BFCM (Black Friday and Cyber Monday) will see huge amounts of traffic coming to your store - and hopefully purchasing. This full weekend can be a massive profit boost for any store, but the benefits don't have to be limited to just those 4 days.
To make the most of BFCM, you need to plan ahead, and there will be a lot more involved than just planning a doorbuster sale.
This is our guide to a BFCM strategy that will help you turn one big weekend into another big year. It's almost 7,000 words long because there is a lot to say about this topic.
If you want to avoid that much reading and just have a team of ecommerce professionals help you get ready instead, feel free to give us a call and schedule a consultation. We'll help you make the most of your BFCM.
Now, without further ado, here's your guide.
- Planning your BFCM strategy
- Getting your store itself ready
- Email and BFCM
- Promoting and marketing your BFCM offers
- What to do on the big day
- Solidifying your BFCM gains
Planning your BFCM strategy
For any ecommerce brand, this time of year can be insanely profitable. In just a few days, you can make massive profits that will boost the brand or carry you through leaner times.
BFCM can be turned into a launchpad that will boost your business for the rest of the year. You can build on that launchpad year after year and breed more success as time goes on.
Let's dive in to how you can do that.
This year, for BFCM, set some goals for your business. Decide what you want, and you can work backwards from there to make it happen.
You obviously want more sales, more revenue, more happy customers. But how do you make that happen?
Reach goals are those big category goals that you hope to hit:
- A certain amount of total revenue
- Total sales numbers
- Total number of visitors on BFCM
Step goals are the things you are going to attack to make those reach goals a reality:
- Conversion rates
- Abandoned carts recovered
- Revenue generated from email
- Average order values
Sales and revenue totals come from somewhere, and all of your efforts work together to make that happen:
- Specific numbers of customers are brought to the site by your marketing campaigns
- High numbers of visitors convert into customers
- Purchases cover cost of customer acquisition, overcome the discounts you offer, and boost average order value into profitable territories
You don't have to set exact goals for these, and you can't tell the future, but you can get still create viable targets.
Use your current day-to-day numbers as well as last years BFCM numbers, and set goals to build on what you have done before. Then figure out what steps you need to take in each area (traffic generation, conversion rate optimization, order value) to make the dream come true.
Plan out what you want to achieve with BFCM. Look at what revenue sources could use a boost. New customer acquisition been slow lately? Customer retention dropping off? Now is a great time to get those KPIs moving upward again.
Plan out your BFCM ahead of time. Blenders Eyewear did it with a whiteboard
Plan your sales
This is where those goals come in handy. Decide how you want to create sale offers that will help you achieve your step and reach goals and remain profitable. You don't want a huge boost to holiday conversion rate, just to find out you aren't making decent margins on all those sales.
Free resource: Check out our BFCM sale planning sheet. Copy it to your Google Drive and plan until your heart is full.
Think about what your sales will do for you and the business. There are several things you could achieve with a sale:
- Set up future recurring purchases like refills or add-ons
- Clear out old stock
- Act as a loss leader to drive traffic
- Re-engage old customers
- Use gifting as a means to spread awareness about the brand
- New customer acquisition
- Promote a new product launch
What you choose to do depends on what you and your business need. You aren't restricted to just one of these goals. You can set up multiple sales and discount types to achieve different things. Discount a new product line as a loss leader to bring new customers to the store, while also re-engaging and offering special discounts to past customers.
You can even segment past customers based on how much they have spent with you. Offer VIP customers increased discounts to get them re-engaged during the run-up to the holidays (when everyone is buying gifts and feeling generous).
A simple example of a multi-goal sale event:
Your goals are:
- Boost average order value during the event
- Get rid of excess stock of a particular product (especially accessories or add-ons)
- Introduce new buyers to a popular or flagship product line
Drop your flagship product from $75 to $65. Then set a free shipping threshold for $70. Discount the excess stock add-on, and use your marketing and on-site display to push the two items together.
