With the Black Friday, Cyber Monday holiday coming up fast, we have the Ultimate 2023 BFCM strategy for you!
In this post we will cover things you can do in 24 hours or less to:
- Improve Your Ad Spend
- Create Trust and Urgency
- Retain Your Seasonal Shoppers
- Manage Your Returns and Shipping, Inventory and Suppliers
- Make Data-Driven Decisions
If you don't feel like reading, you can this video to see tactics that you can implement in 24 hours or less.
We also have a handy sent of printable downloads for you to use right here 👇🏿
For the full set of downloads click here
Black Friday Tips
Improving Your Ad Spend
Check out this video to see how you can effectively plan your BFCM ad spend.!
Black Friday ad spend trends from yesteryearDarren [from Klickly] and Jameela talked about the trends that were prominent last year including:
- Brands discovering their focus point
- Direct to Consumer continuing to rise
- Brands building look-alike audiences early
- Non-retailers advertising when retailers weren't
- Ad spend increasing over the holidays
For some additional reading on last year's trends, check out this article by eMarketer.
The best ad platforms for each industry/target market
Sometimes eCommerce stores feel like that need to be on all the ad platforms, but this simply isn't true. You have to choose the channel that works best for your industry and target market.
Darren and Jameela covered the essential things you need to know about each ad platform and which will work best for your brand during BFCM.
Note: Always know your goal when deciding what ad platform to explore
Facebook & Instagram
- Instagram has a younger demographic and is great for promoting lifestyle, branding, and imagery
- Facebook's targeting is unrivaled allowing you to focus more on the product and stretching your dollar
- Make sure to choose the types of Facebook ads that are right for you.
- Great for merchants who need presence but don't have deep pockets
- Google Shopping recently announced products can be listed on the Shopping tab for free — great for organic reach!
- Great for products that don't necessarily have brand loyalty or branded search
- Perfect for direct to consumer (DTC) merchants looking to generate more traffic and sales
- Run by a data-driven, machine-learning algorithm leveraging the open web (25 million premium sites and destinations)
- Requires no upfront spend and merchants select own commission
- Focus your commission on different parts of the buyers' journey
How to lower your Black Friday Cyber Monday CPA
Darren and Jameela also covered some tips that you can use to lower the cost per acquisition for BFCM.
1. Use look-alike audiences
- Utilize your email list on Facebook, Google, etc
- Focus on the outliers and create more lookalikes based on those outliers
- Expand to new channels to begin refining your look-alikes
2. Utilize killer creative
- Make sure your creative is not stale (don't reuse the same creative from last year and just add 2020 on it!)
- A/B test and make sure the creative leaves a positive reaction
3. Focus on performance marketing
- Look into Klickly to take advantage of a strategy that doesn't have a high upfront spend
- Maximize your cash flow by only paying when you make sales
- Get a platform that aligns with your goals
[Ad Spend Tips] Things you can do in 24 hours:
- Narrow down your core message
- Finetune your creative
- Explore other channels early
- Utilize look-alike audiences
Download and print the Ad Spend checklist
Building Trust and Urgency
In the lead up to Black Friday Cyber Monday, you should be focusing on improving your website so that your paid traffic converts better.
One way to improve your conversion rate is to try building trust and urgency online.
In this video, Jameela from Fera and Darren from Klickly talk about all the ways that you can implement trust-building activities and urgency on your online store.
How to build trust on your site
One of the first things shoppers are looking for is if your store is trustworthy!
Basically, they want to know this: if they give you their money, will they get the product they expect?
If the answer is anything other than ‘yes’, you have work to do on your store.
Add Trust signals
There are a couple of trust signals that shoppers typically look for:
- Site design
- About us page
- Reviews and testimonials
- Product photos
- Contact us page
Here are things that you can work on to build trust online.
Improve the user experience
You want to make sure that your website is easy to navigate and modern design helps with the user experience.
You don’t want to frustrate your users with text that looks like it should be a link.
Create consistent design
If your website looks old-school or pre-2010, it is time for an update.
A lot of shoppers think that if you haven’t taken the time to update your website, you may be out of business, or just lazy!
You don’t want people thinking that you didn’t put time and effort into your business, so a modern design is essential.
Stay on brand
That being said, make sure that your website isn’t trendy for trend's sake.
Building trust with your design also means that your website is on brand and resonates with your customer.
Have a good “About Us” page
Tell your storyYour customers want to connect with you, and your about us page is perfect for that.
Especially if you are a new brand, your customers want to know who is behind the brand and what the company stands for.
In the video, we talk about how Alora, Jameela’s online jewelry store, has founder photos and fun facts about the people who started the company.
This is on-brand for Alora and helps customers connect with the founders and their mission.
Utilize reviews, ratings, photos and testimonials
One of the things people are looking for online are reviews and ratings from real people.
