Black Friday 2021 – Tips to Prepare Site
Many shoppers are eagerly waiting for this year’s Black Friday. It’s when stores offer irresistible bargains, prompting a shopping frenzy and competition for the limited items on offer.
Last year, in-store traffic decreased by up to 52.1% compared to 2019. The long lines outside stores may be gone this year too, as more customers have become accustomed to shopping online. This presents massive opportunities for E-commerce stores. You can look forward to boosted sales from new customers and welcoming old customers back. Black Friday may present the chance to clear out excess and slow-moving inventory.
But there will be challenges, some unique and some familiar. Many traditional retailers are shifting their focus online. It may mean increased competition. You will also need to generate effective black Friday marketing ideas and streamline your marketing campaign to promote your discounts.
Our article today offers insights on the truth about Black Friday for e-commerce and tips to help prepare your site.
Let’s get started:
Black Friday Statistics
The most anticipated holiday shopping season report, Adobe Digital Insights, presented the following statistics about the 2020 holiday shopping season:
- Black Friday shopping grew by 22% in 2020, reaching revenues of $9 billion compared to $7.4 billion in 2019;
- Cyber Monday had more online sales than Black Friday at $10.8 billion vs $9 billion;
- There was increased online shopping activity by 51% in 2020 between April 1st to December 14th, compared to the previous year;
- There was an uptake of buy-online pick-up in-store options contributing to about 1 in 4 orders;
- It was more expensive to ship last year as COVID-19 placed stress on the shipping infrastructure. Consequently, orders shipped for free decrease during the Cyber 5 days from 70% to 64%;
- Most retailers began offering deals before Thanksgiving across tracked items (toys, computers, and televisions);
- Paid search traffic accounted for the largest share of revenue, closely followed by direct traffic, organic search, emails and newsletters, affiliates, social networks, and display.
Why Is Black Friday Important to eCommerce Stores?
What is the truth about Black Friday? Well, it presents a massive opportunity for e-commerce stores to boost their sales. Buyers are actively shopping for deals and many people may have delayed their purchases waiting for prices to fall.
The importance of the day is evident in some of the most successful Black Friday campaigns. Patagonia had something to celebrate on 25th November 2016, when sales hit $10 million across its global network of 80 stores, far surpassing the initial goal of $2 million. They pledged to give the revenues away to environmental groups.
Walmart broke its traffic records for the event of a digital sale with its #UnwrapsTheDeals campaign, where the goal was to spread awareness about the store’s Black Friday Deals. The TikTok campaign featured a branded AR filter that displayed randomized gift-wrapped items, and users could raise their hand to stop and unwrap the virtual gift boxes.
After finding out what they got, they could tap for deals, which redirected them to Walmart’s website. Thousands of TikTok users took part and created about 1 million videos viewed over 5.5 billion times.
How to Prepare Site for BF 2021?
Anticipate more website traffic on Black Friday. If your web servers can’t handle the increased traffic, your pages may load slowly, which may impact the user experience resulting in issues such as cart abandonment. Diagnose your site performance by performing real load and performance tests.
If your checkout process is complicated, slow, or inefficient, it can similarly increase cart abandonment. As a best practice, organize the checkout process to one page. Offer multiple payment options such as Venmo and start asking users for feedback about their checkout experience.
Another way to prepare your site before Black Friday sales is to make sure that you’re fully capable of providing real-time support during the day. More website visits will mean more queries. Don’t make customers wait for email replies. Instead, offer a live chat widget. You can also have quick links to the FAQ page to answer questions that people commonly ask.
If you’re running ads, provide the best post-click experience. For instance, if someone clicks on an ad for shoes, they should be taken to the same item on your website. The page should load quickly, and your site should have high-quality product images.
Develop Black Friday Marketing Campaigns
The first step of preparing your Black Friday marketing strategy is to figure out who your target buyers are. Review your analytical data to check who has been visiting your website. If you’re not reaching your target audience, figure out ways to change.
Your value proposition should be clear. Black Friday is all about deals and promotions, nothing else. Your offers need to be marvelous to prompt users to make impulsive purchases. Some commonly used Black Friday promotion ideas include offering coupons, discounts, flash sales, buy-one-get-one deals, discounted gift bundles, free shipping, and more.
Switch it up this time with novel Black Friday marketing ideas such as offering mystery discounts or personalized prizes. You can even have a cause-related promotion like supporting local businesses.
Additionally, plan for an omnichannel Black Friday marketing strategy. Most people don’t spend time on one device or platform all day. Your potential customer may spend a couple of minutes on Facebook before checking their TikTok feeds.
