Black Friday Countdown: One Week to Go

Black Friday Countdown

Black Friday/Cyber Monday (BFCM) is just around the corner. But don’t worry! There’s still plenty you can do to lay the groundwork to boost sales.

Here are a handful of quick, easy ways to get ready:

1. Test your shopping experience – especially on mobile

Your first order of business is to make sure that your online store is ready and in perfect working condition for the coming madness.

Go through the buying process with as many different devices, operating systems, and internet browsers as you can, and make sure everything looks and feels as intended. This includes using different models and versions of iPhones and Android smartphones as well as Windows and Mac desktops. To get a better understanding of which devices are most important to your store, check analytics to see the top mobile and desktop environments, devices and browsers that your visitors are using.

Testing is especially critical for mobile devices. During last year’s BFCM, Shopify sales on mobile devices overtook desktop for the very first time. All in all, mobile devices accounted for 64% overall sales. We expect that number to rise in 2018, so optimize your site for mobile first, and desktops second.

Mobile sales outpace desktop salesImage via Shopify

2. Post BFCM-specific profile images on social media

Whichever social platforms you use, make sure that you update your profile and/or cover images with BFCM specific ones. If your campaigns include discount codes or other offers, this is the perfect place to mention them.

Seasonal social media banner
Image via Shopify

When BFCM is over, make sure you remember to take them all down and replace them with holiday-themed ones. There’s nothing worse than seeing BFCM promotional messages in December.

3. Have a contingency plan

You need a plan in case things go south. This doesn’t mean that something bad will happen, but you should be ready if something happens.

Start with coming up with a list of problems that you have experienced in the last 2 or 3 holiday seasons and find a solution for all of them. What if your site goes offline, or your inventory runs out way earlier than expected?

It’s much easier to think about these things now and have a concrete plan of action instead of trying to come up with solutions while the sky is falling down. Plan ahead.

4. Have your win-back campaigns ready

Cart abandonment during BFCM is crazy high. Barilliance reports it at 74.5%. This means that your cart abandonment win-back campaigns have to locked and loaded.

Make sure you get your customer’s email address first and the rest of their information later. You can do this by asking them to subscribe for offers when they arrive at your site, and also by putting it as the first thing in the checkout process, before shipping or payment information. That way you can start running cart abandonment campaigns the second they leave your store.

Another way to re-engage customers who might have wandered off is by extending your BFCM campaigns at the exact moment when your competitors are winding down theirs. This is a great message to target to customers who didn’t purchase after the initial offer.

An example of an extended Black Friday sale offer
Image via Smart Insights

5. Put a holiday theme on ALL outgoing emails

We really mean all of them, including new user/subscriber confirmations, shipping confirmations, receipts, and password/username resets. Any and all emails that go out during the holidays can and should be holiday themed. Keep a list of the ones you update, and set a reminder to switch back on December 26!

For more advice about holiday themed email flow automation, check out our article Essential Email Autoresponders for the Holidays.

6. Boost your offer and seasonal product categories

Add a top banner to your online store during BFCM promoting your very best offer. Whether it’s a special sales page, a discount, free shipping, or an added bonus item, it’s your best offer, so it deserves the best placement on your site.

Then, make sure that any seasonal product categories are featured in your site navigation. That can be holiday-specific products, or just a set of items that make good gifts.

Look at the Brookstone example below. In the top banner they have a discount offer for orders over $100, and in the sidebar they have a product category of “Gifts Under $25.” Some of those items are Christmas-themed, but some are just nifty and giftable.

The combination of the discount on a substantial order and a category of affordable items could help nudge customers to buy several different gifts at once, increasing average order size.

An example of a good offer banner and seasonal product category

Image via PracticalEcommerce

7. Use a countdown timer

Creating a sense of urgency can push people to finish a transaction. Try using a price countdown clock so your customers know this is a limited time sale.

Using a countdown timer to create a sense of urgency
Image via MaxTraffic

8. Double up on customer support

You’re likely to receive a lot more support questions than normal. Be prepared for that by having extra people on the customer support desk.

This is relevant not only for the BFCM rush but also a couple of weeks after or even longer as your customers start receiving their orders. This is likely to cause a second wave of questions.

9. Take stock and take notes

When it’s all said and done, take a moment or two or three and check in with yourself.

How are you feeling?

It’s likely you’ve been quite stressed the past few days/weeks and haven’t gotten proper rest or sleep. Take the time to recuperate.

After that, record any and all observations you’ve made throughout the weekend – both good and bad. What worked, and what didn’t? Does anything come to mind that can be fixed right away? Was there something something good, cool, or useful you saw during the rush?

Write it all down. It will come in handy when you’re analysing everything later on, and help you prepare for next year.

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