming Cyber Monday and Black Friday, but will they be buying from you? You should never take things for granted. One thing that you need to acknowledge is that there are thousands of businesses out there, many of which are similar to yours.
That’s one of the major disadvantages of the internet age; it has made the entire world one small big place. It’s more than likely that you will be competition for the same customers with businesses in Bangladesh and in China. So, you really need to up your game to get the attention of your target audience.
One way of doing this is by running promos. If there is anything that can get you noticed, it's offering your customers something in return for their custom. We are all obsessed with freebies and promos. Offer something to people and they will respond positively.
4. Focus on Existing customers
The focus, for most business owners, is on acquiring new customers. It actually can become something of an obsession. You struggle so much to reach out to new clients that you forget that you have people who have already been buying from you. This is something that you should avoid at all cost.
Yes, it’s important for businesses to continuous acquire new customers. That’s how businesses grow. But it’s also important for them to do everything in their power to retain existing customers. That’s something that you should keep in mind this Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
We have already noted that you can use social media to reach out to new customers. You can also use social media to inform your existing customers about your upcoming promos and deals. However, you reach out to them, fact is your existing customers are probably one of your biggest assets. Research indicates that it can be up to 25% more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to make a sale to an existing client.
You already have an ongoing relationship with your current customers. They know you, and they don’t need that much convincing to get them to buy from you one more time. So, sweeten the deal for them to make sure that they keep coming for more.
5. Provide people with useful information via your blog
Most people set up their eCommerce stores and they assume that that’s the end of it all. Truth of the matter, however, is that no matter how kickass your store may look, you are going to need some help from Google and other search engines to make it grow. But how does this work?
Well, one important eCommerce tip for this coming Black Friday and Cyber Monday is to produce content that’s related to the events. In our case, we have produced this article on the quintessential eCommerce guide for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
You can see based on the title that we are trying hard to capture people’s attention. So, your eCommerce store would be incomplete without a blog. That’s how you get noticed by Google. But what can you write about on your blog?
There is actually no end to the kind of content that you can produce for your eCommerce blog. You can write articles about some of the products in your catalog. Eg, if you sell shirts, you can write an article on the “10 best shirts for men: Black Friday Edition.”
It’s important when writing to make sure that you do keyword research. Try to answer the questions that people have been asking online. And your answers do not need to be limited to blog posts. You can produce video clips featuring helpful tips. You can also go to Instagram to exploit the visual element. The aim is to make sure that your brand is visible. And you can only be visible if you write with both your customers and search engines in mind.
6. Train your eCommerce Support Staff to be Ready for Black Friday and Cyber Monday
Earlier on we talked about focusing on existing customers. One thing to note is that Support is essential as far as retaining a customer is concerned. If a person thinks you are ignoring them, they are likely to go elsewhere with their business. So, this is something that you need to keep in mind.
Another thing that tends to turn people off is being responded to by computers. At least that’s the case with me. There is nothing that’s as annoying as trying to hold a conversation with a computer. That’s because computers are illogical. They think in straight lines.
So, you need to have people in your support staff. I am not saying you should abandon automated answering systems altogether. They can be useful when it comes to quick, uncomplicated questions. However, for serious discussions around issues, you need to have real people on standby.
7. Respond to all queries
This tip is related to the one that we have just been discussing. In most instances, people will try to get more information before making a purchase. If they fail to get a satisfactory answer, they will leave without buying anything.
That’s one of the major drivers behind the phenomenon of abandoned catalogs. It’s also a major contributor to the rather dismal eCommerce conversion rate of around 2.8%. This coming Black Friday and Cyber Monday, you need to turn the tables around for your eCommerce store. But how do you do it?
Well, you can do it by responding to customer queries as promptly as is possible. Have support staff ready to put people at ease about the products and services that you have to offer. I have previously written an article on the best live chat tools for eCommerce businesses. If you do not already have one installed, make sure that you get one as soon as possible. That way, you will be able to engage your customers in meaningful conversation on your website, which allows you to turn their interest into conversions.
8. Is your website capable of handling the increase in traffic?
Online shoppers are a rather finicky lot. One thing that’s can set them off in the wrong direction is a website that takes too long to load. In fact, there is a direct relationship between a website’s load speed and its ability to convert. People tend to quickly leave sites that are not optimized for speed.
Make sure that your site is optimized for mobile
Another thing to remember is that a majority of searches out there are now coming from mobile devices. So, you need to make sure that you eCommerce site is optimized for mobile this coming Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Just to give you some eye-watering stats; around 34% of all eCommerce purchases in the US were made from mobile in the year 2019. However, that figure is expected to have risen to around 72% by 2021. So, mobile has become rather important in eCommerce.
One thing to note is that conversion rates for mobile devices is higher than on desktop computers. Remember we have already stated that the overall conversion rate for eCommerce stands at about 2.8%. For mobile alone, that figure rises to about 4.1%. So, your eCommerce business needs to be geared for these trends this coming Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Otherwise you are going to lose out on a lot of sales. How much traffic can you lose?
How to boost your site’s performance
According to research, you can lose around a quarter (25%) of your traffic if your eCommerce store takes more than 4 seconds to load. That’s a lot of missed potential sales. So, what can you do to speed things up a bit?
- Make sure that your images are optimized for fast loading. There are many image optimization tools out there.