Optimize Campaigns for Mobile Shoppers
According to Adobe Retail Shopping Insights, sales through smartphones accounted for 39% of online retail sales from November 1st to December 31st, 2020. The number of mobile shoppers has been steadily growing with total mobile e-commerce sales estimated to reach $3.56 trillion in 2021 compared to $2.91 trillion in 2020.
You may pull in more mobile shoppers this year, and it’s important to optimize your campaigns for them. One way to do this is to advertise on apps that people are using.
TikTok has been by far the most downloaded app of 2021 and now attracts other demographics. Facebook is still another place to advertise as it’s the most downloaded app to date. Lastly, you cannot discount Instagram, which remains popular with Generation Z and millennials.
Your E-commerce website needs to be user-friendly and fast. According to a Google and Verto study, mobile websites that loaded in two seconds or less experienced a 15% higher conversion than slower loading sites. The checkout process should be equally simple.
Prepare with Pop-ups
Pop-ups can increase eCommerce conversions by up to 44% and may be quite useful during your Black Friday advertising. However, you need to use them in moderation to avoid impacting the user experience.
Pop-ups are regularly used for email capture, but during Black Friday you can find better uses for them. Some Black Friday marketing strategy examples involving pop-ups include:
- Creating urgency: You can use an urgency pop-up with a countdown timer to encourage people to leave their emails for updates when particular flash sales go live.
- Pushing discounts: A discount pop-up can offer a coupon on the cart page to combat abandoned carts.
- Cross-selling: You can even use popups to push complementary items for up-selling and cross-selling.
- Related item suggestions: Customers who are returning to your site after a long time can receive relevant suggestions based on items they have previously shopped.
Send Personalized Black Friday Advertising Emails
Email marketing and newsletters brought more sales to businesses than social networks and display advertising for the 2020 holiday season. Sending out emails can be particularly lucrative because you will be communicating to an engaged audience.
Once you decide to use emails for your Black Friday strategy, don’t just send out general emails. Only 39% of online retailers send personalized product email recommendations.
Personalized Black Friday marketing offers will stand out in subscriber’s inboxes. Addressing the person by their first name in the subject line can even result in more email opens.
Another way to personalize the emails is to segment your subscribers into different groups based on their age, gender, location, interest, prior purchases, visited pages, etc.
If you’re not doing this yet, you also need to ask for more details during signup to make it possible to create more segmented lists. You can also experiment with various Black Friday email promotion ideas such as offering special subscriber offers or promoting time-sensitive offers.
Make Target Ads with BF Discount Code
You may have great discount codes but if your potential audience doesn’t know about them, don’t expect to experience a huge surge of customers during Black Friday.
How can you promote your discount codes? Use all your available digital channels from your website to social media accounts. You can also send special discount coupons to your subscribers for use on Black Friday. Some e-Commerce stores also promote their coupons on couponing websites.
Take the next step by creating targeted visual ads showcasing your discount code. For instance, you can add visual discount codes to existing product images by creating overlay image ads. Add a sense of urgency to every advertisement for people who come across the promo code to use it as soon as possible.
The most successful Black Friday campaigns find creative ways to promote their discount codes. Walmart utilized branded effects on TikTok for their #Unwrapthedeals challenge. Costco leaked their deals. Kohl’s had a campaign where they asked questions such as finishing the song’s lyrics for a chance to win gift cards. Some brands have rebelled against Black Friday such as Patagonia when they ran their “Don’t Buy This Jacket ad.”
Welcome Returning Customers with Related Recommendations
You can show related product recommendations to returning customers based on their purchase history, browsing behavior, and other custom attributes.
Related products can comprise similar products based on what someone may have bought before or items in their carts. The related recommendations can also be expanded to best sellers and trending products. You can also show new arrivals.
The goal is not to sell as many products as possible but rather to make the experience more personalized.
Capture Customers’ Interest Early with Black Friday Sneak-peeks
If you want to have big Black Friday sales, it’s important to build up momentum for the big day. A sizable segment of shoppers starts their holiday shopping early, prompting many brands to offer deals as early as November 1st.
You can get people excited by offering Black Friday sneak peeks. Costco, an American discount store chain, apparently leaked their 2020 Friday Deals a month earlier by publishing a 30-page catalog.
They planned to run their campaign from November 5th through the 30th. The deals were redeemable during certain dates, and their plan worked so confidently that it allowed them to shut down their warehouses during the Thanksgiving Holiday.
Try out this Black Friday Facebook marketing strategy by sharing image overlays with slashed prices and a date on when the offer will go live. You should always use eye-catching graphics and visuals, and keep sending reminders as the big day approaches.
Prepare Holiday Sales as Early as You Can
Before Black Friday sales commence, you need to have undertaken a lot of preparation work. If you start late, you’ll lack adequate time to prepare. You may end up rushing during the final days and make a lot of mistakes.
