No doubt, the 27th of November 2015 has been etched on your mind for several months now. It’s the date upon which Black Friday falls this year. And if some predictions are true, it will lead to the biggest day of spending the internet has ever seen.
Many of the major promotions that you will offer on Black Friday and Cyber Monday (November 30th) have undoubtedly been planned for some time, with the events just several months away. Now, it’s all about refinement—learning lessons from the previous year, ensuring systems and processes are able to cope during and after, safeguarding the right levels of stock to meet expected demand, and finalizing the marketing effort in readiness to attract and drive visitors to the site.
You may think that now is not the ideal time to be throwing new ideas in to the mix, but it really is. In fact, there are several Black Friday content marketing tactics that are relatively simple to deploy that could make a huge difference in how you feel on the first day of December when you look at the figures.
Counting Down in Real-Time
One technique that worked extremely well for retailers last year (in the run-up to and during flash-sales) was the use of real-time countdown timers, both on the website and in email messages.
Because these timers can be embedded in an email it means that whenever it is opened or reopened it displays, in real time, the amount of time left until the beginning or end of the event. This can be especially useful given that Black Friday and Cyber Monday fall on working days of the week for most people. For example, sending an email at 11 AM with a one-hour countdown to a lunchtime promotion, or at 4 PM before rush hour, can be a great way to entice visitors to the website, especially if it’s accompanied by other fresh and relevant content.
A Customer Queue is a Sales Opportunity
Another popular occurrence last year was the implementation of queuing systems in an attempt control the flow of traffic to the site. Of course, it also works to create a sense of urgency in the mind of the visitor. If you have been queued for 15 minutes, you may have a higher predisposition to making a purchase, as well as making a quicker decision. After all, you don’t want to miss out, or go through the queuing process again, for that matter. One ‘trick’ that retailers using these systems miss out on is using this time when you have a captive audience to push information and sell to them.
This isn’t a new idea, but implementing it in this way is. Organizations have been using this technique for many years to engage with telephone customers waiting on hold. Using the same technique online makes perfect sense. While they are waiting, present information to them that will not only pass the time, but also provide valuable information based on their personal preferences, popular items others are buying, new product lines, or stock updates to further entice or avoid disappointment. The list is exhaustive.
Don’t Forget Cart Abandonment
As I said earlier, a one-day sale on a work day can present a challenge for would-be customers. Queuing to get access to the store and browsing can leave little room for getting through the checkout before the end of the lunch break. Cart abandonment rates are expected to be higher on these two days due to the increased traffic. So, it stands to reason that if you can get your cart abandonment strategy right, the recovered sales will also be greater.
The ideal email will arrive within the hour of abandonment and will display the content of the basket (product images work better than plain text), availability information (or alternatives if out-of-stock), a countdown timer to meet a specific delivery date, and a link directly to the checkout that circumvents or places the customer at the front of the queue.
All of this can be realistically implemented, tested and perfected well in advance of November 27th. It is looking to be the biggest day of online spending we have ever seen, and one of the hardest fought. Giving yourself even the smallest competitive edge could reap some of the biggest rewards.