Shoppers want to know if they are going to get what they think they are going to get when they place an order.
The way they find out if they will have a good experience is by reading about the experiences of part shoppers.
That is where reviews come in.
If you haven’t started yet, you should be reaching out to past customers to ask for reviews (for specific products) or testimonials (for the experience they have had with your brand in general).
P.S. You can manually request reviews from past customers with Fera’s review request system OR set up on-going review request campaigns too.
Beautiful, simple reviews for your siteEasily collect, show & grow customer reviews, photos & videos for your business.
Strategically place your reviews
You should be adding your reviews to your product page where you can to earn the trust of your shoppers.
If you don’t have reviews for specific products, you can add reviews for similar products or testimonials for your whole store.
Why would you post reviews for similar products, you ask?
Well, there is such a thing as negative social proof.
If you have too many products with no reviews, it looks like people aren’t buying your products or even worse bought it but didn’t like it and that doesn’t make you look trustworthy!
The other thing you should be doing is showcasing average ratings on products.
One good place to put this is on the collection page or right under the product heading on the product page.
Use customer photos
Shoppers LOVE to see what a product looks like in real life.
One of the best ways to build trust with shoppers is to show off photos of happy customers.
Find photos on Instagram
If you have a special hashtag or have had customers or influencers tag you in the past, then use those photos online where you can.
Having a customer photo wall is a great way to show off what your product looks like in real life and how many past happy customers you have.
Request customer photo reviews
Again, if you don’t have customer reviews and photos, ask for them.
These are powerful trust signals that every online store should be using.
You can try Fera to request photos from past customers and offer them incentives like cashback, loyalty points (w/ smile.io) and discounts!
Beautiful, simple reviews for your siteEasily collect, show & grow customer reviews, photos & videos for your business.
Have a contact us page
Give customers a way to contact you and understand where you are located.
Just because you are online, doesn’t mean people aren’t interested in seeing that you are a real business with a real address.
It makes you seem more trustworthy when you have a physical location listed or a phone number.
Most people won’t contact you, but just the fact that you have this information means it seems like you are a legitimate business.
Google also requires you to have certain contact information on your online store if you want to advertise with them.
Other types of way customers may want to contact you include:
- Social media
Use urgency on your site
Urgency, when used in small doses, can be highly effective when you want to boost your conversion rate!
Here are a few things you can implement that Daren and Jameela covered in the video:
- Promotional timers
- Cart timers
- Limited stock warnings
- Get it by timers
Promotional timers are great for BFCM.
They create urgency around getting a promotion before it runs out!
Placing promotional timers
One of the best places to add a promotional timer is at the top of your website.
Or on the page of a specific product.
Cart timers are also a great way to add urgency to your store.
Telling people that they only have a certain amount of time to check out before their cart expires, if a great way to get people to checkout.
Just make sure that you are considering your audience when you add cart timers.
If you are selling makeup pallets that are actually selling fast, then this is a good tool to use.
If you are selling a product that your customer knows is always in stock, don’t bother using a timer.
You can use logic like ‘Only show timer when product X is in the cart’ when using a cart timer. Fera is great for that!
Limited stock warnings
These are great year-round but especially important for BFCM.
When you implement limited stock warnings, it shows customers that there are only a certain amount of the product left and if they want it, they should get it while quantities last.
Be sure to set a look-back period that is reasonable for your store!
For example, if you are new, you may want to set a look-back period of 2 months, but if you are a busy store, 2 days or two weeks may be sufficient.
You don’t want your product to say 300,000 people have been looking at this product and there are 5 left.
It seems fake!
Get it by timers
Amazon really set the standard for using the get it by timer!
People want to know when they will get their item especially around the holidays, so add a get it by timer to your product page to help customers understand that if they want a product by Monday they have to check out in the next hour!
Make sure that you aren’t displaying any super long shipping times as your ‘get it by’ date this is disincentivizing people to checkout!
Create compelling offers
Finally, if you are using promotional offers to create urgency, make sure that they are compelling offers!
Don’t be offering 5% off when everyone else is offering 20% off on their store.
Also, if you are doing a BOGO or similar offer, be sure to add a product that is useful for your customer.
Checklist for building trust and urgency on your site
- Make sure your website is modern
- Building trust in the first couple seconds is essential
- Have a good “About” page
- Connect with your customer
- Utilize reviews, ratings, and testimonials
- Set up a review request campaign
- Display actual customer photos
- Take advantage of Instagram
- Have an easy way for your customers to contact you
- Email, phone, social, chatbots, etc
- Implement promotional timers
- Try countdown timers create urgency and boost conversions
- Know your audience is when placing the cart timer
- Test 'get it by' timers
- Be transparent about shipping times
Create compelling offers
- Make sure offers are good enough for someone to action
- Create discounts that make customers convert
- Rally around a cause that people want to take action for
[Trust and Urgency Tips] Things you can do in 24 hours:
- Plan your offers now
- Start gathering your customer events and
- information now
- Understand your customer lifetime value
- and repeatable purchase percentage
Download and print the Building Trust and Urgency checklist
Retaining Seasonal Shoppers
In this video, Darren from Klickly and Jameela from Fera talk about all the things that you need to be doing to retain those seasonal shoppers.
