Black Friday and Cyber Monday: how to prepare your business

A very important season is coming up, so it's time to get organised.

The Black Friday and Cyber Monday period is a golden opportunity for Print On Demand shops.

The Black Friday and Cyber Monday period (also known as "BFCM", which is more convenient) lasts for four days: only four days, but four days that nevertheless represent a real event for e-tailers, who sometimes look forward to it all year long. This is obvious when you look at the figures for this period: it is arguably the biggest sales week of the year.

Sales statistics for the Black Friday and Cyber Monday period.

Every year, Black Friday is celebrated the day after Thanksgiving, while Cyber Monday takes place the following Monday. As you may have guessed, these two commercial events originated in the United States and have gradually spread to Europe and the Orient over the past few years to reach the devastating global success they enjoy today.

In the year 2021, Black Friday will be celebrated on Friday 26 November, and Cyber Monday on Monday 29 November. Gradually, the nuance between these two dates is becoming blurred so that these two key events will be brought together under a single term: "Cyber Weekend".

The BFCM 2020 total worldwide sales amount to over $188 billion. Let's face it: that's a lot of money. Do you want a piece of the pie? We know how you feel... There are a few key tips you'll need to follow to implement a successful BFCM strategy, and since we love you so much, we've put together twelve of them in the following article. But only because it's you.

1 / Start early

Really, start as soon as possible. In fact, if you haven't already started, consider it as soon as you finish reading this article (possibly after sharing it with everyone you know, we don't mind). It is always to your advantage to be one step ahead of the competition, and the holiday season requires some advance planning to have a really positive influence on your turnover.

2 / Conduct a market analysis

Understanding your market and niche in Print on Demand for Cyber Weekend.

Learning from your mistakes and those of others is the best way to optimise your marketing strategy. Before implementing your marketing strategy, be sure to answer several questions: What were the bestsellers in your shop last year or, more generally, what were the bestsellers in the market? Which products in your catalogue do you consider to be the best sellers? Which marketing strategies seem to have proved their effectiveness? Finally, especially according to Google Trends, which products seem to interest customers this year? This analysis is essential to build a solid foundation for your marketing strategy.

3 / Plan your promotions

At the heart of this marketing event, promotions are an excellent way for any e-tailer to convert visibility and increase the average customer basket. When setting up your promotions, think quality rather than quantity: it is counterproductive to offer as many as possible, as this confuses the customer experience and risks depriving them of the impression of accessing an exclusive offer.

As for the nature of the promotion, you are spoilt for choice: it can be an automatic percentage applied to your prices, "flash" sales, a discount off one or more specific products, coupons, "bundles" (grouping of products at a reduced price, such as a "gift box"), etc. Anything goes as long as the consumer is convinced that he or she is getting a good deal.

4 / Think of free shipping

As you read earlier in our infographic, it was the promise of free shipping that drove 49% of consumers to take the BFCM plunge in 2020. This is strong evidence of the marketing leverage of free shipping.

So offer this possibility, but do it cleverly, for example by imposing a minimum purchase set just above your customers' average basket to encourage them to buy more.

5 / Imagine a VIP programme

Imagine a VIP programme to reward loyal customers.

Your customer is above all human: he likes to be pampered, to be made to feel special and important. With this in mind, what better way, in the middle of a period of exclusive offers, than to offer them even more exclusivity?

Your existing customer base should not be neglected. Did you know that the probability of selling to an existing customer is between 60 and 70%, compared to 5 to 20% for someone who has never ordered from you? That's why so-called customer retention is so important to your business. A positive previous experience will obviously play an important role in keeping your customer loyal, but it is important to know that the development of a VIP type loyalty programme can be an additional solution to keep them happy. In the context of BFCM, offer your most loyal VIPs special discount codes; considering that an existing customer is likely to spend 31% more than other consumers, it's worth it, isn't it?

6 / Gamify the customer experience

After reading this title, some of you may be asking: gamiwhat? We're talking about gamification, a process of adding elements of play and reward to the customer experience, such as trophies or badges, for example. This set of techniques has real added value and actively contributes to customer retention and increasing your turnover.

There is nothing like an occasion that promises increased traffic, such as Cyber Weekend, to add a touch of fun to your online shop. Apply this advice with a "spin-to-win" game (Wheel of Fortune) that gives you access to attractive discount coupons, for example. Shopify and WooCommerce extensions are available to help you set up this game as a pop-up.

