Black Friday / Cyber Monday Checklist

- Black Friday / Cyber Monday Content - How to Ensure Your Online Store is on Track for a Big Holiday Season

Black Friday in neon; Text: Black Friday / Cyber Monday Content


Black Friday / Cyber Monday Content – On October 12th at 12pm EDT / 9am PDT Searchspring hosted a 1-hour live webinar featuring an expert panel from BigCommerce, Codal and Searchspring. We showed you how to create a Black Friday / Cyber Monday checklist to ensure your online store is on track for a big holiday season.

The holiday season is upon us and as retailers, we want to make sure that the work we’ve already done is putting us on track for a successful season but also address what we can STILL do to drive sales up ahead of the holidays. That is why we have compiled a Black Friday / Cyber Monday checklist to help you review your online store and ensure that you are ready for the most important shopping days of the year.

This webinar is part 4 of our 5-part BFCM webinar series designed to help you prepare each step along the way. In this session, we walked through our checklist which focuses on the following areas to make sure your online store is ready for the big day:

  • Addressing early shopper behavior
  • Reviewing your website design, speed, and functionality
  • Making sure shoppers are able to find your deals
  • Cross-selling and upselling recommendations

Is your site ready for Black Friday / Cyber Monday? 

Want even more tips to #WinBlack Friday? Check out the Searchspring Black Friday Content Hub.


Welcome to the webinar, everybody.


Today, we’re discussing how to ensure your online store is on track for Black Friday, Cyber Monday.


Got some great panelists today.


From coastal and from BigCommerce.


Really excited to hear their thoughts on this topic, and other topics, Black Friday related.


My Jason Ferrara. I’m the CMO at Searchspring.


I’ll be the moderator for the webinar today and a Principal note taker.


When you finally see me, you’ll probably see me taking furious notes.


But briefly, before we begin, I just wanted to talk quickly about search spring, you know, search spring.


We know how important it is to have a great shopper experience.


And we know when a shopper visits a site, and they can’t find what they want, they hate that, and they leave, and they don’t come back. And they may tell somebody else.


And we know how important that is to give a great experience to a shopper. So that doesn’t happen on your site.


So Searchspring really is focused on building that experience, giving you the controls of the merchant, through site search, product merchandising, personalization, and insights.


So, we have a great webinar series that we’ve been doing here leading up to Black Friday today is the fourth in our series.


Like I said, it’s about ensuring that your online store is on track for Black Friday.


If you haven’t registered for the November webinar, please do today. There’s a little QR Code, or you can go to the search for a website registered there.


Black Friday won’t be over.


But we’re going to pretend like it’s over on November ninth and talk a little bit about what are you supposed to do now that it’s over.


So, let’s get back to today, though, pre Black Friday for our prep for Black Friday.


Like I said, we have two great panelists. We have Keval and we have Jenna. So there we go, thanks, return your camera on Jenna, I will do the same, Hey, everybody.


I would like you to introduce yourself. You’ll do a way better job than I will. So the general, Why don’t we start with you, and then kebbell.


Sure. First of all, thank you so much for having me today. My name is Jenna Galardi and I work at BigCommerce. Come from 13 years agency. Side was one of the top digital marketing agencies, top 1% of all Google partners, top 3% of all meta partners, some of the most published case studies on Facebook and Instagram. And my role today, as Senior Omnichannel Growth Manager, I help merchants, regardless of their platform, whether they’re on BigCommerce or not, help them strengthen their online presence, whether that’s adopting new social channels, marketplaces, how to optimize their product to be able to scale for their growth.


Happy to be a strategic resource for our customers. If you guys are interested in an omnichannel consult or feed audit is, make sure you guys are ready for Black Friday, Cyber Monday. We’d love to help you out.


Great, thanks, Jenna.


Kevin Baxi, I’m the CEO of Codal, we’re experienced digital agency based out of Chicago. We help merchants scale from custom platforms to platforms like Big Commerce or Shopify build e-commerce experiences.


I’m happy to guide anyone on any sort of UX questions, engineering implementation across multiple platforms.


Great. Thank you.


And one more introduction to make, that’s Charles Summers is the producer of the webinar. Today is behind the scenes. You may hear me refer to him and asked him for something. So that’s who I’m talking about. It’s Charles probably the most important person on the webinar to make sure that it’s working and that you can hear us. So Charles, Thanks very much. So let’s talk a little bit about today’s agenda.


We do three general sections. We have some polls. There’s no no better way than, for us as panelists to understand what’s in your mind and the audiences to ask a couple of poll questions, so we’ll do that. We’ll use those poll questions as jumping off points to panel discussion.


Our discussion today will really focus on how do you address early shopper behavior and how early does Black Friday really start and when when do you need things to be prepared. We want to review website design and speed and efficiency. That kind of optimization topics, we’ll talk a little bit about making sure that shoppers can find your deals, find the things that you want to be selling. And then talk a little bit about cross sell and upsell and that sort of thing in the, in that process.


So, before we begin with the first poll, I do want to remind you that there is a questions Q and you and the audience can ask questions at any time. I will see them.


Charles will see them.


And I can ask them, get them in the process here.


We can get Keval, and we can get Jenna to respond to your questions. So feel free to enter a question at anytime, or I’ll be looking at that the whole time we’re talking.


All right, so let’s get on with the first poll here. How far along are you?


In your 2022, Black Friday planning haven’t started about 25%, about 50, 50%, 75% of the way, or you’re done, and you’re ready to execute. So here, come the.


Here come the responses, seem coming in. It’s always fun to watch that, once those numbers change.


We’ll give it just a minute here, to keep the poll open when people still adding there.


Numbers, Usually right about here is where we get most people. So I think we’re done.


Charles, thank you.


All right, so we’ve got a small proportion that said they haven’t started, so that’s, that’s good. Hopefully we can take, take that 8% and give them some ideas about getting started right? Immediately after the webinar.


looks like most participants, most audience members, are in some stage of being done, and then we’ve got the 14%, the overachievers they’re done already. So before we get into, hey what does that mean? Let’s hit up our second poll.




