Black Friday and Cyber Monday can be one of the most profitable times for eCommerce businesses. We’re used to seeing a natural growth of consumers searching for the next big saving. But the best way to maximise profit, is to plan ahead.

In this article, we’re going to look at the history of Black Friday & Cyber Monday. We’re also going to look at some of the ways you can improve your BFCM marketing campaigns. Then we’ll delve into what you should be doing now to plan and maximise your Shopify eCommerce business on Black Friday 2019!

The History of Black Friday and Cyber Monday

While there is no official record of the origin of “Black Friday”, the phrase has been used since at least the early 1960s. It was originally used to describe when retailers accounts went from being in the red to being in the black. This was usually due to the shopping sprees that started the day after Thanksgiving.

The first Monday after Thanksgiving is called Cyber Monday. First coined in a Press Release in 2005 by Ellen Davis and Scott Silverman, Cyber Monday was designed to encourage more online shopping. Cyber Monday rapidly become one of the biggest days for ecommerce stores and retailers.

Planning for BFCM

As with any marketing strategy, planning is key to a successful outcome and BFCM campaigns are no exception. The first thing to decide is what kind of BFCM campaign are you going to run. Traditionally, Black Friday and Cyber Monday have been about offering huge savings to get as many customers purchasing as possible.

However, we’re finding more and more online retailers are opting to take a different approach. Maybe, they’re not able to offer the discounts that the ecommerce giants are doing or maybe they’re not wanting to cheapen their brand with huge discounts.

Socially Conscious Black Friday Campaigns

If you’re not wanting to run discounts on BFCM, then perhaps you could look at doing some socially conscious campaigns. A socially conscious marketing campaign is raising awareness to a social topic that’s at the heart of your ethos or mission. Last year we saw lots of different companies opting for this type of marketing.

One of our clients last year ran a campaign that helped send kids in India to school. At the heart of their ethos is fair wage and ethically source clothing. Instead of offering a massive discount on all their stock, they opted to take a proportion of the Black Friday Cyber Monday weekend takings and sponsor children in India.

This campaign worked extremely well in terms of revenue growth and brand awareness. More online stores built around an ethical ethos are taking this approach to Black Friday Deals and it’s working for them.

Loyalty on Black Friday

It is much more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to re-sell to an existing customer. That is why loyalty and personalisation should be at the forefront of your marketing. A lot of brands don’t like the discount, rush-to-buy pressure that Black Friday/Cyber Monday campaigns put on their customers. Offering loyalty points instead of discounts means that your customers are getting something on BFCM but you’re not cheapening your brand with a huge discount.

Loyalty programs are a fantastic way to get repeat business. We’ve seen this work time and time again across lots of different ecommerce stores. On Black Friday, you could offer double-points that weekend, or simply send extra points to your loyal customers to use whenever they please.

Engaging Your Customers on Black Friday

Without doubt the biggest mistake you can make is to launch your Black Friday/Cyber Monday campaign on the day. Use every marketing channel you have at your disposal to let your customers know about the up-coming campaign. By drip-feeding marketing material on the lead up to the BFCM, you’ll build a buzz of excitement into your customers.

Your customers will likely take time out of their schedule to have a look into your campaigns. Getting users to actually engage and become excited about your BFCM campaigns is the hardest part. Let’s look at some of the ways we can grow engagement on the lead up to Black Friday.

Automated Email Marketing

Using email marketing is great way to stay in touch with your users, subscribers and customers. You should be emailing your customers on a regular basis, because the user journey doesn’t stop after they’ve purchased. If done correctly you should have some segmentations already set up. Use these segmentations to send different emails out pre-Black Friday.

If you have a large VIP segment (customers who have bought x amount of times in the last year), then you could release BFCM discounts a day early to them. This will engage your best customers and it helps promote brand loyalty by giving them exclusivity to the sales before anyone else.

Using automation on your email marketing, you can send abandoned carts, checkouts and even abandoned browsing over the BFCM weekend. This abandoned emails automatically get sent if someone leaves the site before purchasing. These are extremely powerful and can help ecommerce stores increase their conversion values.

Social Polls

Ask your customers what they want to see on Black Friday. Set up a poll on Facebook or Twitter giving your fans a few options for discounts or donating to a socially conscious cause. This is including your customers into your brand and will strengthen your trust and brand reputation with them. Remember to keep the polls as simple as possible and put a closing date on them. You could also run a competition to chose the charity that you donate too over that weekend.

Shopify & Black Friday

Shopify is the ideal platform for any ecommerce store that has huge traffic and numerous checkouts at the same time. Because Shopify is a SaaS (Software as a Service) it means you don’t need to host anything. The Shopify servers are all state-of-the-art and designed to keep websites online during extremely busy periods.

Speed is a major contributing factor in the success of any ecommerce store. Not only does it help massively with your organic search, but a fast website helps convert users. A slow website will hinder your users and they’ll be more likely to drop out of the buying process. When we first start working with Shopify merchants, we take a look at the loading speed of their site straight away.

If you’ve got a slow load speed on your site then check out these tips to increase your Shopify loading time.

Help with Black Friday Marketing

If you need some advice or consultation on your Black Friday/ Cyber Monday marketing, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. The earlier you plan for BFCM, the better your results will be!

AUTHOR

Will Lynch

Will is Head of Marketing at ELS Media. He can be found fixing Google penalties, optimising eCommerce sites and creating automated email marketing strategies.