This article was first published on November 3, 2017, and last updated in October 2022.
The Black Friday trend of camping out in front of retail stores to be first in line is getting less and less common in today’s marketplace. That’s not because Black Friday and other holiday sales are becoming less popular. It’s because black Friday ecommerce shopping has become more popular.
We’ve all heard of them – thousands of people waiting on their mobile devices before Black Friday or Cyber Monday sales begin. Walmart, Target, Amazon – these are common in-person and online stores that we associate with people waiting for sales on Black Friday. But why aren’t people waiting for your ecommerce online shop to launch its’ Black Friday sale?
In this article, we’ll discuss Black Friday ecommerce tips to help your business stay relevant in a marketplace dominated by large corporations. We’ll let you know what you can do, what you should avoid, and how you can stand out to attract more customers.
Before we go into some helpful tips, let’s look at some ecommerce trends you should be aware of.
Current Ecommerce Trends
According to Practical Ecommerce, consumers spent more online in the U.S. during the five-day period from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday than any other period in history. Black Friday alone saw a record $6.22 billion in ecommerce revenue in 2018, a 23.6 percent growth from the previous year.
The key words within these statistics are “online” and “ecommerce.” You see, people aren’t just skipping camping out at your small business. In reality, very few are camping out at all; they’re shopping online. Still, even online the competition between small business and big business is fierce, if not fiercer.
A strong online marketing campaign for Black Friday deals can help. While we’re not saying you can put Wal-Mart out of business with the perfect campaign, we’re saying that some planning will help you stand out.
These Black Friday ecommerce tips should help you hold your own during one of the biggest business opportunities of the year. Let’s jump in!
11 Black Friday Ecommerce Tips Everyone Can Use
Whether you are a small or larger company, there are some basic tactics anyone can use for Black Friday weekend. Some are necessities and some are suggestions to help you go the extra mile.
If you don’t already have an email list, create one with information from your former and potential customers. These may be customers who have purchased something on your website, or customers who gave you their email while in-store.
Make the subject catchy and to the point. For example, “Black Friday- 30% off everything!” or, “Free Gift with all Black Friday Sales!” Make your email sound urgent, and of course make sure the email is filled with appropriate links to the products you are promoting. Engaging and informative landing pages can make all the difference during the online buying process.
Prioritize Mobile Friendliness
To give you another statistic to show how important this is, in 2018, mobile devices accounted for 33.5% of all sales made on Black Friday. Adobe Digital Insights reported a 33% increase in sales from the year before on mobile devices. This marks the first day in history smartphones accounted for over $2 billion in sales. Those are numbers that can’t be ignored.
If you are going to stand a chance against big businesses, you need to ensure that your website and purchasing options are user-friendly. This means making sure that your website doesn’t crash or glitch when used on mobile devices.
Keep things as simple as possible. The fewer clicks from clicking on an item to completing a purchase, the better. But most importantly, update your product pages. Give the consumer all the information they need to make a purchase decision.
Use Social Media
You should be doing this no matter what time of the year it is, but make sure you are advertising on social media. It is one of the best ways to reach your specific target market. Promote your content on TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, and other platforms that fit your target audience. Showcase specific products and sales, and keep things looking catchy.
You may even want to run a Black Friday contest for the people following your accounts offering additional sales or free gifts. Come up with a content calendar well ahead of time to schedule posts.
Take Advantage of the Right Tools
There are many tools that you can take advantage of for your ecommerce strategy. Tidio chat will help you set up a live chat on your website for customers. Shopify apps such as a “Free Shipping Bar” by Hextom, “Product Upsell” or “Product Discount” by Bold, and “Free Gifts” by Secomapp help get customers to the final checkout.
Some other helpful tools include Wheelio or Zembula for gamification and interactive content, Hurrify for a countdown timer and Powr for a bit of all of the above. You don’t need to use all of these tools, but this step comes down to being prepared and organized so that your website runs smoothly.
Track Your Data With Google Analytics
Google Analytics is the ultimate all-in-one free tracking platform for your ecommerce business. When set up properly, it shows you website traffic, conversion rates, and revenue. Tracking these metrics will help you measure what you are doing right and what is less successful. That way you can continue to improve your campaign year by year.
Offer a Free Gift
Who doesn’t like free things? Online, this may be a specialized product of yours. In-store, this may be something as fun as a balloon for kids. Personalization and creativity can go the extra mile in this sort of situation.
Think about what would attract your customers and go from there. Remember, many people are looking for ways to support small businesses. This would give them more reasons to stay loyal and recommend your business to others.
Extend Your Sale
A recent trend is extending Black Friday sales to apply all week long. Sometimes a longer sale time isn’t announced until after the initial sale on Friday. However, you can keep the urgency of the Friday sale but then offer one last chance to attract more customers. Ultimately, many Black Friday online shoppers want a good deal – extending promotions can certainly help to boost sales.
Add New Products
Offer new products only available for purchase during your Black Friday sale. This will especially appeal to your regular customers. Many online retailers will offer new items during a sales event that previously weren’t available. Promoting new products creates a sense of excitement and urgency for those customers who want “the latest and greatest”.
Create Gift Guides
Have you ever opened up your laptop to search for a gift not really knowing what you want to buy? This is the case for many online shoppers. A gift-guide such as “The Perfect Gift for Dad” can help lead customers to purchases they weren’t specifically looking for. You can have this guide available on your website, email campaign, blog, or print form.
Offer Discount Codes
To generate additional online sales, offer one-time discount codes to motivate select customers. These are customers that maybe left something in their shopping cart or signed up for an email newsletter. If someone makes a purchase, email them a discount code inviting them to revisit your site. A discount code can make the difference of whether they will shop at your business or a large ecommerce competitor.
Create Holiday Specific Website Pages
In order to optimize your user experience, create pages specifically for Black Friday and/or Cyber Monday. It reminds customers they are in the right place on your website to find holiday specific deals. This can also help provide relevance to search engines and boost your search engine rankings. To give you an example, it would look like: “yourbusiness.com/black-friday.”
What You Have That Big Companies Don’t
While the big companies may have bigger marketing allowances and a larger brand-name, you have some things that they don’t.
Smaller businesses have the advantage of getting to know their customers. They can develop relationships that keep their customers loyal. Rewarding these loyal customers with extra discounts on Black Friday is a great way to say “thank you” and keep them coming back. If you can create an exceptional customer experience for each of your customers, you will stay a step ahead of the larger business competition.
With your local knowledge you can use specific lingo and advertising strategies that big businesses simply can’t do. You also probably have a greater idea of local advertising opportunities, such as smaller newspapers or magazines. Team up with other local businesses, offering free advertising for each other or teaming up for events. While being careful to not abuse a customer, you could team up with a local organization in helping purchases go towards a cause.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a significant surge to support local businesses. Take advantage of this trend within your business messaging and within the content of your website.
Unique Value Proposition
Your unique value proposition (UVP) is the special something that sets you apart from your competitors, including the big guys. This may be an actual product, or may be a service you can offer such as free-installation or guaranteed returns. There is something you offer that the big guys don’t or can’t. Find that, and advertise it.
Putting It All Together
Nowadays people aren’t finding it appealing or convenient to go to physical stores. Internet and mobile are the sources of choice. To really take advantage of Black Friday business opportunities, you will have to first take care of your website, social media accounts, and mobile accessibility.
You don’t have to be a huge business to do this. Play it smart, take cross-situational marketing techniques and scale them down and make them specific for your marketing strategy. People may not be camping out in front of your store, but you should gain some attention using these Black Friday ecommerce tips.
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