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Are you ready for Black Friday? If not, here’s our checklist

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are undoubtedly the biggest shopping days for online retailers. Kick-off the holiday season right, by making sure you’re prepared for the shopping-frenzy to come.

For many of us, Black Friday conjures up terrifying images of crushing crowds and fighting over TVs.

That’s why we’ve put together the ultimate checklist to help you plan your Black Friday sales with confidence.

Today, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the biggest shopping days of the year. In the UK, the expected spend over Black Friday weekend is £8.71bn. The US, the stalwart of Black Friday shopping expects 108mn people to make purchases on Black Friday alone.

National Retail Federation. (2021). Number of people who plan to shop on Thanksgiving weekend in the United States in 2021, by day (in millions)Statista. Statista Inc.. Accessed: November 16, 2022.

In Australia, interest in Black Friday has grown by 614% over the last five years, with shoppers spending an average of AU$263 a day.

Tactical shopping

Shoppers are adapting. They’re preparing themselves and approaching Black Friday with specific items in mind. 42% of shoppers know what they want to purchase, and they’re wise enough to have a rough price in mind.

What they’re buying depends on who they’re shopping for. 62% of shoppers are buying for their families, while 45% are shopping for themselves.

Some customers may be going through the year, racking up a list of items they want to get when the Black Friday sales start. So, if they’re going to be tactical about it, it’s time you were too.

Get Black Friday ready

Experience matters. On an average day, 80% of customers are willing to pay more for an item, if a brand offers them superior service.

To create unforgettable engagements, planning is essential. Especially for the holiday season. We’ve put together a killer checklist, so you can be fully prepared and focus on delivering the experiences that drive sales.

1. Decide what you’re offering

When we think of ‘Black Friday’ we think of sales, discounts, and price drops, but that doesn’t have to be the case.

Big-ticket items tend to be where shoppers are looking for deals. Laptops, TVs, and smartphones are the most popular options. But if these fall outside your remit, why not try another tactic?

If you have a loyalty scheme or use RFM segments, how about targeting loyal customers with exclusive content? That’s what the sports brand Nike did. There are no rules around Black Friday, so try something different to stand out in the crowded inbox.

Nike Black Friday exclusives

2.  Update your PPC plan

We’ve already mentioned shoppers have items in mind when Black Friday starts. What they may not have chosen is where they’re going to get it. Updating and increasing your PPC budget for the holiday season will improve your chances of being discovered.

3. Improve website UX

Experience extends far beyond how you make the reader feel with an email. Your website’s ease of use can be the difference between a sale, and an abandoned cart. Leading up to the holiday season, you should carry out a full audit of your site.

Options such as guest checkout and gift wrapping can make a huge difference to customers. Similarly, auto-applying discounts without the need to enter a code significantly improve the user’s experience.

Customer checkout UX

This example from CBD brand TRIP circumvents the need to create or log into an account, whilst still collecting the data needed to deliver email marketing in the future.

4. Establish timelines

The most successful ecommerce retailer over Black Friday weekend (no surprise) is Amazon. Why is this? Because they offer a full week worth of discounts. Kicking off at the beginning of the week, Amazon runs deals all the way from Monday to Cyber Monday. Again, this is a great way to stand out from the crowd, but it’s not the only way.

Do you want to build up excitement and anticipation with a series of ramp-up emails? Figure out what tactic you’re going to take and get planning. The further in advance you can do this, the more time you’ll have to plan your design, segments, and content, and build your automation.

Also, don’t forget to be thinking about delivery. Can you fulfill a promise to deliver before Christmas? Are you going to need to outsource or hire more employees to manage your warehouse stock?

5. Design your templates

Are you planning on refreshing your templates from last year, or looking for something a bit more bespoke to hook subscribers? Make sure you have them ready to go. Once they’re created so you can add them to your Black Friday automation programs.

It’s all important and now’s the time to get these details sorted. It’ll help ensure things go smoother as the big day approaches.

6. Push new sign-ups

Popovers are a great way to encourage new visitors to sign-up for your email marketing. In the lead-up to Black Friday, use these to grow your marketing lists. Hook them with exclusive access to pre-Black Friday sales or free delivery during the sales when they subscribe.

7. Plan your content

Show shoppers clearly, and concisely, why they should shop with you. What are your USPs? Bring your brand’s personality to life and give a reason to choose you over your competitors. Make sure your offers are clear and easy to understand. If you’re offering a discount via code, make sure it stands out and is eye-catching, so it’s not missed by readers.

If it’s a site-wide discount, make it obvious. Remember, subscribers will be receiving hundreds of these emails. They’ll be skimming your emails at best, so make sure you’re hooking them above the fold.

You also need to reflect this across your whole site. You don’t want missed deals to lead to negative feedback because they weren’t visible on your site. Your offers need to be easy to find across your homepage and all Black Friday campaign landing pages.

8. Check your providers

Make sure your website hosts and email providers know about your upcoming campaign and expect the rise in traffic. Updates or changes to their software could cause massive problems if they go wrong. Luckily, the development team put a coding freeze on Dotdigital during the holiday season, to ensure your marketing runs as smoothly as possible.

This year, Black Friday falls on Friday 25 November and runs until Cyber Monday on Monday 28 November.

Follow this checklist, and you’ll be ready to take on the world this holiday season.

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