Drop and Adopt These Tactics to Skyrocket Your BFCM Sales

Julien Marcialis
October 23, 2020
Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM) 2020 will undoubtedly be record-breaking. The shopping event has been steadily growing every year, with a huge leap in sales between 2018 to 2019 from $6.2B to $7.4B on Black Friday alone.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM) 2020 will undoubtedly be record-breaking. The shopping event has been steadily growing every year, with a huge leap in sales between 2018 to 2019 from $6.2B to $7.4B on Black Friday alone. 

And this BFCM sales weekend, retailers are also banking on the new shopping habits created by the COVID-19 pandemic. Research has shown that 32.8% of consumers are shopping for retail goods just as often as they did before the pandemic but now are doing so online.

In short, we could be looking at a perfect storm that will spur maximum sales.

So how should you prepare for BFCM 2020? Which tactics should you adopt now, and which ones should you drop? 

In this guide we evaluate these tactics, right after a quick recap of BFCM.

The History of Black Friday and Cyber Monday

The day after Thanksgiving has always been considered the start of the holiday shopping season for many since the late 19th century. Retailers had Thanksgiving day parades, which would invite shoppers to start purchasing goods for Christmas. Since Thanksgiving was set to take place on the fourth Thursday of November, the day after that became known as Black Friday, as it was known to be a day of shopping chaos. As of 2019, data shows 64% of consumers in the US are likely to start their holiday shopping by the 30th of November. 

In 2005, the National Retail Federation coined the term Cyber Monday, referring to the Monday immediately following Black Friday. It was also designed to help shoppers who were still looking for special deals and promotional offers, albeit online. 

In more recent times, Black Friday and Cyber Monday has become a global event, driven in part by giant e-commerce stores. In fact, the holiday season overall through November 1 to December 1 has generated $72.1 billion online to date. 

Its success has prompted them to try introducing other online shopping events, such as Amazon’s Prime day, in July, but BFCM is nevertheless the biggest shopping event of the year, delivering increased sales year after year. Which is why you should put every tactic in place to make the most of it in 2020.

Tactics to Adopt for BFCM 2020

Preparation and executing strategically will set the stage for your store to sell more than ever this upcoming BFCM. Here are a few tactics you shouldn’t ignore:

Set Goals and Determine Your Metrics

Setting goals and determining how you’ll measure your store’s performance will help drive the success of your sale during BFCM. Start by setting realistic expectations for how much you expect your consumers to spend. Once you decide on this figure, all of the tactics you put in place should propel you towards achieving it. 

With seasonal sales, setting specific metrics just for the special BFCM event is important. For instance, you could set metrics for checkout completion rate, average order value, email open rates and mobile conversion rate. 

The percentage of returning customers is also a useful metric, as BFCM is a great opportunity to acquire new leads, but also to focus on customers who have already engaged with your brand. After all, research has shown that top e-commerce businesses acquired half of their sales from people who already had a relationship with their brand in that same year. 

Of course, every shop is different, but the key is to take note of what works and what doesn’t for your store.

Create Instagram Stories 

Instagram Stories have the advantage of feeling organic by integrating perfectly into your customers’ Stories. And best of all, they have a lower CPM than Facebook and Instagram Feeds. No wonder the spend has increased by 46.06% from Q1 to Q4 2019. 

To boost engagement, you have three ad formats to try out. They are photo, video and carousel. The key is to make sure your brand logo is included and that it contains a strong CTA to compel users to swipe up. 

Just like casetify did in their Instagram Stories ad.

Transform Your Email Marketing Into a Conversion Powerhouse

On Cyber Monday 2018, email was a key driver of sales at 24%. In 2019, e-commerce stores saw a 17.7% jump in attributable revenue per email sent over the four-day BFCM period in comparison with the rest of November. 

Undoubtedly, email campaigns are a high converting marketing tool, and are integral to the success of every e-commerce store’s BFCM sale.

The average click-to-open rate for email marketing is 14.30%, but by using these specific tips for increasing conversions, you could drive both more engagement and revenue.

