Failing to prepare for Black Friday would be the equivalent of heading out to sea with no equipment and hoping to catch the Kraken with your bare hands. With so many fish in the sea, it is imperative that e-commerce brands gear up with the right tools for the upcoming onslaught of consumers who (surprise, surprise) are already beginning to put their shopping lists together.
With less than two months to go, you should already have a plan in place to kill it during every shopper’s favourite time of the year. If you don’t, it’s not the end of the world. Here’s what you can do to ensure you don’t get overwhelmed by the feeding frenzy that breaks out on a day we’ve all come to know and love – Black Friday.
Treat your customers like they’re the only people in the world who matter
The term “personalisation” tends to get thrown around loosely these days, with every other digital marketer touting its advantages over “blasting generic emails”. But the fact is that despite the additional effort you have to put in, personalisation works.
It’s no secret that the modern consumer is looking to buy into an experience rather than just a product or service. What this means is that brands have to work doubly hard to retain their existing customers. On the other hand, it also means that smaller e-commerce brands now have an equal chance of reaching out to new customers.
There are a million and one ways to personalise your holiday marketing campaigns. One of which is tailored gift guides, where you can offer gift-giving advice to specific consumer demographics.
For example, you could come up with a “10 gaming accessories to get your gamer girl for Christmas” or “8 cool gadgets your Everyday Carry-loving boyfriend would love to have this Christmas” gift guide catered for couples who have no idea where to start their Christmas shopping. It goes without saying that you should prioritise your own products in your gift guides for maximum exposure.
Another way to approach personalisation is through retargeting campaigns. Retargeting tracks first-time visitors to your website with cookies and serves them your ads when they visit other websites on the same ad-serving network. It sounds a bit creepy for an ad to be following your customers around the internet, but it works wonders for building brand awareness. It has also been shown that visitors who are retargeted with ads are 70% more likely to convert.
In addition to retargeting, try creating a sense of urgency in your ads through limited-time offers exclusive to your customers. Holiday shoppers like to weigh their options to find the best deals before committing to a purchase, if they have enough time to do it. Nip this in the bud by offering free shipping for a limited time only or even sending out push notifications that remind them to check out their shopping carts by a certain date.
Prepare your website for rush hour
Leave the dial-up speeds where they belong, in the past. Visitors have no patience for websites that take too long to load and will likely exit before they get a chance to see your home page. Even if your website loading speeds are decent now, it pays to err on the side of caution.
You have many options when it comes to improving loading speeds. One of the most important, however, is compressing your site content with gzip – a lossless data compression software. This basically means that your media (images, videos etc) are compressed to smaller file sizes and sent over to your browser to be decompressed with no loss in quality.
Working hand in hand with gzip is a content distribution network, which hosts your content on various data centres across the globe so that users can automatically download your content from the nearest one for maximum speeds.
Don’t be late to the party
This is one of those situations where “Better late than never” does not apply. What do you think would happen to your sales numbers if shoppers searched for “Black Friday deals” online and saw every other brand’s promotions but yours? Nothing. Because you were late. You missed out.
The earlier you get a jump on the festivities, the better. Take a page from big-name companies like Best Buy, Walmart, Amazon and Target who not only start offering deals a few days before the Black Friday weekend, but also begin running their ads in October.
Being early also affords you more time to try out different tactics to see what works best. Having more time to plan your holiday marketing strategy and pivot as needed is hugely beneficial to surviving the Black Friday peak period.
We’ve said this before and we’ll say it again. The only way to know if what you’re doing works is to monitor your progress. Regardless of platform – marketing emails, digital ads, social media posts – monitoring your campaign performance is the most effective way to find out if you’re on the right track.
It’s a marathon, not a sprint
Successful e-commerce marketing campaigns aren’t created overnight. You’re much better off maintaining multiple touch points consistently throughout the year rather than focusing all your efforts on the year-end festive season.
Speaking of marathons, don’t forget that Black Friday is not the only major event happening during that period. Sales promotions typically run the length of the entire weekend, up till Cyber Monday. Don’t miss out. With that said, we hope that these tips will equip you with the necessary tools you need to take on the mythical legend of the high seas. Bring forth the Kraken.