Black Friday and Cyber Monday have become two of the biggest online shopping days of the year, giving your business the opportunity to connect with customers and make some extra sales in the process. Over the years, Black Friday (November 25, 2022) has become the official kick-off day for Christmas shopping for many businesses, with Cyber Monday, the Monday after Thanksgiving (November 28, 2022), following close behind. With eCommerce sales rapidly catching up to brick-and-mortar retail, your online presence is just as, if not more, important than your in-person presence. But, as long as you prepare, by the time Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM) do arrive, you can just sit back and reap the benefits. We know there are already a million things for you to prepare for during the holiday season, so we’ve created a guide for you. This way, you can go ahead and mark something off your checklist!
Table of Contents
- Start preparing now
- Optimize your products
- Offer great customer service
- Decide whether or not to offer free shipping
- Master your email strategy
- Recommended bookmarks
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Start preparing now
The earlier you start planning your BFCM strategy, the more time you have to perfect it. Customers will notice when big retailers or brands start teasing their deals for BFCM and will start looking to other businesses for their offers as well. If you share your promotions early on, your customers will keep your store in mind when it’s time to shop.
We’ll cover this more in the next section, but it’s important that early shoppers on the lookout for gifts are able to find your products easily; it pays to plan ahead of time to avoid any inconvenience that might keep your customers from being able to purchase from your store. Also, if you don’t have an online store yet, it’s not too late to create one for BFCM and beyond! Drag-and-drop website builders let you create an eCommerce store in a matter of hours or days, depending on the scale of the project. You can even start with an existing website to get it immediately up and running.
Read more on how your small business can save this holiday season with the help of our blog!
Optimize your products
The majority of holiday shoppers haven’t decided what they’re going to buy, so it’s up to you to convince them why your products would make the perfect gifts. If you’ve run a BFCM campaign before, you’re already one step ahead because you can analyze your sales data to see what’s worked in years past to best stock your store.
Write your product descriptions on your site with a sense of urgency — you want to remind your customers that the sales window is small. Adding phrases like ‘limited time only’ can really push those products. Include Black Friday and Cyber Monday mentions, so it’s clear to shoppers which products are part of the BFCM deal. Conduct your own keyword research to find niche BFCM-related keywords for your products. Tools like KeywordTool.io and Ubersuggest have free versions you can use. These will help to boost your store’s SEO and help your store be more visible in holiday search results.
Offer great customer service
Play to your strengths as an eCommerce store owner and offer a personal and helpful shopping experience. During both Black Friday and Cyber Monday, be easily accessible to your customers. Consider integrating live chat into your website. This way, if your customers have a question, you should be able to answer it for them in real-time rather than through an email or a contact form.
You’ll likely get more questions now than during other times of the year. Time is of the essence because if shoppers can’t find what they’re looking for, they’ll shop elsewhere. Being courteous and respectful is key. You may find that some people are rude or impatient. Just remember this is a stressful time of the year, and even though they might not tell you, your customer will appreciate the kindness given. You can also add an FAQ section to your website for more common questions to save customers from having to email or chat in with questions. One final tip: make returns easy and hassle-free. This will help give your customers peace of mind and create a more enjoyable shopping experience for them.
Learn more about customer return expectations in our blog.
Decide whether or not to offer free shipping
How should you approach shipping charges during BFCM? Some businesses will continue to charge customers for shipping, while other businesses might choose to offer free shipping. Weighing the pros and cons of free shipping for your business is something to keep in mind because your customers might expect free shipping during the holidays.
Offering free shipping can be tricky for some, especially if you’re already lowering your prices. However, the tradeoff is you’ll potentially see more sales. If it’s not possible for you to offer free shipping without hurting your business, we understand! Consider offering a free gift with every BFCM purchase instead. This way, your customers are still receiving an additional gift to offset having to pay for shipping.
Find out How to Offer Free Shipping in our blog!
Master your email strategy
Email gives you a direct line of communication with your potential and existing customers. Sending out email signups throughout the year will give you a headstart on your holiday communications, and these email campaigns will help you reach those customers looking for BFCM deals. We know we say this all the time, but don’t be afraid to get creative with your emails! Your customers are sent tons of emails during the holiday season, so make yours pop. If you take the time to personalize your emails, your customers will be more likely to not only open your emails but buy from your store again. This is also the ideal time to connect with your previous customers and offer them new and exciting deals. Let your customers know you appreciate them with access to exclusive/early discounts.
BFCM might be slightly terrifying in person, but it doesn’t have to be terrifying for your online store! If you start preparing now, you’ll have contingency plans in place for any issues that may arise. Walkthrough your site and check all of your product descriptions to confirm they’re up to date. Add an FAQ section and test all the lines of your customer service communication to check that they’re running smoothly. Have those email campaigns ready, and don’t be afraid to send out some early promo codes or teasers to your customers. The best advice we can give you is to start planning now…and to use ShippingEasy for help.