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It’s that time of year again as the e-commerce industry prepares for its biggest event of the year: Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM).

These iconic days in the retail calendar provide brands with a crucial chance to increase sales, draw in new clients, and establish their market presence.

They’re not only about flashy sales and crazy shoppers. However, the amount of planning and thought that goes into a BFCM typically makes the difference between a decent one and a fantastic one.

A checklist serves as your strategic blueprint. It helps you to anticipate every scenario, streamline your operations, and create a customer experience that not only drives sales but also builds loyalty.

Black friday cyber monday

Your checklist before the checklist 

Before we get into the checklist, there are a few housekeeping aspects to take care of.

These will underpin the checklist and although some may seem obvious, it’s important we tick all the boxes.

  1. Website Optimisation: Ensure your website can handle increased traffic. Optimise for speed and mobile responsiveness, as a significant portion of customers will shop from their phones.
  2. Inventory Management: Have a clear understanding of your inventory levels to avoid stockouts or overstocking. Use historical data to forecast demand and plan accordingly.
  3. Customer Support: Scale up your customer support to handle increased inquiries and potential issues. Consider extended hours or chatbots to manage the load.
  4. Shipping and Fulfilment: Clearly communicate shipping deadlines and costs. Consider offering special shipping promotions or guarantees to incentivize purchases.
  5. Retargeting Campaigns: Use retargeting ads to bring back visitors who have shown interest in your products but haven’t made a purchase.
  6. International Customers: If you serve international markets, consider time zone differences and local customs for BFCM deals.
  7. Post-BFCM Engagement: Plan for how you will engage customers after BFCM. Consider follow-up campaigns, requests for reviews, or teasers for upcoming holiday deals.

🛑Proceed with caution

Cyber Monday and Black Friday are known for their deals.

But, in their haste to seize this opportunity, companies must exercise caution to stay clear of the traps associated with broad discounting tactics.

Cutting costs can occasionally backfire, particularly if it affects your most devoted clientele.

These VIPs could feel devalued or even slighted if they witness new customers getting the same or even bigger discounts when they have regularly picked your brand at full price.

The secret is to approach discounts with a scalpel rather than a sledgehammer, rather than completely avoiding them. Here, segmentation is your friend.

You could potentially offer your most loyal customers exclusive products, bundled deals, or loyalty points that can be redeemed for future purchases.

This approach not only maintains the perceived value of your products but also enhances the customer experience for your most valued patrons.

Choosing your offer

Fail to prepare, prepare to fail.

Success on Black Friday demands careful planning months in advance; it is not a last-minute endeavour. This kind of foresight makes it possible to develop solutions that are both appealing to clients and distinctive in a crowded market.

There needs to be an omni-channel approach that ensures cohesion of messaging, offers and brand assets.

When it comes to BFCM, simplicity often reigns supreme.

A retailer may choose to use simple, attention-grabbing offers that stand out from the competition. A generous and simple offer would be a “Buy One, Get One Free” discount on specific items or a flat 30% off storewide.

A further strategy that might work well is a tiered discount scheme along the lines of “Spend $100, Save 15%; Spend $200, Save 25%,” where higher spending levels result in larger discounts.

These kinds of promotions benefit from both raising average order value and maintaining consumer clarity.

A store can determine which deals were more popular during prior peak periods and adjust their Black Friday approach by looking at historical data.

By using a data-driven strategy, the company can make the most of tried-and-true methods while offering clients discounts that are both simple to understand and even simpler to take advantage of.

Your Ultimate BFCM Checklist

But it’s not just about slapping on any high number. It’s about choosing the right anchor that aligns with your product’s value, your brand’s integrity, and your audience’s expectations. It’s a delicate balance where credibility meets desire.

Anchoring not only influences the attractiveness of a price but also the perceived value of a product. A higher anchor can enhance the perceived quality, while a lower anchor might suggest affordability. The key is aligning your anchor with the value proposition you want to communicate.

