Black Friday will be big, but Cyber Monday will be bigger — expect more orders and a higher volume of customer support inquiries
The big question on everyone's mind: will Black Friday Cyber Monday (BFCM) e-commerce see significant sales in 2023? According to all available data, the answer is a resounding yes. It appears that Black Friday shopping in 2023 is poised to be larger than ever before.
The impact of the pandemic on BFCM e-commerce sales has been noticeable. In 2020, many opted to stay home and shop online, leading to a surge in e-commerce sales. However, in 2021, US shoppers were more willing to venture outside, resulting in a slight dip in e-commerce sales from $9.03 billion in 2020 to $8.92 billion in 2021, as reported by Adobe Analytics.
Nevertheless, in 2022, e-commerce sales made a strong comeback, reaching a record-setting $9.12 billion spent online in the US. With shopping habits stabilizing and returning closer to pre-pandemic levels, it's highly likely that we can expect another year of record-setting sales for online retailers in 2023.
What is Black Friday Cyber Monday (BFCM)?
Observed throughout North America, Black Friday Cyber Monday (often referred to as 'BFCM') stands as one of the most significant shopping periods annually. Beginning the day after Thanksgiving, it extends throughout the weekend, concluding on Cyber Monday.
Retailers employ diverse strategies to communicate their discounts during this period, including collaborating with popular social media influencers, sharing posts on platforms like Facebook and Instagram, and sending text messages, among other methods.
The most recent report from Adobe Analytics and NRF has unveiled impressive figures from the 2022 Black Friday Cyber Monday (BFCM) shopping period. Cyber Monday saw online spending soar to an astounding $11.3 billion, indicating a substantial 5.8% increase from the previous year. Similarly, Black Friday sales reached $9.12 billion, reflecting a 2.3% uptick compared to the prior year.
During the Thanksgiving period, a staggering 196.7 million consumers participated in both online and in-store shopping activities. On Black Friday, 87.2 million individuals opted for online shopping, with 77 million doing the same on Cyber Monday. Mobile sales played a pivotal role, constituting 55% of online sales on Thanksgiving and 51% throughout Cyber Week.
In 2022, a significant 76% of consumers engaged in BFCM shopping, both online and in physical stores, surpassing earlier forecasts and demonstrating a substantial increase from the 70% participation rate observed in 2021. These statistics underscore the enduring importance of BFCM in the retail landscape.
Black Friday, a day synonymous with both in-store and online shopping, traces its origins back to the late 1800s. Its inception followed President Lincoln's decision to designate the last Thursday of November as Thanksgiving Day.
Initially, there was some confusion regarding the date. However, in 1941, Congress intervened, establishing that Thanksgiving would consistently fall on the fourth Thursday of November. This clarification solidified the holiday's date. Consequently, the day after Thanksgiving, known as Black Friday, became synonymous with significant discounts, prompting most stores to offer these deals on Thanksgiving night itself.
Following Black Friday, there's Cyber Monday, exclusively dedicated to online shopping. Its origins can be traced back to 2005, a time when online shopping was rapidly gaining popularity. Retailers, aiming to sustain the shopping fervor, established Cyber Monday as an online-exclusive event. This initiative involved offering compelling discounts and deals to maintain consumers' interest, effectively transforming the Monday after Thanksgiving into a digital shopping extravaganza.
What you need to prepare before BFCM
Create an attractive optimize BFCM store design
A landing page serves as a specialized section on your online store, designed to highlight particular products or promotions linked to Black Friday Cyber Monday (BFCM). When executed strategically, a BFCM landing page can efficiently guide your intended audience to a page specifically crafted to transform visitors into satisfied customers.
Promoting the homepage of your website for a sale might seem like a logical choice, but it's generally not the most effective strategy. While it can increase traffic, it lacks a specific design flow to guide users towards taking desired actions. Presenting users with multiple options on the homepage can lead to a lack of focus, where visitors may not follow the desired path you intend for them.
Conversely, if you direct your promotion to a dedicated website page, such as your overall e-commerce page, there's a risk that customers might leave if they don't immediately find what they're seeking.