Create Urgency and Scarcity

Urgency and scarcity are some of the most effective psychological sales techniques. But there’s a big caveat here, as online shoppers are becoming savvier, they can be trickier to convert. 

So while you should still try to create a sense of urgency (time-based) and scarcity (only a few items left), try to frame it differently this BFCM in order to stand out. 

Greats employ scarcity in their BFCM emails. In the email below, they use a red font to display what items are almost sold out and ultimately what their most popular products are. This triggers the consumers’ fear of losing their freedom of choice, since limited stock is available.

Pretty Little Thing does a good job of creating urgency in one of their BFCM emails. They make it clear that their sale ends in almost three hours with the use of a countdown timer. This gives readers a healthy dose of FOMO.

Retarget Cart Abandoners

You might have gotten users to your store, but it doesn’t mean they’ll purchase straight away. In fact, according to Baymard Institute, up to 69.57% of all carts could be abandoned. There are a few tactics at your disposal here, mostly having to do with multichannel retargeting, where you contact the customer through other channels, such as email.

It also helps to provide more information about products if it can increase conversions. A price comparison chart, detailed shipping message, or even a quick reminder about your BFCM discounts can go a long way in successfully retargeting consumers. You could also create a drip campaign if you prefer to send more than one email.

The key is to ensure you are clear in the message’s subject line and to make it as easy as possible for the shopper to complete their purchase with the right CTA

Extend the Holiday Sale

Although holiday sales succeed on the idea that they operate within a limited timeframe, there are no set rules for the BFCM four-day sales period. Nobody says you can only offer sales during that time. 

So don’t hesitate to create hype with a pre-BFCM sale and special offer. Similarly, extending past November 30th may also yield a higher success rate (as long as your offers are interesting and your store doesn’t appear to contain too much shameless self promotion).

Create Mobile-Only Gifts

To some users, getting sent a mobile-only gift straight to their phone is more personal than any other marketing tactic.


You can promote mobile-only offers on your website to grow your social media following, or simply send an in-app notification that creates a sense of exclusivity for mobile users.

Consider a Philanthropic Initiative 

Businesses often fail to realize that BFCM isn’t just an opportunity to boost sales. It’s also the perfect time to strengthen your brand presence.

This is why it’s an ideal moment to associate your store with a philanthropic initiative or to link your brand with an ethical movement. You can highlight your greenest products, or even donate a percentage of your BFCM sales to charity.

Offer Mystery Boxes and Bonus Items

Customers love bargains. But they also love mystery. So how about you gamify the BFCM sale with a few extra bonuses and hidden items? Mystery boxes are a neat extra that everyone is always pleased to receive, and you can play it up in your marketing campaigns. 

All of these tools have a simple goal: to piggyback onto the excitement of BFCM by adding an element of fun, playfulness, and exclusivity. 

It won’t work for every retailer, but if it aligns with your brand, it could be a great tactic, as seen with this playful Neom mystery box offer:

Remarket BFCM to Share your Customer’s Values

There’s no way around it: BFCM is a highly consumerist holiday. It’s about buying, selling, and making money. And chances are that your user base knows it, which is why it can be useful to acknowledge that fact in your campaigns.

We’ve already covered philanthropic associations, but there’s also a fantastic opportunity to use the marketing campaigns as a way to strengthen your brand value in consumers’ minds. Seeing as 2020 is an unusual year, it seems like the perfect time to let users know where you stand on the big picture stuff.

Increase Your Average Order Value

A well placed upsell, cross-sell and bundle is always a great way for a customer to increase their average order value as it encourages the customer to spend more than they had originally intended. Let’s dive into them in more detail: 

Upselling

Give your customers the option to purchase a higher priced item, and justify it with a better long-term experience. It is essentially trying to get shoppers to spend more on the same product type that they are currently browsing in your store.

Cross-Selling

We’re all familiar with Amazon’s “customers who bought X also bought Y and Z”, and this is exactly what you should try to advertise during this holiday season. Encourage buyers to add more to their cart by showing products that work well together.