Here are the things that they covered:
- Implement a loyalty program
- Create email sequences (share your story)
- Retargeting ads
- Plan your offers and discounts
- Choose how you want to communicate with your customers
- Update your FAQs
Implement a loyalty program
If you are looking to retain seasonal shoppers, try enticing them to stick around with a loyalty program.
Loyalty programs like Smile.io, Referal Candy, and Loyalty Lion are all top contenders in the loyalty space.
Just remember, it costs significantly less to get an existing customer to buy again than to acquire a new customer.
That’s why you should encourage customers to:
- follow you on Facebook
- spend more to get points
- refer a friend
Here is a good example of Lash Cash via Loyalty Lion.
Remember, you want your customers to become brand evangelists and word of mouth marketers for you!
Create a follow-up email sequence
One of the important tried and tested ways to retain seasonal shoppers is revolutionary. It’s by saying “thank you” and confirming the purchase.
Go a step further add something extra — elaborate on your story (like Jameela does) or offer a discount for a future purchase and not forget to communicate as if it’s a one-on-one basis.
The proof is in the pudding. Jameela frequently gets customers buying after a thank you message is sent. FYI, she uses Kit (by Shopify) to send her thank you messages, but you can also use:
Use retargeting ads
Retargeting your BFCM visitors is a great way to stay top of mind in the lead up to Christmas and into the New Year.
However, make sure that you are mindful of frequency — you don’t want to overload them with a bunch of ads!
If you are too aggressive, you could deter future purchases.
Just have your frequency high enough to be a loving reminder for your visitors to remember that you exist.
Plan your offers and discounts
Start planning and setting up your discounts and offers now.
Be sure to align your discounts with your margins and customers’ expectations.
Different types of businesses can get more aggressive with their discounts since they have a higher LTV or better margins with their products.
Choose how you want to communicate with your customers
You have to give your customers a way to contact you so that they can ask you questions about your product or promotions that you have going on.
Depending on the size of your business, you can use one or all of the following types of communication channels with your customers.
- Live chat
- Direct messages (Instagram
When choosing your channels, just make sure that you have clear, on-brand messaging across channels and respond in a timely manner.
Update your FAQs
Many people want to utilize self-serve options so make sure that your FAQ is updated with questions like:
- Can I use discount codes together?
- When will my order ship?
- How long will it take to get my items?
You can also repurpose your FAQs to use in your customer service support calls as ‘canned responses’.
FAQs are a great way to answer questions with minimal resources!
[Retaining Seasonal Shoppers Tips] Things you can do in 24 hours:
- Create a follow-up email sequence
- Set up a loyalty program
- Start thinking about your unboxing
- Choose your customer communication
- Update your FAQ
Download and print the Retaining Seasonal Shoppers checklist
Returns and Shipping & Inventory and Suppliers
Just like any physical store, you need to be managing your returns, exchanges, inventory, and supplier management. It doesn't matter if you are a dropshipper or selling your own goods.
You need to be on top of these things, especially for BFCM.
In this video, Daren, from Klickly and Jameela from Fera talk about all the things you can do to prep for this season.
Watch the video as they cover:
- Returns and Exchanges
Here is a nice text summary of the video.
Refunds v. exchanges
You need to keep your cash flow positive!
That is why having a returns and exchange game plan is what you need.
- Offer an incentive to exchange rather than return
- For example, give people a bonus credit for accepting a store credit instead of a refund.
- Make your return policy clear
- make it easy to find
- use clear language
- cover all questions customers may have
But do your best to make your customer happy and if that means a refund, get that customer a refund!
There are heightened expectations around the holiday season, so make sure that you have all your shipping ducks in a row! Here is how you can do that:
Make shipping times clear
Jameela uses 'Tabs by Station" on her store, but you can use similar tools to let customers see delivery times, where products ship from, keep them up to date on delays by COVID.
Having this info on the product page keeps people from clicking away (and this will improve your conversion rate)!
Try and ship quickly>
Remember, Amazon has set a new standard for quick delivery times, so if you’re unable to compete with Amazon, make sure you set expectations with your customers.
If your free shipping takes 10 days or more, let customers know that up front.
Give customers lots of shipping options
There are some people (like Darren) that want their orders right away.
And then there are other people like Jameela who don't care when their order arrives.