Now you are:
- Boosting AOV
- Introducing new buyers to your flagship product
- Getting rid of excess stock
- Creating potential future buyers for other add-ons and accessories
Make contingency plans
This will be a short section. You are using Shopify (I hope), so a lot of your fears for a high-traffic weekend are taken care of. Shopify has come through several BFCM events with great results. If Kylie Jenner didn't crash, you won't either.
- Your site won't go down
- You will be able to process payments
- Your visitors won't have insane load speeds
So what is left to worry about?
Running out of stock
Hopefully you'll come close to having this problem. Maybe you don't want thousands of backorders, but nearly running out would be a great problem to have, right?
So just think about what you'll do if that happens. The best solution is to collect emails for items that are out of stock. Allow shoppers to give you their email, and extend the discount to anyone who signs up after the item runs out.
This allows you to build your email list, build goodwill with customers who would otherwise miss out on the discount, and keep sales coming even on items you run out of.
You can also prevent this by talking to your suppliers to see how their capacity fits with your existing stock, projected orders, and goals for your sales event.
Make sure that your fulfillment and shipping process can keep up with your expected demand. You don't want to be caught in a situation where you have the orders, have the stock, but are killing yourself to get them delivered,
Have backup plans for your shipping efforts in case something prevents you from using your usual shipping routes. Know what those backup methods cost, and be prepared should you need to use them.
I'll talk more about this later on, but you should definitely be thinking about the time between BFCM and Christmas, and then the beginning of the New Year.
If you plan your BFCM campaign carefully, you should be able to set yourself up for a better year to come. If you can do that over and over, you build on your success each year. Eventually, you could find yourself making a lot of money because you thought about the long term instead of just one sales-heavy weekend.
You do that by making sure you are learning what works and consolidating what you gain.
- Use analytics to watch user behavior
- Collect emails and segment your list
- Create sales and discounts that correspond to your goals
With a little long-term thinking, you build long term success without hurting your short-term results. Again, more on that later on. I just want you to think about long term goals and actions as we go.
- Plan out what goals you achieve through BFCM beyond just revenue
- Decide what KPIs are lagging, and which ones you need to target
- Plan sales and marketing campaigns that will help you:
- Acquire new buyers
- Turn new one-time buyers into repeat customers
- Strengthen your relationships with VIP customers
- Re-engage lapsed customers
- Collect emails from customers who want to be notified when something is out of stock.
- Have a plan for what happens if you can't ship all of your orders through your regular routes. Know how much it costs and whether or not that will hurt your profitability for the holiday.
- Think about what comes after BFCM
- Build your email list
- Collect analytics
- Offer sales that make sense
More resources on planning and sales strategy:
- More on effective discounting for retailers.
- Check out this article by Neil Patel to see whether or not free shipping will be a profitable offer for you to make. It's not always worth it, but the math may work out and tell you that limited free shipping is the way to go.
- Bonus Resource: Use our BFCM sale planning sheet to plan and track your sales leading up to the big event. Just open it, and copy it to your own drive to enable editing. You'll notice something there about shareable links. We'll cover those later on in more detail.
- The Ultimate Guide to Shipping During a Seasonal Rush
- Klaviyo- Capture More Revenue with Back in Stock Flows
Getting your store itself ready
Next step is to make sure that your site itself is ready for the big show. You'll have a lot of traffic, especially if you hit your marketing campaigns hard and smart. You want to get the most out of every visit.
Make sure your site can handle the load
This is mostly for anyone reading who isn't using Shopify. You need to make sure that your site and cart solutions can handle the influx of traffic and purchases without crashing. You do not want a dead site on BFCM. You want to sleep late, feeling warm and fuzzy in your bed, dreaming of all those little purchase notifications you'll see when you awake.
You can see what traffic levels you are capable of handling at Load Impact. Again, if you are on Shopify (and especially Shopify Plus), this is a non-issue. They put in a lot of time and money to make sure that their servers can handle any traffic load and keep stores running. If you are running your own server with something like Magento or WooCommerce, you should check in and see what you can handle. And likely be on call all night in case your server crashes.
