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Home » Experts share tips for Black Friday, Cyber Monday success

Experts share tips for Black Friday, Cyber Monday success

    A toolkit of ideas to boost your ecommerce website sales across Black Friday and Cyber Monday. It’s time to start planning right now!

    The larger your company, the more important it is to nail Black Friday and Cyber Monday. More companies are turning to data scientists to gain an edge, using big data to not only predict sales patterns but also auto-suggest ecommerce deals based on customer profiles.

    But smaller companies can easily run their sales data through basic free tools (even an Excel spreadsheet using the regression analysis feature) to pinpoint patterns and see new opportunities. It’s not hard to develop a range of offers, design web pages for each one and then use A/B or multivariate testing (live) to maximise traffic to the offers that are doing the best.

    Under-performing web pages can be redesigned “on the fly” to help lift their effectiveness. For example, you might change the content of the offer – but you may also swap out images, move a Buy Now button or change the colour of call to action links.

    Researchers Awan et al in Tech Science Press (see citation 1 at end of article) compared a linear regression model and a random forest model to “to help retail companies create personalized deals and promotions for their customers”.

    With a high degree of accuracy, they were able to “ build a system that recommends to customers what they usually buy based on historical data”. The data helps the ecommerce outlet “see the popularity of product categories through other categories such as the customers’ city/states, age groups, and gender types. In this way, they can plan future sales, promotions, and extended product lines.”

    Not sure where to tap into people with these skills. Your local university is a good starting point.

    Web Design Advice To Boost Ecommerce

    Black Friday Australia is less than two months away, so you should have advanced website planning in place to maximise your ecommerce sales.
    Black Friday is on November 25 this year – with Cyber Monday a few days later. According to National Australia Bank data, a staggering $8 billion was spent over those that four-day period last year.

    Our clients are well advanced with their planning as part of their 90-day cycle.

    The goal is to use a variety of marketing channels to promote online deals, attract people to carefully designed website landing pages and then maximise digital sales. All of the normal rules apply about how to design an effective landing page:

    • Keep the layout clean and bold
    • Use professionally designed graphics that are high impact.
    • Provide proof of benefits – testimonials, videos etc. These build trust and help increase transactions.
    • Design and build your website or landing page well in advance so that you can test it on mobile and tablet. Fine tune it to ensure it absolutely rocks on the small screen.
    • Use techniques that create a sense of urgency. Examples include be a timer countdown or a live counter of remaining stock levels. 

    A few other factors you need to be mindful of:

    • Make sure your hosting is scalable so it can handle a spike in traffic. 
    • Have a cart abandonment feature in place. Research tells us that more than one in two people start the checkout process but don’t buy. A clever follow up process can get them back.
    • Test for speed. Slow loading pages erode sales. It’s been proven countless times, so heed the advice and make sure your pages are lean and fast loading.

    Research Your Online Competition
    Another piece of advice is to assess what your competitors have done in the past. There are several ways to do this. 

    Jump into the online edition of your local newspaper and work back through the archives to see what was being advertised in the days leading up to these sales dates. Typically, print ads are going to be aimed at an older demographic.

    Roll back through the Facebook, Twitter and Insta accounts of your competitors. Facebook will provide good lead up data. You can see what they used for advance promotion and what they did throughout the day. Twitter gives a perfect insight into the fast-dropping offers they deploy during the day. Of course, these are all planned in advance but they use the immediacy of Twitter to create urgency. 

    This article from Twitter Business is worth reading. 

    Still on the power of tweets, don’t forget Twitter advertising. There are excellent tools available to simplify complex targeting, including Wise.Blue

    The reality is that you can’t undertake a social media campaign at the last moment and expect to succeed. Research (see citation 2) suggests that mid-to-long-term engagement with a company’s users leads to the best results.

    The same research paper also warned of the negative consequences of poorly conceived campaigns. 

    “We also identified activities that companies should avoid, since such activities generate uncertainty and negative feelings in users who, in turn, speak negatively of companies and share their negative experiences with the digital community by publishing negative UGC. Such negative feedback affects the digital reputation of companies and generates negative perceptions of their offers and discounts, thus reducing the profitability of its shares.”

    It also noted that a long term approach gives you time to really understand the how your customers behave, their preferences etc and this information is the foundation of a successful strategy.

    Steps to take right now
    If you haven’t started planning for Black Friday and Cyber Monday ecommerce campaigns, now is the time to get started.
    Mine the data you’ve gathered from previous years and previous promotions to see what works and how you might adapt failed offers for better success.
    If you have the budget, bring in outside intelligence (you can’t be the best at everything). Large retailers should be working with data scientists to form offers and shape their website design to maximise e-sales. SMEs should tap into their digital partner (eg. web development agency or ad agency) to draw on the wealth of experience they can bring to the table. The longer these companies have been in business, the more “smarts” they will have acquired from previous projects.

    Put the plan in writing. Articulate all the steps you will take, especially during the four days the sales are running. Make sure you block out your diary in that period so you can be monitoring your online shop in real time, taking the actions at the specific time you planned and also responding at a moment’s notice to grasp unforeseen opportunities.

    If we can help, please contact us. We have a wealth of knowledge to assist you.

    Sources:
    1. Awan, Mazhar & Shafry, Mohd & Rahim, Mohd & Nobanee, Haitham & Yasin, Awais & Khalaf, Ibrahim & Ishfaq, Umer & Javed, Mazhar. (2021). A Big Data Approach to Black Friday Sales. Intelligent Automation and Soft Computing. 27. 785–797. 10.32604/iasc.2021.014216.
    2. Saura, José & Reyes-Menendez, Ana & Palos-Sanchez, Pedro. (2019). Are Black Friday Deals Worth It? Mining Twitter Users’ Sentiment and Behavior Response. Journal of Open Innovation: Technology, Market, and Complexity. 5. 58. 10.3390/joitmc5030058.

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