With just 10 days to go before Black Friday 2021 (nine as of this posting!) are there still ways that merchants can positively impact their Black Friday and Cyber Monday revenue? That’s the question we set out to answer during our webinar panel discussion, Black Friday 2021, Expert Predictions On What You Can STILL Do To Convert More Shoppers On Your Ecommerce Site.
Webinar Series for Black Friday 2021
In our two part webinar series, we were joined by three guests, with over a 50-year combined industry experience in retail and ecommerce:
- Shaun Lin, Director of Channel Partnerships at Bazaarvoice
- John Thrailkill, former SVP of Technology at The Container Store
- Mike Warson, Senior Sales Executive at Guidance
During this session, the panelists shared their tips, suggestions, and predictions for this year’s Cyber Monday/Black Friday. Of course, all the tips and suggestions apply beyond November and into 2022.
We began with an audience poll question, “What is your biggest concern/area of focus for this Black Friday/Cyber Monday?” The top three answers were:
Out of stock items/Sell through
Tips and Suggestions
Our discussion of the issues above was wide ranging and detailed. You can listen to the entire webinar here, but I thought I’d distill the conversation into a few key tips and suggestions.
Have a Game Plan and Playbook
Communication is key to properly combat all three issues in the poll responses. First, ensure you have a plan to combat these issues, Second, formalize that plan to be shared widely in the organization. Get “plans in the hands.” Third, communicate clearly and often. Taking these steps ensures you empower your team to make decisions and combat issues when they arise.
Test, Test, and Retest
The strength of your site relies on your preparation for traffic, requests, process, and content. Building a culture of testing and measurement ensures that your site and your team is ready for the seasonal traffic both to the site and to your employees and process. Important tip here: if you have lots of employees, make sure they can shop your web site, too. Their interaction not only drives loyalty but also is an easy way to test your site.
Pull Together User-generated Content (UGC)
If you are already gathering UGC, make sure that you are using all of it in the best way possible. UGC is an amazing source of fresh content as well as a trusted content source. Use all those consumer photos, reviews, and comments to your advantage to promote your products. Your shoppers will be more informed and happier with their purchases. Plus, it is a free source of rich content. Why not use it often?
Every Engagement is a “Shoppable” Engagement
No one is coming to your site just to look. Everyone has a goal in mind. Their goal is purchasing a product, so make it easy for your shoppers to buy. If you think that every engagement is an opportunity to buy, put “Buy Now!” calls-to-action throughout your site and on every product. Removing barriers to purchase will drive conversion.
Choose In-store Delivery and Pick Up
If you have both a storefront and an ecommerce site, ease the shipping side of your supply chain by encouraging your consumers to buy online and pick up in the store. Shoppers will appreciate the immediate nature of receiving the item and it will create another “shoppable” engagement for you. If you don’t have an omni-channel presence, ensure that your shipping process and systems are in order. Experience after the purchase is as important as during the purchase process. Communicate clearly about order status and delivery timing. Customers appreciate clear communication.
Use a Countdown Timer
While it may seem simple, small additions to your site such as a countdown clock, can help focus a shopper as well as create urgency for a purchase. This is a simple change to your site and one that can have an outsized return.
We also asked for predictions during the holiday shopping season. Some thought provoking and important opinions expressed:
People are Ready to Celebrate!
This really is the first time since the start of the COVID pandemic where the spread is under control enough to get us back out in public for holiday celebrations and experiencing togetherness. Because of that fact, look beyond toys and children’s items for hot sellers. More adult-focused items like alcohol and experiences will be hot sellers. Expect supply-chain issues to be present here as well.
Don’t Expect as Many “Offers” and “Deals”
Because inventories are low and demand is high for holiday gift giving, don’t expect to see the deep discounts we are used to seeing during the holiday time, simply because merchants don’t need to offer those promotions to sell. In fact, there may be scenarios where some prices will increase based on availability.
Technology Keeps Getting Better and Better
If there is one thing that has improved in the last several years is the ecommerce technology stack. In fact, it is at a point today where most merchants shouldn’t be concerned about the viability of their stack, especially with the widespread move of servers out of the “storage closet and into the cloud.” Maturation in the tech stack helps merchants focus on serving the customer base rather than worry about up-time.
If you like these takeaways from the webinar and want to hear more, you can listen and watch the entire webinar here. Also, don’t forget to join us for part two of this webinar on Dec 7 where we will recap some of the lessons learned and talk about what’s in store for 2022.