10 Tips to Prep For Black Friday & Cyber Monday During COVID-19

10 Tips to Prep For Black Friday & Cyber Monday During COVID-19

Image source: Burst

Black Friday is one of the busiest shopping days of the year. As more people opted for online shopping, Cyber Monday was created as a way to conclude the Thanksgiving-Black Friday retail holiday shopping weekend.  

Online sales numbers were up in 2019 for this busy shopping weekend. Let's look at a few stats that SpendMeNot gathered:

  • Black Friday 2019 saw 93.2 million buyers shopping online
  • Black Friday online shopping sales hit $7.4 billion, which is an all-time high
  • 30% of all retail sales occur from Black Friday till Christmas
  • Average savings on Black Friday specials are 37%
  • About 40% of shoppers made online purchases on Black Friday 2019
  • $2.9 billion worth of Black Friday sales happened through mobile phones

In 2019, Cyber Monday hit a new record of more than $9 billion in sales. This milestone marked the first day in history consumers spent over $3 billion using their smartphones. Online sales via smartphones increased by 46% from 2018 and accounted for 33% of all Cyber Monday sales in 2019.

The report states that BOPIS (buy online, pickup in-store) grew 41% as shoppers were looking for convenience and time-saving. 

Despite the changes in consumer behavior due to COVID-19, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are here to stay. Various regulations that limit in-store shopping and social distancing measures mean more people will resort to online shopping this BFCM weekend. 

Preparing your e-commerce website for Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2020 is crucial. Make sure you’re ready for an influx of site visitors and sales. 

Get Ready for Black Friday and Cyber Monday During COVID-19

We’ve compiled a list of tips to help you capitalize on this year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday holiday shopping weekend. 

1. Start Early

Rumor has it, we may have a “Black November” as retailers spread their shopping deals throughout the entire month. Due to social distancing measures and in-stores shopping regulations we may see some retailers offer BFCM deals exclusively online. Start advertising your special offers early to avoid getting lost in the crowd. 

2. Update Your Products and Online Inventory

Getting inundated with site visitors and sales isn't a bad problem to have. But, before this happens, it’s key to make sure your website is up to date with all of your products and inventory counts. Consider spending a few hours reviewing your product descriptions to make sure your product details are clear and concise. This can help reduce the number of queries prospective customers may have. 

Further reading: 15 E-commerce Conversion Rate Tips to Help You Sell More

3. Optimize Your Website for Mobile 

Remember those stats I shared above about online sales via smartphones? The data is telling us that mobile shopping is on the up and up. We can assume online shopping will continue to increase during the pandemic and afterward.

By 2021, mobile e-commerce sales are expected to account for 54% of total e-commerce sales. There are three components of mobile commerce — mobile shopping, mobile banking, and mobile payments. 

Improving user experience (UX) for mobile shopping is increasingly important. Optimize for mobile devices by making sure your navigation is clear, your call-to-action (CTA) buttons are easy to find, and remove popups and sidebars. 

4. Be Active on Social Media 

Having a social media presence is crucial to build brand awareness, increase website traffic, and promote your products. With limited in-person shopping this year, we can assume more people will be browsing through their social feeds to learn about BFCM deals. Work on growing your community so you have a larger audience and reach once Black Friday and Cyber Monday roll around.

Spend time creating thumb-stopping content and use social media as a way to offer additional customer support. Tell people they can send you a DM if they have questions. 

5. Bundle Products and Offer Special Discounts

Help your customers make choices by bundling your products. For example, if you sell beauty products, you can bundle a face cleanser, face mask, and face lotion. This can help your customers find a gift (or treat themselves) hassle-free. And, it can help you increase your average order value (AOV). Give prospective customers an incentive to choose your holiday bundles — promote a special offer like free shipping or a discount on purchases during BFCM weekend. 

6. Create a Gift Guide and Publish it on Your Blog 

You can find gift guides all over the Internet during the holiday season. Help guide your customers to choose your products by creating a gift guide that features various products and gift bundles that you’re selling. You can pick 3 - 5 themes, create relevant content, and share your gift guide via email and social media. 

7. Offer Curbside Pickup and BOPIS (Buy Online, Pickup In-Store) 

If you have a brick and mortar store — in addition to your e-commerce site — you can offer curbside pickup. Forbes concluded that curbside orders have increased 208% during the pandemic. And, 59% of customers say they are more likely to continue curbside pickup after the pandemic. 

Digital Commerce 360 conducted a survey and 53% of retailers stated that they expect BOPIS to play an increasing role in their business.

Some of your customers may want to avoid shipping fees and curbside pickup and BOPIS is an appealing alternative to shopping in-store. 

8. Offer Free Shipping 

Offering free shipping exclusively during BFCM weekend could help you increase your conversion rate. Passing savings on to your customers can help you compete against similar businesses that aren't offering this incentive.

9. Set Up Your Abandoned Cart Email Automation Flow

In March 2020, 80% of online shopping orders were abandoned. That’s a lot of money left on the table. You can set up automated email flows to help you recover abandoned carts. 

An abandoned cart email is used to remind prospective customers who leave your website without buying the items in their shopping cart. Sending a gentle follow-up message can help you recover up to 10% of lost revenue

Your abandoned cart email automation can be a series of emails (2 - 3). Or you can start small with one email that gets triggered a few hours after someone abandons their shopping cart.

10. Outline Your COVID-19 Policies

Whether it’s a change in your return policy for safety reasons or delayed shipping times. It’s vital to communicate the challenges your business is facing due to COVID-19. You can create a “COVID-19 Updates” page on your site and refresh it on a regular basis with new shipping lead times and other exceptions. Build trust and loyalty with your customers by being transparent. We’re all in this together.

Wrapping Up

COVID-19 has made business difficult for many of us. It has forced companies to change the way they operate as consumers adapt to maintain some level of normalcy. It's time to pay attention to your customers and their needs. Get more creative and targeted in your approach to Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Meet people where they are.

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SMS Marketing Best Practices with E-commerce Growth Strategist Erin Lopez