BFCM 2021 Tips from eCommerce Experts

eCommerce, Marketing, Online Shopping
BFCM 2021 Tips from eCommerce Experts

One of the most exciting periods for eCommerce is finally here: Black Friday Cyber Monday. The eCommerce community is buzzing with excitement. Since things have taken an unexpected turn last year, everyone is naturally curious to see how Black Friday Cyber Monday 2021 will fare.

Therefore, we’ve asked some of the greatest minds in the eCommerce industry to share their wisdom about how to get ready for Black Friday Cyber Monday 2021 and what to expect. Check out these amazing pieces of wisdom from Chloë Thomas, Deri Jones, Natasha Jones, Stephen Carl, Philippa Mathews, Alastair Brodie, Simon Homent, Begüm Utku, Julia Borrebaeck, and Rafael Berti to make sure you are thoroughly prepared for Black Friday Cyber Monday 2021!

You can follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn to get the latest updates from our BFCM 2021 Tips from eCommerce Experts series. This page will also be updated as new tips are unlocked.

“Be ready to adapt your plans as new operational developments emerge.”

Chloë Thomas, Podcast Host and Author @eCommerce MasterPan

“Make customer experience your focal point.”

Deri Jones, CEO @thinkTribe

“Have a separate and detailed ‘delivery’ section on your website.”

Natasha Jones, European Channel Manager @SmartFreight

“Do not ignore the post-Christmas period while planning your promotions.”

Stephen Carl, Founder @Needle Movement

“Protect your customers against frauds!”

Philippa Mathews, Sales Manager@Adyen

“Test your website to ensure that it can handle the extra traffic.”

Alastair Brodie, Commercial Director @Monsoon Consulting

“Look beyond Black Friday.”

Simon Homent, Head of Pureplayer @Samsung Electronics

“Coupons! Make them personal and use push notifications.”

Begüm Utku, Global Growth Manager @Segmentify

“Connect with your customers at an emotional level.”

Julia Borrebaeck, Field Marketing Specialist @Akeneo

“Acquire new customers to capitalise on customer loyalty.”

Rafael Berti, Founder and CEO @AMZ Paragon

Transcripts

1. Chloë Thomas from eCommerce MasterPlan: Hiya, I’m Chloë Thomas from eCommerce MasterPlan. My tip for Black Friday 2021, unlike any other Black Friday we have yet seen, I suspect is the… You can’t think of your plan as being set in stone. So yes, create that plan because you’ve got to start from somewhere. You’ve got some of what your objectives are. What channels are you going to use? Which consumers do you want to go after? What offers work for you? You’ve got to work out what messaging you’re going to use. You’ve got to get all that in place, work out when you’re planning on running it. And then, as things change, as they inevitably are going to this year, adapt that plan.

I would suggest looking at that plan at least once a week and really asking yourself, based on everything that’s happened in the business in the last X days, how fit is this still for purpose? You know, if you’ve got stock stuck at Felixstowe, is going all out for Black Friday still the right thing to do? If you had huge charges on containers, being stuck in seaports, is giving away that margin still the right thing to do? If sales have been higher than you were anticipating them being, and you’re running low on stock, is going big on Black Friday still the right thing to do? If you’re getting a lot of new customers in at the moment, should you be going for new customer acquisition, or should you twist Black Friday to be getting the second purchase from those new customers?

There’s a lot that’s going to change over the coming weeks and months. A lot’s going to change between now and Black Friday. So, keep going back to that plan and sense checking all we still prepped right? Is this still the right approach for our business to make the most of this opportunity? And then I think you’ll have a great Black Friday.

2. Deri Jones from thinkTribe: I’m Deri Jones of thinkTribe. ​​We work with 50 blue-chip retailers and we help minimise loss baskets by proactively managing ongoing customer experience in the customer journey.

