15 Tips to Be Ready for Black Friday & Cyber Monday 2021 

by Inveon in October 21st, 2021

What to expect for Black Friday & Cyber Monday 2021?

It is not too off to say that the latest shopping festivals are quite particular. When the Covid-19 outbreak altered customer behavior, increased online shopping habits and changed the e-commerce industry to the core; the 2020 holiday shopping season has been different from before. As a result of concerns related to the pandemic, traditional in-store shopping has decreased significantly and e-commerce experienced a huge increase in volume along with tougher and more digital competition. It is possible to say that 2021 will not be much different either.

Although the stores have been reopened and the effects of the pandemic have been less felt compared to last year, we can still say that e-commerce will remain a popular choice in this shopping period.

The last quarter of the year comes with a thrill for retailers. And in 2021, sales expectations are much higher than in the previous years. We all know that Singles Day, Black Friday, or Cyber Monday are the peak points of the season but this November, again a month-long shopping period is expected. 

It is not exactly fresh news. We observed this trend also in 2019 and 2020. Bazaarvoice’s data demonstrates that throughout November 2019, page views were up by 31.4% and order count was up by 65.9% compared to usual. With this in mind and the new customer tendencies after Covid-19 it is an accepted fact that now there are not only a few special days but a special month now.

What do you need to do to prepare your online store?

We know that you and your team are dealing with a lot prior to the campaign period. To avoid chaos, there are several important steps to follow in order to check your level of readiness. 

You’ve probably already dealt with many of these matters but a final check wouldn't hurt, right? To focus only on the satisfying results of your efforts, let's take a look at our 15 tips list for the 2021 Black Friday & Cyber Monday shopping period.

1. Forecast the number of orders, traffic, and conversion rate

This is the first and most important step before starting all preparations. This forecast allows you to determine how much traffic you expect, how many orders you will receive, and what you will need accordingly. 

The disruption of Covid-19 and the uncertainty it brings creates a foggy sky for both consumers and retailers. To avoid that blearedness; controlling market expectations, analyzing customer behavior, and thus managing expectations are essential steps to take.

Deloitte suggests that e-commerce sales will increase by 25-35%, y-o-y, during the 2020-2021 holiday season.

In accordance with these expectations. You should;

  • Scale your infrastructure - Drawing simultaneous traffic can create pressure on your website. 
  • Manage your inventory - Expected number of orders can help you manage your inventory and prevent stock-outs.
  • Determine marketing budgets across channels - Categorise your marketing activities according to channels, be sure that you considered increasing competition for the season and hence increasing CPC rates.
  • Strengthen the operational teams - Calculate the workload of customer support mechanisms such as call center, packaging or shipping steps and take extra measures such as increasing the number of staff or using automated options if possible.

2. Check customer data set and make sure it’s up to date

While creating your communication plan, data is your biggest asset to lean on. In order to benefit from it, you have to make sure that it is up to date and ready for use. But don't settle only for that. You can strengthen your hand by collecting more customer data by offering priority to discount announcements or giving special discount coupons. Before you send your emails or campaign messages, create an updated and extensive contact list.

3. Specify discount rates

It is necessary to clarify all the details of discount rates, their applications on products, category separation, and campaign details. Segment your audience according to data-driven insights and determine discounts, coupons, and campaigns accordingly. 

A successful analysis based on your industry and the activities of your competitors create the path that will carry your brand strategy to success.

If you’re having trouble with this, you can contact us, and experts from our digital growth management team, GrowthLab can help your brand throughout this challenging road.

4. Create a smooth customer journey

It is not only about your products or prices. The experience your customer has is the core of the business. You must provide a smooth experience from the moment you reach out to the customer and pursue that understanding throughout the whole process. Provide a strong basis, clear information, and easy-to-use solutions.

Information related to the total cost, payment options, return processes, and delivery options should be visible during the purchasing process. 

Personalize the experience for customers across different channels. By offering complementary product recommendations, remind them of the products they left in the basket or the status of the goods they add to their favorites.

Make sure your apps and website are easily accessible. Be there for your customers and provide the necessary customer service. In short, ensure them that they will not have any trouble and if they do, you will be there to support them. If you build that confidence you ensure a long-term relationship with the customer.

5. Customize your website

Every single image, video, or written content must be designed prior to the application. You should plan the way of customizing the appearance of your website and what materials you will use. Check which formats or image size you’ll need according to the specifications of the channels you included in your marketing strategy. 

