3 Steps to Creating a Successful Black Friday eCommerce Strategy

Black Friday is a hugely important day for any eCommerce business. With so many customers looking to purchase, it’s an opportunity that should not be missed! After all, around 93 million consumers shopped online during Black Friday 2019 and the event was such a draw that around 36% logged on between midnight to 6 am in order to get the best deals.1,2

Black Friday 2021 is expected to be more eCommerce focused than previous Black Friday’s as many shoppers are choosing not to visit bricks and mortar stores due to pandemic-related safety concerns.3

But how do you make sure your site is prepared and ready?

In this article, we’ll explore three steps you can take to ensure your Black Friday strategy goes smoothly and produces the maximum amount of turnover.

Step 1: Understand why & how Black Friday is important for your business

The first step in creating an effective Black Friday eCommerce strategy is to take a deep dive into how and why Black Friday is important for your business… 

Black Friday is an obvious opportunity to generate more revenue, but it’s also a great chance for you to… 

  • Up-and-cross-sell to your customers: People are looking for deals, if you offer a discounted price of a similar product near checkout, they may click ‘add-to-bag’ at the last minute, giving your products the opportunity to introduce customers to your wider range of products. 
  • Boost brand awareness to potential new customers: More people are actively shopping online than ever, so having an active presence amongst the buzz is vital to creating a brand that engages.  
  • Re-engage lapsed customers with special promotions: There’s many reasons for losing customers, not necessarily related to dissatisfaction with your product. In these cases Black Friday is a great way to re-engage customers who already know and love your brand.

Outside of simple revenue generation, the best way to take advantage of Black Friday is to explore wider ways the event can benefit your company and how it aligns with the rest of your marketing strategy.

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What’s more, Black Friday, when prepared in advance, can be an opportunity to correct any past mistakes, as raised with your customer support team and turn previous pain points into an opportunity to make evangelists out of your customers. For example, if a product has been repeatedly complained about for poor quality, you can prepare a product strategy in two ways: 

  1. Promote a different product: There’s no point targeting lapsed customers with a product they’ve specifically complained about to you. Instead prioritise the promotion of products that have repeatedly received positive feedback from customers so you can avoid future complaints, refunds and lengthy resolutions. 
  2. If it’s fixed, let them know!: Equally, if you’ve actioned complaints from customers about a specific product — tell them! When customers feel they’ve been listened to, it engages them with your brand and builds trust. By retargeting lapsed customers with a new and improved product in light of their suggestions they automatically feel an affinity to your brand. 

So, by planning ahead, you can ensure you have the resources ready to make Black Friday a success.

Step 2: Take the entire week into consideration

Ironically, Black Friday isn’t just about Friday. In order to make the most of the event, businesses should always be prepared for a significant increase in sales value across the entire week, including Cyber Monday.

Not only do stocklists and workforce need to be prepared for massive demand on Black Friday, but actually for the entirety of Cyber Week. This can put quite a bit of strain on your business, and relies on a successful week to cover overheads you’ll need to commit to in order to meet demand each day. What overheads though? 

  • Stock: The last thing you need is for a product with high sales potential to max out on sales before you’ve even hit Tuesday. Ensuring you understand which products perform best and thus which ones to stock up most on, allows you to be prepared to sell as much as customers want — in other words, maximise revenue. 
  • Order processing and packaging: Equally, if you’re selling far more than usual, you need the people power to fulfil those orders. This can mean you may need to pull staff from different departments so you can get the correct orders out on time to avoid future problems with unhappy customers. 
  • Tech staff: If your site is bringing in a lot of traffic, it could crash — we know, nightmare! But, it’s vital to be prepared for any eventuality so you can avoid downtime and not miss out on sales. That means you need staff that can not only fix the problem, but also more frontline agents to work with customers to identify issues and speed up resolution. 
  • Customer support agents: Similar to the above point, you just do need to have more people on hand to deal with customer service requests. Otherwise you risk dissuading customers from your site and going elsewhere when they face an issue, have a question or want to complain. When you’ve got the agent-capacity to meet demand, CS issues can be seen as an opportunity to deliver value, not as a threat to your brand (if not, the reverse is true). 