So this is, there we go. Which of the following do you think is the most critical to Black Friday Cyber Monday success?


Starting early?


Ensuring site speed.


Applying the right discounts.


Making sure your product and description sell, or Getting products’ promoted to the right channels.


Here we go through that.


Results are coming in.


Almost ready, almost there.


Charles, I think we’re where we’re going to be here.


Here we go. Alright, so let’s see.


Getting products promoted to the right channels far away, the biggest vote getter and that’s great because we will be talking about that very thing. So, great. So, thank you, Charles, for putting those panels up.


Those pulls up, let’s get on to our panel discussion.


So, I think the first thing I’d like to do, Keval


and Jenna, is talk about the poll results.


So, in, where people are in their planning, was anything surprising to you, any thing of note in those, in those results?


I think it was a little concern for people that haven’t started. It’s not, doesn’t mean you’re too late, but definitely something you want to get on instantaneously right after this webinar. But I do believe there is a lot of kind of last-minute changes, tweaks to creative design, targeting, et cetera, right before a campaign. So, didn’t surprise me that people are kind of at that 50 75 percent.


Couple of how about you?


Yeah, pretty much right online. Definitely.


Jumpstart if you haven’t started the preparation about 45 days from from today is where, where we’re landing. So I think really kind of focusing and honing out on those finalized planning and get into a state for for execution is looking good and most people there.


And in terms of in terms of having haven’t started.


What do you think that means?


Do you think that means that like I have done nothing to prepare for a potential onslaught of traffic or do you think that means like Black Friday isn’t that big for my business? So, I’m you know, put my attention elsewhere.


I think it can be a little bit of both. We do work with a lot of merchants that really, there are strong seasonal December or their strong seasonal seasonal because they’re outdoor or some sort of off industry.


But I do think there’s definitely value, too, too.


Kinda attracting that, it’s, it’s a, it’s a buying season, in general. So, having the right promotions or, I mean, the right flash sales that are going up and planning those still would be beneficial.


Jen, any thoughts there?


Yeah, I totally agree. I mean, I used to have a lot of outdoor clients, so Totally understand. Some things are season on a different way, right. Not from holiday purchasing. I think a lot of merchants are like, We know we want to do something and we now how much of a percent off we want to give. But they haven’t gotten started and career, you know, creative and the whole process. Or, you know, making sure they have enough inventory to, especially if they’re selling, you know, in a full omni channel strategy to make sure that they have some type of checks and balances that are not overselling in giving that merchant the bad experience of thinking. They’re getting it in two days. But really they’re out Because they sold it on another channel. When I was agency side, and I know quarterly, you guys do a lot of this, too is trying to encourage our merchants to get things and at a certain timeframe.


So, we have the capacity to be able to get everything set up ahead of time, by, If you’re 45 days out, it’s not too late. So, as long as you get started right away, I don’t think you’ll miss it.


But, you know, like what Kevin was saying, it’s, it’s what regardless of this is in season or not. This is a time when a lot of people purchase. So, it doesn’t hurt to try to offer a sale and see if you can attract new customers.


And it’s also, targeting might be a little different, right? Instead of going after your end consumer, a lot of times now you’re looking from gifting strategy. So you’re targeting might be totally different, as opposed to the end user. You’re looking at who in their family loves them, just kind of purchase the product for them.


Interesting. And, and it makes me think then that we’ve got the other end of the spectrum where people say, I’m totally finished.


Like, are you ever totally finished in play, in planning out what sort of flexibility is still need, and kind of a mindset, to say, I’m done. It’s locked in, or, I’m still able to change capital. How about, you know your head there? What do you think?


Yeah, absolutely. I think we operate in agile at code, also.


It’s really never complete, right, year, ever looking. You can do one thing about data, or you can do one of flash sale campaign to test out maybe a new target, kind of, like Jennifer said, that the buyers of gifts, right? They’re not necessarily your target customer. So, I think adding incremental or sub campaigns to your, your completed kind of primary plan, I think that can ever kind of evergreen in a sense, where you continue to add, iterate, see if you can do a couple of tests to, to experiment where you can get maximum value.


General thoughts on that?


Yeah. You might think you’re ready, right? Like, you’re all set, you’re ready to go. But to Carol’s point you want to be agile, You want to make sure that you’re collecting that data as the campaign is live and now you have contingencies in place. You have other alternative, is maybe the creative bombs. Because you haven’t had the opportunity to test it. Because the sale is only live during this time period. That you have the capacity to switch that out and make those changes. So, it’s, it’s critical that even, if you are prepared, that you have your team standing by ready to make those changes in the heat of the moment.


And, and it is as almost every single webinar we do, The comment comes up, You know, you’ve gotta be collecting and looking at the data about the campaign or the data about your shoppers or the data about your inventory.


And it always comes back to that, what’s your insight into that part of that part of the business? So, really great! Great comments there. About being Agile, about using the data to make informed moves. So, appreciate that. Let’s talk quickly, and I’m sure we’ll come back to some of those topics here in just a minute. Let’s talk about the second poll, So Which of the following do you think is the most is most critical to Black Friday Cyber Monday success? So that the top vote getter was getting products promoted into the right channels.


So, we got to half the people. Half the respondents said that that was the, that was the trick, Jana.


Walk us through. What does that mean for the other half and didn’t mark that, and then, and then any thoughts around why that’s significant.


So I love that, because that was when we were debating about poll questions, that was the one I wanted added. So, super excited to see that. I think omnichannel is no longer an option, It’s an imperative.


And I think covert really escalated that you as when we think of as being consumers, right? It’s very rare. We see an ad for products we’ve never seen and a brand we do not know and click and purchase that first time. So it’s all about where your, your consumers, online watering holes. Where are they getting their information? How do they engage?


