Getting Ready for Black Friday and Cyber Monday: The Ultimate Guide!

October 28, 2019 at 11:37:37 p.m. EDT / by Dominique Lessard

There are so many statistics available on the 2018 Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales in the US, but as for Canada, nothing. Isn’t that strange?

 

This year – in case you forgot or just feel overwhelmed at the thought – Black Friday is November 29th and Cyber Monday, December 2nd. To simplify things, I will use the acronym BFCM in reference to this tremendous opportunity. 

 

Back to our stats. In 2018, Black Friday and Cyber Monday generated sales of 13.9 billion US dollars, mostly in North America. The only statistics I found specific to Canada were compiled by Shopify.ca. In 2018, Shopify merchants collectively sold over 1.5 billion US dollars.

 

Let’s be honest: many Canadians buy from American merchants during BFCM. Some will even make the trip south of the border to take advantage of exceptional deals.

 

Interestingly though, according to a survey conducted by the Retail Council of Canada, 87% of respondents consider it important to buy from a retailer within Canada during the holiday season. The exchange rate favouring Canadian retailers in 2019, they should be the ones to attract American business.

 

Oh, and by the way, if you still think Boxing Day is the best time for deals, think again: in 2018, 40% of Canadians planned on taking advantage of Black Friday deals, compared to 35% for Boxing Day and 30% for Cyber Monday.

 

Therefore, how can you get ready and make a splash?

 

Here is a list of everything you can do to maximize sales and profits for this upcoming BFCM.

 


Pro Tip:
Start planning right away
. Don’t wait until the last minute, even for the smallest of tasks. Not only will all this prep work help you maximize sales, but it should also help reduce that stress that inevitably comes with this crazy busy season.


 

Black Friday

 

1. Plan your marketing campaigns

 

What exciting deals will you offer your customers?

 

First off, look at what your competitors are offering, or their deals from last year. This will give you an idea of what they plan on doing this year. Use it as inspiration to offer a similar deal, or an even better deal to grab part of their market share.

 


Pro Tip:
With Facebook Ad Library, you can spy on what your competitors are promoting. This tool lists all active ads running from any Facebook page.

 

Next, you could either survey your VIP customers to discover what kind of deals they’re hoping for, or choose among the following ideas – nothing ground-breaking, but efficient nonetheless:

 

1. Free shipping (64% of shoppers say that free shipping convinced them to make a purchase)

2. 1-day delivery

3. A discount (in % or $)

4. A free gift with purchase (25% say that a free gift with their purchase is an appealing incentive), whether it be a mystery article or a bonus item

5. A contest

6. A flash sale

7. A promo code

8. Exclusive deals for your loyal customers, in % or $ (for a longer duration, or even before other customers)

9. A doorbuster sale

10. Bonus loyalty points

11. Bundle deals (3 boxes of tea for the price of 2, for example)

12. Games (such as ‘spin the wheel to reveal’ or ‘scratch to win’ – who doesn’t like a good old scratch card?!)

13. Donate to a charity (for example, “for 1 day, we will donate 25% of profits to XYZ charity”)

 

Create a sense of scarcity and urgency. You will benefit greatly during this particular period.

 

Take for example a doorbuster sale: this marketing strategy focuses on bringing in as many buyers as possible to your store at a specific time. During the sale, one or more items are offered in limited quantity at a deep discount – sometimes even at a loss – in order to attract buyers to your store in the hope that they will spend more than for the deep discount item (which is usually what ends up happening). Since quantities are limited, the buzz will be augmented. Make sure therefore to choose an item that will actually appeal to your customer base so as to move the needle!

 

It is definitely advantageous for you to offer limited-time deals, since 50% of people say that limited-time offers help them decide when/where to buy. Why not add a countdown next to the discounted price so buyers will take quick action.

 

Spice it up! Why not offer a daily deal or even a different one at every hour of the day?

 

2. Give a heads-up to your customers who have already started shopping

 

I admit it, when I need to make a major purchase, I will research, evaluate, and compare products well ahead of the purchase date. With such a variety of retailers, if my task can be made easier, I love it.

 

Why not use your blog or a simple social media posting to offer a list of gift ideas for your target customer? Of course, these ideas would be items you sell.

 


Pro Tip:
Have you installed Facebook Pixel on your website so as to target those who have previously visited your site during your advertising campaigns? Since they’ve already heard of you, they’re more likely to buy from you!

 

According to the Marketing Rule of 7, a prospect needs to hear or see your message at least 7 times before they buy from you. However, Tony Robbins believes this rule is outdated: it would take 14 times now before a buyer takes action. Review your social network visitors and target them with effective – and repeated (14!) – advertising to draw them in. Competition is stiff, so pull out all the stops!

 

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3. Get your online store ready

 

There are many tools at your disposal to optimize your BFCM sales. You may not have time to implement everything so evaluate which of the following would have the greatest immediate impact:

 

1. Recovery emails for abandoned carts

2. Pixel to target your customers

3. Pop-up when buyers leave your web site

4. Push notifications

5. Loyalty programs

6. Shareable wish lists

7. Promo codes – ideally programmed in advance

8. Chatbots (to help you navigate this, see how chatbots can benefit your business and how to choose a chatbot platform

 

Very important: make sure your website is quick and is intuitive on mobile devices, not only on a computer. In 2018, 66% of sales from Shopify merchants happened on mobile during BFCM versus 34 % on desktop.

