On Nov, 5 2019
Each year, Black Friday presents a massive opportunity for e-commerce businesses. As one of the busiest shopping days of the year, it’s the perfect occasion to boost sales, clear out old stock, acquire new customers and re-engage old ones.
However, the peak of the holiday shopping season also requires a lot of preparation. How do you promote your Black Friday sales and build a strategy that’ll get you a higher conversion rate, increase your average order value (AOV) and convince your customers to choose your store over your competitors’?
In this guide, we’ll take you through the essentials you'll need to create a successful multi-channel Black Friday sales campaign, so you’ll be ready to go by November 29.
What’s so special about Black Friday?
The holiday shopping season is undoubtedly the most lucrative time of the year for brands. In 2018, American shoppers spent a total of $717.5 billion during the November-December holiday sales. That’s more than $1,000 per person - and a 4.3% increase from the previous year.
Last year, Cyber Monday was the biggest online shopping day in the history of e-commerce. An incredible $7.9 billion was spent, which was a 19.7% year-over-year increase. But online shopping on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday is also growing at an unprecedented rate. In 2018, they each garnered $3.7 billion (a 28% year-over-year growth) and $6.2 billion (a 23.6% year-over-year growth), respectively. According to BlackFriday.com, 61% of Cyber Week shoppers will shop on Black Friday in 2019.
Black Friday sales aren’t just popular in the US. In 2018, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and the United Arab Emirates also spent big on Black Friday. In some markets around the world, Black Friday has had a surprising impact on boosting shoppers’ willingness to buy. In Pakistan, for example, online sales grew by a whopping 11,525% compared to an average day.
Black Friday is undoubtedly an important day for e-commerce businesses. So how do you start preparing for it?
How to run a successful Black Friday campaign in 2019
Preparing a flawless Black Friday e-commerce strategy takes a lot of work, but there's no need to feel overwhelmed! We've written a step-by-step guide to help you along the way.
Plan in advance
Planning is key for a successful Black Friday campaign. To make the most of this year’s holiday sales, you should have your campaign set up and running weeks in advance.
Use an all-in-one marketing automation tool to launch your campaign across multiple marketing channels. Send automated emails, text messages and Facebook Messenger campaigns to your customers telling them about the deals you’re planning - accompanied by a link to a landing page on your website with more information. This way, consumers can start to think about what they want to purchase on the big day.
And don’t forget: gone are the days when Black Friday was a one-day event. Most e-commerce stores start offering deals on the Wednesday prior. Make it clear to your customers when each of the scheduled sales are going live.
Segment your audience
Savvy marketers don’t look at their audience as a homogenous entity. They know that speaking to all their customers in the exact same way isn’t as effective as creating targeted campaigns.
During the preparation for Black Friday, it’s more important than ever to leverage the power of customer segmentation. Different groups have different holiday shopping preferences, habits, and budgets. They are interested in different types of products and respond differently to ad creatives and CTAs.
Some click email links, others are more likely to engage with social media ads. Millennials, in particular, rely heavily on social media: 28% of shoppers aged 25-34 say that they use Facebook to look for information about Thanksgiving weekend promotions, and 17% use Instagram.
Segmenting your customers allows you to speak to specific groups in a way that resonates with them, on the channels that they like to use. But don’t try to get away with only using geographic and demographic segmentation. Really dig deep into the data at your disposal and use behavioral (based on purchase history and spending habits) and psychographic (based on values, interests, lifestyle, and other traits) segmentation, too.
Create limited-time offers
Be strategic when choosing the time period during which you’ll run your sales. Sure, you can offer discounts throughout the whole long weekend from Black Friday to Cyber Monday. But wouldn’t it create more urgency and encourage shoppers to make quicker decisions if you offered deals by the hour?
In the days leading up to Black Friday, send your customers an email with a timetable of hourly deals that you’ll be offering (giving them the chance to opt-out of further communication if not interested). Then, on Black Friday, send an email every few hours alerting customers to the current flash sales. This way, you’ll have multiple chances to catch their attention (and a good excuse to be sending them several emails) throughout the day.
You can even add a countdown widget to your product pages to boost the sense of urgency!
