Ask any e-commerce brand for their most hated and most loved time of year and you’ll likely get the same answer.
The Black Friday weekend.
For many brands it’s the most profitable period of the year, massively outstripping the sales and revenue made over even the Christmas period.
Huge amounts of money can be made over this 4 day period.
But at the same time, the stress and strain on your store and your customer success team is huge.
More orders mean more complaints, more refund requests, more shipping errors, more questions, more abandoned carts.
You get more of everything you want (money) in equal measures with everything you don’t want (work/hassle).
For most brands with a small team, the hassle can almost seem too big of a cost.
But with proper preparation, you can minimize the stress for your team and come out ahead of the competition in terms of sales.
Why bother with a Black Friday Campaign
If you are running your business with a small team there’s a very real temptation to simply forgo all the hassle and simply avoid the Black Friday weekend.
After all, we all know that poor customer service is going to turn people away from your brand forever more, right?
So why put undue stress on a small team and massively increase that risk when you could keep your head down, cruise through unnoticed, and clean up later on when you can make a great first impression with your potential customers?
The answer’s simple, and the same reason you started a store in the first place.
You can see from the image below that Black Friday and Cyber Monday are far better for generating sales than the Christmas period.
Not only are those 4 days better at driving sales, but they’re experiencing incredibly YoY increases.
So there’s an increasing number of sales which are, for many, the highest sales days of the year.
But the cherry on top is the amount of tech you now have at your disposal to achieve those sales.
With the advent and popularization of chatbots, Messenger marketing, live chat, and many more you’re able to deal with even more requests and customers than ever before through the channels they most favor.
It’s a recipe for success.
But sure, there will be a lot of stress involved. The key to mitigating that stress is preparing properly.
Setting Up for Black Friday
There are tonnes of articles online about how to prepare your Black Friday campaign so I won’t go into too much detail here.
What I will say that it’s never too early (or too late) to start preparing your Black Friday strategy.
To help you achieve that, I’m going to list some of the more important user expectations from this fair more in-depth piece from Shopify.
There is a trend which is seeing more and more of your users switch to mobile devices for both browsing, and buying.
Buying on mobile is still lagging behind that of desktop according to Aaron Orendorff at Shopify, but the trend of moving to mobile for most users is unmistakable.
In fact, Shopify themselves have seen more people purchase through mobile than through desktop.
However, implementing a simple responsive strategy isn’t enough. You’ve got to go one step further and begin by setting up a seamless mobile experience.
Social Selling is Taking Over
Most people on mobile devices spend their time on some form of social media network.
Traditionally, social media marketing was used as the first touch point. An attention grabber that gets the click leading the user to your store.
However, thanks to the increase in tools enabling a social commerce solution, you’re able to cut the purchase funnel down to little more than two steps.
1 - See an item you’d like to buy
2 - Purchase directly through social media without any redirects or extra steps
It’s a great way to shorten the purchase funnel and drive quick and easy sales. Some of the biggest brands in the world have been using social commerce drive easy sales for their brands. Marvel managed to achieve a 58% conversion rate through their initial campaign.
Personalization Reigns Supreme
One of the other big needs for modern consumers is to feel more like a valued customer than just another number.
People want to feel like you value them. If you can crack this nut you’re all on your way to building that customer loyalty which keeps customers coming back time and time again.
But it’s no easy feat.
At a larger scale personalization includes optimizing the experience for the journey and devices your consumers are using.
So creating a mobile-specific experience for example.
Beyond that, it’s about treating them as an individual. And one of the best ways to do this, is to converse with them through live chat.
Live chat not only makes the user feel like you value them as a person, but it’s cheaper than traditional support methods and drives much greater sales.
In short, your customers want the easiest, most personal purchase journey possible.
If you’re making things too complicated for them, they’re going to bounce to your competitors.
The real question is, once you’ve got that initial sale, where do you go?