 

You also need to ensure your online store loads super fast. You wouldn’t want to lose sales just because your beautiful product images are too heavy and slow to load. What do we mean by super fast? According to Google, “2 seconds is the threshold for e-commerce website acceptability.”

 

You can also deactivate any unnecessary plugin or extension you haven’t used in a while. These often make your website load slowly.

 

Check that the following pages are optimally designed and intuitive:

 

1. Your products and suggested maintenance: professional product images are advised

2. Your policies (confidentiality, deliveries, returns): 40 % of buyers say that a convenient return policy is an influencing factor for shopping

3. Your “Contact us” page

4. Your subscription form

5. Your “About us” page


Lastly, make sure the buying process, from the shopping cart to the payment confirmation, is as simple and quick as possible. Apple Pay and Google Pay can help simplify this buying process.

 


Pro Tip:
Test the shopper experience using User Testing, which will allow you to see what the problems are, if navigation is impeded (by a misplaced button for example), if buyers are able to easily find the products they are looking for, if payment speed is optimal, and so on. All you need to do is determine the target customer profile you want to execute different tasks on your website and participants (real people!) will record their screen and voice so that you can see and hear what they think and how they find their experience.

 

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4. Prepare your advertising campaigns

 

Where will you advertise your awesome deals? Again, plenty of options to choose from:

 

1. The appropriate platform: Where is your target customer? On which media and/or social network are you present? Here is a non-exhaustive list of possibilities:

  • Your website – banners, pop-up, product showcase
  • Your blog – articles, banners
  • A guest blog where you can publish articles for free
  • A blog or newsletter for which you pay to publish content
  • Your newsletter
  • Your social media – posts, cover images, ads: Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube
  • Social media posts of influencers in your market segment

 


Pro Tip:
Don’t waste your efforts by trying to be seen on all possible platforms. Figure out where your customer base is and focus your energy on these platforms.

 

2. Running period for your campaigns: How many days prior will you start talking about your deals?

 

3. Your message and your offer: You need a catchy message to stand out from your competitors. What is more, make sure the following essential points are covered:


  • Featured products
  • Sufficient delay to get the products on time
  • Overview of the sale
  • Gift guide
  • New product launch

 

BlackFridayCyberMonday3

 

4. The visual (graphic design): people remember up to 80% of what they see, and only about 20 % of what they read. Since visuals are so powerful, how can you create eye-catching imagery? The simplest way is to hire a photographer and a graphic designer to get quick and professional results which will be in line with your brand image. 

 


Pro Tip:
Always think of your brand when designing visuals so that your customers can immediately recognize your posts.

 

Cost-saving tips: If you are willing and able to do the work internally, here are some tools to create professional visuals at minimum cost.


For your product images

 


Pro Tip:
Have you thought of using mock-ups for your product images? A mock-up is a picture of your product, but without your brand. You can add different variations in various settings and there, you have various quality images that will give a better overview of the products in real life. Creative Market ($) has thousands of different mock-ups templates ready to use, such as mugs, t-shirts, computers, posters, cars, and so on.

 

Screen Shot 2019-10-24 at 11.26.32 AM

https://creativemarket.com/search?q=mockup



For visuals to share on your different platforms


  • Canva: free, simplified graphic-design tool website. They offer many models that you can copy or use as inspiration. The Pro version ($16.99CAD/month) allows you to clone and resize your graphics to any format, depending on the post. For example, a Facebook post visual doesn’t have the same dimensions as an Instagram post. Canva Pro also allows you to upload your own brand image (font and colour).
  • Unsplash, Pixabay and Pexels: beautiful photos, free to use, that you can use however you please, and royalty-free.
  • Shutterstock: another website where you will find millions of high-quality photos to give life to your advertising campaigns. You can purchase images in prepaid image packs or through a subscription, annual or monthly.

 

5. Préparez vos stocks

 

Knowing which products you will be promoting, try to evaluate the quantity you will move and stock up accordingly. Also, make sure your warehouse is efficiently organized so that product handling and shipping is done as quickly as possible, with the least amount of mistakes.

 

Needless to say, this last point is the most important in the list.

 

6. Prepare to deal with delivery times and delays

 

It goes without saying again, in this busy period, there will likely be delays in deliveries, certainly not because carriers are slacking, but due to demand far exceeding supply.

 

Buyers don’t hesitate to shop around, so why should you not? Compare carrier pricing. You should know however that many carriers modify their conditions at the end of the year (usually for November and December). In other words, while you may be generally satisfied with Canada Post, you may feel differently about them in this period.

 

For example, from November 11, 2019 until January 12, 2020, Canada Post adjusts (increases) its surcharges on larger, bulkier, and oversized items, and modifies its service guarantee.