7 / Design your advertising designs

Slashing prices and offering solid golden opportunities is great, but it's not really worth it if your audience doesn't know about it. That's why it's absolutely essential that you advertise your BFCM offers in advance, including on social media, in an email campaign and on your online shop banners.

Start with a proper teaser, then give your customers a reminder when it's time for Cyber Weekend, and finally, thank them when your discounts end: you need to ensure your offers get the best visibility possible.

If you're not graphically inclined, no worries: some websites such as PlaceIt or Canva have whole sections of customisable graphics dedicated to Cyber Weekend.

Find your designs online to promote your brand during Cyber Weekend.

8 / Consider advertising on social networks

You've probably heard of it, but have you taken the plunge? Advertising on social networks, notably embodied by the very famous Facebook Ads, is an excellent way to increase the reach of your brand. Many have realised this: in 2020, 82% of shop owners on the aforementioned platform planned to advertise on Facebook and Instagram for the BFCM. Don't want anyone to miss out on your Cyber Weekend offer? A social media advertising campaign could be a good idea. Please note that advertising on social networks is not free: if you plan to use it, don't hesitate to think about your advertising budget beforehand.

9 / Prepare your shop for increased traffic

Do you remember those mythical images of the opening of the shops for Black Friday in the United States? Of the hordes of bargain-hungry individuals ready to throw themselves under the iron curtains and fight over hair dryers as if their lives depended on it?

Black Friday shopping

And that's exactly what's likely to happen to your BFCM shop: a sudden and spectacular influx of people. That's what we hope for. However, you can't cope with this traffic without being prepared for it: you will have to check the performance of your website beforehand to see if it is capable of receiving a large number of visitors simultaneously. Indeed, it would be a pity if your potential customers were put off by a too long loading time or by a dysfunctional shopping cart.

Therefore, we advise you to prepare yourself properly for the arrival of the BFCM by testing the ordering process in your shop yourself (or having a friend test it), in order to highlight any anomalies.

You should also be aware that there are many tools and plug-ins available to analyse the loading speed of your web page; if your shop is hosted by Shopify, for example, the Pingdom site will be able to give it a speed rating.

10 / Optimise your SEO

Let's summarise the practice of SEO: this term refers to the mobilisation of relevant and effective keywords within websites to optimise their presence in search engine results. Often, in order to find good deals during Cyber Weekend, consumers will include "Black Friday" or "Cyber Monday" in their searches: once you have arrived in the BFCM period, don't hesitate to use these terms in the titles of your pages, in the main titles of the text, in the file names of your photos, in your URLs, etc. Of course, don't overuse them, but it would be a shame if consumers couldn't find you even though your offer is relevant.

11 / Adapt your shop to mobiles

The recent practice of shopping on smartphones is referred to by a term: "m-commerce". We recently talked about it in a guide dedicated to the subject... Do you remember it?

How to adapt to the rise of m-commerce
M as in marvelous, but above all, M as in mobile.

Every year, the use of mobiles for online shopping seems to grow in popularity. In 2020, more than 25% of Black Friday purchases were made using smartphones: a far, far from negligible share.

Therefore, it is becoming more and more important for e-tailers to prepare their shop for m-commerce. We advise you to start by checking your website's mobile optimization with the tool provided by Google, and then to take action if your shop is not proving itself (e.g. by opting for a more mobile-friendly theme).

12 / Prevent cart abandonment

Ah, shopping cart abandonment... A real scourge for e-commerce players. It is frustrating to realise that, so close to the goal, a potential customer has turned away from our offer for some mysterious reason. It's important to remember that the decision to buy is not a simple one, either way: if it's easy for them to be dissuaded, it's potentially just as easy for you to convince them again. One thing is certain: it won't cost you anything to try.

Firstly, you can send your customers who have abandoned their shopping carts an automatic email, including photos of the products in the cart in question or, if you want to be more persuasive, a special discount coupon. These automatic emails are free to set up on Shopify; if you are a WooCommerce user, there are free extensions available. Similarly, plug-ins are available to send push notifications to your customers after they've turned away from their shopping carts. In any case, don't give up: an abandoned cart is not condemned to remain so, options are available.

We're no psychics, but we're sure of one thing: this year's Cyber Weekend will be your brand's chance to shine. We're counting on you to maximise your chances by applying as many of the tips we've just given you as possible. Once you've got over the euphoria, remember to collect your performance figures, which will help you next year.

Don't forget to be yourself, T-Partner, and may your profits and profitability be huge this year!

Statistical sources : Finances Online, Criteo, Adobe, Marketing Metrics, Shopify