Optimize your conversion rate
Hopefully, you are running data collection and an iterative optimization process year round. That means you are learning from your customers and making your site the best it can be to maximize sales.
No matter how you handle CRO, it's time to put a freeze on major changes to the site for at least two weeks ahead of BFCM. You don't want untested apps or new code challenged under the biggest traffic load you're going to see all year.
There is still something you can do to help optimize conversions during BFCM, though. Keep collecting data.
The visitors coming to your site during the holidays may not be an exact representation of your normal, year-round shoppers, but that doesn't mean you can't learn anything from them. You can still look for behavioral patterns and parts of your site that bleed out money.
Year-round, you should use:
- Analytics to see quantitative user behavior (page flows, traffic sources, exit rates, bounce rates, etc)
- Heat Mapping and user recordings (see exactly what parts of a page users interact with and how)
This much data is a goldmine, so make sure you are collecting. Once your data collection is setup correctly, you have a stockpile of valuable user research data coming in 24/7.
Check your tracking pixels
Retargeting visitors during and after BFCM is huge. You'll want to be able to bring them back on site to complete abandoned carts and get back in front of their eyeballs, especially in the run-up to Christmas.
Analytics, Tag managers, heat mapping, email tracking code, etc. All of this is stuff that you should check on well in advance of the big day and make sure that the data coming in is usable. Data quality is a huge issue for ecommerce stores.
Auditing and improving your data collection is a massive issue. When it's time to redesign or improve your site, this data is what you need to get it right. No design is so good that it can't be improved by learning more about your users.
Make it easy to pay
A lot of your visitors will likely be one-time or first-time visitors. Those people may have trust issues with online purchasing, or at least buying from sites they aren't familiar with.
You and I know that purchasing through Shopify is secure. Your customers don't know that. They are worried about their personal and financial information going out into the world and being used against them. They don't know you, they have no clue what a Shopify is, and they 100% don't care about either one. It's your job to make them feel safe while buying from you.
In the age of Amazon, everyone is used to payment methods that are fast, easy, and secure. That is one of the biggest reasons that Amazon is as popular as it is. Paying for your purchases is insanely fast and easy.
Take advantage of that. When you use Shopify payments to process your customers payment, you can let them checkout with accounts they trust already:
- Amazon Pay
- Google Pay
- Apple Pay
- Shopify Pay (Growing in popularity and awareness)
Personalize your content
Personalization takes CRO to the next level.
With on-site personalization, you can offer different shoppers a unique experience on your site, based on their past purchases, browsing behaviors, and traffic sources.
This level of unique content shows visitors that they have found the exact right place to be. By putting messages that are highly relevant in front of someone's face at the right time, you are boosting the chance that they will buy.
Personalization doesn't have to stop with on-site content, either. Using Segmentify, you can personalize emails, push notifications, and product recommendations. Put the right product in front of the right customer in the way they choose to see it, and you'll see a boost in conversion rates.
- Make sure your site can stand its ground during the BFCM rush using Load Impact.
- Get to a solid conversion rate baseline before the big day.
- Make sure all analytics and data tracking pixels are turned on and working so you don't miss out on all the data coming your way.
- Think about how your customers want to pay, and work with third-party payment systems that can make it happen.
- Personalize your content to make your offers more relevant to your customers.
More resources to get your site ready for BFCM:
- Black Friday Ecommerce: 27 Ideas, Tips & Strategies to 3X-10X Holiday Sales in 2018
- Segmentify: 5 Tips to Grow Your Sales with Personalization on Black Friday
- Shopify BFCM
Email and BFCM
Email marketing done right is possibly the most profitable marketing channel you have. BFCM is a great time to beef up your email list and keep on exploiting this traffic burst throughout the rest of the year.
Let me say that again, in slightly more emphatic terms: Building your email list and using it correctly is absolutely vital to the long-term health and growth of your business, and if you aren't doing that, you are losing out on boatloads of money.
Why is email important? It is a long-term communications channel straight to people who have raised their hand and said they are interested in hearing from you. Your email list is made up of your best customer segments.