 

Although it is quite likely that all carriers will adjust their shipping conditions and guarantees during this busy period, there will certainly be one that stands out and offers you the best conditions for all your types of packages.

 


Pro Tip:
Perhaps you had decided to offer free shipping or quick delivery, but how can you do so without giving up all your profit margin? Buster Fetcher finds more reimbursement opportunities than any other business, even if carriers modify their on-time delivery guarantees during the holiday season. Don’t wait to sign up! Every day that goes by is money that you will never be able to retrieve and reinvest in your operations.

 

 

7. Announce delivery times

 

Now that you’ve determined the most suitable carrier for your business, ask him to provide you with a calendar with dates to respect so that your shipments get to your customers on time.

 

Screen Shot 2019-10-28 at 9.29.48 PM

https://www.canadapost.ca/cpc/assets/cpc/pdf/n/key_holiday_dates_2019_en.pdf

 


Pro Tip:
Split your customers based on their location and inform them of their order deadline. For example, your European customers should receive only one email reminding them of delivery times to Europe.

 

How can you inform your customers of delivery times? Here are three options:

1. Publish a page dedicated to ordering and delivery times.

2. Send an email to your customers, with scheduled reminders.

3. Add this information to your social media posts and on your website.

 

8. Schedule all postings relating to your advertising campaigns

 

Now that all is ready, go ahead and share your deals! How?

 


Pro Tip:
Share your promotions at the right time, when people are online and available to read and react so as to maximize the impact of your campaign.

 

What is the best time to send emails? According to 14 studies, Tuesday 10 am is THE best time to send emails. The next best days to send emails to get more opens and clicks are Thursdays and Wednesdays. At what time? In order, 10 am, 8 pm, 2 pm, and 6 am.

 

Are you worried your customers will be annoyed with your emails? Have no fear! If your customers trust you, they won’t mind receiving emails from you.

 

How about social media? When is the best time to post your promotions? Analytical data for each platform will help determine this.

 

If you are still unsure, consider the best times to post content on social media for B2C brands, according to Unmetric and Hootsuite:


  • Facebook: Monday to Wednesday at 12 pm
  • Twitter: Monday to Wednesday from 12 pm to 1 pm
  • Instagram: Tuesday, Thursday and Friday at 12 pm
  • LinkedIn: Monday and Wednesday at 7:45 am, 10:45 am, 12:45 pm, and 5:45 pm.

 

9. Set aside time each day to be in contact with your customers

 

As soon as your campaigns are out there, be prepared to answer questions and comments coming in.

 

A chatbot will be very useful at this stage, but did you know that 63 % of customers actually expect companies to offer customer service via their social media channels and 62 % of customers want to communicate with companies via email?

 


Pro Tip:
Stay focused. Don’t spend all your day reacting to comments and replying to messages. Set aside a specific time daily for this and let your customers know about it. That way, you will be more productive, less stressed, and your customers will know exactly what to expect: exceptional customer service!


BlackFridayCyberMonday4

 

10. Take care of new customers

 

Why not invest a bit of time and energy so that new customers during this period come back to your store throughout the year? 

 

You are no doubt aware, the cost of convincing a potential customer to buy your product or service is a lot higher than that of retaining your existing customers.

 

Here are three strategies to build loyalty with new customers:

 

1. Personalize your product packaging to increase customer satisfaction. It’s no wonder there are so many “unboxing” videos on YouTube!

2. Offer new promotions to your new customers. For example, give a 10% discount for a new order placed within 30 days of their purchase. If they don’t yet follow you on your social networks, or they haven’t subscribed to your newsletter, target them using your Facebook Pixel.

3. Educate and entertain: Discounts and sales are not the only way of drawing in buyers. People love to learn, laugh, and can be moved by realities that are different from their own. Get to know them so as to reach out to them more effectively.


 

11. Learn from your achievements and mistakes

 

Practice makes perfect!

 

Once BFCM is over, take some time to make a list of areas where you were successful, what did not work, or what was clearly lacking. That way, when BFCM 2020 comes around, you will have an even better head-start.

 

Lastly, I would recommend you regularly check the Buster Fetcher blog for more tips and to keep learning more about e-commerce.

 

Our goal at Buster Fetcher is to help you increase your online sales, so take full advantage!

Topics: E-commerce tips

Dominique Lessard

Wrote by Dominique Lessard

Dominique a oeuvré pendant plusieurs années à titre d'analyste financière au gouvernement du Québec, et a eu l'occasion d'y gérer une bonne partie des comptes publics ainsi que plus 600 M$ en comptabilisation des conditions de travail. Elle a décidé de vivre sa passion du voyage et de l'écriture par le moyen de son blogue Easy Planet Travel, devenant ainsi influenceur vedette, et collabore maintenant avec Buster Fetcher. Dominique worked for several years as a financial analyst for the Government of Quebec and had the opportunity to manage a large part of the public accounts and more than $ 600 million in accounting for working conditions. She decided to fully live her passion for travel and writing through her blog Easy Planet Travel, becoming a popular influencer, and now collaborates with Buster Fetcher.