One of the biggest shopping holidays of the year is just around the corner. For ecommerce brands, this is a huge opportunity to reach new customers and secure their loyalty long after the buzz of Black Friday and Cyber Monday has disappeared.
But with so much competition and only a few weeks to get in on the action, it can be a challenge to focus your efforts and make the most of deal-seeking customers.
If you’re ready to align your strategies with shopper interests, here’s a guide to everything BFCM, from resources that help boost online sales to tools and strategies that turn one-time shoppers into returning customers time and time again.
The Potential Ecommerce Growth During BFCM
There are not many other times of the year you can capture in-the-moment shoppers who are ready and waiting with their wallets poised.
The trouble is, a lot of brands focus on offering heavy discounts to attract new customers without thinking about their long-term strategies. However, BFCM provides the perfect opportunity to show prospects who you are as a brand and retain their loyalty for months and years to come.
In 2020, online shopping spending rose 22% from the previous year to $5.1 billion on Thanksgiving Day. At the same time, online spending shot up by the same amount to a total of $9 billion during Black Friday.
Many consumers plan in advance to cash in on huge discounts from their favorite brands, but it’s also a time for them to branch out and try something new. 64% of US residents said that planning ahead financially for the holiday season is critical, and brands that are able to tie into this trend will reap the benefits.
8 Handy BFCM Resources to Help You Boost Sales
At Givz, we’re firm believers that you don’t have to discount products to build a visible and profitable brand. It might seem like it when every other brand is offering 10% off first orders and slashing their prices by 40% on BFCM, but there are plenty of other ways to boost ecommerce sales and make a splash during the holiday shopping season.
We’ve put together a list of resources that will help you boost sales through a range of tried-and-tested strategies as well as guides to adding donation incentives to attract and retain new, like-minded customers.
- BFCM Masterclass: Strategies to Drive Retention Throughout the Holidays – from Shopify and Yotpo
- Smarter Inventory and Merchandising Strategies for BFCM – from Syte
- Guide to Adding a Donation Incentive for BFCM – from Givz
- BFCM Donation Incentives: How to Ditch Discounts for Your Ecommerce Store – from Givz
- Black Friday Ecommerce: 25 Optimization, Marketing, and Giving Ideas – from Givz
- Predictions for BFCM 2021 – from Shopify
- Strategies for Harnessing Social Commerce During BFCM – from Boost Commerce
- How to Set Up Ads for the Holiday Season – from Top Growth Marketing
11 Powerful BFCM Sale-Boosting Strategies
1. Optimize your mobile site
Many BFCM shoppers aren’t sitting at their desks checking out deals, they’re on the bus, taking a coffee break at work, or scrolling on their phones while watching TV. Optimizing your ecommerce site for mobile creates a better experience for shoppers that are on the go, providing them with a slick journey from start to finish.
As well as making sure your site is mobile responsive, optimization involves implementing a design that’s made specifically for handheld devices.
- Quick and easy navigation
- Less text and more white space
- Clear calls-to-action
- Bigger, floating buttons
Oat Haus Granola uses bold colors and contrasting CTAs on their mobile site.
2. Level Up Your Abandoned Cart Strategy
As it stands, the current abandoned cart rate is 69.80%. We can probably assume that this figure is higher around BFCM when shoppers are browsing new brands and hunting down the best deal. As a result, you could potentially be missing out on a ton of custom if you don’t follow up with shoppers who leave items in their cart.
Set up a robust abandoned cart email campaign in advance of BFCM to lure back consumers. Emails should reiterate what products are waiting for a shopper and give them a good reason to return–this could be through social proof and customer reviews, an added discount, or a fun and friendly branded message.
Nomad lets its brand personality shine through in abandoned cart emails.
3. Reward Loyal Customers
While BFCM is prime time for attracting new customers, it’s also the perfect opportunity for rewarding your existing customers.