Why is email important to BFCM? I'm so glad you asked. There are several different things to discuss here.
Some of the things I am going to mention are specifically possible because of Klaviyo. It is simply the best email solution for Shopify stores. It allows segmenting and automation options that other email providers are struggling to keep up with. It integrates neatly with Shopify, and allows you to build out some extremely profitable automated email flows.
In the run up to BFCM and the holiday season (which shamefully neglects Halloween), email is the perfect way to communicate your plans to your customers.
Communicate your sales and offerings to your list ahead of times. You aren't going for a hard sell with these emails. Just let your audience know what is coming. BFCM shoppers are planning their purchases ahead of time. They will spend a lot of money with you if they can plan ahead to get the things they want, and maybe grab a few Christmas gifts while they are at it.
Send out news about:
- New product launches
- Sales and discounts
- BFCM schedules
- Special extra discount for VIPs, email list members, first time buyers
People like to be surprised, but this isn't the time or place for that. The biggest spenders are planning their attack. Help them know ahead of time that you are going to be spend-worthy on BFCM.
Transactional emails will be king during the event, and you should consider your timing a bit differently. First, what are transactional emails?
Transactional emails are communications triggered directly by a buyer action. They happen because someone made a purchase (or failed to do so). So we are talking about:
- Abandoned cart recovery
- Shipping notifications
- Post-purchase sequence
- Order confirmation and upsell
- Shipping notification
- First time buyer and repeat buyer thank-you's
- Review Requests
The timing change I mentioned will be most critical in the abandoned cart recovery emails. You can't afford to wait as long to send these if you want to get those purchases in during your sales event. You will want to bring shoppers back on site quickly and remind them of what they left behind.
- 1st email- 2 hours after abandoning cart
- 2nd email- 24 hours after
- 3rd email- No more than 48 hours later
Normally, these emails would be spaced out more, so as to give the buyer some space and not make them feel rushed. During a tight time frame, you can justify sending them closer together, because their is such a hard time limit for them to get the discounts you are offering.
Another important one is your order confirmation. This will be the first email after someone makes a purchase, and you can use it to upsell without distracting them while making a purchase. If you want to really transition into a full on-brand post-purchase experience, you can extend your website style into invoices that go out in email instead of plain text purchase receipts. The best of the best app to make that happen is Sufio.
Traditional upselling is great, but can put to much on someone's plate at once. If that happens, they may shift their attention and end up not converting. By shifting your upsell to the order confirmation email, you can avoid this problem.
Offer them an in-email product feed right in their purchase confirmation (Klaviyo with Shopify does this, other email providers may not). You can use this to upsell commonly bought-together options, best-sellers, accessories, etc. Offer to add them to the existing order for no extra shipping cost if they purchase the upsell within a certain timeframe.
This is where long-term benefits come into play. You have likely had a lot of new people give you their email address and permission to continue marketing to them.
After BFCM is over, make sure to thank these people for their purchase, and try to bring them back to the site for another purchase within a few weeks. Make sure to send emails that give them some kind of value and build a relationship of mutual interest with them. You want to respect their inbox space and their time, because you want them to like & trust you.
The time right after BFCM is a great time to do this, with special flows full of helpful content that is entertaining or informative, but light on selling. This period of time should be spent nurturing, not just selling.
Back-in-stock emails are also important during this time frame. If someone signed up for this notification during your sales event, bring them back around by extending your discount.
Segmenting your email campaigns based on customer behavior and persona is critical to email success. You can use these segments to determine what emails you send, the tone of the copy, images used, products shown, etc.
You can segment people based on a lot of different factors:
- Products purchased
- First time buyers
- Repeat buyers
- VIP customers
- Multiple visites without purchases
- Time since last visit
Klaviyo segmenting tool at work
The emails you send to these different groups will have different goals, different content, and different timings. The power of an email provider like Klaviyo is that it makes it much easier to put all of this together. You can automate sending, AB test your emails, and see results easily.
Using segments specifically for BFCM will boost your sales by making sure you are sending relevant emails at the right time.
