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Top Tips from eCommerce Experts for the Best BFCM Ever

Black Friday/Cyber Monday (BFCM) is a critical event for most retailers, historically delivering 20-30% or more of total holiday revenue. Therefore, you want to be sure your eCommerce site is ready and able to handle the influx of visitors and that you have strategies in place to convert one-time purchasers into longer-term customers. To help merchants capitalize on BFCM this year, we reached out to some of our tech partners for insights on what is the most important area they think merchants should focus on to get the highest return on their efforts. 

eCommerce platform and retail point-of-sale systems

“Launch a daily online offer or discount strategy to keep shopping during BFCM exciting for customers.”

Maintaining momentum is one of the most challenging aspects of an extended BFCM campaign. Merchants can keep customers coming back during peak season by promoting a different offer each day. This type of promotion creates opportunities to focus on individual customer segments and may improve email open rates since each day features fresh content and a new limited-time offer.

Additionally, consider a fresh alternative to a traditional discounting strategy by supporting social and environmental issues. Why? First, it can align a brand with its sustainability goals and establish an ethical brand story. Second, according to a 2019 McKinsey study, 9 out of 10 Gen Z consumers, a cohort that now represents $360B in spending power, believe companies have a responsibility to address social and environmental issues. Additionally, 30% of shoppers in the US aged 18+ are willing to pay more for products from brands whose corporate values align with their own.

Ideas include giving customers the option to make a monetary donation to a cause instead of receiving a discount. Or promoting “pay what you can” for an item (with predetermined thresholds). Also, customers can feel good by supporting a cause with a donation a brand makes for each order placed. These approaches allow customers to feel good about their purchase and acknowledge the economic headwinds merchants and buyers alike have been facing.

eCommerce subscriptions payments platform 

“Maximize holiday sales with subscriptions.” – Daniela Rouse, Partner Marketing Manager 

Subscription programs help brands maintain strong customer loyalty month after month. They also enable upsell and cross-sell opportunities and, if personalized in a thoughtful way, can help brands build personal relationships with customers, increasing average order value (AOV). The following are multiple tactics for converting more subscribers during BFCM: 

  • Provide gifting opportunities when customers subscribe; e.g., “Subscribe and send someone you love a free gift!”
  • Offer prepaid subscription options at multiple frequencies to capture different spend levels; e.g., three-month, six-month, or one-year subscriptions. 
  • Promote discounts for new and existing subscription customers; e.g., a fixed dollar amount, percentage-off first or all subscription orders, or free shipping. This approach lowers the barrier to entry and entices first-time customers to commit to a subscription. 
  • Use the subscription discount as a way to acquire new customers through brand awareness campaigns on your most effective marketing channels.

eCommerce marketing automation platform for email marketing and SMS

“Be honest and clear about what you’re marketing and offering over the Black Friday/Cyber Monday shopping weekend.” – Alexandra McPeak, Content Marketing Manager 

Marketers often have a “conversion at any cost” mindset this time of year, but misleading promotions ultimately create a divide between you and your customers and can negatively impact retention and customer lifetime revenue. 

For example, instead of “surprising” your customers with an extra day of sales after BFCM ends, let them know upfront how long the sale will be. Too many brands pull this trick every year, and consumers are becoming wary of these marketing gimmicks. This is more likely to annoy customers and cause them to lose trust in your brand than earn an extra sale.

Additionally, rather than trying to hide the requirements for a particular offer and making it sound too good to be true, let customers know exactly what they need to do in order to receive the discount or gift (e.g., “Spend $100 and get a sample-sized product of your choice.”).

Confusing language and unclear expectations may win a quick sale during the chaos of the holiday season, but shoppers are smart, and they’ll quickly realize they’ve been duped. Instead, prioritize clarity and directness in order to win sales over the Cyber Weekend that will turn into loyal customers for life. 

eCommerce marketing platform enabling reviews, SMS marketing, loyalty and referrals, subscriptions, and visual UGC

“Build a loyalty program now to earn long-term retention post-holiday.” – Erika Kwee, Product Marketing Manager

The fact is, a lot of holiday acquisition will be from one-time shoppers. Instead of crossing your fingers and hoping customers will come back, it’s important to go into the holiday season with a built-in retention strategy — with a loyalty program at its core. 