This is where landing pages shine. Landing pages are designed to guide visitors towards a single action. Regardless of their length, their primary purpose is always to drive customers toward a specific goal. Whether it's making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, or taking advantage of a promotion, landing pages provide a focused and streamlined experience. By capitalizing on landing pages, you can effectively channel your audience, increasing the likelihood of conversions during sales or promotions.
Get Ready for an Extended Sales Season!
As online shopping continues to dominate, it's crucial to acknowledge that sales and promotions have transcended the confines of the BFCM weekend, even spilling into in-person shopping where local conditions permit.
Traditionally, BFCM was synonymous with door-buster deals, luring hordes of shoppers to physical stores at the crack of dawn. However, this landscape is undergoing a transformation. In 2021, in-store sales on Black Friday saw a significant decline of 31%, while sales throughout November surged by 10% compared to the previous year.
This shift highlights a change in consumer preferences. With fewer door-buster deals in physical stores, more shoppers are gravitating towards the convenience of online shopping. According to a 2021 holiday trends study by Justuno, 65% of US shoppers indicated their intention to make holiday purchases before Thanksgiving.
So, how can you prepare your online store for this evolving shopping paradigm?
The game-changer lies in the readiness to extend your offers beyond the traditional BFCM weekend. By doing so, you not only cater to the needs of early shoppers but also sustain the shopping excitement for a more extended period. It's akin to prolonging the holiday joy, ensuring your store remains in the spotlight and captivating customers' attention for a more extended duration.
Ensure Your Store Is Ready for Traffic Surges!
Efficiency is paramount during Black Friday Cyber Monday (BFCM), particularly for your online store. A critical factor that significantly impacts customers' shopping experience and conversion rates is your website's loading speed. Research has shown that a slow website can discourage potential buyers, while even a slight 0.1-second improvement in site speed can lead to a remarkable 10.1% increase in conversions.
However, the surge in web traffic during BFCM brings a potential challenge: the risk of your site crashing under the immense load. To ensure your store can handle this increased traffic, comprehensive testing and preparation are essential.
In that case, a Virtual Waiting Room solution, NetFUNNEL can help.
NetFUNNEL enables organizations to keep their website and applications online without outages. Virtual Waiting Rooms provide organizations with the means to manage their web traffic effectively, ensuring a fair and smooth user experience for their visitors. Along with the EUM (End-user monitoring) tool, you can prevent bots and abuse while enhancing protection against sudden traffic surge. NetFUNNEL empowers them to focus on core business strengths which involve delivering good-quality products & services to their visitors, ultimately improving user experience.
Being well-prepared will not only enhance your customers' experience but also maximize your conversions during this critical sales period.
Establish Your Holiday Shipping Plan in Advance
Shipping isn't merely an operational expense; it's a strategic tool that can significantly influence your business, particularly during crucial selling periods like Black Friday Cyber Monday (BFCM) and the holiday season.
Developing an effective shipping strategy goes beyond overwhelming customers with numerous options. It involves striking a balance between affordability, meeting customer expectations, and aligning with your logistics capabilities. The right strategy can enhance the customer experience, increase cart conversion rates, and raise the average order value (AOV).
When it comes to speed, it's important to note that the definition of "fast" varies based on location and customer expectations. It could mean same-day delivery, overnight shipping, or standard two-day shipping.
Additionally, while "free" shipping may seem costless to customers, it shifts the financial burden to your end. However, when implemented strategically, it can elevate your AOV and encourage more substantial purchases. Consider offering free shipping for orders above a specific threshold or as a promotional incentive during peak periods such as BFCM.
Local delivery and Buy Online, Pickup In Store (BOPIS) are efficient methods to serve local customers and mitigate shipping delays. Utilizing your store or warehouse locations as pickup points or organizing local deliveries by your staff can be cost-effective and extend the holiday shopping season.
Once your holiday shipping strategy is established, transparent communication is key. Publish details about your shipping policy on your website, FAQ page, emails, and marketing channels. Provide clear information on shipping speeds during the checkout process, enabling customers to anticipate their deliveries. Maintaining open communication about shipping delays caused by carrier issues or unforeseen circumstances helps keep customers informed and fosters trust in your brand.
Developing a Coming Soon Page
A Coming Soon Page, sometimes referred to as a password page, acts as a dedicated landing page designed to intrigue individuals about your business, products, or upcoming events. It provides a space to engage potential customers, enticing them to subscribe for early notifications while providing a tantalizing glimpse into what exciting developments are on the way.