Or they, you know, looking on Google from an education standpoint, but go into a marketplace to check out because it has their payment information, They’re shipping information and they understand the process, receive a product. So it’s really critical now that merchants are looking at, how do I make sure that my brand and my products are available on all these different places that someone’s going from an education? Or, you know, kind of a tick talk made me by seeing a product for the first time to Then actually going through to purchase. And then let’s say they do purchase on a on a marketplace. How are you then, potentially, trying to drive them back to your consumer site, where you have better margins, you can get a higher average order value? And kind of squeeze out more of that lifetime value for, for a consumer.


So, I think it’s imperative that everyone’s looking at, that, We do, we did a study recently on big e-commerce merchants, because obviously, we have access to all their data where their orders are taking place, because you can have, you know, different omnichannel strategy. Let’s say they’re checking on an Amazon, or Wal-Mart, and Target. You can still port those orders back in your e-commerce store and fulfill as normal. So you don’t really have to run in silos, like you used to and have like, this side of your floor is for Amazon. This is for direct to consumer, This for a separate marketplace can be more interactive and, and, and work together. And when merchants had an omnichannel strategy, almost 70% of their sales happens off of their e-commerce site.


So it’s, it’s it was really shocking data, I think, for a lot of merchants to realize that when you do have a full omnichannel strategy, a lot of times those sales are happening somewhere else, whether that’s checking out on Instagram, which if you’re not doing that, I would recommend because they wave their processing fees until the end of the year. So, this holiday season is a great time to test it. Anytime you can alleviate that friction and how many clicks it takes to purchase, it’s gonna be better for your consumers are going to drive more conversions. And, you know, what these iOS privacy updates? Being able to kinda keep a consumer on a specific channel, all the way to checkout, allows you to get a little bit more of that data, as opposed to when they jump off to a third party site to checkout. So, I think it’s imperative. It’s also not too late if you’re looking at additional channels. More than happy to, to run an Omni console, we can set you up with some of the best agencies like Codal to ensure that they can fulfill that strategy that we help you recommend.


But a lot of times, we’re getting inside information from a specific channel, like, hey, this sub category of products are flying off the shelves. See if you can talk to your agencies your merchants and get more on this, You know, on this marketplace. So it’s not too late to get your products up and running. And if not for Black Friday, at least for the holiday season.


Great. Kebbell, how about some thoughts around, around channels?


Yeah, absolutely. And Jenna said it. It’s a big boost. We see it across merchants. A lot of our merchants have been the first year that they’ve read omnichannel. A lot of our strategies have been kind of alluding. that shopping is omnichannel like it’s, it’s not your direct consumer that’s going to convert the most.


A couple of different areas that you’re really getting the benefit of that marketplace or that channel, right. They’re spending millions of dollars on marketing, driving customers, cross selling, off selling products within their own networks.


And we see a lot of increase in revenue, especially on maybe emerging brands, that they don’t have a huge presence, or huge search relevance just coming out in competing against kind of the larger brands.


It also allows a lot more personalization for the user. They may be shopping for 3 or 4 people, always, or they may be looking at a set of products, or comparing your product versus another product. They can do all of that within that experience, and you end up capturing more revenue than maybe if someone checking out on six different places for different places.


Yeah, if you remember nothing else from today, I think one of the most shocking stats is merchants who adopt just one omni channel grow 38% in revenue on average their first year.


Now, if they’re adopting two or more, their revenue increases 120%.


If that’s not enough for you to look into omni channel strategy is, I don’t know what is, because, I think that’s shocking for a lot of people to realize, like, OK, I can more than double my revenue by adding into omni channels. And it’s true, you know, that we’re saying, the shopper experience. If you’re looking for multiple products, it can be a pain to go to 20 different websites to check out if it’s available on the marketplace. You know, it makes it a lot easier. But as a merchant, you have to think of, what does that data sending to those channels, because every channel has different requirements, have different character. Spacing is different. Category taxonomy. So if you’re sending that same blanket product data, it’s every channel. You’re not optimized for performance, and you’re not going to see the growth that you should, Same thing as a consumer. If you’re looking on Google Shopping, and you know, we all know it needs a white background, but if you’re pushing that product to Instagram, you might want to lifestyle background to fit more within your fee, depending where you’re serving ads. So it’s really critical that you’re thinking about that data.


We had a merchant last year, Black Friday, Cyber Monday. The e-commerce merchant was not utilizing feed an omics to optimize their product data. They’re like, we’re going to wait until after the holiday season. They didn’t realize that one of their hero products was a short sleeve shirt. They were sending it to Google Shopping. And Google’s AI was categorized in that product as a short, instead of short sleep. And the wrong category, which I’m sure we’ve all seen looking for something on Google Shopping, you’re like, why is this in here? I was not what I search, because they’re sending the wrong data.


And, or, or it’s not as optimized as it could be, in this case, it was incorrect, Was just Google’s AI is only accurate, about 67% of the time. So they’re taking that data and trying to make an educated guess based on a bot, not a real human and putting it in the wrong category. Another thing to know is that product. The cost was three times the cost per click and Assurance category, then it wasn’t a shirt. So, it’s really critical. I would say look right now to ensure that you’re sending the right product data feed. An omics, which I’m sure most of you know, we acquired about it two years ago. Now they’ll do a free fried on it. So whether you work with them or not, I would say if you’re, if you want to do a double check before a holiday season. Have them do a feed audit. The greater from, like a to F score, they’ll talk about what best practices. You’re not following. What optimizations you would do. Whether you work with them or not, It’s going to be great actionable data that you can, you can implement right before the holiday season.


Just out of general, they’re the folks on that first poll that said, there are 50% ready to go. Those are, those are the folks that can do these. But we have merchants that come to us. They’re ready to go. But they’re doing a feed audit, they’re doing a site speed audit, kind of making quick wins that just expand that plan.


Further side, is super critical, especially with the kind of a given current marketplaces that exist in the market to, for shoppers.


That’s a great spot to jump off to. My next question was going to be about site speed.