Bundling

Product bundles are often sold at a discount. Someone’s buying a phone? How about discounting the protective case that goes with it? The possibilities are endless.

Ebook
How to increase sales with a live chat campaign ?

Learn hot to turn your customer support into a sales team and increase conversion rate by using a live chat on your store.

Ebook
How to increase sales with a live chat campaign ?

Learn hot to turn your customer support into a sales team and increase conversion rate by using a live chat on your store.

at
Ebook
How to increase sales with a live chat campaign ?

Learn hot to turn your customer support into a sales team and increase conversion rate by using a live chat on your store.

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How to increase sales with a live chat campaign ?
Ebook
How to increase sales with a live chat campaign ?

Learn hot to turn your customer support into a sales team and increase conversion rate by using a live chat on your store.

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How to increase sales with a live chat campaign ?
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How to increase sales with a live chat campaign ?

Learn hot to turn your customer support into a sales team and increase conversion rate by using a live chat on your store.

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Tactics to Drop for BFCM 2020

We’ve covered some invaluable tactics, but this BFCM is also an opportunity to remove any that are not generating your store revenue. Here’s what should not be on your to-do list this year.

Not Preparing and Building Suspense Early

Do you really want to be one of the many retailers that leave preparing for BFCM until Q4? Your brand needs to rise above the marketing noise and to do so, you must strategize, optimize, and A/B test all year round and then spend your budget on the tactics that work best for your store. This requires preparation and planning.

You will also need to build suspense. This can be done by teasing your consumers with a glimpse of what’s to come before the sale begins. Send emails with “sneak peeks”, as they plant the seed in advance and give shoppers a chance to plan their purchases 

Remember that people’s purse strings might be tighter this year due to mass lay-offs and financial uncertainty. You certainly don’t want to be the last shop people visit after they’ve spent all their Christmas budgets already. 

Reusing the Same Sales Promotions 

Most retailers tend to think of promotions as a must-have, and often fall into the habit of reusing old ones. Instead of operating on cruise control this BFCM, it helps to ask yourself what your ultimate goal is:

  • Create clear objectives: they should be specific enough that you may not be able to reuse old ones. Your objectives may be to increase sales, increase website traffic, increase conversions on email click through rates, for example.
  • Segment customers: once your goal is set, consider who you need to target. Repeat customers? New users? Male or female consumers? Create specific promotions for each group.
  • Conditional offers: you should consider purchase minimums, limited availability, or item specific offers, amongst others. 

And speaking of conditional offers, don’t forget to avoid leaning too much on them...

Leaning Too Much on Discounting

Yes, consumers expect discounts on BFCM, but it doesn’t mean you should sacrifice profits in order to attract new users. For instance, you should have a door-busting offer, but after that, it doesn’t hurt to be more conservative with your price reductions. You don’t want your consumers to think you are a discount brand.

Experimenting With Making Major Changes

You’ve got your marketing campaigns in place, intelligent discounts for specific customers, but hold on… you’ve just read that a new Shopify theme helps increase conversions. 

Not so fast! While you can experiment with promotions, it’s also the worst time to change the infrastructure of your site. Any new implementation, even if it’s an upgrade, should probably wait a couple of months, whether it’s a rebranding or changing your web host.

Not Investing Enough Resources

BFCM is exciting, but it can also be taxing on your resources. Your traffic will spike, the bandwidth could struggle, and shipping everything on time can be a logistical nightmare. Not to mention how much customer support your staff is likely to have to deal with in the months following the shopping event.

Some will consider hiring seasonal help, or bumping their hosting plan to the next tier. Whatever it is, be sure that it makes financial sense, and that you calculate a clear ROI on your extra resources.

Wrapping Up

BFCM is always an exciting time for online retailers, and this year is not going to be any different. In fact, if all projections are correct, it will be one for the books. 

But just as the shopping event is rich with opportunity, it is also fraught with challenges. This is why you have to ensure all the odds are in your favor. 

And we hope this exhaustive list of tactics to avoid and to adopt for BFCM 2020 will help maximize the incredible chance, because who knows what 2021 will be like! 

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