Do you hear the ting-ting-a-ling of holiday bells? Can you smell your aunt’s Thanksgiving stuffing? Feel the air becoming as crisp as the leaves falling from the trees? Don’t let the calendar fool you; holiday season is almost here.
To get you started, here’s a tune:
You better not pout, you better not cry, you’d better prep your store, we’re tellin’ you why: BFCM deals are comin’ to town.
OK, in all seriousness, it is time to get prepped for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and every day that follows to round out the frenzied holiday shopping season.
1.Plan your sales and promotions ASAP.
Don’t put this off. Decide which products you mark down or include in a promotion and think BIG. Tease them out via email or social media ahead of time, and your customers will be looking forward to spending big money over the long weekend.
NRF estimated that last year, more than 108 million people shopped online between Black Friday and Cyber Monday—nearly 10 million more people than shopped in retail. They spent about $7.23 billion online alone. Make sure your business is part of the action with aggressive promotions.
- We recommend promos of at least 20% or 30% off, if you can manage it. Other options could include a BOGO (Buy One, Get One), or an exclusive gift with purchase.
- Make sure your coupon codes are easy to read and spell so that there’s less friction for customers at checkout.
- Test the codes ahead of time.
- Make sure your site can handle the traffic surge and have contingency plans.
This one is listed second because it’s so critical to your site’s success during the long weekend. Since you may only have one short window to crush it, we’d rather you be safe than sorry.
Murphy’s Law of E-Commerce states: “Anything that can go wrong from Black Friday to Cyber Monday will go wrong.”
Since the best outcome is that you have a feverish influx of site visitors and sales, you have to make sure your site can handle it. Test your server’s load capacity. Troubleshoot the checkout process. Prep your team to be ready and flexible to solve problems as needed.
- Perfect fulfillment and make sure your shipping rates are inexpensive.
Unless you’re selling large pieces of furniture or automobiles, you must make sure your shipping rates are reasonable and competitive. With the advent of Amazon Prime and standardization of one-day or two-day shipping, we can’t stress how important efficient, inexpensive shipping is to clinching the sale.
In a survey of over 1,600 consumers, 80% of those surveyed deemed free shipping and 54% deemed fast shipping the top incentives for purchase online.
And, like your website, it’s important that your fulfillment is ready for the surge (this isn’t just limited to BFCM!).
Hire extra help. Connect with your fulfillment center to make sure they can handle the spike in orders.
Nothing will spoil a customer’s holiday spirit more than getting a sweet product for a sweet deal during BFCM, and then having to wait weeks for delivery.
- Create specific landing pages for BFCM.
If you’re aggregating a grouping of products to have on promotion, make sure to create a dedicated landing page or two to streamline messaging. Optimize these pages for mobile since over 40% of BFCM shopping is done from mobile devices.
- Optimize your abandoned cart emails and have a plan for retargeting site abandoners.
So you’ve done all of the above, you’re ready to allow the online onslaught of customers into your store—cue ‘William Tell Overture’ by Gioachino Rossini—just don’t forget about all those new visitors who will bounce from your site or abandon their carts.
Sure, it’s not fun to think that people would ever leave your site without confirming an order of your amazing products, but they will, and it’s best to be prepared with optimized email flows and retargeting campaigns.
- Ads, ads and more ads.
How will anyone know about your promotions and products without ads? We touched on this briefly in #1 but BFCM is the perfect time to attract new customers outside of your core base, but you have to publicize your deals early to get them hyped up and ready to buy. More than 40% of customers plan their holiday shopping as early as October. So get the word out!
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