- Past holiday purchasers- Segment those who made purchases during previous BFCM events
- Product browsers- Find those who look without buying, especially if they are checking out items that you will have on sale during the event
- Category buyers- Target those who have purchased items in the same category as those you are putting on sale
- VIP customers- Send your big spenders special incentive to come back and check out your already discounted products
- Leverage your email list to drive traffic to your BFCM sales.
- Send out timely email during your BFCM event and bring non-purchasers back on site quickly.
- Establish relationships with your buyers and make sure as many as possible go on to become VIP customers instead of one-and-done.
- Segment your customers based on purchase history, shopping behavior, and any other meaningful way you can think of, to make their targeted emails more relevant.
More resources for your BFCM email marketing
- 8 Awesome Black Friday Cyber Monday Email Campaigns You Can Steal This Holiday Season
- How to Plan your BFCM Content
- How to Build Your Email Targeting Program
- Sufio- Beautiful Invoices for online stores
Promoting and marketing your BFCM offers
If you want people coming to see and purchase, you have to make them aware of what you offer. Marketing in the lead-up to BFCM is critical. Many serious shoppers plan in advance, and letting them know what you will offer early is a great way to make your way into their plans.
So there are two parts to this, which are the strategy and the execution. How you handle both will vary greatly based on your branding and customer base. I'm going to focus mostly on a couple of strategic ideas unique to BFCM.
Keep up your regular marketing push
You should be looking to get in front of your audience early. Once Halloween is over, you want to be in front of your audience with information about your BFCM offers.
Facebook ads, social media content, and especially email will be your friends here. You want to get your most engaged and active customers excited about what is to come. Encouraging social sharing and brand advocacy is important too. Families and friends will talk about what they are doing during the Thanksgiving/BFCM period, and favorite stores will come up.
Create specific BFCM teaser and lead-up campaigns. These don't even have to be overt holiday/event themed content. You can use these to build some extra excitement in the lead-up to the event without getting sales-y too early.
Show off cool user generated content, focus on email sign-ups, tease new product drops centered around BFCM. You have a lot of options here, so get creative.
Look for unique, holiday-specific opportunities
Bloggers, enthusiast sites, and other influencers will be looking for content to curate and show off during this period. Gift guides, BFCM guides, and general "best of/favorites" content will be big in the run up to the holidays.
Find people who connect with your target audience, and get in touch with them. Send them free product for reviews (not a bribe, just goodwill and a product to review). Offer written or visual content for their site or guides. You want to make sure they know you exist and are a part of their community.
The people viewing this content will automatically be:
- Your target customers (or buying gifts for your target customers)
- Looking to make purchases
- Trusting of the source
Matt Vincent has 60k+ IG followers. Stay Classy Meats just sent him free meat and got a shoutout because the product was high quality and it was a nice gesture.
These don't have to be huge, multi-million Instagram follower paid influencers, either. People who are involved in niche communities have a large amount of sway, and usually can't be bought off. That means their followers trust them completely, and when they show off or endorse a product, it means something.
Ideally, you should already know who these people are, as they are important to your community of buyers as a whole. Even if they aren't doing any sort of holiday or gift guides, show these kinds of influencers some love in October and November. A few good mentions from a popular IG, Twitter, or Reddit account can net you quite a few new customers.
Shareable discount links
Shopify now allows you to create and send shareable discount links. With these links, users don't have to enter a code. The discount is applied when they come to your store using the link itself.
This is a great way to create and share BFCM specials for your existing customers. You can create multiple links and share them with specific segments of your customer base through email.
Offer different links for first time customers, returning customers, big spenders, vocal brand advocates, etc. This lets you use BFCM to encourage some love among your best customers in addition to boosting sales.
Retargeting is normally a long game, and you should play it like one. We can't force anyone to buy from us, but being impatient and greedy can force them away from us.
That said, if you are trying to engage someone specifically during a short time frame like BFCM, you need to make your retargeting efforts work quickly.