When is the best time to start? Start strategizing as soon as three months before Thanksgiving. That means as soon as August or September.
You need to prepare by creating a marketing outline for the various activities you need to undertake before and during Black Friday. Allocate sufficient time to brainstorm and test several Black Friday marketing ideas.
Leave adequate time to analyze your target audience and ad targeting settings. Start planning for any contingencies such as supply delays because suppliers may get busy during the holiday season.
The timeline should give room for testing ads or experimenting with new formats. You may need to scale your ad spend as bids may start becoming more expensive approaching the holiday season.
Customize Ads Pictures with One-Click Aitarget Solution
One big challenge you may face heading to Black Friday is how to create scalable ads to promote various offers you’ll be running. You may have hundreds or even thousands of products to promote across various categories.
Manually creating ads for each item will be too time-consuming and counter-intuitive. That’s why you may choose to create mass-targeting awareness ads. But the current emphasis is on personalization, which entails showing the right product to the right person based on their needs.
Aitarget offers a one-click solution for generating dynamic overlays and videos from an existing product feed. It offers more enhanced capabilities than Facebook’s native dynamic ads format.
You can easily create channel-friendly ads that can run on other platforms including YouTube, Snapchat, and TikTok utilizing designer templates.
Some possible ways you can use the tool to enhance your Black Friday sales include:
- Creating data-infused overlays using existing product information such as pricing, discounts, product labels, and more;
- Enhancing your product images for placement into templates through scaling and correct positioning;
- Generating video ads for individual products or product categories;
- Carrying out automatic upgrades and improvements of creatives for the best performance.
The most notable Black Friday campaign using Aitarget creative solutions was carried out in conjunction with Adidas and Reebook. Aitarget Tech helped create a unified brand identity across the social networks with consistent creatives based on on-brand templates. Product images were enhanced using overlays to contain information about offers, discounts, and brand identity.
Up to 51 marketing videos were created from thousands of products in the catalog. They were shown to relevant audience segments based on different targeting settings. Where the goal was to increase app conversions, the automated videos increased sales while reducing the CPI.
Track Everything and Analyze
Your Black Friday strategy should include a plan to track and analyze your performance. Based on what you learned this year, you can make further improvements in the coming holidays.
What do you need to track and analyze? Here are some key things to consider:
- Measure the efforts of each promotional channel, including your emails, social media, or paid search;
- Analyze the engagement rates of different social media posts teasing your Black Friday offers;
- Account for the number of support requests;
- Analyze the effectiveness of and performance of various ads, including the conversion rates, CTRs, clicks, impressions, etc.;
- Check for the most effective promotional tactics;
- Find out the percentage of the abandoned carts;
- Compare sales for the different days, starting from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday.
Up-sell and Cross-sell Products
Consider upselling products as a strategy to increase your profitability during Black Friday. For instance, it’s regularly cited that it’s five times cheaper to retain an existing customer than to acquire a new one.
Up-selling involves suggesting more expensive products than what someone wants to purchase. You can also cross-sell products, and it involves suggesting complementary products to go with certain purchase items. An example of this Black Friday marketing strategy may entail suggesting a bathroom mat to compliment a bathroom scale.
Aitarget can create cross-selling creatives automatically by grouping different products in your catalog after detecting similarities between product features.
Add a Touch of Personalization in Everything You Do
According to an EConsultancy and Google marketing survey, 90% of leading marketers believe that personalization can significantly boost business profitability. Now, you can personalize your user experience on your e-commerce website by creating relevant offers based on user interactions on your website. New and returning users can be greeted by a small questionnaire that asks quick questions to help tailor the experience.
Another way to personalize the experience is through up-sells and cross-sells, which may improve their overall experience by helping them remember products that they may have never thought of.
Your Black Friday marketing campaigns can take into account the user’s location, interests, devices, and other targeting settings. For instance, don’t offer deals for Android devices when your targeted audience is primarily iOS users. Target people based on their interests, for instance, offering crockery deals to people who love cooking.
Retarget, Retarget, Retarget
Retargeting is often an overlooked part of a successful Black Friday marketing strategy. It can be particularly useful in combating the high rates of cart abandonment during Black Friday. About 81.93% of users abandoned their carts in 2018 compared to 74.5% in 2019.
The most utilized channels for remarketing include Facebook custom audiences closely followed by Google remarketing. For instance, with Black Friday Facebook custom audiences, you will first need to set up the Facebook pixel that reports on events such as the number of items a particular user added to the shopping carts. You can then show ads to your custom audiences.
Big Black Friday sales don’t come without good initial preparation and a solid marketing campaign. You don’t have to do things as usual, but find new ideas to spruce up your offers. It’s vital to start preparing early and have a project timeline leading up to the start of the Cyber 5 days.