So black friday tips, three tips for black friday this year, it’s going to be unlike all previous black Fridays. The traffic seems different. The user journeys that your customers are gonna be following are different, we know the reasons why it’s COVID. Obviously it’s the fact that the supply chains are different and longer and that’s affected clients expectations for deliveries. It’s gonna be different from previous years.

So what are my three tips? Firstly because it’s going to be different traffic, you can have different peaks, the shape of your peaks will be different. They might be peaky peaks than previous years. Right, are you ready for that? It’s not too late right now to call a meeting with your relevant teams, tech teams inside and outside and just make sure that you’ve got everything in the place that you need cuing wise, performance wise, just make sure your customer experience is going to be fast throughout black friday.

My second tip really is for discussions with your marketing guys or the team’s doing your A/B multivariate testing. A/B testing sits on top of your website is another layer of javascript complexity and not a lot of people know this as Michael Caine would say. But you can impact your customer experience, you can slow down user journeys, you can impact the performance, the capacity of your website through those layers on top. So maybe make sure you’re planning to put those through a code freeze. Maybe before black friday, settle it down. Don’t have any last minute changes to your A B multivariate layers on top. Last thing I do is inadvertently in the last moment make something worse.

And then the last tip really is we’re expecting a lot of out of stock items this year because of the simple I train problems. That’s not news. Just make sure your website can handle that. Some people’s business logic can be more complex than others. Sometimes you have business logic that says if it’s not a stock, you should still find the product, but it should give you an option to email, email me when it’s back in stock? Or maybe your business logic says: “You don’t really want people to find those products because it’s distracting from products that we are selling.” And what happens when quite a high percentage of your products are starting to be able to stock and not buyable. That can be a really frustrating experience for shoppers if you go to a second product and that also is not buyable. 

So just sit down, review your business logic. How are you handling that again? Get some feedback from your 24 7 monitoring. You know what percentage of products right now? One buyable, but findable and what do you expect to happen through the peak and maybe you need to make sure you’re coding can handle your business logic and tweak it for black friday.

So those are my tips and tricks. We’re seeing a lot of activity. A lot of people can be ready for black friday. It’s not too late to sit down and look at your customer experience 24 by seven and maximise it.

3. Natasha Jones from SmartFreight: My top tip for this upcoming peak season is to make sure when it comes to delivery; you have special instructions available as a section on your web page. This is often overlooked, but a super important part of the customer experience as many people live and hard to access buildings and difficult to locate addresses, being able to provide special instructions. It gives customers the confidence to know that they’re going to actually receive that item before they even press the buy button.

4. Stephen Carl from Needle Movement: Hi, this is Stephen Carl, the founder of Needle Movement and [I’ve] got a holiday eCommerce tip to share with you all! That is, don’t forget about the second half of December because there are a lot of sales opportunities that you can take advantage of. Because we all know Black Friday Cyber Monday. Everyone’s been preparing for it for months. They’re bringing their best game, their best promotion and there’s a lot of competition in that time period. The rest of December, 2nd half of December, definitely not as much.

Here’s a couple of strategies that you can bring into it: One traditionally after Christmas would usher in a huge additional sales season that would last from December 26 through January. What you can do is…you can push your after Christmas sale to before Christmas. Around say December 21, release those additional promotions. In that way, that close time period right before Christmas where there’s usually not much sales at all, you’re pushing additional sales items. And the reality is people buy gifts, but they also shop for themselves. So there’s ample opportunity to get sales in that week time period and planned for December 26 to January 1. December 26 is a huge shopping day for anyone that is late millennial, gen X, boomers like. We all grew up on that day being a sale. So it can be a huge sales time. And on the brand side, it gives you an opportunity to if you have excess inventory or just inventory that you want to push out, it’s a very good and convenient time period to do that in the run up to the end of the year.

So best wishes for an amazing holiday season. Let’s get it!

