The e-commerce sector will soon be subject to one of the greatest opportunities of the year. Brand awareness, sales, and loyal custom are valuable opportunities for e-commerce businesses to address in the lead up to Black Friday.
In 2015, e-commerce Black Friday sales reached an estimated $4.45 Billion in the US. Such growth in online shopping sales suggests that the e-commerce sector is playing an ever-increasing role within this festive period. Black Friday opens opportunities for e-commerce businesses that don’t usually use discounted offerings (to maintain brand equity and quality) to get involved with the amplified retail buzz.
Deconstructing your Black Friday efforts and strategy to address all stages of the customer journey will give your e-commerce marketing initiatives a concrete structure to thoroughly identify, approach, and reach your Black Friday objectives.
Black Friday opportunities
When outlining your Black Friday goals and objectives, it’s important to evaluate the potential conversions you want to target with your digital strategy. Executing a marketing plan which targets all areas of the customer journey will allow you to get the most out of your efforts, with the possibility of re-automating your customers.
From an e-commerce retailer perspective, the following areas are all potential target goals that can be achieved through successful Black Friday digital strategy implementation:
- Sales – The most conventional association with this festive period is sales. Your customers will be in the mood to purchase and sales should inevitably be at a seasonal high.
- Brand awareness – The the buzz of Black Friday is certainly an opportunity to get your brand out there. By participating and promoting your engagement with the event can lead to a positive increase in brand awareness.
- New/Loyal custom – Having reduced offerings can entice new customers to engage with your brand. Customers can become loyal to your brand through gained customer perceived value. Your short-lived discounted offerings can serve as a reason for customers to keep engaged with your digital channels.
Once all three conversion factors have been considered, you are going to want to consolidate a strategy to address all three of these conversion opportunities. Each conversion factor should be approached differently depending on your business, sector, and offerings.
Drawing in custom
In the lead up to Black Friday, you’re going to want to attract customers. There are various channels which can be optimised and below I have outlined what I’d consider to be the most important avenues to gain e-commerce traction.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
SEO is a really important part of your Black Friday digital strategy. Consider creating a “Black Friday” category page and consolidate all of your sale products here – or if this would be too demanding a development job, creating a simple Black Friday landing page which links to your products would be the next best alternative.
Consider updating your meta descriptions for the duration of your campaign to highlight deals on specific products within search engine results pages.
Digital PR is a great way to promote your deals. Particularly if yours is an industry where Black Friday hasn’t been used much before, or if your offers are on something people don’t often see, it can be a great opportunity for you to spread the news.
Featuring your brand and offerings through relevant 3rd party websites can boost Black Friday orientated brand awareness, referral traffic, and website strength. Potential customers looking to purchase goods on Black Friday will be researching the best possible deals prior to the day, so ensuring you are targeting the research savvy customers will be important.
So how do you get websites and publications to feature you?
Think about the story or the hook. You’ll need to put together something newsworthy about your deals if you’re to attract news coverage. Alternatively, or as well, think about your assets you can create that people can refer to and share with their existing articles.
Outreach to websites which may be willing to feature your Black Friday products and deals. More than likely, websites which feature products and offerings which are relevant to your particular businesses niche will be a lot more willing to feature your products and website.
If you already have a strong social media following, it makes sense to let them know about your deals too! They’re already engaged with your brand, so prepare some eye-catching graphics and strong sales messages – when offering great discounts during Black Friday, it’s ok to push a strong sales message. Customers are there to grab a bargain, so you need to grab their attention and catch their eye whilst doing so.
But what if your audience doesn’t yet engage with your channels? Taking a paid approach to social will allow you to segment and target your potential audience directly within their social newsfeeds. This can be a great approach to starting a relationship with new customers who have high conversion potential.
Transforming traffic into conversions
Once you’ve managed to gain traffic on-site, you’re going to want to keep your customers engaged and interacting with your digital content. Therefore, it’s important to give customers a reason to stay, whether they visit in the run-up to Black Friday or on the actual day, you’re going to want them to re-visit and purchase.