And, Kevin, if you could start, so, in our, in our poll, we had 7% of the people said, site speed was critical to success, then you just mentioned site speed as part of, like, the preparation, if you think you’re done, let’s, let’s look a little bit at site speed.


So, talk briefly about site speed, that the, the opportunity there with thinking through site speed and how important that is.


I’m gonna go, when you answer that, I’m gonna go off camera real quick here.


Gotta adjust my Internet, just one second.


So, site Speed, you look at it in a couple of different ways, right? So you have just a general load time, You have relevance of finding a product.


You have kind of the process of getting through the checkout. We would kind of categorize. When we do site speed audits, there’s levels of code that needs to be adjusted. There’s levels of tracking. There’s how you display to the user for pages, 40 images on there and a user loads. How does that user navigate through that? Is there a proper lazy loading setup? Is there a proper structure around that page?


And then also, taking that and going through a checkout process, right, Everyone wants the one click, easy to go. Let’s checkout and move on. Kinda purchase journey.


We want to look at those. There’s a lot of things you can do around alerts and monitors that you set up at the page level, at the category level. Kind of a little bit more established. Merchants will know what are their largest pressure points, right? What are the loss leaders, where the, the products or categories that most traffic’s coming through? So I’ll kind of start there and look at it, but unfortunately, there’s no magic formula for site speed. There are plenty of scanners online from Google to Microsoft to a whole bunch of different firms. Everyone measures that a little bit differently. So my advice is, look at the target persona who you’re targeting top 10, top 20% of traffic, and adapt as much as we can to them, which will naturally going to help the rest of the the user base that you’re capturing for for speed.


Yeah, great. Excellent. And Jenna, thoughts around thoughts around site speed.


Yeah. So and one of the divisions, and I run here at Big Commerce, it’s omnichannel consult. So it’s helping merchants understand, either, do they have a troubleshooting issue? Are they doing performing the best they could with the campaign on a certain channel? Or what’s the next best channel? A lot of the reasons why people come to us are foresight speed, because I realized I don’t wanna put good money after bad. I don’t want to try to advertize and get more people to my site if people aren’t checking out at the conversion rate that they shun, one really amazing gem that we’ve found that I think a lot of merchants just don’t even look at, is, let’s say, you click on an ad in Instagram or on Facebook, and it pulls up your website, but it doesn’t pull it up, and getting your normal browser, let’s say, on your phone, when you look at that, within, like, kind of your meta browser, so to speak.


A lot of people, news don’t work. Their checkout button is hidden over something you can X out of like their newsletter. So I would say before a holiday season, double check that, because we’ve seen some significant increases and social campaigns, just by looking at how your site interacts within that little meta browser window.


Yeah, that’s, that’s great, and it’s a little part of the process that you may think, or may not think of.


Right, exactly, And that’s a lot of times, A lot of times, I hear panelists say, you know, you should be shopping your own site. Have your family members, or whoever, shop your site, and that’s where I think a lot of you might get that interaction.


Which is, well, I shopped your site from from Facebook or I shout your site from Instagram, but it didn’t pull up your site, it pulled up, there’s other, right. So yeah, that’s great. That’s a great point. Great point. Thank you.


Let’s talk a little bit about about shopper behavior.


So this all know, if shuffle behaviors, the core of everything we’re talking about is orbiting around that shopper behavior right now.


I think there are a couple of, couple of things about shopper behavior, not, how do I, how do I make sure that shoppers can find what they want? How do I make sure that I, that I can understand what the shopper’s behavior is almost before they’re at the site?


Kevin, let’s start with you in terms of, like, what are some of the key pieces of, about shopper behavior that I should understand?


You know, at this point are leading up to or even during during the day of Black Friday itself.


Yeah, absolutely. So let’s, let’s look at and what I worked with merchants and it’s kinda categorizing the different shoppers that are entering your ecosystem, right. So you have possibly your promo shoppers looking for the best deal, in the end up buying based on a coupon code or promotion you’re running, then you have your loyal customer groups. that will likely by because of your product quality or your offering.


And price is maybe not their biggest concern.


Then you have speed, shoppers, looking for gift delivery next day, last-minute, as early as they can get. And then you have your other groups ranging from, like, they’ve seen you on different channels, and they’re validating your real brand or better product. And they’re coming into your site just to kinda look at that.


So what I would do is run kind of experiments on each of those sites to look at, What can we do to best identify that users really as possible? So rather, it be through ads or referral URLs are the categories of where they land or what parts of the PDP they look at. what they’re searching. We can get all of those kind of reports and lay it out, and then make optimizations on that behavior.


Yep, and Jenna, thoughts around thoughts around that shopper behavior?


Yeah. Checkout, search Spring. If you’re not, why not? I mean, that’s really how you optimize your site, right? You want to make sure that you’re showing the right product to the right people. If they’re searching for something and they’re misspelling, enter the using the wrong name, are they finding the product that they’re looking for, and instead of trying to re-invent the wheel, like use the most amazing technology that already exists.


What are some of the, what are some of the reports that I would want to be pulling and looking at, to see exactly, to understand that that behavior, just give me some of those, some of those, reports off the top of your head, either of you can jump in.


I think I would want to look it up.


Typically, like, where first, where are they coming from, right? Because you’re gonna have different types of shoppers looking for different things. You want to look at what’s that medium that’s bringing them there, right? Are they searching on Google? Are they clicking an ad, or are they coming from an influencer? Like, there’s going to be different behaviors based on what is that medium they saw before they got to your site and then look at that customer journeys. And so many merchants don’t even look at what people are doing on their site. Are they having to go through 12 clicks before they purchase, or they digging through different categories and subcategories, et cetera. Before they’re finding it, Are they trying to compare, like, going back and forth between different products? Like, maybe you need to compare features, so really just digging into the customer data in your analytics. But I think before, you even look at reports just just the, you know, how long is it taking? Where your bounce rates, where are you losing people, ended up pages and have enough information about your products. So I think that’s the first place to start, is looking at what people are actually doing on your site.