Put yourself in the customer’s shoes for a moment. Throughout the month you are receiving multiple emails, messages, and promotion announcements. However only the most creative, powerful, and catchy ones attract your attention. Google research suggests that over 70% of viewers say YouTube makes them more aware of new brands. Therefore, arousing interest is the ultimate goal!

6. Utilise every channel for maximum efficiency

All e-commerce players now know the importance of using omnichannel. Especially in an environment where brick-and-mortar stores are reopened and physical experiences can be blended more easily with online experiences, you need to offer equal and complementary products and services in all your channels.

7. Set up effective marketing tools

The marketing budget should be distributed correctly across channels based on your target customer’s interests and choices. For instance, a social media post about your product posted by an influencer can raise your brand’s performance splendidly. 

Moreover, don’t forget to include remarketing tools in your strategy. Your customers can easily be distracted, so you need to attract them back by using remarketing effectively.

8. Plan message and email delivery timing

Delivering the right message at the right time helps you engage with your customers. Planning the detailed time frame and your actions can help you increase efficiency and also distributes the traffic load on your infrastructure to create balanced usage.

9. Manage affiliate channels to increase brand visibility

This holiday season means more blood, sweat, and tears than before. In this period of increasing competition, you can only achieve success by making your brand as visible as you can. Affiliate channels are useful tools for this purpose. 

Manage your budget and create agreements ahead of time to stay in the race. Increasing commission rates or updating your deals can really help your brand performance.

10. Close deals with marketplaces and ensure simultaneous transmission

Marketplaces can attract customers with various product options and price advantages. If you want a strong presence of your brand at this stage, you should arrange your spot and be sure that your channels are synchronous. There is no use to your website if a certain marketplace that sells your product starts to 50% discount 3 days earlier than you.

All of the above was about attracting potential customers to your online store. You should also plan their shopping journey.

11. Strengthen the infrastructure to carry the load

If consumers are visiting your website they expect top-level performance. If they can't get what they want in a few seconds, they explore other waters. Surveys suggest that 27% of consumers say that they will wait for a website to load just for 3 seconds. If it exceeds this time, you can be sure that you lose them.

To avoid that unpleasant outcome, the infrastructure of the website must be ready and capable of handling excess traffic. 3rd party integrations and tools working behind must be adjusted to gain the best performance. A scalable and well-performing infrastructure is the key to keeping your business on track. 

It's actually quite simple not to worry about any infrastructural issues. Inveon inCommerce offers you a fast and scalable solution. On a single platform, you can integrate online and brick-and-mortar stores, manage and optimize your operations, and offer a seamless customer journey. 

12. Conduct the necessary tests and identify possible issues

Monitoring your website’s performance is probably one of your daily routine activities. However, before a busy season, more focus can be needed on this task. Controlling every component and user process, like conducting a happy path test are the most comprehensive ways of pointing out problems. 

These testing mechanisms enable you to not only find an issue but also state opportunities. While using a test for the customer journey, you can easily decide where you should provide more. Letting people create lists before they shop or offering a complimentary product just at the right phase can increase the performance far better.

13. Be sure to have the right tools to monitor real-time performance 

Tracking your campaign and product performances instantly helps you reallocate your advertising budget and get higher efficiency. By using the right tracking tools, you can highlight a supplementary product to the bestsellers or set an additional mailing.

14. Arrange logistics partners and manage inventory ahead

By making inventory adjustments according to the estimated number of orders, you will ensure that there is no disruption in the product chain during busy times. By creating agreements with logistics companies in advance, you can determine the service you will receive and proceed smoothly.

15. Create a backup plan

You created a perfect roadmap and every single component is ready. What if a crisis arises? What if the influencer you heavily counted on is getting sick? Or an uncalculated factor causes a problem in sending text messages on time? You should think of the worst-case scenarios and create contingency plans.

Now the assumption is that your customers completed their shopping journey. But are they really done? If you are well prepared, they shouldn't be. This much effort shouldn't end in a one-time interaction, don’t you think? Even when the holiday campaigns are over you should build sustainable relationships with your customers.

The right scenarios to protect the customer traffic you attract to your site with the campaigns for a long-term commitment should be prepared. Creating a comprehensive customer support mechanism is a powerful way to achieve this goal.

We know that being ready for all of this may not be as easy as it sounds. So, if you need any help, our growth management solutions with expert team members can help you to manage your strategy.

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