It is widely accepted that Black Friday won’t look the same this year! Cost of living soaring, continued uncertainty across the supply chain and changing consumer habits could make this year difficult for ecommerce brands already fighting to increase revenues.
However, Uncapped is here to help. We have called on experts from across our community in order to compile 10 crowning pieces of last minute advice to give every founder out there the best chance of nailing it this Black Friday.
Below are some pearls of wisdom from those who have been there, done it and bought the t-shirt (in a black Friday sale).
Akin Onal, Founder and CEO, MORI
"BFCM is the highest peak season for MORI and we have been smashing targets every year through continuous improvement on our offers. We utilise the 10-day period leading up to the BFCM and start dropping dynamic offers that change daily depending on the stock levels. We also call it the Kindness Sale and ask our customers to pledge an act of kindness to access the additional discount. Combining it with a brand message allows us to limit the brand dilution."
Cover all bases
Philip Boyle, Director of Agency Partnerships, BigCommerce
"Black Friday puts additional pressures on already intensive parts of the business such as handling high volumes and converting sales.
Therefore it is vitally important to have measures in place to make the engine run as smoothly as possible for peak customer journeys and experience. Stay on top of things by ensuring you have a robust ad traffic and omni-channel strategy in place and back that up with strong SEO and stock position. That way you will leave everyone satisfied."
Stay true to who you are
Jason Mahendran, Senior Investor, Active Partners
“When thinking about Black Friday and Cyber Monday, this isn’t a one-size-fits-all event. We advise our portfolio companies to first consider their brand’s mission and values and keep this central to their approach, avoiding discounting for the sake of discounts. Of course, consumers are typically seeking value over these key trading days, but with a lot of advertising out there, any pricing and promotional activity should be clear and easy to follow to cut through the noise. It may be worth considering more creative ways of adding value to your core, most loyal consumers, that go over and above simple discounting, such as exclusive access to products, events, or experiences. It could also be the case that value-led activation alone does not chime well with your brand and business model, in which case also communicating this can be worthwhile, through raising funds for charity partners, or shining a spotlight on circularity and other sustainability initiatives within your business.”
Save experimentation for another time
Astrid Linser, Head of Ecommerce, Bears With Benefits
"Black Friday has never been just one day. Brands often start their campaigns weeks in advance so it's important to do the same to remain competitive. In 2021, we ran our campaign for 3 weeks and these would be our key pieces of advice:
1) Don't experiment but instead use tried and tested methods. Combine your understanding of your audience with tailored and simple promos/offers that will resonate and convert most effectively
2) However, don't only rely on promos and ensure you have the infrastructure and additional benefits in place to support these promos and boost brand trust. Things like free shipping, money-back guarantees and real customer reviews are vital in attracting new customers
3) Make sure your channel mix makes sense. Marketing costs can easily skyrocket in Q4, so make sure you have a good mix of paid and organic channels in order to be flexible and get the most out of your budget"
Matt Jung, Founding Partner, The Ember Company
"Don’t do BFCM for BFCM’s sake and make the mistake of taking on other large projects at the same time. Instead let the consumer guide your strategy and focus on those ROI driving initiatives.
It’s also important to think about a post BFCM strategy. You want to make sure the customers gained during this period remain a part of your community post initial purchase so don’t forget to plan an exciting campaign to encourage loyalty while also avoiding a revenue hangover."
Givan Hieralal, Owner, Souvy
"As an entrepreneur, you experience Black Friday from a totally different angle and this year is no exception. It has never been more important to be prepared and to use data from previous years to guide your strategy and sales. Use this insight to ensure stock is at the right level as well as craft a comprehensive marketing strategy. Be ready for the craziness and remember to enjoy it!"
Spencer Malm, Head of International Partnerships, Attentive
"Build excitement throughout the season by sprucing up your holiday promotions. Sending time-sensitive messages, including “starting now,” “last chance to shop,” and “sale extended,” is an excellent way to drive traffic throughout a sale. For your biggest sales, be sure to send at least 2 messages—one when the sale starts, and one when it’s just about to end. We also recommend offering early looks and exclusives with VIP messaging to your SMS audience."
Cater for all
Will Tickle, Founder and CEO, Social Nucleus
"This BFCM will see pretty heavy increases in CPMs and will be one of the most unpredictable in recent years.
For established brands, I’d focus on building your community and driving up the LTV of your current customers. Give them the best offers at the earliest stages. Let them see that you remember them!
For the upcoming brands this year you’re going to want to start collecting some data early before the CPMs rise and the competition rolls in. Get as many consumers to touch your brand on any channel. Your website, newsletter, VIP lists, socials etc. Fill your pool of potential buyers up so that you’re not having to compete for TOF as much during the peak times.
Lastly, have two of everything ready. We’ve seen our partners' payment gateways crash on the day of BFCM due to demand rising much higher than usual. Nobody needs that to happen, sign up for two payment gateways and give your current one notice that demand will rise."
Look beyond BFCM
Freyja Wedderkop, Marketing Executive, We Make Websites
"Time to focus on drumming up excitement around your BFCM campaign! Hopefully, you’re in a position where your activation is set up and ready to go, you’ve tested your discount codes, and you’re confident the platform you’re on can withstand the high traffic BFCM brings. But, you’re not quite done yet, your sale is only as successful as the amount of traffic you bring to your site so now’s the time to hunker down on those last minute email and social campaigns, and promotional messaging across your site. If you’ve got this under control, get ready for what’s next - sales season doesn’t end with BFCM, so what do your post-BFCM campaigns look like? Use this time to get ahead to reduce stress!"
Ensure finances are in order
Piotr Pisarz, CEO and Founder, Uncapped
"When it comes to last minute focuses, the 2 biggest opportunities for ecommerce brands to maximise returns and make the most of the Black Friday period are:
- Customer acquisition: generate more demand with scaled up marketing efforts
- Improving your store experience: hire support to improve store experience with better photography, copy, add product bundles, upsell features, and fixing any bugs and niggles that might be hurting your conversions
But as with all activities of this kind, it costs money. Money that you may not have available there and then. Money that may be committed to other things. Luckily there are options. Uncapped is here to help take some of that stress away and help ensure you have the best possible BFCM period and help you to finish the year as strong as possible. So our last minute advice would be: give us a call."
So, there you have it. 10 pieces of actionable advice for brands to win this Black Friday, Cyber Monday! If this article leaves you asking, “Wow, that was incredible. But how do I get in contact with these businesses/brands and find out more”? Don’t fret. Simply drop our amazing Community and Brand Lead, Henry Barton, an email and he will gladly make some introductions and point you in the right direction.
Now go and smash this black Friday and we look forward to hearing all of your amazing results.