Couple of thoughts about thoughts about reports that you find. Incredibly helpful as you look at other people’s websites? Yeah.


So, search is especially for discovery, so a lot of product discovery is done via search, for PLP or filters, looking at those reports, Understanding what’s happened in historical data.


And then taking that, and establishing maybe a pre-built the category page, or pre-built filter that allows users, like you see, on a lot of, well, read and sites, like gifts for parents, or Gifts for kids. It’s, these are kind of search relevant terms that are already identified, and that’s what people are searching, right? Holiday gifts for my parents or holiday gifts for kids under 10. If we can can capture those relevant data and present the product, that conversion life cycle starts to pick up.


Interesting. What?


When the when is the best time to begin promotions for either sales or the items on your site? Just sort of a blend of reporting and separate topic here.


But, know, Black Friday is this day, Cyber Monday is this day. How, how far before early, do I need to start promoting things?


How early do I need to start getting These shoppers, like, get their behavior attuned to, You should be coming here to buy, based on this special promotion or, or something like, It depends on the product so if you’ve got a high ticket item, I think you need to start promotion a little bit earlier than if it’s something that can be an impulse purchase, right. If you’re trying to buy a new piece of furniture or a bed, or you know, outdoors, you know, something that’s going to be a larger ticket item car, like, that’s going to take a longer time of consideration for something that can be an impulse purchase. So I think that’s the number-one determining factor. And then I think it’s also about, you know, loyalty. And what kind of, like, customer rallying you have. Like, if you’re working with influencers, you want to make sure they do promotion before, you know, a merchant might be getting their e-mail about it, so they can start to be, you know, kind of in their eco sphere of what they’re seeing. But I think it varies greatly depending on your product and your target audience.


Cover it.


Same, same thought process there. really identifying who you’re serving and what product elements you have.


There are brands that we work with that don’t really do promotions though, instead, wait all the way till Black Friday and have a specialized promotion. Maybe it’s additional product for free or additional bundles items, but they don’t necessarily discount their product.


And then on the other end, we have Convergence, doing promotions throughout September, October, just kind of looking and testing, what’s attracting that user, and then kinda hyping up that next promotion. You also don’t want to do too much to deter someone from buying thinking.


That there will be a promotion coming up, and, the end up.


You’re keeping the promotion the same.


So, a little bit of a data game to ensure you’re, You’re not swaine the customer the other way.


Yeah, and sometimes, you can not have those promotions on your site, right?


And if you have, you know, SMS messaging or e-mail marketing with your, with your existing brand loyal tests, you can say like, Hey, the sales. Not getting any better, but we are worried about our product selling out, so purchase now. So you’re not totally cannibalizing, you know, the time before the holidays and no one’s purchasing. And let them know like, hey, we know the Sales Live. But just for you guys kind of like that inside, you know, VIP, behind, the velvet rope, you know, to understand that. This is the best sales going to get. And obviously make sure you honor that and you’re worried. Potentially buy the product selling out. If that’s a concern of yours. Let them know. So they’re not waiting.


Yeah, Hi, this, this feels to me like a lesson from brick and mortar, retail. Right, I know for a fact that there are places that I’ve shopped in my life, where they, they would mail me a postcard, hey, we’re having this big sale.


But, you know, you’re gonna get involved in that sooner. Or you can come into the store and these days and that sort of thing.


I think that’s a great lesson from from more traditional retailing that would be, Hey, now, you know, you can come in and do that here, too.


It’s not it. You don’t have to walk in the store, but you basically get to walk in the store early.




Another element you can take from that brick and mortar experience from what we’ve known the past 20, 30 years of Black Friday, right, is the time sensitivity stores opened at seven. There’s a line out the door.


We can do promotions in that way, Right? Some sort of capturing the sale upfront, you’re basically hyping up a lead list or a opt in list for a waiting room.


If you’re a specialized brand, you have limited inventory, excess inventory, whatever it may be, kind of setting that up, saying, OK, Thursday, afternoon of Thanksgiving or Friday afternoon, you’ll receive a text message for acute, right, and creating as many customer list as you can.


Yeah, and I think also just reminding people, like, you’re with your family. Like you don’t need to go to your brick and mortar store, like in the comfort of your own home. Wildly, maybe half of your family is watching football, the other half can be sitting on the other couch shopping. And then you’ve got more time, you don’t have to go out. You don’t have to wait in line to the day after you say you’re grateful.


You know push through crowds to get to the best of your home, and I know we’ve had a lot of merchants, I kinda play on that, and they’ve seen huge increases in sales, because the nobody really wants to be stuck at seven in the morning, waiting outside in the cold for the best deal. So if they know they can get on a line, that’s a better experience.


Make sure you give your guests at your house your your Wi-Fi password ring, so they don’t freak out when they get a jump online and get the sale. Very good.




All right. So a couple of questions have come in. I want to jump to some, some audience questions here. A lot more than a couple so that’s good.


We talked about gifting early on and a question came in about what percentage of sales they should expect gifting to be.


Theoretically, the person who asked this question said, you know, all of a sudden I find myself doing a lot more gift shopping than shopping for myself. So, if I’m managing, if I’m a merchant, how should I expect a certain percentage to be gifts and not? And how do I think about about gifting in that way and trying to manage the business?


It’s pretty, pretty tough to have a percentage, right? Because it depends on what you’re selling, Who you’re selling to. Are you a direct to consumer brand or your B2B brand?


I would say Q four. Obviously there’s an elevated gifting season in general. We go off kind of statistical data, we work a lot with e-commerce. We have multi recipient APIs. Gifting APIs are heavily called for gift messages and things.


At least from a high level data standpoint.


But pretty hard to quantify a specific percentage.


Yeah, that’s a tough one, I don’t think we have a crystal ball here, But it does depend on, on your products. But if you aren’t marketing to test that gifting capacity, you’re never going to know, right? So if you only go off of your existing clientele, which tend to be end users, then you never really know how gifting will work for you. So, I think, you know, a lot of people are trying to just make their campaigns as profitable as possible.


