Commerce Trends

Black Friday ecommerce strategy: How to dominate BFCM in 2021

Is your BFCM ecommerce plan ready? These Black Friday ecommerce strategies will help your brand bring the thunder in 2021.

Every brand has a Black Friday strategy. But not all brands are doing it well. No judgment, of course - there's a lot for online stores to prepare for. Where to start?

If you are on the hunt for Black Friday marketing ideas, sit tight. We've got some tips & ideas that will help you make Black Friday great again.

Before that though, let's take a quick look at some Black Friday ecommerce stats to really get you in the mood.

Black Friday ecommerce trends are like... whoa

Before you finalize your BFCM campaign, let's understand the size of the opportunity. This fantastic article has a ton of stats, but here are some quick hitters to get you started:

  • Cyber Monday 2020 was the biggest day in ecommerce history with $10.8 billion in sales.

  • Black Friday was no slouch in 2020 either, with $9 billion in sales on that day alone.

  • In 2019, 93 million customers shopped online during BFCM in America.

  • 77% of American consumers say they'd prefer to shop online during Black Friday Cyber Monday.

So people are spending a lot + people are spending more and more online. All this points to a huge opportunity for online retail brands. But you knew that already, didn't you?

With the stats fresh in mind, let's dive into our ecommerce Black Friday tips!

How to prepare for the Black Friday ecommerce bonanza

There really isn't a one-size-fits-all guide to boost Black Friday ecommerce sales. In this post, we'll keep it focused on the following:

  1. Make sure your website is ready for the BFCM blitz

  2. Consider rising shipping costs

  3. Obsessively test your checkout process

  4. Get ahead of your Black Friday returns problem

  5. Get crafty with your BFCM marketing strategies

1. Make sure your website is ready for the BFCM blitz

How much more traffic could your website expect to receive during BFCM? If your marketing plan catches fire, it could be way more than you dreamed of.

So it doesn't hurt to prepare. The best way to do that is to simulate traffic increases with Load Testing. There are some great solutions to help you with that, like K6 for example.

Besides that, it pays to work with a website provider that guarantees uptime for your site. Shopify, for example, has maintained 99.99% uptime for all users since they launched. That's an incredible value-add on an already great suite of ecommerce tools!

Even with a fantastic guarantee like that, you'll want dedicated people on your team monitoring your brand website in real-time to catch problems as they arise. A broken website will surely decrease online spend, so prepare yourself for all contingencies!

2. Consider rising shipping costs & slower service

Here's something that I'm sure we all wish we didn't need to think about... shipping costs. The sad truth? Prices are going up. In August 2021, USPS announced that shipping costs would be going up during the holiday shopping season - yikes!

The price increases are significant - enough to justify warning the public months in advance. Obviously, this price increase will affect brands that rely on online shopping for the majority of their revenue.

It's kind of a double whammy too because shipping times are also slated to be up to 30% slower. Experts say that's the biggest slowdown in more than a generation! You'd think shipping would be faster than it was 30 years ago...

What can be done? Here are a couple of ideas:

  • Use a shipping solution to find the best shipping prices for you.

  • Choose ecommerce software that allows you to automatically get the best shipping prices.

You could also make life better/easier if you choose post-purchase software that integrates with multiple shipping options and always negotiate the best rates on your behalf. Humblebrag alert: Our returns platform Loop does that with our Shipping Services feature.

Read More: 5 best post-purchase software solutions

3. Obsessively test your checkout process

Nothing puts a damper on the ecommerce customer experience like bugs in the checkout process. Getting between a customer and their BFCM deals will trigger unneeded fallout. Angry people will bog down your service team, or worse, flame you on social media.

Avoiding that at all costs is one of the best Black Friday ecommerce tips we could provide. Problems with the checkout process are easily handled if tested thoroughly enough.

Plus, if you run your site through the wringer, you are bound to find issues with your product pages before the holiday sales start. There's no secret sauce here, just good old-fashioned test & repeat.

4. Get ahead of your Black Friday returns problem

Most of BFCM preparations and marketing are based around an exclusive offer. But many brands fail to get ready for the 31% increase in refund requests that occur during the period we call Returns Season.

We've put together a PDF you can download here with all the specifics, but rest assured, an ill-prepared team could end up spending all of their time on returns for months.

One way to deal with returns? Eliminate them completely. With Loop's exchange-first platform, our brands turn a whopping 39% of returns into exchanges. That means revenue & customers stay with your brand - everybody wins.

But I know what you are thinking - your service team will still be swamped! Not so when you automate returns with Loop. Our platform is like a service rep that doesn't sleep, eat, or take breaks. The magic happens from our automated returns portal: an always-on 24/7 solution that makes returns easy.

If you haven't got things set up for BFCM, check us out!

Learn More: How Loop Works

5. Get crafty with your BFCM marketing strategies

If you've read any other posts on Black Friday ideas for ecommerce brands, you'll see a lot of the same old tips:

  • Buff you email marketing campaigns with cart abandonment emails.

  • Offer cross-sells of your own products and partner products.

  • Spruce up email campaigns with the best, most targeted deals, discounts, & offers.

Guess what? Every brand under the sun will be doing all that and more. To win the attention of your customers, you'll need to get crafty.

Ok... so how does one "get crafty"? Good question. The true answer is going to be different for every brand. It will also depend on what kind of products you are selling, who your audience is, and a host of other factors.

The exact strategy you land on needs to be true to your brand. Just don't rely on the same tactics that every other business on the planet will be deploying!

Here are a few ideas to get the juices flowing:

  • Rotate or release new deals every hour starting on Black Friday and ending on Cyber Monday.

  • Launch a contest or giveaway to generate interest and go viral on social media.

  • Gamify your BFCM promotions with software like Zembula.

  • Tweak your holiday seasonal offering to localize by region.

Wrapping up

There you go folks - do you feel ready now? Probably not, but that's the sign of a person who is always digging deeper. As we said earlier, even the best brands are constantly hunting for a better BFCM strategy to boost sales and make life easier for their teams.

Speaking of making life easier - we can help! Loop knows all too well how tough holiday returns can be. So if you're interested in getting a leg up, contact our team and schedule a demo. Whether BFCM is next week or next year, we can help you hit the ground running. Good luck!

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