The Big Sale Days: An E-Commerce Guide to Black Friday and Cyber Monday
Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM) can set the tone for an online retailer's entire financial year. These sales days have brought more and more people to online shops during recent years, often translating into massive revenue surges. In 2022, in the U.S. alone, Black Friday sales raked in $9.12 billion, while Cyber Monday made $11.3 billion for retailers — both breaking all previous records.
However, it's not just the jaw-dropping volume of transactions that's worth noting. The rate at which shoppers turn into buyers also improves during these sale days. According to Namogoo's Ecommerce Holiday Shopping Trends report in 2022, this rate jumps to 1.5 times higher than the Q4 average.
Of course, making these days successful requires careful planning, especially given the current economic volatility marked by inflation, rising interest rates, and budget-conscious consumers. You can succeed by devising a BFCM strategy and the right use of technology. This article will discuss four key marketing tips to help your online store perform its best during the sales season.
4 E-Commerce Tactics for Sales Days Success
1. Use behavioral and historical data when deciding where to apply discounts.
The surge in BFCM sales often relies heavily on discount-driven promotions. However, mass discounting can backfire, and I’ve written elsewhere about using data-driven promotions rather than blanket price cuts.
Real-time personalization allows you to tailor your discounting strategy according to the preferences of specific segments of shoppers. This strategy can help you show customers new products that they're likely to be interested in, or help "seal the deal" with customers who are looking for the best prices on a specific product. Personalized discounts can increase how much money customers spend with you over time. Also, they can raise the average amount of each order and increase the revenue you get from each shopper.
Also worth considering: Buying preferences often change during the sales holiday periods. You might want to consider prioritizing discounts on categories that showed growth compared to 2021, which include pets and animals, beauty and cosmetics, and general retail.
2. Start your promotions early to warm up your audience.
We all understand the need to boost our ad budget in preparation for BFCM. Unsurprisingly, ad spending went up 79 percent on Black Friday and 58 percent on Cyber Monday and stayed high for the whole week. To stay ahead and avoid overspending at a time when everyone else is bidding for the same ad impressions, start warming up your audience before the holiday shopping rush sets in.
Spending on ads early is more affordable and lets you build your audience ahead of time — either by capturing emails or building remarketing audiences for campaigns you'll launch when Black Friday hits. This way, for example, you can remarket to customers at different stages in the sales funnel and offer your best deals to loyal customers who are most likely to buy; or you can use ads on social media and other display channels to remind shoppers of items they looked at but didn't buy.
Selling to a "warm" audience is likely to be much more cost effective than to a completely cold one. Metrics such as clickthrough rates (CTR) and onsite conversion rates (CVR) are higher, making acquisition costs lower. This is both due to the way online advertising platforms work, but also because advertising helps build brand affinity and awareness, which has been shown to improve the results of eventual activation campaigns (e.g., direct response ads). This is likely to drive your costs down and your conversion rate up.
3. Manage and monitor browser extensions; prevent journey hijacking.
Shoppers often use browser extensions to get better deals on products they’re interested in. These extensions can provide promo codes at checkout, price comparisons across retailers, or cashback rewards, and are increasingly popular with bargain-hunting consumers. Many of the shoppers who will land on your website during the upcoming sales days will be using these extensions: you should be prepared.
Browser extensions can help drive more traffic and win more sales, but they can be a double-edged sword when it comes to customer experience. Retail marketers put effort into crafting a perfect online journey for their audience, and a browser extension can derail those efforts. While most of these extensions are completely legitimate, there are "bad" ones that deliberately interfere with the customer journey to try and maximize affiliate revenue, direct users to unsavory websites, or significantly slow down website loading times. You need to have full visibility into how each extension impacts revenue, bounce rate, CVR, AOV, and customer experience.
In other cases, you’ll want to block the interruption completely. In 2022, unauthorized ad injections remained a major challenge for e-commerce brands on both desktop and mobile, with over 20 percent of sessions exposed to unwanted journey interruptions, most of them (60 percent to 65 percent) promoting products from competing stores. Customer hijacking prevention tools can allow you to block third-party components that significantly hurt the shopping experience on your site.
4. Focus on improving conversion rates and profit margins.
BFCM spikes up acquisition costs as every online retailer is hustling to attract shoppers. To balance the high costs of getting people to your site, you want to maximize the value you get out of every every website session. This means focusing on boosting your conversion rates and profit margins by offering personalized experiences that surface the products that consumers want to buy.
Personalization tools can predict likely behaviors such as the chances of purchase, timing of site abandonment, and response to promotions. These insights can help enhance your conversion rate throughout your shopper journey. Increasing the likelihood of a visitor to turn into a buyer will significantly improve your return on advertising spend (ROAS) and help you maintain healthy profit margins.
For instance, you could use a prediction engine to spot near-conversion visitors who have loaded their carts but paused at checkout. When you know who these high-risk groups are, you can customize promotions to these groups specifically, nudging them back to their purchase path.
Make Every Site Visit Matter
Every retailer is going to be offering discounts on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. To stay ahead of the game, you need to go a few steps further. Offering category-specific sales, proactively advertising, countering customer journey hijacking, and using predictive analytics to increase conversion rates can give you a vital competitive edge. And, as always, the key is to stay focused on your customers' needs and continue refining your strategies.
Adi Schwartz is a senior customer success manager at Namogoo, pioneer of the world’s first digital journey continuity platform.
Adi Schwartz is a Senior Customer Success Manager at Namogoo.
As an experienced customer success manager with 10 years of customer management experience, I started my career as a consultant and progressed to account management and customer success roles.
My recent specialization in the e-commerce industry includes Ad-tech, affiliates, and partner marketing, with a focus on optimizing the user's journey on site using real-time prediction tools.