During this time of year, when, I think not enough, people are spending the budget on testing, since you have such an increased, no search volume and traffic and everything, This is the time to test, and this is the time you should be testing, gifting, et cetera. We’ve had a ton of brands that started out, you know, testing from a gifting perspective. And let’s say they were all man’s like apparel is one merchant I’m thinking about has amazing apparel for like outdoors. They tested gifting and they saw a way more purchases from women than they ever had for men. Then they started testing women’s products and now they’re known for their women’s outdoor products. Not even further. So a lot of times it’s just being able to ride that wave of what the data’s telling you. But if you don’t have the budget and you don’t have the setup for testing, then you’ll never know.


And, and, In the setup, like the setup for testing. Let’s talk briefly about setup for testing.


So what, What does that mean?


Oh, do I, how do I get my site set up for testing, or how about you start there?


Absolutely, so, one big area, obviously, we touched on earlier, is data.


We want to identify what KPIs matter to the business, right?


There’s, there’s, you can figure out a lot of different test cases and elements to bond.


I think we want to do a data driven test. So, we wanna put in these tags. There’s obviously services, like Google Tag Manager, and Google Analytics, and all the platforms have a bunch of analytic tools built-in when identify those tests, routes. And then run experiments against that to see how that KPI works, right? Whether it’s going to increase my ROI, or I’m going to increase the amount of newsletter sign-ups I have because I know my newsletter generates 30% sales on each blast.


All those elements, we want to kinda think about it from a business lens, and then apply it to the technical end.


I think a really like grassroots way to do it too is, you can always send, like a cheeky e-mail if that’s, you know, in your, your brand identity.


But it’s a certain kind of a cheeky e-mail, like, How can you tell your family that this is what you want for Christmas? Like, we did that once with a merchant last year and their campaign went viral because it was, like, all these funny videos and memes and gifs about like, you know, how to tell your family. This is really what you want for Christmas. And it’s a way to expand your mailing list. It’s a way to make it really easy. You can even, like, send, like, anonymous e-mails. I mean, there’s a lot of funny ways you can do it, to try to like grass roots, and expand it, But it’s really all about, you know, I kept saying, is, it’s really all that data And testing. And making sure as you’re testing you work with an agency like, hurdle that can be agile and make those changes on the fly as you start to see those results come in.


So, one of the things you, you mentioned jenyns around, you know, this, this concept of, uh, a cheeky e-mail, how do I tell people what I what I want for Christmas.


The, I think, in my head, that aligns with a question we got here around, details around incremental campaigns and examples that the two of you could share around incremental campaigns.


Because if I think of Jeddah using, How do you tell people which one for Christmas that’s that’s a campaign that you could then run to gather some data around what people are looking for, an inventory levels. And a lot of stuff could come out, come out of that conversation. So, let’s, let’s talk a little bit about that incremental campaigns.


And some, if you have, I know thoughts are on the top of your head around, hey.


I had a customer did this at a customer, Examples would be, would be great. Gentlemen don’t start there.


Yeah and excuse me. one of the worst things about holiday season is your children come home with covering elements under the sun, eyes, if you see me abusing my tissue box over here.


So yeah, I think a lot of it is is Everyone’s trying to figure out who’s on their list, Right? Who do they need to gift for? How do I do it to ensure that it’s a product that, that my family, friends, co-workers, really want? And the easiest way is to be able to, like, when Amazon created her wishlist Like, that was like, the easiest thing, especially like I have kids and all the grandparents, family, everyone’s asking. It’s like, Boom, it’s on there. when someone purchases. It takes off the wish list, which is great. But how do you kind of replicate that ease for, for family members? You know, if you have a nine year old grandmother, they’re like, I don’t know where to get your five year old son like that, it’s totally different toys. Then, you know, when they were looking for their children. So, I think it’s a matter of creating that ease of share where it can be funny. It can be cheeky where it’s not like, Hey, this is what I’m looking for by this for me, but it can be something funny. like, Hey, I was looking at buying you this. Do you like this? This is what I’m looking at, like it’s a way of sharing that information and how you can make that easy.


Also, if you are on marketplaces, where, you know, maybe a family member shopping’s purchase for an entire family, do you have the information that they need to know that like this is a top selling toy for this age range, or like this product is great for this use? Also, a lot of times, that’s how you can expand your average order value, is saying like, OK, they came in looking for this hero product, let’s say, outdoors jacket. Apparently, we all want to go outdoors. Because that’s the category we seem to, I’ll be talking about today, this outdoor a jacket, but it goes really well with these five accessories and they’re like, oh great, this is amazing. Or it’s something they can dole out, you know, to other family members. So, I think, you know, creating that, gifting experience of how do you get that information shared. And then also, how do you re-assure someone who maybe not typically be purchasing this type of products? How, can you re-assure them, This is the right one, or if it’s the wrong size, et cetera. They can exchange it, they’re not gonna lose out on this deal that you have, but they can exchange it for the right size.


Yeah, good.


Couple? How about you?


Yeah, so, incremental campaigns that we’re currently running for a couple of emergence.


I’ll take one, as an example, about $20 when we started, kind of the first set of, I’d say, three parts of this campaign.


Looking at survey, feedback, and quizzes. For their consumers, so we know that they target a specific type of B2C group.


We’re effectively taking, yeah, and, and looking at, what people are filling out. We’ve done some media buys around, take this quiz. What, what do you like, what don’t you like, what products do you like. We overlay that with data, from prior purchases, based on kind of a, there’s a search spring implementation for this merchant that has historical data. So we know what people have searched, how many times, how many times they filtered. And then what eventually lead to a sale?


So, we spent a little bit of media money around their newsletter campaigns.


Then we went to the second step to look at, all right, from those initial campaign data, what is the average cart size? What are the products being purchased? Are there patterns we can draw?


