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Are you preparing for Black Friday/Cyber Monday yet?

Peter Messana's headshoot
By Peter Messana - CEO

Are you preparing for Black Friday/Cyber Monday yet?

If you answered no, then you are already late.

While it is a bit silly the mad dash and rush that happens between Black Friday and the last free shipping day. It’s a monster we all created that will forever be there. Soak it up and get the most out of it.

There are countless ways to prepare right now. I will highlight four to get your wheels spinning.

Review data. Understand the prior year and what to expect. What promotions worked? What messaging resonated with your customer? What did not? Make sure that you have the right products on order that will help propel the greatest sales. Data is key for proper messaging and maximizing sales.

Optimize your site. Have you reviewed your highest conversion pages? Great, those are already working. Now look at what is not working. I see so many retailers reviewing the top 10%, which is fine, but what about the next set of pages or the bottom 10%? It is easy to optimize what is already working well.It is harder but more fruitful to go one more level down. Same goes for your search data. The top 10% is great, that is what most are searching for, but the 90% has more juice to squeeze.

Build loyalty now. It is easy to heavily discount to drive sales, but this does not build a solid long term business. Don’t fall into the trap of deep discounting to attract one-off shoppers that will never return. Focus on Customer Lifetime Value today. This means building your email lists and treating your current customers like each and every one of them are special. Make sure they know they are special. Send your top 10% customers a thank you email today and tell them they are your best. You won’t need to discount as heavily later on.Solid nurturing campaigns builds loyalty. This includes a thank-you-for-first-purchase email, a welcome series that tells them why you are meaningful to them, and use data to segment emails to be relevant to them with content. It isn’t just about promotions and products, content is king.

Be prepared. This is where the best sites shine from the rest. Preparedness is deeper than testing your systems, it means planning for when something goes wrong. Trust me, something will not go as planned. Maybe a promotion flops. Do you have a secondary email or social strategy in the event the first try doesn’t sell through as much as you had hoped? Are you ready if your payment gateway goes down? Do you have a “We’re sorry” email already written for all those abandoned carts to get them back when the gateway is back up? Writing for the worst case scenario can make or break you if something does happen.

It is easy to keep going and almost endless. There is a lot of planning that should be happening in August for what happens in November and December, but this is probably enough to start the wheels spinning or give you some BFCM PTSD. It’s a thrilling ride, get the most out of it.