5. Philippa Mathews from Adyen: Hi, I’m Phillipa from Adyen. With some of the biggest events in retail right around the corner. Today I’m going to be giving five tips to retailers on how they can ensure success during the Singles Day, Black Friday and Cyber Monday peak shopping period.

Tip one: Optimise for mobile. While shops are back open this year, it’s likely consumers will have retained some of their online lockdown shopping habits. Last year, over half of transactions made on Black Friday were done on mobile and in the UK, 85% of baskets made on mobile are abandoned. You can tackle this by ensuring your eCommerce site is device responsive and implementing auto fill technology on the checkout forms.

Tip two: Digital Wallets. Apple Pay and Google Pay are a must when it comes to creating seamless online checkout experiences. If I come to your site and I can’t use Apple Pay, I’m unlikely to search around the house for my card and I may well just abandon the purchase. The easy checkout with digital wallets means shoppers are likely to come back. Don’t forget 1/3 customers won’t shop with a brand again after a bad experience.

Tip three: It’s not just digital wallets, but everyone has their preferred method of payment. 70% of customers will more likely spend more if that option is available to them at the checkout. If you’re selling internationally, it’s even more crucial. For instance, in the Netherlands, most shoppers want to pay with Ideal and if you want to attract Chinese shoppers, then Wechat Pay and Alipay are a must.

Tip four: Keeping fraud and check. Half of UK retailers anticipate a spike in fraud during the peak shopping season. That’s why it’s really important to have a sophisticated risk system in place like Adyen RevenueProtect tool to help block fraudsters whilst maximising conversions from genuine shoppers. Most shoppers are becoming more welcoming of secure customer authentication. So implementing 3DS2 at the checkout will help protect against fraud whilst keeping conversions high.

Finally tip number five: If you have a physical store it’s really important to have a strong unified commerce strategy: allowing customers to buy online and return in store and having an endless aisle solution so that if something isn’t in stock in store, you don’t lose the sale. Also in store, it’s really important to offer the right payment methods and eliminate those lengthy queues by having mobile point of sale or self service kiosks.

I hope those tips are useful and I wish you all the best for the peak retail season.

6. Alastair Brodie from Monsoon Consulting: Hi I’m Alastair Brody from Monsoon Consulting. And with Black Friday 2021 just around the corner; my main tip at this stage would be to now devote all your key attention and efforts mainly from an infrastructure perspective to your sites hosting, whether that be on cloud or on premise. Really now the focus needs to be on the stability of your platform to stress test the system in light of the upcoming demand that Black Friday will hopefully generate for you. Make sure the site is fully stable and of course secure to all patches, all upgrades, make sure they’re all done at this stage and minimise any new development in any new releases on the site. Everything needs to be in moratorium for the trading period. 

Also as well, I would get and, make sure you have, a full dedicated support team in place to manage the trading period possibly 24/7 if you can just to give you that extra peace of mind as you navigate this trading period. Also as well, I will be looking at the check out just some final stress testing on the UX and the payment integration. Make sure all those orders and the influx of orders are all going through neatly and securely as well.

Hopefully this gives you increased confidence to really go for it from a marketing perspective, drive the personalisation and ultimately enrich your customer shopping experience. Thank you!

7. Simon Homent from Samsung Electronics: My tips for Black Friday this year: make sure that you have a promotion that doesn’t look like one that you’ve already done so far this year, so your customers really believe this one is special.

Secondly, think about something you could give to your customers that your competitors can’t. Doesn’t always have to be based on value, some kind of extra service or loyalty.

And, thirdly, look beyond just the transaction that you might get on Black Friday. What you’re doing for new customers that have shopped with you the first time or existing customers that have been there before.

8. Begüm Utku from Segmentify: Hi everyone. This is Begüm from the Segmentify Berlin office. I would like to share with you a quick tip for your Black Friday preparation, we know that Black Friday is just around the corner. Maybe you even started your black friday campaigns. So what about using coupons for your campaigns? So you would like to compete against the marketplaces or even with your direct competitors. However, do you know that your visitors do scavenger hunting around your website? Around that they would like to capture anything that takes their attention.