Here are two ways to do that:
Retargeting ads are one of the most profitable and effective ways to use Facebook for ecommerce. If someone visits your site, they are already a much better advertising target than the general public. Getting back in front of these people with your BFCM offer may be the nudge they needed to come back and make a purchase.
Push notifications are fairly new to the ecommerce world, but they are a fantastic way to recover abandoned carts. Our partner PushOwl has seen fantastic ROI for Shopify stores through Push notifications.
Push becomes an even better channel when you consider the short timeframe of BFCM. Getting back in front of cart abandoners quickly and easily is a goldmine, especially used in conjunction with email. The two together will net you a huge ROI by bringing customers back on site to finish purchases.
If you want to know more about push as a retargeting channel, check out our friends at PushOwl.
- Get your sale offerings in front of your audience early and often
- Contact bloggers and content creators to get your store involved in their BFCM content.
- Create Shopify shareable discount links to avoid messiness with discount codes.
- Use Facebook and push notifications for retargeting to reduce abandoned carts and get visitors back on site during your event.
More resource for marketing and promoting your BFCM event
- The Procrastinator's Guide to BFCM Marketing (Plus Examples You Can Steal)
- How to Use Gift Guides to Boost Your Holiday Sales
- Drive Traffic and Sales this Holiday Season with New Shareable Discount Links
- Shopify Help- Promote a discount using a shareable link
- The Beginner's Guide to Advertising on Instagram
- Facebook Ads: The Beginner's Guide to the Facebook Pixel
- Retargeting: How to Reach Customers Who Aren't On Your List
- Hacking the Press: Clever Ways to Get Free Press Coverage with Zero Budget
- Push Marketing for Shopify Stores: Black Friday Inspiration
What to do on the big day
Delegate repetitive work to your personal Shopify automation robots
If you are using Shopify Plus, you have access to 3 tools that will make your working life easier and your store more profitable.
Launchpad allows you to automate big events. Flash sales, new product drops, sales campaigns, and events like BFCM. Instead of needing all hands on deck to launch changes quickly (while the site is live and customers are attempting to use it), you can make your changes in Launchpad. The changes will then take effect automatically at the time and date you set.a
You can launch new copy, visuals, product additions, pages, and even your whole theme at the same time. You can also automate reverting back to your normal site, or to a post-sale setup. Finally, you can use Launchpad to start scripts and flow unique to your BFCM event.
Scripts allow you to offer dynamic discounts to your customers. Scripts will automate the changes to pricing that let you take sales beyond discount codes and blanket price changes.
A few examples:
- Buy 1 Get 1 Free
- Buy X quantity, get X % or $ off total order
- X % or $ off of products with a specific tag
- X % or $ off for new customers
- X % or $ off for VIP customers
- Buy items A,B,C and get item D free or X % or $ off
- Total order value over threshold receives free shipping
Using Scripts, you can create sales that achieve some of the goals we talked about earlier. You can re-engage past customers, reward VIPs, and encourage first time buyers. This allows you to really get creative with your sales offers and how you can implement them.
Flow is the workhorse of Shopify Plus automation. It can take hours and hours of repetitive work off your plate.
Flow is essentially an "if this then that" style automator for you workflows. You can automate behind-scenes processes that you and your employees would normally have to do manually. That means that you can let a robot do robot things, while you and your employees can do things that humans are needed for.
Here are a few of the things you can do with Flow:
- Track and Reward Your Top Customers
- Track and Segment Customers from Campaigns
- Organize Products for Visual Merchandising and Search
- Segment Customers with High Intent
- Hide, Pause & Republish Products
- Track Special Orders Based on Conditions
- Review High-Risk Orders
- Automate Inventory Management and Reordering
- Gain Insights Into Your Returns
- Start Customer Onboarding Process for Wholesale
- Tag Repeat Purchasers and Surface Buyer Data in Customer Notes
- Categorize Customers as Full Price, Discount, or Mixed Buyers
- Notify Customer Service of New Draft Order
- Expedited Shipping Notification for Logistics Team
The automation tools that come with Shopify Plus (these are free apps developed by Shopify, available only to Plus accounts) are strategically important. Automating BFCM sales and changes with Scripts and Launchpad let you make the most of the big weekend without paying people to be in front of a screen all day troubleshooting.