Set up a loyalty program around the holidays to give people who have already bought from you even more incentive to buy again. Offer points in exchange for purchases, provide a unique coupon code that gives them a little more discount than your usual deals, or give them an exclusive first-look at your latest product line.
Sephora’s loyal members can get additional savings at seasonal events.
4. Segment Shoppers Based on Their Intent
Not all shoppers are equal. Some are ready to buy right away while others might need more convincing. This means they all need different information before they feel comfortable enough to get their wallets out. Instead of bombarding everyone with the same message, segment shoppers into groups based on their intent.
You can figure this out by:
- Looking at your analytics to see what pages they visit
- Digging into your email open rates and engagement rates
- Checking out which customers have interacted the most with you on social media
- Checking out which customers have contacted support the most
- Seeing how many products a customer has bought from you in the past
Someone who has just read a blog post and signed up for your newsletter is likely to be in a different position than someone who has interacted with you for months on social media, visited a product page multiple times, and opened every one of your emails for the past month.
When you understand where a customer is in the buying cycle, you can give them the right information at the right time. Ultimately, this builds trust which is crucial if you want one-off shoppers to return after BFCM is over.
5. Send Personalized Product Recommendations
Segmenting shoppers also helps you send them product information they’re actually interested in. Personalization is key (especially during BFCM when it’s pretty much a free-for-all). Customers want to know that a brand understands them and can give them an experience made just for them.
To do this, send product recommendations based on past purchases, shopping behavior, shopper interests, and any other information you have to hand–like their age, location, or job role.
Brooks’ shoes share product recommendations alongside a shoe finder tool that helps customers find the perfect fit.
6. Leverage Cross-Sells and Upsells
Upsells promote upgraded versions of products to potential buyers while cross-selling showcases relevant, complementary products. Leveraging these tactics will not only boost your AOV, but can increase trust with shoppers since you are thinking about their needs at the time of purchase. For example, if someone buys a torch and you cross-sell a set of batteries, customers are going to be grateful you thought about that.
Aesop offers cross-sell options based on products customers have purchased together.
Go Beyond Discounts and Get into the Holiday Spirit
Discounts aren’t the only way to stand out and sell more during BFCM.
In fact, an increasing number of consumers actively seek out brands that share the same values as them. Don’t feel pressured to lower the cost of your products just because everyone else is; there are plenty of ways you can offer value without slashing prices.
7. Give to Charities
Showcase your brand morals and mission by donating a percentage of every purchase during BFCM to charity. Select a charity of your choice that aligns with your brand or use Givz to let customers choose a charity close to their hearts. This works particularly well for sustainable brands looking to attract like-minded shoppers and turn them into loyal customers.
8. Replace Discounts for Donations
Give up on the idea of discounts entirely and instead opt for donations to increase brand visibility and improve brand perception. Donations work as a great replacement to discounts, especially during BFCM when every other brand and its dog is cutting prices in a race to the bottom.
When marketing your BFCM campaigns, showcase your favorite charities and center your messaging around donation incentives rather than predictable discounts. This can also have a knock-on effect on your AOV if you let customers donate more on bigger orders.
9. Promote Product Value
Shoppers love a bargain, but you don’t have to drive down your prices to increase revenue and capture new customers throughout BFCM. The sheer amount of competition means most brands try and stand out by offering the lowest price, but instead of competing on costs, you can compete on value.
Promote the perceived value of your products and run marketing campaigns that highlight what makes them different–are they made from sustainable materials? Do they solve a unique problem? Are they more convenient than competitors?
10. Gamify Your BFCM Offers
Creating a buzz around your brand during BFCM can have great long-term effects. As well as reaching more people, it will instill brand awareness and keep you front-of-mind at other times of the year.
One great way to generate a buzz is to gamify your BFCM offers. Instead of discounting products, run contests and promote in-app purchases so that customers still get value from you.
