How to Master Black Friday Cyber Monday as an eCommerce Retailer in 2023
The holiday shopping season is the most lucrative time of the year for retailers, with sales during November and December accounting for a big chunk of the annual revenue. The focal point of the holiday season is undoubtedly Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which kick off the holiday shopping frenzy.
In 2022, online retailers in the United States witnessed the highest eCommerce conversion rate on Cyber Monday, closely followed by Black Friday, irrespective of the device used for shopping. According to Statista, the event achieved an impressive desktop conversion rate of nearly seven percent, while the mobile conversion rate hovered around 3.6 percent. Black Friday secured the second position, boasting a conversion rate of roughly 5.6 percent for desktop users and 3.3 percent for those on mobile devices.
In 2022, according to Adobe Analytics, online holiday season sales experienced a year-over-year increase of 3.5%, reaching a total of $211.7 billion. This growth was driven by enticing record-high discounts, encouraging shoppers to be more open-handed with their spending. The eCommerce sales alone hit $35.3 billion during the five-day period between Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
With the holiday season fast approaching, retailers need a strategic plan to maximize sales during Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2023. This intense shopping period requires careful preparation across all aspects of retail operations, from supply chain to marketing.
This article will provide an in-depth guide on how retailers can master Black Friday Cyber Monday (BFCM) 2023. We’ll cover key 2023 projections, inventory and logistics tips, promotion strategies, site performance considerations, staffing needs, and key marketing efforts. Follow these tips to drive bumper holiday sales through BFCM and beyond.
Key Statistical Trends and Sales Projections for 2023
Industry analysts are predicting another record-breaking holiday shopping season in 2023, fuelled by high consumer savings and pent-up demand. Here are some key stats and projections:
- Holiday retail sales projected to grow by 3.5% and 4.6% in 2023, according to Deloitte’s annual holiday retail forecast.
- eCommerce isprojected to reach US$3.64tn in 2023, and the number of users is expected to amount to 5.3bn users by 2027. (Statista)
- Deloitte predicts that e-commerce sales will grow by 10.3% to 12.8% year-over-year for the 2023-2024 holiday season. This is expected to lead to e-commerce holiday sales reaching an impressive $278 billion to $284 billion during the season.
- Black Friday online spending to surpass $12 billion in 2023, up from $9.12 billion in 2022. Cyber Monday is projected to drive over $13.5 billion in sales.
- In recent years, there has been a consistent rise in the number of users shopping via their smartphones. Interestingly, the prevalence of mobile shopping fluctuates over the BFCM weekend. According to Adobe, 55% of sales on Thanksgiving originated from mobile devices, possibly because people are celebrating with family and not using computers. In contrast, on Cyber Monday, when people are back to work, 43% of sales occurred on desktops. Needless to say, mobile will account for a significant amount of BFCM eCommerce traffic and sales. Optimizing the mobile shopping experience is crucial.
- According to eMarketer’s 2023 Holiday Season Lookbook, 2023 has seen some challenging economic times, leading to consumers seeking value in their shopping experiences. Brands wanting to balance profitability with discounts can make customers happy with other forms of value, such as free shipping and returns, creating fun product bundles, or making it super easy to check out.
- Top product categories for BFCM include apparel, toys, electronics, gaming, beauty, and smart home. Discounting should focus on fast-moving categories.
With shoppers expected to turn up in full force this Black Friday and Cyber Monday, retailers must gear up for the most digital, mobile, and omnichannel BFCM season to date.
Logistical Planning for Black Friday Cyber Monday
Top Tips for Inventory Management
Managing inventory and logistics effectively is critical for minimizing stockouts and fulfilling demand during the BFCM rush. Here are some tips:
Analyze Past Sales Data: Review your previous BFCM sales performance on the platform. This data can provide valuable insights into which products sold well, at what quantities, and during which specific timeframes. Use this information to forecast demand for the upcoming BFCM period accurately. Ensure you have a healthy inventory of your best-selling items. Consider stocking up at least 15-20% more than your typical inventory levels for these high-demand products. If you are an Amazon FBA seller, make sure you adhere to the FBA capacity. Check your inventory levels to ensure they stay within the capacity limits set by Amazon. Amazon has different fulfillment centers, and each may have its own capacity restrictions.
Plan Ahead: If you haven’t already placed bulk orders with your suppliers, now is the time. This ensures you have sufficient lead time to plan for appropriate inventory quantity, reducing the risk of stockouts. During peak shopping seasons like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, inventory space may fill up quickly. Planning your inventory shipments well in advance ensures your products are available to customers when they are most in demand. Amazon sellers should ensure their inventory reaches Amazon fulfillment centers by October 26 to ensure they are ready by the Black Friday ordering surge.
