Your 2020 Last Minute eCommerce Checklist Black Friday Cyber Monday (During COVID)

Hustl Works ‚ÄĒ our 2020 Last Minute eCommerce Checklist Black Friday Cyber Monday ‚ÄĒ Toronto, Canada

ūüĎčūüŹĹ¬†Sanjay and Natasha here,¬†this year's Black Friday Cyber Monday (aka "BFCM")¬†will be unlike any other (ps. we recently had a fellow entrepreneur ask what BFCM meant so don't worry, you're not alone lol). As more shoppers rush online with BFCM purchases, inventory and slower shipping¬†will pose challenges for retailers of all sizes, especially eCommerce businesses (this includes you).¬†

Despite this, BFCM is STILL* a great opportunity for your business to end the  year off strong, whatever that may look like for you.

‚Äú34% of U.S. shoppers indicated they would make their holiday purchases before Thanksgiving.‚ÄĚ ‚ÄĒ Shopify¬†

 

  1. Make sure your website (host) can handle the traffic
Spikes in web traffic (like a TON of people shopping at once) sometimes come with one stressful downside: they can crash your site. If your website is being hosted by a trusted partner like Shopify, you shouldn't have any issues (#ProHustlTip: test and tweak your store with Shopify's online store speed report).

 

  1. Double-down on your top sales channels
Sales Channels are just different ways/platforms to sell with (with Shopify you can sell on multiple). If you are new to multi-channel selling, explore some of the following online sales channels:
  1. Keep an eye on the competition 
Keeping an eye on your competitors means keeping an eye on your competitors' marketing efforts too. This can help you gather ideas for your own Black Friday deals. But remember, don't be "too arbitrary" (aka don't be too random, make sure it works for you and relatable to your biz so your customers actually bite). 

 

  1. Create a backup plan 
Preparing means routinely asking yourself uncomfortable questions and preparing for the worst. Due to all the shipping delays experienced during the pandemic and the announcements already made by the big shippers, you need to prepare for this. Try having some customer response templates ready to go (save them in a note or an email template), a FAQ page, or even a post/email to your audience. It's much easier when you plan as early as possible, rather than panicking in the middle of the biggest sales weekend of the year. 

 

  1. Make inventory decisions early 
You should know WHAT you want to promote for BFCM as soon as possible, especially if you rely on another company for your inventory. Since the beginning of the pandemic, suppliers have been operating beyond capacity and need enough space to prepare your products. If you're on Shopify, one place to start is Shopify Reports (there's a lot of dope insight here). Try to focus on the 20% of your stock that produces 80% of your revenue (pretty much, just focus on your highest selling products).

 

  1. Consider pandemic product trends

You always want to highlight your best-sellers during BFCM, but this year, it‚Äôd be wise to also consider products that have seen an uptick in demand since the pandemic ‚ÄĒ these are products that would be considered "essential". Some examples:

  • Home office equipment and accessories¬†
  • Board games and puzzles
  • Exercise equipment
  • Self-care and beauty products
  • Leisure wear
  • Indoor and outdoor furniture

According to Shopify‚Äôs research ‚Äú38% of business owners are introducing new products this BFCM.‚ÄĚ ‚ÄĒ Shopify

  1. Organize your upcoming sales

Review all your products and plan your deals/discounts upfront instead of last-minute sales. One idea is to create a "planned sales map" in Google Sheets or Excel, giving you a simple outline of all your upcoming sales. Select the products you want to sell during the holiday season and schedule their start dates and prices.  That way, when the holiday sale goes on, you can reference your holiday schedule instead of scrambling right before.

Engage your customers with an email about what they can look forward to and post about upcoming sales on social media to start piquing customer curiosity. The sooner you start doing this, the more motivated you will be on Black Friday Cyber Monday when you finally announce the sale. 

  1. Optimize your order and fulfillment workflows

Let's be real, BFCM can get pretty hectic (in the best way possible). High sales volumes in a short period of time can make it difficult to fulfill orders. Because of the influx of orders, it might be worth getting some friends or hiring more employees to help you fulfill and send orders so you can get it to customers faster. If you're using Shopify, you can leave comments in an order to let your staff know of any order notes.

Whether you use a warehouse or a basement to fulfill orders, you want to ensure that the highest selling products are easily accessible for faster picking and packing. Some important things to note:

  • Customer Priority.¬†Organize orders by customer priority and fulfill these orders first, so you can show appreciation to your most loyal customers.
  • Shipping requirements.¬†Organize orders by shipping priority, so customers who paid for expedited shipping get their orders first. You can also organize by delivery method, so products fulfilled by local delivery or a given shipping provider are grouped and fulfilled all at once.
  • Product Type.¬†Different products require different picking and packaging requirements. Group your orders by product type, so you can optimize the time it takes to pick and pack and order. Ex. if you have special holiday bundles, try to pre-pack them.¬†
  1. Craft an irresistible BFCM offer

While customers are coming for the big discount, there is a chance that they'll buy other items on their way to the checkout. Sometimes, this product acts as a loss leader, with the difference that customers add more to their cart than they would have without the deep discount of the flagship product. Alternatively, if loss leader pricing doesn’t make sense for you, you can try out a number of other promotional ideas, such as offering:

  • Bundles (put your popular products together)
  • Upsells (swap a product for something more, or suggest an add-on)
  • Subscriptions (these are great gifts too, like a gift card)
  • Daily deals and much more

To help your customer complete the sale, try a few proven tactics to maximize the average value/cart of each order (the goal is always to have more than 1 item in their order). You could offer free shipping, seasonal bundles or a discount code (the easiest & quickest promo). 

