Can you believe it’s August already?! Every year the months fly in, and before you know it the holiday shopping season is right around the corner. It might feel like August is a bit early to be preparing for Black Friday/Cyber Monday (BFCM), but as we’ve covered in a previous blog most major retailers will start working on their plans for the holidays as early as May or June! On Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday 2018, US consumers spent over $9.9 billion on online shopping… that’s a lot of interested shoppers!
Want to know what you can do right now to get ahead of the game? We’ve pulled together our best advice from helping our clients thrive during BFCM.
Have a game plan
The first step to any successful BFCM prep is to make sure you have a game plan. By this we mean you should start with creating a timeline for when you want specific actions to be taken, or work to have been completed by. Some things you’ll want to plan for are:
- Any work needing done to your website
- Reviewing your past performance for BFCM
- Planning your offering for this year’s BFCM
- Planning your products and product development for around BFCM
- Any photography and videography that will be required
- Campaign planning
Work with your team to figure out the best timeline that will fit in with current ongoing work to make sure everyone is on the same page and ready for the work ahead. Schedule in a couple of catch-up meetings to talk specifically about BFCM plans, making them more frequent the closer you get to your deadlines.
Review your customer journey
Online shopping is all about the experience you give your customers. An easy, fluid, and quick transaction process from homepage to checkout is crucial in making sure you don’t lose potential customers. Do some research into your own customer journey on your website, map it out, and seek to answer some key questions:
- How many steps are there in your customer journey? Are there too many?
- At what stage are you noticing the most drop offs? Why might this be?
- How is the page load speed on your product pages and the cart?
- Is your shipping strategy clear?
Work with your development team for ways to improve your site
It’s not just about the customer journey – your site also needs to be in fighting form to help it handle all the extra traffic. Have your development team do a full breakdown of your store in its current form to help identify areas where it could be improved or tweaked to optimize it. These might be things like an instant checkout option for impulse buyers, navigational changes, or simply speed improvements.
Starting on this work now means that you’ll have plenty of time to implement any improvements without the pressure of BFCM looming quite so close.
Review and optimize product pages
Your product pages are your money makers – after all your social media promo, email marketing, and product development, these are the pages where potential customers decide if they want to buy your products. There are three ways in which you can optimize your product pages in preparation for BFCM:
Look at every piece of content on your product pages from product descriptions to photos to calls-to-action and everything else. Check out our previous blogs about how to craft a killer product page here to help you with your review.
Work with an SEO specialist to make sure your products and store are ranking in search results, and get recommendations for what you can do to improve your ranking in time for BFCM.
As part of working with your developer, decide if your product page template is the ideal layout for enticing those all-important customers. Ask your developer and designer if there are any changes you could make to increase conversions.
Gather and build social proof
Everyone asks for opinions - whether that’s from friends, product reviews, or independent review sites. Social proof is a huge part of building your online brand, after all over 86% of consumers consider reviews an essential resource when making a purchasing decision, and over 76% say that they are more likely to purchase a product if the website has product reviews.
If you haven’t been paying too much attention to social proof so far, fear not! There’s still plenty of time to start gathering and displaying it on your site before BFCM. Push for reviews on products that are either best-sellers, or ones that you hope to promote most for BFCM. There are a number of ways you can gather social proof - check out our previous blog for some sure-fire ways to get started.
Start building and testing automated email workflows
Email marketing is especially important and useful during your BFCM campaign planning. This is the audience most directly interested in your brand and products, encompassing previous purchasers as well as those who signed up to your mailing list out of pure interest. In order to get the most out of this audience during the big weekend, you should start building and testing some automated emails now to ensure you know exactly what works and what doesn’t for promoting your products. Some simple automations you’ll want to look at:
- Abandoned cart
- Pre-prepared campaigns
- Recommended products
- Incentives for loyal/repeat customers
You can also check out this great email from Kelly about 10 Klaviyo flows you should be using to help boost your brand.
---If you want even more advice about what you could do to prepare for Black Friday/Cyber Monday then head over to our previous blog “Christmas in July: How to Begin Preparing for Black Friday/Cyber Monday Right Now”.