Flow especially is important for the long-term view. Customer tagging and segmenting allow you to go really far with personalization in content and marketing. Even if you aren't ready to take advantage of deep segmentation right now, collecting that information sets you up for success later on. The tagging you do now could lead to thousands more $$$'s next year.
Be proactive with your customer service
People have questions when their money is on the line. If those questions go unanswered, they can easily turn into missed sales or returns. Since you don't want either of those things happening, it is in your best interest to answer all of the questions you can up front.
There are a few ways to go about doing that, and honestly, you should probably try to use all of these in your store.
Create an FAQ page that covers questions people might ask about payment, shipping, and your BFCM sales. You want to put all the information you can in front of your customers, but you need it to be well organized and easily accessible. Place the FAQ link on your homepage, in your BFCM emails, and even in your main
navigation during the event.
The only problem is that you will almost always miss questions that customers will ask. Have non tech-savvy friends and family browse your store. You can even try them on a preview of your BFCM theme and content. Note anything they have difficulty with. See what questions they have, and add them to your FAQ.
In the same vein as the FAQ and automation, this is about front-loading your work as much as possible. Chat bots are great for answering common questions, same as the FAQ. Again, the problem is that you don't always know what customers might ask.
Just like the FAQ, putting the site in front of someone else may surface new questions you can develop answers for. Over time, as you use chatbots and use your customer service as a learning opportunity, you can build up a stronger base of knowledge for your efforts. This BFCM, you may miss a lot, but next year, you'll be better prepared.
This is the last stop on the proactive customer service express. Offer your customers live chat, and try to be around to answer questions promptly. If you have team members you trust, you can take turns over the weekend.
However you divide up the workload, being on hand to answer questions about products and your BFCM sales will help boost sales by showing customers you care.
If you want to go the extra mile in terms of customer service and conversion rate optimization during BFCM events, live chat can make a huge difference.
For live chat, autoresponders, and everything else you need to make your customer service proactive, we recommend Gorgias. They are a customer service solution platform that fully integrates with Shopify, and we love the work they do for Shopify merchants.
- Automate your BFCM event with Shopify Launchpad, so that you don't have last minute worries about enacting all your site changes.
- Use Scripts to make your discounts work, and offer customers a unique set of deals.
- Use Flow to remove all the tedious work of tagging, reordering, organizing, segmenting, notifying, and on, and on, and on.
- Create product descriptions and images that answer questions about your products.
- Create FAQs and autoresponders that answer questions about your BFCM sales and procedures.
- Have access to live chat so that you can answer any unforeseen questions that customers have.
More resources to make the big day a big success
- How to Save Time Automating Major Sales Events, Campaigns & Product Releases with Launchpad
- Shopify Flow workflows Trello Board
- Ecommerce Automation Software: 14 Shopify Flow Workflow Templates
- 15 Ecommerce Checkout Optimizations with Shopify Scripts to Increase Conversions
- Gorgias: The best Shopify integrated platform for customer service
- 7 Must-Have Automation Tools to Help You Handle Black Friday Cyber Monday
- How to Save Sales and Solve Customer Problems with Live Chat
Solidifying your BFCM gains
Following up a diet correctly stops you from gaining back the weight you lost. Following up big events lets you keep more of the customers you just converted.
BFCM itself is the big event, but that doesn't mean all the benefits stop on Tuesday morning. You have just had a big few days, and it's time to get to work fulfilling orders and deciding where your business is going between now and Christmas.
Beyond that, though, you have hopefully set yourself up to be stronger in the long term by laying solid groundwork during BFCM that will help you through the next year.
By leveraging BFCM success, you can do a few big strategic things that will set you up for a more successful next year:
Build and strengthen relationships
Buying from you is really great and all, but it can go a lot further. The best customers don't just buy from you.