Make sure that you have several shipping options for both of them like:
- Free shipping
- Expedited shipping
- Express shipping
Consider using a 3PL
If you know that you need to compete with Amazon for 2-day shipping, use a 3PL.
In the video, Jameela mentioned ShipBob, but you can use any other 3PL in your area!
If you don't have anything to sell, you can't make any money!
You have to make sure that your inventory game is on point and here is how you can do it!
Make sure your best-selling products are available and ready to ship
Here are a few things that you can do to make sure you are always stocked:
Know your reorder point
What is a reorder point, you ask?
It is the level of inventory that signals when you need to purchase/restock your product.
Basically, your reorder point is the level at which you should not fall below if you don't want to run out of things before your next shipment arrives.
Here is the formula for your reorder point:
How to calculate your reorder point
(Average Daily Sales x Days Needed to Get Your Product)
Your Reorder Point
Remember this will be different for every product, so get calculating now!
For this formula, you will need to take into account supplier lead time and determine if it will vary during the holiday season.
Here is an example: Ask yourself, how many items do I sell per day?
If it is 10 and it takes 30 days for your item to be made, packed, shipped, and unloaded, then you need a safety stock of 300 items when you decide to reorder.
Consider holiday shipping times
Please please please, consider the following:
- The volume of packages globally or nationally — more packages shipping means longer shipping time
- Using order cutoff times to communicate to customers when they will get their product.
- Following up with anyone ordering between key dates, to make sure the shipping option is what they’re comfortable with.
Tools that we mentioned in the video
Remember these three things when planning/managing your inventory and shipping:
- Exchanges are preferable to returns
- Can you find out shipping cut-off times? Communicate to the customer
- Better to be slightly overstocked
[Inventory and Suppliers Tips] Things you can do in 24 hours:
- Add 'Tabs by Station'
- Update your shipping options
- Start the hiring process for temporary staff
- to help fill orders.
- Calculate your reorder point
Download and print the Returns, Shipping, and Inventory checklist
Making Data-Driven Decisions
In the 5th and final video, Darren and Jameela talk about how you can make this Black Friday Cyber Monday better by working with your data from last year.
Data is key to understanding potential improvements that your business can make for this BFCM.
When you implement some of the suggestions in the video, you'll likely see revenue increase.
Here is what they covered in the video!
What data points to look at from last year
We went into detail about the data points you should be using to base this year's decisions on including:
- Traffic sources by:
- Conversion Rate
- What items sold out last year
- The profitability of your ads
When you are looking at the best channels for ads, make sure you are looking at each channel and investment as it relates to ROI and ROAS.
Keep in mind that return on investment doesn’t always correlate to most profitability.
That is why you have to pay close attention to ROAS.
Where to find ad profitability information
You can find ad profitability information in your Facebook Dashboard, Klickly dashboard, or any other ad dashboard.
However, if for some reason your ad platform doesn't have this information, you can calculate it on your own.
P.S. Klickly is the only ad platform that allows you to set your ROAS/commission in advance!
Here is how to calculate your ROAS
(Revenue derived from ad source)
(Cost of ad source)
Always make sure to look at the fluctuations in your ad ROI and ROAS and see where the most profitability comes from to get a good indication of target sets.
Pro tip when running ads: Make sure the channels you’re running are synced to avoid running ads to sold-out products.
Other important data points
Using heatmap tools like HotJar or LuckyOrange will help you determine what people are clicking on, what people are interacting with, and where they are getting stuck.
This is more helpful than something like Google Analytics where you can't truly visualize what is happening on your eCommerce site.
Examples of how to use this data
- With the power of Google Analytics, track any of your store's online marketing campaigns, and start putting more money into the best campaigns.
- The Best one depends on a couple of variables:
- Conversion rate
- Raw number of sales
- Average order value
- Find this information in GA here: Acquisition > All Traffic > Source/Medium
- The Best one depends on a couple of variables:
- Determining the best products to sell is going to be super important this BFCM too
- Head into your Google Analytics and determine which products generate the most revenue
- Use this information to order your inventory or decrease the spending on some ads that are pushing slow-selling products ads and increase spending on others that might be getting good sales
- Find this information in GA here: Conversions > E-commerce > Product Performance
[Making Data-Driven Decisions Tips] Things you can do in 24 hours:
- Start with one thing
- Focus on your best-performing channels
- Review your shopper journeys
- Use heatmap data to optimize your pages
Download your BFCM Making Data-Driven Decisions checklist here
There you have it! All the actions your eCommerce brand can take in 24 hours or less to improve your Black Friday Cyber Monday sales.
You can always check back here to see how you can improve you
- Ad Spend
- Creating Trust and Urgency
- Retaining Your Seasonal Shoppers
- Managing Your Returns and Shipping, Inventory and Suppliers
- Making Data-Driven Decisions
Good luck and we hope you make a bunch of money!