11. Focus on Timing Not Price
While most brands have tunnel vision about pricing during BFCM, you can stand out by promoting products based on time. Leverage the very powerful FOMO (fear of missing out) by running deals for a limited time–and, instead of slashing prices, think about offering free shipping or a complimentary freebie.
10 Must-Have BFCM Tools for Slick Holiday Campaigns
Setting up your campaigns and creating BFCM promotions that run like clockwork takes a certain amount of planning. Luckily, there are a number of great tools available to offer a helping hand, from email marketing platforms to shipping apps and everything in between.
1. One-click checkouts
Don’t give shoppers a single moment to hesitate with quick and easy checkout. Implement payment methods like Apple Pay and Google Pay that save payment and shipping information so customers can make a purchase in one simple click.
2. Abandoned cart flows
Create abandoned cart flows that reel customers back in who were about to disappear without a trace. Most email marketing platforms, such as Klaviyo, offer this option, but you can also install a push notification tool like PushOwl.
3. Order analytics
Discover the data behind your orders with an order analytics tool to determine who’s buying what and how much revenue you’re making from purchases. Most tools let you monitor your operations in real-time so you can make sure your BFCM fulfillment process runs as smoothly as possible. Try Peel or OrderMetrics for starters.
4. Site speed optimization
Brands often double or triple their traffic during BFCM–can your site handle it? Keep your ecommerce store running up to speed with a site speed optimization tool like Swift that will help you improve your efforts before the buzz of the holidays kicks in.
5. Inventory tracking
The last thing shoppers want to see is “sold out” on your bestsellers (hint: they’re going to go elsewhere). Instead, make sure your inventory is replenished quickly with an inventory tracking tool, like Merchbees or Shopventory, that shows you in real-time what your stock levels are.
6. SMS marketing
Bypass shoppers’ busy inboxes during BFCM and reach them in their pockets. Create SMS campaigns that promote your offers, remind customers about abandoned carts, and showcase your latest products. Tools like SMS Bump will help you get started.
7. Donation incentives
Increase brand perception and do your part by swapping discounts for donations. Givz lets customers choose a charity to donate a percentage of their purchase to, building trust and credibility.
8. Upselling and cross-selling
9. Collect reviews
The influx of new shoppers during BFCM makes it the ideal time to collect reviews. You can use customer testimonials to populate your site moving forward and to inject social proof into your future campaigns. Tools like Yotpo and Okendo work well here.
10. Put solid support in place
The ruckus of BFCM can leave some customers feeling confused or hesitant about making a purchase. Give them all the information they need through an automated on-site chatbot or a support tool like Gorgias to provide peace of mind for buy-ready shoppers.
5 BFCM Metrics You Need to Track This Holiday Season
Once BFCM is underway, you’re going to want to track how you’re doing. This means digging into your key metrics to identify what’s going well and what could do with tweaking. Here are some of the top metrics to keep an eye on.
1. Cart Abandonment Rate
Track how many people are leaving items in their cart. The higher the percentage, the more likely it is that customers are getting hesitant at the final point of sale and need further reassurance. You can decrease cart abandonment rate by sending well-timed cart abandonment emails to remind customers about your brand.
2. Repeat Purchases
Retaining customers after BFCM is priceless. Check out how many first-time shoppers return during or after BFCM to figure out how well you’re retention strategies are working.
3. Ad Conversion Rates
If you’re running social ads for BFCM, dig into your analytics to see how many shoppers are clicking through and, of those, how many are making it all the way to purchase.
4. Average Order Value
Some of the strategies we’ve listed above work hard to improve your AOV (things like giving shoppers the chance to donate to a charity of their choice if they spend a certain amount and upsells). Track how much customers spend on each order to determine whether these strategies are working in your favor.
5. Email or SMS Engagement Rates
See how well your BFCM email and SMS campaigns are doing by tracking your open rates and, more importantly, engagement rates–how many shoppers click through? How many then go on to make a purchase?