Developing a Coming Soon Page can vary significantly based on your business type. While not obligatory for all companies, many find it highly beneficial. Here are the key advantages of having a Coming Soon Page:
- Enhancing Brand Awareness: A Coming Soon Page acts as a preview to your official launch, showcasing your dedication and efforts. It creates a memorable impression on potential customers, increasing the likelihood of their return once your website is live.
- Expanding Your Potential Customer Base: Coming Soon Pages often feature email sign-up forms. This allows businesses to gather a database of potential customers, whom they can target for future product promotions and updates.
- Demonstrating Professionalism and Trustworthiness: In an era where low-quality businesses are abundant, a Coming Soon Page highlights your commitment to your upcoming project. It instills trust and confidence in potential customers, showcasing your professionalism and credibility.
- Effective Customer Communication: By integrating e-commerce plugins such as Shopify Inbox Chat, businesses can promptly address customer inquiries. This encourages customers to engage with the impending launch, ensuring efficient communication and customer satisfaction.
- Boosting SEO: Crafting an optimized Coming Soon Page with relevant keywords can provide a head start in building your search ranking on Google. This is a vital aspect of website development, giving your website an early advantage in search engine visibility.
However, when you don’t have enough time and resources to develop a new dedicated ‘Coming Soon’ page, you can use the ‘Pre-Waiting’ function provided by NetFUNNEL.
When there is a scheduled event with an expected traffic surge, the pre-waiting feature can become quite resourceful. While it blocks access to the event page, it displays a countdown to the event. When the countdown is finished and access to the event page is available, the end users who were pre-waiting will be randomly assigned a queue number and enter accordingly.
Make an irresistible BFCM offer
One powerful strategy frequently employed by retailers during Black Friday Cyber Monday (BFCM) is featuring an irresistible sale on a highly coveted item. This tactic acts like a magnet, luring customers into their store. Once enticed by the substantial discount, there's a significant chance these customers will explore further and add more items to their cart, potentially offsetting any losses incurred from the reduced price of the flagship product.
When selecting the type of "can't miss" sale to showcase, focus on a single, compelling product. Instead of overwhelming your subscribers with all your BFCM sales at once, spotlight this flagship offer to capture attention effectively.
After customers have entered your store, implement various techniques to drive conversions and increase order sizes. Here are three key strategies:
- Discounts, Sales, and Limited-Time Offers: Utilize countdown timers to create a sense of urgency and employ conversion-boosting tools to sweeten the deal, compelling holiday shoppers to make immediate purchases.
- Product Upsells and Cross-Sells: Boost sales by offering strategic product suggestions based on what customers already have in their carts, enhancing their shopping experience and satisfaction.
- Minimize Abandoned Carts: Combat abandoned carts by re-engaging distracted or indecisive customers, providing the gentle nudge they need to return and complete their purchases.
Provide prompt and personal support
As the whirlwind of Black Friday approaches, providing seamless customer support becomes pivotal for ensuring ultimate customer satisfaction. In this high-stress period, two critical elements come to the forefront: swift response times and a courteous, respectful approach to all customers.
Here's how to prepare for the rush:
- Preparation is Key:
- Standardized Responses: Develop pre-approved phrases and responses to streamline your service efforts. This ensures consistency and helpfulness in your customer interactions.
- Common Pain Points: Focus on addressing prevalent issues like lost or delayed orders, customer dissatisfaction, and damaged packages or products. Have clear solutions in place to resolve these concerns efficiently.
- Empathy and Resolution:
- Addressing Customer Concerns: When customers express dissatisfaction, have strategies in place to empathetically address their concerns and find quick resolutions. Empathy can significantly diffuse tense situations.
- Training and Documentation: Invest time in training your team on handling upset customers with empathy and efficiency. Document these customer service principles for easy sharing within your team or with any seasonal help you've brought on board for the holiday rush.
By focusing on these aspects, you can navigate the Black Friday rush with grace, ensuring that every customer interaction is marked by understanding, efficiency, and resolution. Remember, exceptional customer service can turn a challenging situation into an opportunity to showcase your commitment to customer satisfaction.