Remember, your planning for the next Black Friday should start directly after the current one finishes. The post-event stage of any Black Friday campaign should focus on integrating feedback from customers into your business processes so that next year’s Black Friday can hit an even higher note!

Step 3: Get your customer support function prepared.

The cart abandonment rate on Black Friday is huge, with businesses seeing a 77.7% shopping cart abandonment rate across global sales platforms.4 Often, businesses struggle to determine effective ways to improve eCommerce customer service — which leads to poor customer experiences, and lost sales. 

One of the primary pain points that causes cart abandonment is a lack of effective customer support. Thankfully, there are some considerations you can add into your Black Friday planning that help you avoid customer service issues in eCommerce this Black Friday… 

What is your customer’s journey?

Customer journey visualisation is one pillar of a great customer experience strategy. In other words, put yourself in your customer’s shoes to understand how to make their journey more seamless.

Know what anxieties or desires drive your customers to Black Friday shopping. For instance, free two-day shipping can be a huge pull factor for Black Friday buyers who want their new products as soon as possible.

When you know the wants of your perfect consumer, it becomes easier to fulfil their needs.

What channels do you currently offer support over?

The best approach to customer support is an omnichannel one.

Black Friday is a great time to offer support over social media, given that Black Friday sales events are often announced on Twitter and Facebook, as well as the usual phone, email, and live chat options.

Pro tip: It’s not always feasible to expect every eCommerce business to have the budget or capacity to offer omnichannel customer service, but that’s where eCommerce customer service outsourcing comes in. Partnering with a trusted provider can allow you to meet customer demand without the commitment to massive overheads. 

What’s your maximum agent capacity?

Black Friday represents a huge increase in traffic over a specific period. Sudden spikes in customer support calls can lead to long queues and impact customer satisfaction if your maximum agent capacity isn’t scalable

The ideal solution to this issue is to create a function that is scalable without compromising on quality. Scalable agent capacity allows companies to provide more efficient customer support, which can have a positive impact on sales.

Have you got Black Friday specific FAQ pages?

If discounts aren’t clear, customers will go elsewhere that provide clear answers. The most efficient (with respect to time and money) answer to this problem is to create a dedicated FAQ page for each product or sale.

Adding new questions to the FAQ pages enables you to ensure that customers are receiving up-to-date, accurate information on your products and services.  

This can help improve customer satisfaction rates, which will strengthen your brand reputation over time. The more comprehensive these websites are, the fewer calls with simple and obvious answers your customer service agent will have to deal with.

You’re not alone… 

If you’re concerned about whether you’ll be able to implement the kind of customer support function that will allow you to maximise your profit from Black Friday, the good news is that you’re not alone. Many businesses are turning to outsourced customer service functions to help them deal with the surge in enquiries that Black Friday is likely to generate.

The best customer support systems are built around a three-tier structure that offers scalability, flexibility, and dependability.

Odondo covers all three of those vital factors and more.
Odondo’s unique distributed, on-demand, model gives you access to experienced, high-quality agents on a flexible basis, ensuring you have access to the kind of scalable and dependable customer service cover that can make or break your Black Friday plans. Get a quote today to find out more.

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1Thanksgiving weekend draws nearly 190 million shoppers, spending up 16 percent
22020 Deloitte pre-Thanksgiving pulse survey 
3Black Friday 2020: Survey of 2,000 US Consumers Predicts 44% Decline for In-Person Shopping
478 Black Friday Statistics You Must Read: 2020/2021 Market Share & Data Analysis – Financesonline.com 

Aamir Baloch

Aamir is one of the Co-Founders at Odondo, where he obsesses over the details to deliver a strong and compelling proposition for each of his clients.

Prior to Odondo, he was CTO at one of the UK's largest price comparison websites, with contact centres in the UK and India. In his spare time, he loves reading, politics, tennis, and playing the piano (badly).

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