Reward new sign-ups
There’s a good chance that the holiday season will bring a large wave of new customers your way - and you should capitalize on it.
Create a pop-up on your website offering shoppers a discount or a gift with their first purchase if they sign up to your newsletter. It’s a great way to increase Black Friday sales and to build your mailing list.
Indulge your loyal customers
Loyalty programs are the key to effective customer retention, and that holds true during holiday sales.
Let your loyal customers know how much you appreciate them by offering exclusive discounts, early access to Black Friday sales or a festive gift to go with their next purchase.
Run a win-back campaign
Do you have inactive subscribers who never open emails? Or one-time customers who you haven’t heard from since their first purchase? The holiday rush is the perfect time to send these customers a win-back campaign and attempt to re-engage them.
On the morning of Black Friday, send customers a targeted message saying something along the lines of “Hey, did you miss us? We’ve got an awesome Black Friday discount for you!”
You can identify your inactive customers and send them win-back campaigns across multiple channels – emails, text messages, and Facebook messages– with the help of Carts Guru.
Offer free shipping
The simplest measure you can take to prevent customers from abandoning their carts on Black Friday is to offer free shipping.
You can hit two birds with one stone and increase your AOV if you set a threshold and offer free shipping above a certain order value. Or, have your customers sign up to your mailing list to unlock free shipping.
Launch a new product
We know that a product launch can be a lot of work - but hear us out. Pairing your new product promotion campaign with your Black Friday sales can be mutually beneficial.
You’re giving your customers two good reasons to buy: the product is new, and they can get it at a discount price for a limited amount of time. What’s there to think about?
Engage your customers with a social media competition
Don’t treat your customers as a passive audience. Give them an active role! Organizing a social media competition can earn you some free promotion and boost your relationship with your customers. You can never go wrong with giving away free stuff in return for completing a fun task. It's a win win!
For example, challenge your social media audience to come up with a slogan for your Black Friday campaign, or share a joke related to the holiday shopping season. You can reward the winners with exclusive discounts, gift cards or freebies.
If your competition idea is truly original, you could even go viral. In 2014, Kohl’s hosted a Black Friday trivia contest on Twitter and managed to drive 64% of all brand mentions on the platform.
Once you have your winners, don’t forget to ask them to leave you a positive review!
Examples of successful Black Friday campaigns
To wrap up, here are some of the best Black Friday campaigns in the history of the holiday - let’s see what we can learn from them!
Patagonia’s #loveourplanet campaign
In 2016, outdoor clothing company Patagonia announced that they’d be giving 100% of their Black Friday sales to nonprofit organizations working to protect the environment. They promoted the campaign with the hashtag #loveourplanet and reached a record-breaking $10 million in sales.
Now, we’re not saying you should give away all your Black Friday revenue to charity. However, people tend to be in a more charitable mood around the holidays and you can contribute to a good cause - as well as increase your sales - by giving away a certain percentage of your Black Friday profits. Just don’t forget to create a solid social media campaign around it!
Chubbies’s ‘Black Friday is canceled’ campaign
Writing subject lines is hard, especially on a day when every other e-commerce marketer on the planet is trying to get the attention of consumers.
In 2018, Chubbies, a company that makes shorts and other menswear and is known for its humorous marketing communication, sent a Black Friday email with the subject line “Black Friday is canceled”. The content of the email was a message from Chubbies’s email marketer explaining, in a personal tone, that his Black Friday was canceled because his boss made him go to work.
In such a competitive moment, surprising and inventive subject lines could mean the difference between drowning in a sea of Black Friday emails or getting an open that could result in a sale. Be creative and don’t be afraid to shock people - you can always explain yourself once they’ve opened the email.
Kopari’s influencer campaign
Promoting gift lists or holiday must-haves is a great way to get your customers interested in your Black Friday discounts. Beauty company Kopari had influencers include its products in their “holiday must-haves” list and reshared their content on the company Instagram page as a part of its 2017 Black Friday campaign.
Being endorsed by someone who your audience follows can widen your reach on social media and provide you with content to post on Black Friday. So why not try an influencer approach this year?