It’s hard to believe it’s here already, but Black Friday and Cyber Monday are right around the corner. These two days mark some of the biggest and most chaotic shopping days of the entire year, and as an ecommerce retailer, you’ll want to step up your game to prepare for the uptick in traffic to your online store. 2017 saw a record year for Cyber Monday shoppers, according to Adobe Insights. Customers spent an incredible $6.59B (yes, that’s B for billion) online, a reported 16.8% increase over 2016. Black Friday saw a similar climb of 17%, to sales of $5.03B. With numbers like these, and a pattern of sustained growth over the last several years, it’s up to you to make sure your strategies are in good shape by the time November rolls around. This is an exciting time for online retailers. Are you ready? Have you optimized your site and marketing efforts to target your customers (and prospective customers) effectively? Do you have extra inventory on hand? Are your data analytics set up so you can track your performance accurately? Here are some tips from Glew for how to maximize your Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales this year:
1. Optimize your products
According to Google, 7 in 10 shoppers are unsure of what they want to buy, so some guidance from you and your store will lead them directly to the products you want to highlight. Adding enticing website copy that drives urgency and social proof also creates an impetus to buy. To draw people’s attention in, use phrases like:
- Limited time only
- Customer favorite
- Only X left
- Selling out fast
Putting sale items front and center on your site will grab people’s attention as they land on your store. Offer a doorbuster item - or grouping of items - that will draw customers in. (What’s a doorbuster? It’s a sale that’s way outside the normal range of discounts. Think 60%+ off, free shipping on all items, or a BOGO deal.) These deep discounts serve two purposes:
- To encourage people to buy the item in question
- To get people in the door so they can casually browse through your other products
To increase excitement about your store, you can also introduce an exclusive, limited-run item, or include a countdown timer on certain products. Customers are more likely to make a purchase decision if they feel there is a limit to supply or time to purchase.
2. Prepare your inventory
It goes without saying that your online store is going to need additional inventory to keep up with the higher demand Black Friday and Cyber Monday create. More traffic means more sales, so focus on items that are top sellers or customer favorites. Look at your sales numbers from last year, forecast the growth you’re likely to see this year, and plan accordingly. Along with stocking up on extras of the products you regularly sell, consider expanding the variety of products on your site. Working with your suppliers to diversify your inventory before the holiday shopping rush is a sure way to outpace your competitors and create buzz around your brand. If you’re not ready or able to commit to holding additional inventory just yet, drop shipping is one way to expand options for your customers without the headache. You take the orders, and a third party company fills them for you.
3. Plan your marketing strategy across channels
You have an online store. But does your store have a solid social media presence? Do you maintain a mailing list (that you communicate regularly with) or newsletter? Do you have a blog to share new arrivals or comment on trends? Are you running paid search or paid social media ads? Maintaining a variety of marketing channels increases your exposure to potential customers and gives them more ways to engage with your brand. Take advantage of high-volume holiday shopping days by putting yourself out there:
- Send out email blasts announcing the holiday deals you’ll be offering and letting people know when they can shop to access the best sales
- Write a blog post about the best way to take advantage of your store’s Black Friday/Cyber Monday promotions, or about seasonal trends
- Post your activities on social media
- Run paid marketing campaigns to increase your reach to people who haven’t interacted with your brand before
Encourage your customers to follow you on social media, review items they’ve purchased, give positive testimonials, or even guest post on your blog - you can even incentivize them with additional discounts. Satisfied customers are the best evangelists for your brand and can help you get the word out even more.
4. Make sure you’re on top of data and reporting
Lastly (and most importantly), your Black Friday and Cyber Monday strategy should include accurate data analytics. It won’t help you much in the long-term if you see your store traffic and sales grow over the holidays, but aren’t able to accurately track or attribute the growth - and use it to inform your future strategy. The information you collect and report on over your busiest period can help you determine trends and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses in your strategy, so you can better understand your customers and their needs. Accurate data and robust performance reports will show you critical information like how long people spend on your site, whether they’re new or returning customers, how many pages they navigate through before they purchase (and if they make a purchase), what they buy and so much more. And that's just basic analytics. With an advanced reporting tool like Glew, you can see things like:
- Store performance metrics like revenue, revenue by channel, profit and margin, as well as LTV metrics
- Product analytics like revenue, profit, margins, orders, returns and COGS on a product level, as well as information about inventory and vendors
- Customer analytics, including orders, order dates, returns, revenue, average order value, LTV, location, email and channel for individual customers,
- Customer and product segments, like VIP customers or first-time buyers or hot and cold products
- Channel and campaign performance from your marketing channels
- Shipping and fulfillment analytics, including orders shipped, shipping cost, shipping paid, margin and average cost per order by carrier
Check out some of Glew’s reporting features to see more. These insights will help you make informed decisions to steer your business into the future.
Ready, set, go!
Now that you have the information and tools you need to create a winning strategy for your ecommerce business, you can work on preparing your store for the onslaught of hopeful customers who are ready to buy. If 2018 follows the trend of the last several years, you can be sure there will be record numbers of shoppers making purchases this holiday season. Spend some time formulating your plan - and getting the right tools in place - to ensure you stay ahead of the pack this season!
Once Black Friday and Cyber Monday are over, the real fun begins: analyzing your performance to see what worked, what didn't and how you can use that information to strategize for the rest of the year. Download our guide to learn how to get important insights from key metrics like conversion rate, product analytics, coupon analytics and more: