How to Prepare for Black Friday and Cyber Monday Sales

The countdown has already started when it comes to Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. While you may think you’re a bit late to the game when it comes to developing an e-commerce sales strategy, this isn’t necessarily true – there’s still plenty of time to make things happen.

In 2021, the holiday shopping season broke two-decade old records and amassed $1.2 trillion, which is a growth rate of over 16% from the previous year. If you want to ensure your 2022 sales are just as strong, you can’t wait any longer to prepare for big sales on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. 

Know Your Customer Expectations

When Black Friday and Cyber Monday roll around, your customers expect to see high quality products and deep discounts – this is a given. However, they also expect to have a hassle-free shopping experience, both online and offline.

This is when you want to put time and effort into your sales and take steps to truly “wow” them. Provide an unforgettable shopping experience by knowing what they expect to see. Some of the expectations can be found here. 

For this reason, we’ve put together this quick guide to help you identify those key aspects that should be reviewed in preparation of the sales weekend. 

Free Shipping

On Black Friday and Cyber Monday, customers want, need, and expect free shipping. It doesn’t matter if you absorb the shipping fees or if you add them to the price, free shipping is one of those features that is non-negotiable for most customers on the biggest shopping days of the year. There will also likely be shipping delays. This is something you should plan for.

Offer “Buy Online Pickup in Store” Options

If you have a brick-and-mortar store, customers could want to buy something online and pick it up in the store. This also means they want a seamless experience when it comes to buying online and picking up in the store. You need to provide exceptional experiences, especially for the first interactions that customers have with your store.

Remember, BOPIS customers aren’t your typical “looky-loos.” They ordered something online for a reason – they want to purchase something and have the entire experience be efficient and fast. You need to make sure you don’t drop the ball when they are in the store. Make sure that you provide fast and friendly services – and a reason to come back. 

Hassle-Free Returns

You need to face the facts – returns are a hassle for both you and your customers. However, these can also be opportunities. Rather than seeing returns as a liability, you can turn them into an asset. When customers make an online or in-store return, you should use the interaction to please them by providing amazing service.

Customers will return products for several reasons. It isn’t always your fault. Even though you didn’t make the sale this time, focus on selling the customer on your brand, business, and products to build brand-loyalty opportunities for the future.

Optimize Your Site for SEO

It doesn’t matter if you sell jet skis or lip gloss, increasing your search ranking can help you boost conversion rates and out-rank the competition.

In order to help you in this department, at UnlockCommerce we offer different SEO and Digital Marketing services that can be tailored to meet your needs. Please check how we can help you improve your SEO here and don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

Some key elements to start reviewing to check general SEO health are the following:

Speed Up Your Site Loading Time

If your website takes a long time to load, then you are going to lose potential customers. Now is the time to check your site speed. If you discover your speed is less than ideal, it’s time to make updates and changes. One way to increase page load time is by compressing images on your site. You can also upgrade the hosting site you are using.

Refine Your Product Names and Descriptions

When you do this, it helps customers discover what products or services you offer when they conduct a search. This helps to simplify the user experience. There are several free Google tools you can use to determine what keywords are best for your landing pages. 

Post Quality Content on Social Media

Working to have an active and engaged social media presence can have a positive impact on your SEO ranking. Take time to post on social media to achieve these results. 

Ensure Your Website Is Mobile-Friendly

According to 2021 statistics from Shopify, over 79% of all Black Friday and Cyber Monday purchases occurred on a mobile device. People shopping from their mobile device have surpassed desktop shoppers (which first happened in 2014). The numbers have been steadily climbing since then. If your website isn’t mobile friendly, you need to make improvements now.

At UnlockCommerce we offer different alternatives to our Clients to help them improve their Commerce Sites. Don’t hesitate to reach out to learn how we can work together on making your Site Mobile-Friendly.

Test Your Checkout Process

It’s important to make sure your checkout process is quality – this is your moneymaker, especially during the holidays. It’s a good idea to start this testing about 30 days before Black Friday. Make sure that everything is working properly. 

Some of the things that you need to test include:

  • Placing orders: Try to place a test order to check for things like ordering, shipping, tax calculation, and inventory errors.
  • Payment processing: If your payment processing experience is full of errors, it may result in more abandoned carts, lost revenue, and damage to your business reputation. If you want to make sure that payment processing is accurate, be sure to test everything related to it. This includes things like updating shipping or billing addresses, deleting a card, adding a card, and any other feature that is offered. After you have tested everything, do it again. 
  • Creating promo codes in advance: If you are planning to have any Promo Codes active during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, it is a recommended best practice to activate a Test Promo a couple of weeks before to make sure discounts are applying as expected. 