And then what we’re aiming to do over the next 30 to 45 days is launch a very targeted campaign towards those best sellers of the season. So we know, this is the persona that did the quiz. This is the output and then using kind of a auto complete of search, couple of different PLP. Where can I driving traffic to that? So, it’s kind of a three step incremental campaign to see the data, and then target users.


So, we’re not kinda burning a bunch of, uh, marketing dollars towards Black Friday without really having the, kind of, some efficiency of, Is this going to work, or, can this work, right? And then we’ll, we’ll repeat that test.


That same client is also doing 8 or 9 tests at the same time.


So, you don’t have to limited to just one, You can spend small amount of times to kind of target and see what what comes through.


Then, what do you think for testing? Do you think this is a good time to tasks, or do you think people should wait until Q one? So, that’s a question? I get a lot, and I think I know what your answer is going to be about. Curious to hear.


He said, Yeah, we get the same, right? I think there’s no bad time, I think, is the answer. You can always test on incremental campaigns, right? A small data sets, we just had a client enable feeds for hours ago, right? And they’re going to run a test, to see how that works for, for 30 days, till November 10th. And see what optimizations we can do every week. They originally were thinking of waiting until January, but we were able to kind of show that there’s no downside of testing these small, kinda incremental things, right? It’s not going to impact your revenue negatively. You may not get all the revenue on that.


You’re aiming for that campaign right away, but at least you have something more than not having it enabled.


Yup. And with that increased traffic, you should see the results pretty. You know, a lot faster than normal, so you’ll be able to get to that end result of revenue a little quicker.


Great, thanks for that input.


And so, one thing I’m thinking of, while we’re talking, is, not everybody online is going to use an agency.


Some people are going to want to do this in house, even if they, even, even if our audience is using an agency, who internally is managing this data, finding the data, interpreting the data, using the data to build campaigns, like, who are those people internally that I need to go to, to say, help me with this, helped me with this? Who are some of those, some of those persona inside of business?


I think if you’re not using an agency, are sorely mistaken. I think it’s impossible to have an internal team that is going to have the knowledge that, an agency one, because you just, You have capacity on what your budget is to have that team. You don’t want a jack of all trades, someone that can go, you know, a mile wide, but only an inch deep. Like, you want to be able to have an agency where they have someone who just focuses on this type of test on your site. Someone who just focuses on on-site SEO, And somebody just focuses on, creating, like, you want someone that’s gonna go a mile wide, you know, in, in that capacity, and you’re not going to find that internally. I think you really need an agency, and that being said, it’s great to have someone in house that can work with that agency, and make sure that, you know, everyone’s lockstep with what’s going on on the site, and adding new products, and new collections, et cetera. But, I think that’s a huge deficit if you’re not working with an agency.


Got a couple. I realize. I’m, you know, this is your, this is your business, but, you know, who? do you see? When they come to you, and they say, Gosh, I need help. Who are these people asking for help? Where the data found?


Or what are the challenges around that?


It really depends. We’ve see all sorts of titles and folks coming to us. The bigger brands, you have heard of e-commerce or e-commerce directors that are effectively in charge of managing these agency relationships, And then your emerging e-commerce brands. Sometimes you have owners, sometimes you have operators that are looking to say, look, I have a dashboard that gives me all these KPIs every week or every day. And then every other week, I want to see some strategy experiments that we could run against those.


So really hand in hand, it is definitely a hybrid experience. I don’t want folks to think that, OK, can hire an agency, and then everything’s going to be solved. I think that there definitely is brand value business decisions that come from the business unit and then agencies like, like us, we would handle kind of how we get there, right. You set the goals of, I want to run these campaigns or want to do these conversion rate optimization techniques. We would work with the respective folks to ensure that those are getting progressed along.


Agency, Kolkata. Correct. Right. There. If it kept me, your contact information is in the set of slides those perfect. Alright, so lots of questions here.


I want to get to one that isn’t on our, on our audience list, but one that I, that I had that I wanted to ask around, upsell, cross, sell The recommendation, personalization topics, you know, in terms of importance.


I mean, I think we all feel like we’re gonna get shot if we don’t say personalization is like the number one most important thing of all time, but how important is it? And How much time do I need to be spending on?


Personalizing to enable a cross sell or an upsell.


Can show that really time questions. You can spend a lot of time, right, as much time as you have. You can continue to tweak your relevance. If you’re using search spraying, or if you’re using big commerce, there are plenty of tools in the back office that allow you to do that. What I would do is focus on areas that you know our revenue drivers right look at the data. Highest skew sell through, highest category, sell through and let’s go perfect ups, right.


Let’s make sure that if you add a T-shirt, you’re not getting cross sold another T-shirt that’s a different size, same color, right or things like that. We want to say, OK, I’ve purchased this t-shirt now I’m gonna get cross sold, a pair of shorts or those kind of elements are pretty low-level, personalization You don’t need to go invest a bunch of time or energy to do that, but it shows in conversions. Right?


If your average product value is $500 on your site, and your cross sell automatically is on the 20 bucks, you’re really not capturing that Users spend value. You rather personalize to go sell them or an upsell at $700 $800 to see if there’s some barriers that can be broken.


So, I think starting there, spending minimal amount of time for the more mature organizations. I think.


getting into kind of algorithmic driven personalization, content personalization, building out wizards, for users to find better content, autocomplete, synonym, search. All these things would would come in but start pretty low-level and then expand that every couple of weeks.


Yeah, sort of a crawl, walk, run strategy On that, journey your thoughts there, personalization and cross sell on relating to each other, getting started. I think Kevin had to hit the nail on the head, it’s exactly what you should be doing. There’s, there’s little things that everyone can do without, you know, the power of amazing technology And they can start to realize how much that’s going to increase their revenue and their average order value. And then they’ll start to say, OK, I need to invest in this because it makes sense, right? You’re always going to get, more revenue, higher average order values. But in the same aspects, kinda going off, site two is looking into social media. How can you show the product in motion and use? How can you show? Let’s say if you’re looking at this blazer, how can you wear it for different ways? You know what I mean? And then you’re now instead of potentially just find that blazer you might be buying other things. You need to make those four outfits because now you can utilize this product in more ways than you thought.