Optimize your PPC campaign: If the RoAs is low, it’s got to go. Optimize your ad campaigns to enhance conversion in order to avoid overspending on keywords that do not convert. Make sure you start running ads early on Amazon and Walmart and keep them running consistently till after the BFCM period to ensure your products are visible on the Amazon or Walmart virtual real estate.
Fast-Track Inventory Allocation For sellers relying on other channels of online retailing, inventory allocation plays an important role. When inventory starts arriving in November, prioritize allocating it directly to your BFCM inventory pool rather than following standard replenishment flows. This ensures that your most crucial stock is readily available for the peak sales period.
Warehouse Staffing and Extended Hours: Hire additional warehouse staff and consider extending your operating hours for at least a month before and after BFCM to handle the increased fulfillment workload efficiently.
Overflow Storage Plans: Prepare for the influx of holiday inventory by establishing overflow storage space and additional inventory storage solutions. Having extra space helps you manage the surge in products effectively.
Transparent Shipping and Delivery Times: Provide clear and accurate estimated shipping times to set proper customer expectations. Be proactive in communicating cut-off dates for guaranteed delivery before the holidays.
Last-Minute Shipping Options: Cater to last-minute shoppers by offering expedited shipping options with guaranteed pre-Christmas delivery. This can encourage shoppers to make impulse purchases, even as the holiday deadline approaches.
Get your inventory and fulfillment operation firing on all cylinders to avoid disappointing customers with missing inventory or delayed deliveries this holiday season.
Optimizing Promotions and Offer Strategy
The deals and discounts offered during Black Friday Cyber Monday can make or break your holiday sales targets. In this dynamic landscape of deals and discounts, it’s essential to have a well-thought-out strategy to make the most of this shopping frenzy. It’s important to start planning and scheduling them early on marketplaces like Amazon and Walmart. Here are some tips for optimizing promotions:
Diverse Discounts for Diverse Shoppers: One size doesn’t fit all in the world of discounts. Consider offering both percentage discounts and dollar amount discounts like “$10 off” or “25% off.” Dollar discounts tend to perform better for lower-priced items, appealing to a broader range of shoppers.
Amazon Lightning Deals: Keep Shoppers Hooked: Creating a sense of urgency can be a game-changer. Implement “Lightning Deals” that change every 6-8 hours. Amazon customers are more likely to engage with your products when they see a lightening deal on it, preferring your product over your competitors. Just remember to limit these to genuine bestsellers to avoid potential losses. Amazon allows you to schedule various kinds of lighting deals and lock in the dates.
Tiered Discounts for Bigger Rewards: If operating through Shopify or your own eCommerce website, consider tiered deal structures across your bestsellers instead of site-wide discounts. For example, “Get $20 off on orders over $100” or “Enjoy $50 off on purchases over $200.” This strategy can motivate customers to spend more, driving higher overall revenue. Sellers on Amazon could leverage the “Prime Exclusive Discount” to entice customers in to buying products from your Amazon store.
Showcase What You Excel In: Highlight your strengths using Amazon A+ content or Walmart rich media content. Additionally, use deals and giveaways to spotlight specific categories and products where you truly shine. This helps you stand out and draw customers who are looking for exactly what you offer.
Bundle Up for Savings: Bundled offers can provide excellent value to your customers. Consider promotions like “Buy 2 and get 20% off” or “Buy 3 and get 1 free.” Such offers encourage shoppers to buy more, boosting your sales.
Promote Your Bestsellers: Focus your promotions on your own bestselling items and categories rather than trying to match your competitors. This approach leverages your unique strengths and sets you apart.
Keep Promo Stacking in Check: If operating through your eCommerce channel, avoid overloading customers with too many discounts. While offering various deals is great, limit combinations of coupons, discounts, and other promotions to avoid eating into your profit margins.
Consistency Across Channels: Ensure your pricing and promotions are consistent across all channels, including online, mobile, in-store, and curbside. A seamless customer experience builds trust and satisfaction.
Utilize the Power of Social Media: Harness the influence of social media with personalized promo codes, influencer campaigns, and perks for loyal customers. Engaging beyond deal hunters can have a lasting impact on your brand. Tiktok influencers with Amazon storefront linking your products to their bio can play a significant role in getting more traffic to your products
As the BFCM promotional landscape gets increasingly competitive, having a strategic and nuanced offer strategy that keeps up with the modern shopping landscape is key to attracting customers without compromising bottom lines.
Additional considerations for online retailers
If you primarily rely on your own eCommerce website for sales, here are some additional pointers to consider while selling, especially during peak shopping seasons like Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Ensuring Site Performance Can Handle Traffic Spikes
Nothing turns away customers faster than a slow or crashing website. With sales volumes far exceeding regular days, BFCM poses major capacity and performance challenges. Follow these tips to maintain website uptime:
- Conduct load tests to identify the capacity limits of your site well in advance. Plan for at least 2-3x regular traffic.
