Brands Helen de Souza By Helen de Souza

Brands: Your Black Friday Checklist

Black Friday sales, which started in the US, are always the Friday immediately after the Thanksgiving holiday. The tradition began in the 1960s, when retailers tried to turn year-long losses into profits (which were marked in black in the ledger books) in the lead up to the Christmas shopping season. Cyber Monday has far more recent origins. Coined in 2005 by the National Retail Federation, the term was used for the Monday after Thanksgiving when people continued to shop online after returning to work. Noticing that Australian consumers were making the most of international Black Friday sales, Australian retailers jumped on board about 5 years ago.

Whether you’ve been involved with the sales before or you’re new to the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales period, use this checklist to make sure you’ve covered all the bases and are set to make the most of what could well be this year’s biggest online shopping period.

Black Friday’s an online event

This year’s Black Friday falls on 24 November and it’s expected to take place overwhelmingly online. In 2016, reports showed a 6% increase in retail sales compared to the November average in Australia, with Melbourne spending the most (17%), followed by Sydney (12%) and Brisbane (7%) in that one month.

Make mobile your priority

With mobile purchasing habits on the rise, it’s important to capitalise on this during events like Black Friday. According to ChannelAdvisor data, 64% of purchases took place on mobile devices last year in the UK compared to 48% in 2015. This trend looks set to increase this year as retailers provide mobile users with improved apps and ever-more frictionless payment options.

The way to avoid abandoned carts is to ensure your customer’s experience on mobile is flawless and that buying is preferably a one-click experience.

Test your website to check it’s Black Friday ready

Compared to a normal Friday your web traffic could increase by an enormous amount. Your site has to work seamlessly even when under huge strain. Even if you have the best products at the best prices, if shoppers can’t access the site – or worse still get booted out – they’ll shop elsewhere.

Create dedicated Black Friday landing pages – and link them to social media and anywhere else you have a presence. Boost organic SEO by using long-tail search terms to drive traffic further down the sales funnel to your site. Google Trends indicates that Black Friday is the keyword of choice for people looking for bargains (and greater than terms such as Cyber Monday etc.)

Shout it out on social

Dedicate as much time and money as you can into creating an exciting social media campaign – because more and more people are searching social networks for information on deals.

Build suspense and buzz by posting sneak-peeks of your sale items well in advance. Identify websites that are talking about Black Friday deals in your niche and get your site mentioned. Starting earlier makes it easier to manage consumers’ expectations – for instance, you can give consumers forward notice about key delivery dates. Keep the momentum up as the big day approaches with exciting countdown deals.

Don’t forget to hashtag your content when it’s published and get your hashtags more attention by including pictures of your best deals in social media posts.

Use paid ads on social media

Place ads on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or any social site that’s relevant to your niche and audience. Consider live streaming. It’s reported that users spend three times longer watching live videos compared with those that aren’t – and they comment far more. Live streaming is still relatively unknown territory for many retailers so you could steal a march by getting Facebook Live right. Post engaging videos promoting your Black Friday deals – and create retargeting Facebook campaigns aimed at people who watched the videos.

Offer attractive delivery options

Your fulfilment strategy could make or break your holiday season with customer expectations higher than ever. Don’t offer anything less than top-notch delivery options. It’s reported that 70% of carts are abandoned due to the high cost of shipping and that 62% of Australian retailers see a reduction in cart abandonment when the number of shipping options increased.

Click & collect and express post is extremely popular, especially for Christmas shopping when people are busy and deadlines are tight.  

Review last year’s Black Friday performance

If you’ve been involved with Black Friday sales in previous years, analyse data to reveal your busiest periods and best-performing items. Find out what people were searching for. Predict key sellers based on upcoming trends and market reports to stay ahead of competitors and identify when consumers are shopping for your goods

Plan staffing well ahead of time, and take on temps if needed to cover this weekend – to answer calls, emails and track orders. Or use live chat on Black Friday through to Cyber Monday.

Get your Black Friday ads rolling in the run up to the day

Build brand awareness in the run up to Black Friday by creating Shopping Campaigns using targeted keywords so you’re present when consumers are researching reviews and comparison sites. Increase your bid price on Black Friday keywords to boost visibility of your ads during peak season.

Use dynamic remarketing strategies such as Google RLSAs to entice previous visitors back to your site. Set your CPC higher for your remarketing than for your display campaign because this audience is more valuable to you than someone who’s never met your brand.

Use paid listings to target general and branded terms and run ads to the whole month of November and keep them going through Cyber Monday.

Black Friday provides you with a great opportunity to maximise your online sales –  and this major spending spree is just a few weeks – so make sure to capitalise by being prepared. For more advice on how to get holiday season ready – or indeed for a chat about any aspect of your digital marketing campaigns, contact us today.

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