A loyalty program is the engine that drives retention. According to Salesforce, 78% of consumers are more likely to buy from a brand with a loyalty program, and according to a Yotpo survey, 83% of global respondents say belonging to a loyalty program influences their decision to buy again from a brand. A loyalty program provides experiences that will keep customers coming back, even after their holiday purchase. 

To get the most out of your BFCM marketing strategy, focus on building loyalty across digital channels after shoppers’ initial spend. Encourage shoppers to join your loyalty program for an additional, holiday-inspired incentive. Then, use the program to continue to communicate with new members and maximize engagement between purchases. 

A fully-integrated suite of eCommerce omnichannel personalization solutions

"Leverage the home page to showcase top selling products, featured items, or the week’s best deals and ‘wow’ your customers.” – Valeria Granda, Agency Partner Manager

The holiday season – starting November 1 --  and especially BFCM is when you want all your personalization features up and running smoothly on your store, including the home page top sellers, product recommendations, smart cart, and checkout features. Product recommendations allow you to leverage the collective wisdom of your customer base to generate intelligent product recommendations that result in a fantastic customer experience across the web, mobile, email, and beyond. Rebuy’s Smart Cart helps retailers optimize the checkout flow with more personalized recommendations and additional add-to-carts all in checkout. 

Search, merchandising, and personalization platform for eCommerce

“Well-planned merchandising campaigns are one of the most effective ways to build anticipation and reel in shoppers this holiday season.” – Jessica Farrelly, Content Writer & Ecommerce Expert

During the frenzy of Black Friday, merchandising is your chance to shine. Automating merchandising lightens the merchants’ workload during the busiest time of year and can help create a seamless shopping experience, eliminating friction with your shoppers.

Once you decide on your Black Friday promotions, curate specially merchandised landing pages to spotlight products you want to promote. Use preset rules to automatically remove products from view as they sell out, and promote in-stock items to replace them. Display inline banners to highlight relevant promotions or content, such as discounts, top sellers, and highly rated results, as shoppers scroll. 

Don’t forget to prepare your campaigns well in advance, test them, and then test them again. Once you’re happy, set your Black Friday merchandising to launch at a time that makes sense for your team and your customers. When it’s all over, set a specific time to automatically deactivate your campaigns so you don’t have to worry about removing them or inadvertently running a sale for longer than intended. 

eCommerce acceleration platform that optimizes performance and conversions

“Make sure your third-party technologies work for you, not against you.” – Kaitlin Cronin, Partnerships Manager

According to the 2022 Site Speed Standard, a leading eCommerce data benchmark, when eCommerce sites take longer than four seconds to load, over 60% of shoppers will bounce. Online brands can’t afford to lose that much site traffic any time of the year, but during the holiday season, it’s even more important that brands maximize the shoppers who visit their sites and minimize bounce rates. 

Since third-party technologies, such as live chat and reviews, are a major cause of slow page load times, brands should examine how they are impacting site speed well before Black Friday. Try the following to help make sure your eCommerce site is prepared for the influx of holiday shoppers: 

  • Take a complete inventory of all third parties currently on your site; you might be surprised at what has been added without your knowledge. To help you take stock, try Yotta’s free analytics tool during the holiday season to give you a baseline of your site performance.
  • Evaluate every third party on your site. If an app doesn’t bring value to the user experience, get rid of it. 
  • Make sure you have visibility into all third parties on your site so you can bypass them immediately if they go down. Third-party anomalies can cause major site performance issues. 
  • Be sure your third parties are loading efficiently to maximize site speed. 

Put BFCM strategies into action this holiday season

You’ve got the tools and the strategies – now’s the time to finalize your holiday plans and get ready to execute. November is coming up fast. If you need reinforcements to get it all done, don’t hesitate to reach out!