So what about using very personalised coupons throughout push notifications and email recommendations. It doesn’t need much preparation. You can just remind yourself throughout the whole Black Friday week, month or intended day. You can just show yourself that you are not one of the eCommerce companies that they were chasing for the visitors. You would like to welcome them with a coupon code. It doesn’t have to be a big one. You can just share with them a free delivery one or just 5% of a discount.

But it would remind yourself to your visitors, they will take the attention, come back and visit. And you’re not going to be one of the eCommerce websites, just call a Black Friday campaign and not do something special for your visitors.

So we highly recommend you to consider using your coupons, sharing personalised coupons to your visitors by push notifications and email recommendations. Good luck!

9. Julia Borrebaeck from Akeneo: Hiya! My name is Julia Borrebaeck and I’m a marketing specialist at Akeneo.

My top tip for companies for Black Friday and Cyber Monday in 2021 is to make sure you have high quality product experiences that resonate with your customers, emotionally which you can do by including certain things in your product information.

So we recently commissioned a survey looking at purchasing behaviour across seven different continents, where we found that 52% of respondents said that they were willing to pay more for a product, when brand values were part of that information.

So during a time like Black Friday, when the note prices will be slashed across the board already. So this type of information can really set you apart from the competition plus that consumers are also willing to pay more for it. So it really becomes a lot more important and impactful.

So while Black Friday still revolves a lot around sales and getting more bang for your buck. In an age of conscious buying, this type of emotional information can make consumers more comfortable in spending their money with you. And I’m referring to information such as you know, where are the products coming from? What are they made of? Is this shirt machine washable or will it cost you £10 every time you take it to the dry cleaners? That type of emotional information.

10. Rafel Berti from AMZ Paragon: Hi guys, my name is Rafael Berti. I’m from AMZ Paragon. And in my experience, the best way to use Black Friday is not to leverage sales, but to acquire new customers to capitalise on loyalty. Because people already know that Black Friday is the promotion day and so the low price counts a lot on that day. I know that you are a salesperson and should already be preparing your campaigns on Google and social networks then. My first tip for you is…

Tip number one: Analyse the offers on the marketplaces and make campaigns that reflect the offers. Many sellers are preparing Mirando, right on Google and social media as a starting point for a purchase, but it is true that the vast majority of people, the great Público starts a search for a product by accessing the Marketplace and the question that’s on their minds is “What’s on offer on Amazon? What’s on offer on MercadoLibre or Magazine Luiza?”. On Black Friday, your first task with the seller… It’s researching the marketplaces. If you don’t know Amazon Brazil, for example, there is already a dedicated page called Heats Black Friday. This page helps us learn what kind of products will be affected during Black Friday and at what price you can search, for example, if your product already appears there. Products similar to yours at what price are being offered, so it is your next task to offer your product at a price a little lower than those offered on and off the marketplace. And create those ads that spell out your offer.

My tip number two is to call your customers. I know that technology has revolutionised communication and today, almost every company uses chatbots to communicate with their customers, but its greatest virtue is also its greatest evil. Mainly now in times of pandemic, right? Because of a lot of people staying at home, human contact became very scarce, so the opportunity to talk to a real person. It can be a lot more customer at this time, you can call the customer, for example, who abandoned the shopping cart and offer help. It could be that in this conversation they end up discovering an error in yours. It does not, for example, allow certain customers to make a purchase, or it may have the chance to cover the price of a competitor if the customer found another site. So you are a true market intelligence, right? And even after making a purchase, you can call the customer to find out if the product arrived well and met the customer’s expectations. These are quick conversations, conversations of somewhere around 10-20 minutes. Perhaps, but if they can be the differential and the key element that will bring trust and bring the customer back to your store. Tips for Black Friday 2021 and wish you success and great sales.

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