- Monitor site performance continuously for slow load times or bottlenecks. Have a response plan ready for quickly reallocating resources like server capacity, CDN bandwidth etc.
- Implement waiting rooms or queuing solutions to gracefully handle any surges beyond planned capacity.
- Reduce image sizes, enable compression, defer non-critical assets, and optimize code to boost site speed during peak.
- Consider zero-downtime releases before BFCM to roll-out performance improvements.
- Eliminate unnecessary page elements to simplify site architecture on BFCM.
- Set up redundant infrastructure configurations and failovers to reduce single points of failure.
- Ensure third-party services like payment gateways and have high availability guaranteed for BFCM.
- Brief customer support and PR teams on contingency messaging if an outage does occur.
While detailed technical optimizations are required year-round, BFCM necessitates extra infrastructure planning to avoid underwhelming shoppers.
Staffing Considerations for Call Centers and Customer Support
BFCM sales also trigger an influx of pre-sales and post-sales support queries across channels like phone, email, chat, social media, etc. Here are some tips for handling customer support during BFCM:
- Analyze historical support tickets around BFCM to project staffing needs, common queries, and pain points. Add at least 20% buffer for growth.
- Train all support staff extensively on promotions, policies, shipping timelines, etc., before BFCM to handle queries efficiently.
- Ensure 24/7 coverage during the 4-5 days around BFCM. Adjust shifts to align with peak query times.
- Set up overflow call routing to divert traffic seamlessly across different support centers as required.
- Automate and optimize self-service options like help center articles, FAQs, chatbots to reduce human tickets.
- Create on-call rotation schedules for technical teams or specialized agents to handle complex issues.
- Monitor social media closely around BFCM to address complaints publicly and stem viral negatives.
- Encourage teams to go above-and-beyond to turn negative experiences into positives. Emphasize first contact resolution.
- Show appreciation to support teams after BFCM with tokens, celebrations for driving customer satisfaction.
Providing quick, helpful support during the BFCM crunch time is invaluable for building loyalty and advocacy with customers.
Key Areas to Focus Marketing and Advertising Efforts
With millions spent on BFCM promotions, marketers have an opportunity to maximize return on ad spend through targeted campaigns. Some recommendations:
- Start teasing deals and building hype from early November via email, social, influencers.
- Ramp up paid search, social media and retargeting ads in the 2-3 weeks preceding BFCM. Especially target deal-seekers and your existing audiences.
- Create urgency through countdown clocks, stock running out messaging.
- Make deals easy to find across site, emails, apps, ads. Promote consistent top offers everywhere.
- Run personalized omnichannel campaigns for segmented audiences like loyalty members, high value shoppers, lapsed shoppers etc.
- Retarget aggressively after BFCM to re-engage visitors who didn’t convert.
- Focus on storytelling and branded content that goes beyond discounts, like gift guides, unboxing videos etc.
- Monitor performance continuously and optimize bid strategies. Leverage automation to respond to competitors.
- Capture zero-party data like email signups to fuel future personalization.
With the majority of holiday marketing budget concentrated in the BFCM period, ensure you have the targeting, messaging, and flexibility to maximize your spend.
In conclusion, mastering Black Friday Cyber Monday (BFCM) as an eCommerce retailer in 2023 requires careful planning and execution across various aspects of your business. With the holiday season being a significant revenue driver, it’s crucial to capitalize on the opportunities presented by BFCM. Here are the key takeaways from this guide:
- Key Statistical Trends and Sales Projections for 2023: Expect a record-breaking holiday shopping season with significant growth in holiday retail sales and eCommerce. Mobile shopping continues to rise, making mobile optimization essential.
- Logistical Planning for Black Friday Cyber Monday: Proper inventory management, warehouse staffing, and transparent shipping are vital for meeting customer demands during BFCM.
- Optimizing Promotions and Offer Strategy: Diverse discounts, lightning deals, tiered discounts, and promoting your bestsellers are strategies to consider. Consistency across channels and leveraging social media can make your promotions stand out.
- Additional Considerations for Online Retailers: If you primarily rely on your eCommerce website, focus on site performance to handle increased traffic, staffing for customer support, and targeted marketing and advertising efforts.
By following these strategies and considering the additional pointers for online retailers, you can position your business for success during the BFCM period and beyond. Remember that the holiday season is a unique opportunity to boost your sales and connect with your customers, so make the most of it with a well-thought-out plan.
Retailers who take an organized, analytical approach to BFCM and provide a stellar customer experience stand to win big. The investments made across operations and marketing before and during the Black Friday Cyber Monday period can help retailers end the year on a profitable high. Relying on historical data, visualized efficiently allows for smart planning and higher conversion. If you haven’t started yet, it’s never to late, let us show you how.