So I think it’s not just the personalization and the, and the cross sell on your site, which I think Howell, you know, search for you guys. Like, that’s exactly the essence of what you guys do, and you do so well. And I’ve seen huge increases in revenue by implementing it, but it’s a matter of how do you also take that, you know, to social, into other places to be able to cross sell there, too?


And when you say social and other places, and we’re talking about other channels before, aside from social, like what? What are those other places or just other parts of your, of your sales process, other partners that you’re working with, that sort of thing?


For me, it could be influencers, right? So that could be in a variety of different ways, whether it’s blog socials, et cetera. So it’s not necessarily your brand’s social, but you know, if you send the same product to 20 different influencers, I guarantee you, they’re going to style it in a different way for talking about like apparel and accessories.


So, it’s, you know, how do you kind of engage those different mediums? And it’s not just, hey, buy my product and by July 20 more Because I’m saying it’s great. It’s look at all these other people that are saying a great, how can you create a review strategy where people are saying, oh, this pair as well with this? or, you know, this cream is amazing? You know my face, but I couldn’t do it without the nighttime oil. You know, like, how do you prompt the right, you know, responses and reviews from your merchants to be able to then also do it? But, also, in marketplaces, are you bundling products and coupling them? Are you paying to have the ad or right next to the products, are saying, hey, users typically bought, you know, these three things as opposed to just this one, and it’s all your brand as opposed to auto generated. So there’s a lot you can do on different marketplaces and obviously, have different capacities to be able to kinda bunzl products and increase average order value.


Great, Thanks. And we’re getting close to our time here.


So I want to, I want to ask a question that I love to ask. It was asked by someone in the audience. So we’re on the same page here.


Some key performance indicators that I should be tracking right now.


Like, what are some of them that really helped me focus and dial in too Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and most likely, I’ll continue to track them afterward? But what are some of those KPIs that I should be looking at?


Keval let’s start with you on that, Couple that come to mind pretty quick, around, around, kind of, product basket value. So how, how many items? Who’s Buying?


Or what is the dollar amount that they are transacting with? Because then you can kinda look at my all single product purchases. If so, let’s make checkout easier. Right. Let’s allow them to checkout directly from the PDP page. If not, let’s encourage adding more to my basket. So, that’d be one. Another one is around margin. So, I know everyone is always looking at I need more sales and need more visitors. However, let’s look at that Margin RV discounting the product too much.


Is there something that we can do to maybe have a little bit less sales, because we’re spending less than promotions, but the price point is higher, right? And it equals out the end result. But you’re retaining on inventory and selling at a higher price point.


So, I couldn’t say those two.


Of course, other than the obvious, right? Your your traffic incoming versus conversion versus bounce rate.


Those things are pretty standard, but these two elements, kind of, giving you more insight to what you can do next, versus just look at that data.


Yeah, great. And those all those will persist in importance right after after Black Friday in a time period where you may you may understand your conversion a little bit better because it’s not as the traffic isn’t as high or something like that. General.


How about you what are the KPIs the year your goto KPIs?


That’s a loaded question. I thank you for reframing, adjusting the lens of Black Friday Cyber Monday. I would say start to look at that 80 20 rule, you know? Or 20 percent of your customers are buying 80% of your product, and look at what they’re buying. So, if they are, you know, to cabell’s point of their buying multiple products. Like why aren’t you bundling those and making a holiday package? You know, and I think that’s, that’s not necessarily KPI, but it’s something that people often ignore is what are my most loyal customers purchasing and maybe they’re tearing it out like they’re buying this and then three months later. They’re buying this like how do you get them to couple more products together? And I think that’s all based off of user data. A lot of brands are saying, Oh, I want this product to go with this, because I think this is a sentence. Like, Well, that’s great that you think of. But if no one’s buying it, what does matter? And look at what people are actually purchasing. And, you know, if someone’s not buying it together, how do you make an advantageous that they purchase these products together? and then test them and see what works.


Yeah. So being very critical of your business rules that seem like the right thing to do, well, are they the right thing to do? that, the story is told in the data there? right?




First of all, thank you both for giving us some great insight on Black Friday, how to prepare, what it means to be prepared.


Again, like I said, we always come back to the, to the importance of the data and the things that you can learn by tracking that data and looking at some things that are very easy to access, and easy to understand. And some things that are a little bit more complex to access and complex to understand. Then, the variety around your business models, Do you use an agency for those? Why would you do that, and what channels are You selling through, All, those are incredibly important as we run up to Black Friday, and look at this selling period That’s so critical for are. so many in the audience. So, I’d, just Like to thank you very much for participating.


It’s always exciting to have the conversation, I think we had some of the great conversation that I like, where the two of you were asking each other questions at some point, so, really appreciate your attention and involvement.


And, yes, I did change locations in the middle of the, of the webinar, but it was a necessity as my internet started going in and out.


So I appreciate you bearing with me there. So, thank you so much for those in the audience.


We have a webinar coming up on November ninth, Black Friday is over, now. What? Now, of course, Black Friday won’t be over by November ninth but we’re gonna pretend that is we’re gonna talk about what to do after Black Friday and how you continue your streak of optimization and how you continue to think about Black Friday once it’s done, evaluate where you’ve been and then where you’re going.


So thanks again for everybody in the audience, Genna.


Thank you couple, thank you very much and everybody in the audience we hope to see you on November ninth.


Thank you.


Yeah, thank you so much for having us. And if anyone is interested in those feet audits or, you know, getting a Omni console, we’d love to help you guys out, regardless of whether on Big Commerce or not. So, it’s not too late to get set up for the holidays. We’d love to talk to you guys one-on-one.


Thanks so much.


Well, thanks, everyone. Bye.

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