BFCM will bring a lot of new buyers into your business. Nurturing those relationships through email, customer service, and a good customer experience overall will create repeat customers who can turn into VIP customers and advocates who go out and tell others about how incredible you are.
You can also rekindle relationships with past customers who haven't ordered in a while. Bringing them back to the site during a sale is a great way to re-engage and remind them of how much they like what they bought from you before.
Collect and use data
You will have ALL OF THE TRAFFIC coming to your site during this time period. You can use the data you collect from those visitors to help you improve your site to boost conversion rates year round.
You don't want to draw too many conclusions from this traffic about things like demographics, because they likely don't represent your year-round target market. That doesn't mean you can't or shouldn't use this data at all. Look for patterns that show you things about how visitors use your site. Keep in mind that you absolutely will have more windows shoppers and price sensitive visitors during this time period.
By using Google Analytics and heatmapping, you can learn a lot about how people use your site.
- See what pages users land on, visit, and leave from the most
- Identify problematic pages
- Find your highest bounce rate pages
- On-page behaviors
- Conversion rates for specific browsers or devices
- Load times on mobile/desktop
- Which sections of pages visitors look at and interact with
All of this data is gold for conversion rate optimization effort. The more traffic you have to draw data from, the better. Having your analytics collection in order before BFCM will make sure you can take advantage of all the data pouring in from those visitors.
In addition to using the data for CRO, you may find yourself surprised by what you find about BFCM customers themselves. They may be from different places than normal, be made up of different demographic segments than usual, or come from much different traffic sources than you are used to. Knowing those things can help you plan your BFCM prep and marketing for next year.
Breakdown your BFCM
Performing a post-mortem on how your store and your business as a whole did during BFCM is a great idea. Doing this while it is fresh in your mind will give you insights you can use for next years event.
Get your team together and review how everything went, as a group. Write down or record the meeting, and have your data sources available before you get started. It would be best to have at least one person to represent the different facets of your business. Marketing, design, product development, fulfillment, customer service. Whomever you need.
Sidenote- If you are a solo business, or don't have anyone with valuable input available, use a rubber duck. Give your duck a name. Talk out loud to him (or her, or whatever you want to classify your duck as, because it is an inanimate duck, it's not that critical). When you have a question or problem, speak it aloud to your duck and try to work out your issues. This sounds silly, but rubber duck debugging is a thing, and it can work wonders when you are alone and stuck on a mental problem.
How was your marketing?
What worked to draw traffic? What didn't? Which traffic sources turned into purchases the most? Were there any surprisingly effective acquisition channels? Did you successfully bring back VIP customers?
How did things flow?
High-volume periods can show off the strengths and weaknesses throughout your entire business. Where did you feel strain during BFCM? Did you have a hard time keeping up with fulfilment? Are your stock levels depleted beyond what you are comfortable with? Do you need better customer service processes?
What about products?
Did purchasing patterns stick to what you expected, or did you see odd combinations and sales volumes? Can you draw any conclusions that might help with new product development or creating package deals?
Coming out of BFCM, focus on strengthening the relationship you have with customers. Become more than just another website they bought something from by adding value to their lives on a regular basis.
- Stay in touch through emails that add value to customers lives instead of just taking up space in their inbox
- Be proactive in your customer service to prevent returns
- Solicit product reviews and testimonials
- Make sure your analytics and all tracking pixels are working and that you are getting quality data for CRO efforts.
- Data should also be used to prep for next years BFCM campaign.
- Evaluate results versus goals
- How did you do?
- What could you have done better?
More resources to build on your foundation built by BFCM
- The 27-Point Checklist to Prepare Your Store for Black Friday Cyber Monday
- Rubber duck debugging
- YOTPO + LOYALTYLION- Beat the BFCM Hangover
You just read 6,900 words about how you and your store can get better results on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and how you can carry the success from the holiday all the way through next year and into the future.
If you want to get around all this work and have help to get your store ready for BFCM, you can always call us. Underwaterpistol's goal is to help merchants make money. If you want help to make sure you are ready to do that this holiday season, you should get in touch with us.