- Going forward, you should make sure that you are running the best eCommerce software that’s out there. Some people have their eCommerce businesses running off WordPress. That’s all very well, but WordPress is a general purpose platform. If you are really serious about eCommerce, you need to move over to specially designed eCommerce platforms such as Magento and Shopify.
- Also make sure that your web host is up to the task. If your host provides you with a shoddy service, that will cost you severely in terms of sales. Remember, we are talking about an expected influx in customers this coming Black Friday and Cyber Monday? Make sure that your host is able to handle that influx.
- You may need to move over to a VPN or to Dedicated Hosting. Admittedly, these are all long term plans. But long term is where we are all going, right? So, as your business grows, you will realize that Shared hosting is no longer enough. Getting a VPN or dedicated hosting allows you to have a scalable web hosting environment that suits your business’ needs.
9. Provide effective tracking on shipments
We have already noted that this year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday come under the pal of the Coronavirus pandemic. One major effect of the disease has been the drastic increase in shipping times. At no other time in the history of the world have shipping lines been as disrupted as they are today.
This is something that you need to make clear to your customers. That’s particularly important for international customers. To get something from the United States to South Africa, as an example, it takes about 4 times the amount of time as before. So, people need to be patient.
One option is to offer shipment via DHL and other expensive options. But in many cases, these make the entire thing rather pointless. I have come across products whose shipping costs using DHL are twice the purchase price. So, it doesn’t make sense.
So, this coming Cyber Monday and Black Friday, eCommerce stores in the United States may have to cope with a reduction in international sales. That’s probably for the best. Even for domestic sales, shipping times may be stretched a bit. So, from Tuesday going forward, your shipping staff will have to deal with customer queries regarding this issue.
10. Make sure that you have enough goods in stock
You expect an influx in sales, but by how much. Things will be a bit clearer if this is not your first Black Friday. However, for new businesses, it can be rather challenging to determine the right amount of stock to get for the holidays.
One way of solving this issue is to look at trends across the industry. Factor in the possible increase in sales due to the Covid 19 pandemic, and you should be fine. As an example, there was an increase of 6.2% in Black Friday sales for Sporting goods between 2017 and 2018. So, these are figures that you can use going forward.
Getting it right in terms of inventory tends to be the major challenge for eCommerce business. There is a delicate balance between having enough goods in stock and paying too much in terms of storage costs. The challenges for eCommerce businesses become multiplied during Cyber Monday and Black Friday.
11. Do some clever Upselling
The aim for you is to generate higher profits for your eCommerce business during Black Friday and Cyber Monday. One way of doing it is by upselling to potential customers. I know, upselling tends to have a bad rap. However, it can be an effective marketing tool if used in moderation.
You see what I am talking about when you go to a platform such as Amazon. When you click on a product that you are interested in, you are offered alternatives, some of which cost more than the initial products. If these alternatives are good, then people will buy them.
It all has to happen within reason, however. Offering someone a product that costs $500 when they were initially interested in one that costs $50 would likely be met to failure. However, if you upsell them a product that’s costs $70, they are much more likely to be interested.
12. Be prepared to deal with returns
Others are because the product in question is defective. For the first reason, there is not much that you can do. However, for the second reason, you can offer the customer replacements to make up for the defective products. Handle them right, and they will likely come back to you when they need to buy something else.
Returns are an inevitable way part of life for eCommerce businesses. So, you need to be prepared to deal with them. How you handle returns can have a huge impact on how your customers perceive you. Most returns are because people have come to their senses after the initial excitement of Black Friday.
13. Do Remarketing/Retargeting
Remarketing or retargeting is another area on which I specialize. Remember we noted that eCommerce conversion rates tend to be rather low? Part of the reason for this is that people are not really sure that yours is the right product. So, you need to convince them to buy from you. But how do you do that?
Let’s assume that somebody has landed on your site from Google. They browse through products that they are interested in. They may even add some products to their carts. However, they leave after a while without making a purchase. What do you do in that case?
Remarketing is the answer to this problem. I noted on top that for Facebook, it happens through Pixel. What happens is that you install the requisite software on your site. So, when a person lands on the site, their interest is noted. The next time that they visit Facebook, they are then shown your ads featuring those same products that they were interested in on your site. This increases your chances of converting them by as much as 400%.
14. Create Dynamic Facebook Ads
Ecommerce businesses are best served running Dynamic Facebook Ads. That’s how to fully take advantage of Remarketing via Pixel. Dynamic ads show different products to different people depending on what they were interested in on your site.
15. Integrate your site eCommerce with Facebook ahead of Black Friday and Cyber Monday
To make it really work, you need to integrate your site to Facebook. That’s easy to do if you are on Shopify or Magento. Once you have done so, your ads will automatically feature products in your catalog. And any changes that you make to your catalog will be reflected in your ads.
16. Do influencer marketing
Hiring the services of an influencer or two is a good way of creating hype around Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales for your eCommerce business. One trait that defines human beings is that they are pack animals. And in any pack, there are leaders. You can tap into the popularity of these leaders to get ahead of the competition.
Those are some of the tips that eCommerce businesses can use to boost sales this coming Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Remember that sales are likely to be improved due to the Covid 19 pandemic. But you need to gear your store up to take advantage of this envisaged trend.
There are many things that you can do in this regard; including running ads on Facebook and offering people discounts. If you need help, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me. I have worked with lots of eCommerce businesses before. So, I am very well placed to help you!