Winning Strategies to Prepare Your Ecommerce Store for BFCM
Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM) are among the most exciting times of the year for ecommerce businesses. These back-to-back shopping extravaganzas mark the beginning of the holiday season and present a massive opportunity for online retailers to boost their sales and engage with customers. However, to make the most out of BFCM, ecommerce stores need to plan and implement effective strategies. In this article, we'll explore the significance of BFCM, and share actionable strategies to ensure your ecommerce store is prepared for success during this shopping frenzy.
Understanding the Significance of BFCM
Unmatched Sales Opportunity: BFCM is renowned for its unbeatable deals and discounts. Consumers actively seek these deals, making it the ideal time for ecommerce businesses to boost their sales and revenue.
Holiday Shopping Season Kick-Off: BFCM serves as the starting point for the holiday shopping season, which means it sets the tone for your business's overall performance during this crucial time.
Competitive Advantage: By actively participating in BFCM, you can gain a competitive edge and position your store as a go-to destination for holiday shoppers.
Customer Engagement: BFCM is also an excellent opportunity to engage with your customer base and attract new customers. Shoppers are already in the mood to buy, so your marketing efforts are more likely to yield results.
Now, let's delve into actionable strategies to get your ecommerce store ready for a successful BFCM.
- Early Planning and Promotion
To succeed in an extended BFCM sales period, early planning is crucial. Ensure that your offers are communicated early to capture the attention of shoppers looking to make early holiday purchases.
To succeed, Implement these strategies:
- Set Clear Goals: Define your objectives, whether it's increased sales, customer acquisition, or clearing inventory.
- Create a Promotion Calendar: Plan your promotions, including specific discounts and marketing strategies for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
- Build Hype: Start building anticipation for your deals weeks in advance, creating excitement among your audience.
- Prepare for a longer sales period: According to a 2021 holiday trends study by Justuno, a substantial 65% of US shoppers planned to make their holiday purchases before Thanksgiving. To align with this evolving trend, make sure you're not just planning for the weekend but also extending your offers well before and after BFCM, if feasible.
- Optimise Your Website
Your website is the backbone of your ecommerce business. In a longer BFCM sales period, a well-optimised website is your best asset.
- Mobile-Friendly: Make your website responsive, ensuring it's accessible on all devices. A responsive and efficient website can enhance the shopping experience and reduce your bounce rate.
- Fast Loading Speed: Improve loading times to prevent visitors from bouncing due to slow performance. Research indicates that even a 0.1-second improvement in site speed can lead to a 10.1% increase in conversions
- User-Friendly Navigation: Simplify the shopping process, making it easy for customers to find what they're looking for.
- Test and Prepare Your Store for Traffic Surges: surges in web traffic can sometimes lead to website crashes. Fortunately, Shopify offers solutions to handle traffic spikes during Black Friday, ensuring your website performs flawlessly.
- Stock Management
Efficient stock management is essential:
- Inventory Assessment: Identify popular products and stock up accordingly.
Safety Stock: Ensure you have a buffer stock to meet unexpected demand spikes.
Clearance Stock: Identify stock you would like to move and incorporate it as part of your campaign.
- Accurate Stock Levels: Ensure your stock levels are accurate before the sales period starts. Conduct a stock count and connect your different sales channels to keep your stock count precise throughout the promotional period (and beyond). Nothing frustrates customers more than purchasing an item that is in fact out of stock. Consider an inventory system if necessary.
- Marketing Strategies
Marketing is key during BFCM:
- Email Marketing: Create a compelling email campaign to notify your subscribers of your BFCM deals. Automate your email campaigns to nurture your customers before, during and after the purchase journey using a platform such as Klaviyo.
- Social Media Marketing: Leverage platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Tiktok to reach a broader audience.
- Influencer Collaborations: Partner with influencers to promote your products, reaching their dedicated followers. Micro influencers with less than 10k followers are great to partner with and can provide better ROI than larger and more popular accounts depending on your campaign goal.
Paid Advertising: Invest in pay-per-click (PPC) advertising to increase visibility including having dedicated landing pages for your campaigns.
- Printing: Consider in–person marketing campaigns in your local area, specially if you have a physical store.
- Customer Service and Support
Exemplary customer service sets you apart:
- 24/7 Support: Extend support hours to cater to shoppers in different time zones.
- Live Chat: Implement live chat to address customer queries in real-time.
Returns and Refunds: Clarify your return policy, instilling confidence in customers. Include an accordion FAQ in your product page to make it easy for customers to access your policies.
Multi-channel support: Nowadays customers can contact you through a multitude of channels, from social media to emails, live chats and phone. To provide the best customer support, consider using an app such as Gorgias which centralise all your communication channels making it easy to keep your customers informed and your team on track.
- Security and Trustworthiness
Build trust to convert visitors into customers:
- SSL Certificate: Ensure your site is secure with an SSL certificate. If you are a Shopify store owner, this is automatically included in your subscription.
- Customer Reviews: Display reviews and testimonials to build credibility. Apps such as Fera and Yotpo are very popular among eCommerce stores.
- Shipping and Delivery
Efficient logistics are essential:
- Free Shipping: Offer free or reduced shipping to incentivize purchases.
- Fast Delivery: Communicate delivery timelines clearly to manage customer expectations. Use a system such as StarShipIt to keep your customers on track with their deliveries.
- Post-BFCM Strategies
The effort doesn't end with BFCM:
- Follow-Up Campaigns: Continue engaging with your new customers through post-BFCM email campaigns.
- Inventory Clearance: Use post-BFCM weeks to clear any remaining inventory with additional discounts.
- Customer Feedback: Gather feedback from customers to make improvements for next year.
- Data Analysis
Lastly, don't forget to analyse your performance:
Sales Data: Examine your sales data to understand what worked and what didn't.
Customer Feedback: Review customer feedback and make adjustments accordingly.
In conclusion, Black Friday and Cyber Monday present a golden opportunity for ecommerce businesses to boost their sales and customer engagement. By planning ahead, optimising your website, and implementing effective marketing and customer service strategies, your ecommerce store can make the most out of this shopping frenzy. Remember that preparation is the key to a successful BFCM, and the strategies outlined here can help you stay ahead of the competition and delight your customers during this exciting shopping season.
We can help you get BFCM ready including a full back-end store audit, personalised sales strategy discussion, expert installation of sales apps, and an actionable task list for guaranteed holiday success. For those with physical stores, we've got a special treat - Point of Sale (POS) integration for seamless inventory management and invaluable customer insights. With our deep business insights, 1:1 tailored solutions, over a decade of Shopify expertise, and personalised technology guidance, you'll be on the path to BFCM triumph!
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