  1. Decrease Time Delays: Shorten the time delays for abandoned cart and browse abandonment flows to capture high-intent customers more quickly.
  2. Update Subject Lines: Revise your email subject lines to highlight BFCM deals.
  3. Personalise Messages: Ensure flow messages are personalised with the recipient’s first name and relevant dynamic content.
  4. SMS Priority: Give priority to sending text messages to SMS subscribers within your flows.
  5. Countdown Timers: Incorporate countdown timers in emails to create urgency.
  6. Turn Off Smart Sending: Disable smart sending for key flows so customers receive timely alerts about BFCM sales.
  7. Prepare BFCM-Specific Content: Develop new content specifically for BFCM to add to your flows.
  8. Track Changes: Keep a record of all BFCM-related changes to revert back after the event.
  9. Welcome Series Adjustments: Update your welcome flow to align with BFCM promotions and remind subscribers of the welcome offer.
  10. Abandoned Cart Strategy: Adjust the timing and content of abandoned cart messages to align with BFCM sales.
  11. Browse Abandonment Strategy: Modify browse abandonment messages to include BFCM deals and recommendations.
  12. Post-Purchase Engagement: Add cross-sell or upsell messaging related to BFCM in post-purchase communications.
  13. Price-Drop Flows: Consider pausing or adjusting price-drop flows to focus on BFCM announcements.
  14. BFCM Content in Flows: Add BFCM-specific blocks or content to your flows and set reminders to remove them after the sale.
  15. Build BFCM Pathways: Create BFCM-specific pathways in your flows for a targeted approach.
  16. Create New BFCM Flows: For more detailed analytics, create entirely new flows for BFCM.
  17. Post-BFCM Analysis: After BFCM, revert changes, analyse performance, and clear any queued emails.

Adding BFCM Content to your Flows

A couple of points above touch on editing your email flows to incorporate some BFCM messaging.

Although this is a great way of personalising the communication and keeping it relevant, you should also exercise caution before doing so.

Ask yourself will implementing these changes yield a substantial return on investment?

It’s essential to ensure that the ‘juice is worth the squeeze.’

Don’t mindlessly dive in and begin changing your pre and post-purchase email flows.

Evaluate the potential uplift in engagement and conversions against the time and resources required to implement these changes.

Updating Key Flows

While it might be tempting to overhaul every aspect of your email flows for BFCM, it may be more beneficial to focus on high-impact areas.

Consider the following:

  • The Welcome Series

Update your welcome emails to immediately engage new subscribers with your BFCM narrative.

Key tip 💡

Update your welcome flow to match any changes to your sign-up form (e.g., a new BFCM discount).

  • Abandoned Cart/Checkout Flow

Integrate BFCM deals to recover lost sales by reminding customers of what they’ve left behind, with an added incentive.

Key tip 💡

Shorten the time delay before your first message to 30 minutes to convert high intent browsers as quickly as possible. Also, remove (or replace) any discounts that do not align with your BFCM sale.

  • Post-Purchase Follow-Up

Use this opportunity to cross-sell related BFCM offers or to encourage sharing of the deals on social media.

Key tip 💡

Encourage customers to refer their friends or leave a review of their order

Remember, the goal is to create a cohesive experience that not only captures the urgency of BFCM but also aligns with your brand’s voice and customer journey.

By thoughtfully updating your email flows, you can create a seamless and relevant narrative that guides your customers through the BFCM season and beyond.

Enhancing Post-Purchase Clarity

It’s critical to be in constant and clear contact with clients after they’ve made a purchase during the busy Black Friday period.

Your post-purchase cycle can be greatly streamlined with the help of an app like Wonderment, which provides personalised touchpoints and real-time tracking updates to keep customers informed at every stage.

Wonderment helps your customer care team by automating transactional updates, and it also improves the customer experience by providing proactive delivery notifications and interactive tracking pages. These pages fulfill two functions: they can be optimised with well-placed calls to action to promote repeat business, and they plainly display order status, giving users peace of mind.

Using an app like Wonderment can help boost post-purchase profitability, lowering the amount of “where is my order?” inquiries, and improve consumer satisfaction in the high-stakes world of Black Friday sales.

The Road Ahead

BFCM is more than just a weekend of sales—it’s a litmus test for your brand’s operational efficiency.

By taking the time now to meticulously plan, to ensure that every team member is informed and every strategy is cohesive, you set the stage for not just meeting but exceeding customer expectations.

In doing so, you don’t just capitalise on a peak sales period; you build a foundation for loyalty and growth that will pay dividends long after the last deal has been snapped up.

Keep in mind, the most successful brands are those that have BFCM circled on their calendars from day one. A successful peak season begins with strategies developed early in the year and not the beginning of Q4.

As we wrap up our comprehensive BFCM checklist, it’s imperative to underscore the significance of foresight and integration in your campaign strategies.

A cohesive, omnichannel approach not only streamlines the customer journey but also amplifies your brand’s message across the vast digital and physical retail landscape.

By ensuring that your messaging, offers, and brand assets are in concert across all channels, you set the stage for not just a successful sale season, but also for building lasting customer relationships.

Best of luck!

Email & SMS

Black Friday Cyber Monday - Email & SMS Playbook

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