Beyond the Initial Black Friday Sale
So you’ve got to optimize your store and processes to get that initial sale.
But as we all know, the real money is made on the back end.
What actions can you take to retain those Black Friday customers not only through the holiday period when competition is highest, but also for future repeat purchases?
Focus on Service
This one seems obvious but is often forgotten.
Instead of focusing on improving the service we offer, we focus on cheap tactics and actions like cart abandonment emails, retargeting ads and the like.
These aren’t things you shouldn’t be doing, but before you start implementing them you have to first consider the connection you’re making with your audience.
You have to make them feel at ease buying from you and make the purchase experience as enjoyable and seamless as possible.
And if theres one thing your customers want and that will make them feel at ease, it’s live chat.
Live chat not only gives customers the immediate service they want but also gives you a better opportunity to overcome objections.
Your support staff is able to converse with potential customers in real time increasing the chances of overcoming objections, finding the real reason they’re not purchasing, and leading them to the best product for their needs.
This is what you should first focus on. Getting your support team up to standard with live chat solutions so they can better serve your audience.
You can make the process much easier with a tool like eDesk that helps by offering features including query routing to the most appropriate sales person and centralizes support so responses are even faster.
Great Immediate Follow Up Service
As mentioned above, customers want a speedy response.
But that need for speed doesn’t begin and end with the initial sale. If you really want to make the most of new customer relationships you have to follow up via email immediately with a welcome.
This might seem like a lot of work.
After all, your support team will be working overtime during the Black Friday weekend and won’t have time to cover everything in terms of a follow-up.
What we’d recommend is making sure any live chat that comes through also captures the user’s email address much like you would with a sale.
Then, send them a welcome series to keep them engaged, give them a better understanding of who you are and what you offer, and how to improve their enjoyment of your product.
As it’s Black Friday weekend, you could also give them another incentive or reminder to check out your deals before they’re all gone.
According to Omnisend, the Welcome Automation sequence is a huge opportunity, and we know from experience it’s one most brands miss out on.
Make sure you’re capturing email addresses even if people just reach out for help and, if you are, that you’re following up with a targeted, unique, and useful email sequence that helps drive sales.
Implement a Customer Loyalty Program
Customer loyalty programs are something so few brands really leverage. Sure, they might implement them, but very few actively promote them in any meaningful way.
And it’s a huge missed opportunity.
According to Forrester, customers within a loyalty program spend an average $42 more within three months than those who don’t.
Not only do they help make more money, but you can leverage them within those live chats and email sequences to secure more sales.
The right loyalty program can increase sales because people view them as another type of deal. It’s an incentive to purchase from you.
Retargeting for Extra Sales
Retargeting is often only spoken about it terms of getting a non-purchaser to return to your store to complete the purchase they abandoned.
But it can do so much more.
The Black Friday weekend spans 4 days.
You can still run the normal “you looked at this but didn’t purchase campaigns” to get people back on site, but you can also run targeted Black Friday campaigns.
Once that are aimed at the day of the sale (Black Friday or Cyber Monday), have personalized copy based on whether they’re an existing customer or not, and even choose the product that’s the most logical cross-sell.
Below is a great example of this in action.
The Core Concept for Black Friday Retention
Too many people view Black Friday weekend as a one and done type deal.
You drive loads of sales and boom, you’re done. Thanks for the money, see you next year.
But it can be so much more than that.
People are willing to spend vast amounts of cash on this weekend and that’s great. But the real benefit comes in the follow-ups through an increase in customer LTV.
If you want to increase the chances of repeat purchases and the revenue over a longer period than a single weekend, there are two elements you need to consider:
1 - How can I make this as pleasurable and intuitive as possible
2 - How can I re-engage the customer with useful content
Hit these two through the channels people are favoring (live chat for in the moment support - email for follow-ups) and you’ll massively increase your store’s profit margins.
If you want to start improving your Black Friday processes today, sign up for a free trial of eDesk to see exactly what it can do for you