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Ecommerce Guide to Black Friday and Cyber Monday Success

Massive hoards of people, endless queues around the block, and doorbuster deals — these scenes might come to mind when you think of Black Friday. However, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the two most significant occasions in the ecommerce world. In the backdrop of the pandemic, the holiday shopping experience has turned virtual. While the Black Friday sales of 2019 witnessed 19% shoppers buying online, the numbers went up by 22% in 2020.

So, if you’re preparing your online store for this year’s biggest retail events, you’re at the right place. But before we begin, let’s take a look at the three most common kinds of shoppers:

  • The searcher: Shoppers who do their research before making any purchase.
  • The bargain-hunter: Shoppers who look for big fat discounts and spend accordingly.
  • The browser: Shoppers who make a purchase only after browsing thoroughly.

Appealing to these shoppers requires innovative strategies and tactics that you should put into place well before the season starts. Here’s a complete guide of things you can work on to achieve massive success on these retail holiday sales!

Checklist to Prepare for Black Friday and Cyber Monday

1.   Upgrade Your Ratings & Reviews Before Code Freeze

Black Friday marks a special event for every shopper. Several millions of people wait for this occasion for a whole year to make big purchases, and they want to get the best of the best.

So, leverage the emotion and social proof behind your brand by locking in ratings and reviews before you’re unable to modify your website as thousands of shoppers browse online.

If you were choosing between a 4-star product with thousands of genuine reviews and a 5-star product with one review, you’d probably go for the former. This is why encouraging and consistently posting reviews on your product pages is a game-changer for Black Friday season. The “searchers” will likely have their eye on products with many positive reviews early on.

Ratings and reviews for a Dove skincare product

Dove offers abundant information on it product pages in terms of reviews; customers can filter by star rating, sort, and see reviewer subdimensions like skin type to help them feel confident in their purchase.

In addition to prioritizing post-purchase communications and offering incentives to existing customers, your brand should be using a review platform with the most advanced collection technologies. Review services like TurnTo’s provide tailored strategies to encourage your customers to share their thoughts. Detailed analytics let you know exactly what’s working best, so you can further target the avenues that work best for your business. TurnTo also provides ecommerce sites the option to implement Community Q&A, so no customer question goes unanswered.

2.   Enhance Your Site Interface and Performance

A lot is riding on your e-commerce website, and your site’s performance can make or break your sales in these retail holidays. Slow page load speed can discourage customers and even cause them to leave your website before viewing your products.

Beyond minimizing file sizes and reducing unnecessary code from your site, you can also make sure you’re using speed-optimized widgets to display content on your product and home pages. For ratings and reviews, TurnTo uses Speedflex™ technology so reviews load faster than any other provider’s. If you’re showcasing user-generated content (UGC) on your site to show shoppers how real people use your products, your site widgets should utilize self-contained code, asset optimization, and asynchronous loading like Pixlee’s do.

Morphe's on-site gallery of customer makeup looks and text reviews

Morphe showcases reviews alongside visual UGC in a scrolling, fast-loading gallery for customers to peruse.This step is important especially for the “browser” buyer; they’re going to leave your site if it’s too time-consuming to check out the products they’re interested in — especially during the shopping craze of BFCM. Check out these 4 tips to improve your page load speed for more.

3.   Optimize Your Online Store for Mobile Users

54% of the total sales on Cyber Monday 2019 came from mobile devices. This is no fad; shoppable social media and ecommerce sites and apps will continue to cater more to mobile shopping.

Mobile browsing is both convenient and quick for online shopping. Shoppers worldwide have turned to mobile ecommerce because of the ease of use and availability of apps. Even if you don’t have an app for your store, optimizing your website for mobile users is key.

Shoppable Instagram by Pixlee is a great way to keep your brand identity consistent for mobile shoppers; it gives your fans an easy way to discover and purchase your products from customer Instagram posts living on your site. You can even automate publishing and product tagging as well as measure the direct ROI of your Instagram storefront with shoppable Instagram.

HYLETE combines UGC with this feature to let fans shop directly from other customers’ looks posted on Instagram.

Many shoppers prefer browsing on their phones and finalizing their cart on the desktop. So, focus on simplifying their browsing experience. Here are a few more tips to make your store mobile-friendly:

  • Streamline your site navigation specifically for mobile browsing
  • Increase the website load time and minimize heavy content
  • Create an appealing interface with responsive design

4. Use UGC Widgets that Aren’t Impacted By the Code Freeze

Pixlee’s self-contained code allows marketers and site admins to continually replenish UGC widgets on product and site pages without any changes in code. This means that when the code freeze hits around Black Friday season, your brand can keep showcasing new customer photos on-site as they’re collected and approved — a huge advantage over competitors with a stagnant website during this time.

Pixlee UGC collection interface

UGC will continue to be collected within the Pixlee platform, and all you have to do is select which pieces of content you’d like to automatically populate your website, social channels, and more.

5.   Build a Strong Customer Support Strategy

A good approach customer support is the backbone of your online store for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

With so many shoppers landing on your website, there’s bound to be some confusion, doubt, or concern. New shoppers might need help with your return policy, and old shoppers might ask questions about the deals — either way, you have to prepare for a surge in queries.

In addition to preparing your team to answer these questions, you can optimize each of your channels for customer support. Luggage brand TUMI integrates TurnTo ratings and reviews with their customer service platform, Gladly, to improve customer service response times and reduce the number of platforms the brand’s team was responsible for managing.

6.   Create a Solid Marketing Strategy to Drive Sales Without Relying On Discounts

When you’re done with all the backend prep, start strategizing your marketing efforts. Here’s a list of ideas you can explore for marketing your Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals.

  • Create email and ad campaigns featuring UGC: Tease your upcoming deals while showcasing how other consumers are already using your products.
  • Run a social media contest: Create buzz and anticipation for your store by running a social media contest — this will also help you gather content from customers that you can use in campaigns closer to the holidays.
  • Leverage Influencer Marketing: Use social media to partner with influencers in your industry and get the word out about your upcoming sales. Check out this guide to influencer marketing and why it’s so useful in retail.
  • Personalize the customer experience: Add an element of personalization in all your communication about these discount deals.
  • Reward existing customers with unique offers: Give your loyal customers something more with better offers and customized deals.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the most hyped events in the ecommerce calendar. As a retailer, this weekend gives you the chance to skyrocket your sales.

Prepare yourself for the retail holiday season with a bulletproof website and marketing strategy. Together with your website, focus on building your customer support team and marketing strategies. Remember—this holiday season can be your biggest ever if you start the prep early enough!

Pixlee TurnTo Contributor

Pixlee TurnTo welcomes contributed content from leading marketers, influencers and ecommerce experts.

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