Quick Extensions you can Easily Enable before the Sales

Extensions are a great way to elevate the shopping experience of your customers within a budget since they are easy plug and play solutions. At UnlockCommerce we offer a variety of them which, above all, could be customized to fit your needs. If you are curious to learn more about them, take a look at our Demo Site and see them in action!

Below we include a list of the ones we believe could make the most impact on your Commerce site during Black Friday and Cyber Monday. If you believe any of those would make a great addition to your Commerce site, do not hesitate to reach out to us.

Gift Wrap & Message

The Gift Wrap & Message extension lets you offer gift wrap options in your web store and allow users to add personalized messages to their orders. Such a great addition this time of the year in which most shoppers are already looking for the Holiday’s gifts. 

Quick Add

Quick Add enables the functionality to quickly add items to cart searching by item name or SKU. It is a great addition to any Commerce Site since it allows customers to directly introduce the Items they want to purchase without the need to surf the entire site while looking for them.
PS: When the Promos arrive, customers generally know what they are looking for on your site. They’ve had the Item in mind for months now and are waiting for the Sales to get started in order to buy.

Order Status

The Order Status extension lets you display billing and shipping information of a purchase order to customers on your website. During this busy time of the year, Order Status is a great feature to enable on your site to ease the workload on our Customer Service and Orders Team since it helps reduce the WISMO (Where is my order) calls from customers.

Product Lead Time

It’s a known fact that during this busy time of the year, stock could be an issue. In order to prevent customers frustration when placing Back Orders, we believe the Product Lead Time extension makes a great addition to any Commerce Site.
This extension lets you display the estimated wait time for an out-of-stock item to again become available for purchase. This extension uses NetSuite’s Lead Time feature to calculate the wait time.

Back in Stock Notification

This extension allows users to request an email notification when an out-of-stock item is back in stock. It makes a great addition to the Product Lead Time extension.

Inventory display

As its name states, this extension allows customers to view inventory status and quantity availability in real time. Great addition to push shoppers to make quick decisions when buying on your Commerce Site due to the fear of the Item being out of stock soon if they don’t add to cart now.

Strikethrough Pricing

In our opinion, Strikethrough Pricing is a must on any Commerce Site, mostly when shoppers are actively looking for sales and discounts. This extension allows users to see both retail price and discount price right on the Product Page without the need of having to wait until the checkout process to apply a Promo Code to see any special prices.

If you are curious to learn more about them, take a look at our Demo Site and see them in action!

Start Your Marketing and Promotions Early

With more competition than ever before, and consumers wanting to start shopping for the holidays early, a smart e-commerce store owner is going to launch and advertise their promotions as early as October. From getting new customers on social media and PPC to email marketing – the more you do to promote the deals that you will offer, the better results you will get.

Be Creative 

When it comes to competition, there’s a lot of e-commerce brands and websites that are going to be vying for attention on the two biggest shopping days of the year. If you want to get a leg up on the competition, you need to make sure you stand out – in a big way. You should try to get creative with the promotions and use some customer favorites, such as BOGOs and other campaigns that have been effective in the past. While you are doing this, up your campaigns by ten times if you have the budget for it. 

Set Your Campaigns Up Early and Automate Everything

It’s smart to set up campaigns as early in the process as you can and test them rigorously. You should also automate when you can. Black Fridays are extremely busy and you will not have the luxury of conducting QA testing before you launch. Because of this, you need to ensure that everything is as launch ready as it can be. 

Ideally, your promotions and campaigns are established and ready to go six to eight weeks before Black Friday. 

Take Steps to Grow Your Email Marketing List before Black Friday

During the marketing prep for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, email marketing has been one of the most effective strategies when it comes to conversions. When you market through emails, it will appeal to customers more than marketing through social, direct, and search, which provides more conversions. If you want to attract more traffic and earn even more during these sales, it is time to begin growing your email marketing list for Black Friday. 

There are more than a few tactics that you can use to build a Black Friday email marketing list. One example is that merchants can collect customer emails by leveraging the strength of social media. You can also organize your Black Friday campaigns via social channels by creating a give away event or even running a contest. After that, you can request that participants leave their email to be included. 

You can also use a newsletter pop up on the screen that will appear each time someone accesses your store. It can include a welcome offer with freebies or discounts when someone leaves their email or makes a purchase. When you do this, you are encouraging people to make a purchase from your store, and at the same time, collect some incentives to encourage future purchases. 

Are Your Marketing Efforts Ready for Black Friday and Cyber Monday?

As you can see, there are more than a few factors to consider when it comes to preparing for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Be sure to keep the tips and information here in mind, which will help you optimize your marketing campaigns to get the best results possible. While it does take some time and effort to do this, it is something that will pay off in the long run. Being informed is the best way to ensure that you are ready to cater to your customers this holiday shopping season. 

Don’t hesitate to contact us to learn more about how we can work together to make sure your Commerce Site is ready for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

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