  1. Create banners and "hero" images to advertise holiday sales
What better way to promote your holiday sales than with great graphics and visuals? Whether you are planning to use banner ads to promote your holiday sales or change the header (hero) image on your homepage for Black Friday Cyber Monday, you don't need to be a graphic designer to get things done. If you lack graphic design skills, you can use a template from (ie. using Canva), or hire an expert to create your graphics. 
  1. Retarget past visitors and customers

You know how you'll look up something online, then boom you see an ad pop-up for it and you're wondering how they knew? ūüėā That's retargeting!

Because existing customers are generally easier to reach and sell to versus brand new customers, customers you've sold in the past should be pretty ready for your Black Friday Cyber Monday sales.

Do you have a Facebook Pixel setup?

 

Searching for Facebook Pixel for Shopify stores

A Facebook pixel is pretty much a tracker that shows where and how customers interact with your website so that you can collect data. This includes people who like an Instagram post, opens one of your email marketing campaigns, sees an ad and much more. You'll want to set this up ASAP if you haven't already so that you collect the data you need so you can make better decisions for your business. This also makes it much easier to create "look alike" audiences for your ads when you want to retarget customers.

If this isn't your 1st BFCM, either try replicating last year's sales (customers may already be waiting for it, and this is a smart way to repurpose content), or try something completely new. Don't forget to look at your analytics to compare between the years to know if it is successful or not.

 

  1. Send your email marketing campaigns right away

During last year's BFCM, Shopify store owners recorded the highest conversion rates from email marketing.

Every business owner should have several email marketing campaigns planned to bring customers back to your site so they can act on your holiday sales offers. We personally use Mailchimp and we plan our emails and campaigns in advance, saving a LOT of time. Start planning, creating, and scheduling emails long before Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales begin. When you collect email addresses, make sure they actually WANT to subscribe with you and that you have customers' consent to receive promotional emails (trust us, you don't want to have or pay for customers who aren't engaged).

Send "warm-up" emails in the weeks before BFCM with tips and demos to get your customers thinking about you early. By sending these timely emails, service providers (like GMail) are less likely to treat your email as spam.

If you are using a gmail account for business, as long as you own your own domain name (ie. www.yourstore.com) then you can get a FREE professional business email (ie. hello@yourstore.com). 

 

Once BFCM starts, try to leave your customers alone and let them shop (everyone gets so bogged down with emails, it's a lot going on). Instead, use your social media to promote and use apps on your site that will help sell for you #ProHustlTip. Before BFCM starts, make sure you create abandoned emails for your store so that customers who leave without purchasing get a follow-up. 

     

    1. Add a Chatbot feature 

    Your customers will easily contact you during the Black Friday Cyber Monday weekend and you have to be ready; customer service is KEY. The last thing you want is to lose a sale because your customer can't get an answer fast enough.

    Luckily, Shopify has an app called "Shopify Chat" which is a chatbot for Shopify Stores and makes it SUPER EASY to keep up with customer messages.

     

    You can download the app on your phone (called "Ping" by Shopify) or on your Desktop ūüėé. To help you out before the customer even reaches out to message you, try to address any customer questions before buying (you can also link a FAQ page) on the BFCM deal product pages themselves.¬†

    If you use¬†another social media app or tool to engage and support customers, such as Instagram, Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp, Shopify now offers an easy way to create and share basket links¬†with those customers at the right time. You can use the Shopify POS app on your phone to quickly send orders. People slide in the DMs all the time, so you might as well sell them in the DMs too (this makes it easier than manually processing each order). Sometimes people just need a bit of hand-holding when buying ūüėĆ.

     

    1. Think mobile first

    Last year, online stores saw more mobile purchases than desktop purchases across all BFCM for the third year in a row. I mean, think of yourself. Are you reading this post on your phone right now? Do YOU usually shop online on your phone? Well most people do, so make sure your site is MOBILE FRIENDLY (like Shopify). When you design your store, always put the screen in both Desktop mode AND mobile mode so you can see the experience your customers are getting (and make any tweaks you need to). Don't make it hard for people to shop with you. 

     

    1. Set up Google Analytics

    Knowledge is power and understanding how customers shop in your online store is important knowledge. This is similar to the Facebook Pixel earlier in this post, but using Google instead (still super powerful because, who doesn't use Google?!). Using Google Analytics, a powerful and FREE traffic tracking tool, will allow you to understand your shoppers better. If you haven't set up Google Analytics on your store yet, or you just want to make sure you're using it properly, check out Shopify's guide to Google Analytics. 

     

    Closing thoughts

    Preparation, planning and getting started sooner than later are the keys to a successful Black Friday Electronic Monday. Hopefully, it will help you be more successful this holiday season. 

    Always be motivated and ambitious, set realistic expectations, and remember to enjoy the ride.  

    Let’s get sh*t done, this BFCM COVID-19 2020. #LearnBuildGrow

    Content was rewritten from an original Shopify blog post (read the complete Black Friday Cyber Monday post).