Our Black Friday strategy page includes a timer, which visually emphasises the time remaining until the event.
Applying this strategy to an e-commerce website will serve as an incentive for customers to return to your site to see your offers on the day.
Engage your social following
Social media is another way to encourage customers to keep returning to your site this Black Friday – and beyond.
This technique would encompass creating a pre-event buzz. Convincing your audience to join your email and social channels, exclusive incentives should be suggested, whereby customers can receive exclusive news and information.
Product deadline timers
Customers arriving on-page will be scanning for deals and bargains, so why not add a countdown to amplify the notion of temporary exclusivity?
Amazon uses this technique to entice customers to order promptly so that buyers can benefit from their most competitive service offerings. Including a temporary timer within the customer shopping experience can prompt customers to purchase under pressure.
Post-purchase (or conversion) relationship marketing
Now that your customers have made a purchase this Black Friday, you’re going to want to keep your B2C relationship going. Undertaking a thorough post-purchase strategy can provoke customer loyalty and trigger repeat purchases.
Online shopping has benefited customers with competitive pricing and the added convenience of shopping at their own command. But with a lot of products and businesses within the retail sector, customers like to physically experience and engage with a brand. Therefore, the loss of physicality can be regarded as an impediment to the online shopping experience.
Within the e-commerce customer journey, the first physical encounter customers have with your brand is when they finally receive their goods. Rowena, general manager of Boxtopia says “as a box packaging company, we find that our e-commerce clients are doing more and more to offer a bespoke packaging experience for their customers. Packaging reflects both a company and it’s offerings, which makes it an essential avenue to optimise for a successful retention strategy”. – So why not create more of a physical experience for customers as an online retailer?
Customers are always looking forward to opening deliveries, even if they know what contents of the package are going to be! Forget conventional plain packaging, you can introduce a fun, exciting and memorable experience. Wow your customers by giving them added value to the products they ordered.
Providing an experience that your customers will remember (or even share on social media) will imprint both value and a human touch to your business. As it’s Black Friday, why not include some Black Friday themed packaging stocking fillers?
Creating email marketing campaigns which engage with customers is another great way of nurturing loyalty and repeat purchases.
Christmas will be soon approaching, so a good tactic may be to offer email subscribers a small discount over the Christmas period (after all, they will be Black Friday, bargain hunters).
Having ongoing connections and communication with your customers in the lead up to Christmas is a perfect means of improving your customer base relationship.
Include links to your social media channels too. This gives customers the opportunity to further engage with your brand and investigate your content, deals, and offers. Optimising your content and digital channels post-Black Friday is important to keep an on-going retention strategy going.
Black Friday is a social retailing event.
Customers not only want to be getting the best deals and bargains but sharing their savings with peers if part of Black Friday’s customer value.
Giving customers a reason to create (positive) user-generated content about your brand and offerings can lead to repeat custom and can serve as a converting resource for new customers. People trust customer reviews and perceptions over corporate appraisal.
Feeding relevant social media content which reminisces the passing of Black Friday but eases customers into Christmas orientated posts will enhance customer relationship efforts throughout the festive period. This will give you the mileage to progress your Black Friday efforts into Christmas strategy.
We now know that Black Friday is an amazing opportunity for the e-commerce sector, which goes beyond just sales. Reflecting upon your strategy and efforts is important for successfully reproducing seasonal e-commerce strategies. Re-automating your efforts is an essential part of sustaining conversions throughout this festive period. Maintaining great relationships with your customers is an amazing opportunity Black Friday offers e-commerce businesses, so thinking beyond sales will put you in the right direction for long-term success.
You may also like: 10 Simple Ways to Increase Your Brand Awareness (Infographic)
About the Author
“Pierre is a Digital Marketer at Impression, based in Nottingham, United Kingdom. His expertise lies in creating e-commerce customer engagement strategies. In his spare time, he is an avid skateboarder with a passion for photography”.