If shopping is like sport, Holiday Season is like the Super Bowl. You might not be into it, but when it’s happening, you participate either way.
The Shopping Holy Trinity, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Thanksgiving are definitely worth a whistle. The 2018 holiday season is supposed to account for 18.6% of the total year US retail sales and 23.5% of eCommerce sales, so you’d best get your marketing strategies ready. As there’s a lot of competition waiting to catch your prospects’ eyes, I’m giving you my best advertising tips to make your campaigns irresistible.
Holiday Sales in numbers
The Shopping craze starts when the holiday season kicks off, on Thanksgiving. This year, the event falls on November 22. The day after comes Black Friday and that’s when the sales are in full swing. The shopping weekend is followed by the heaviest online shopping day of the year, Cyber Monday, happening on November 26.
Traditionally, Black Friday leads the way as the busiest shopping day of the year. Although this started as a US holiday, the rest of the world got hooked somewhere along the way. Since then, sales have been growing every year and 2018 will be no different, with a 4.1% growth in total retail spending forecasted, amounting to $986.77 bn during November and December (eMarketer).
A big chunk of holiday shopping is done online. This year, the holiday eCommerce sales will grow 16.2%, reaching $123.39 bn.
The eCommerce craze will be heavily driven by mCommerce (mobile commerce), which is expected to jump 32.6% and account for 44% of all holiday eCommerce spending.
This year, the holiday season features the longest-possible calendar giving customers 32 days between Thanksgiving and Christmas to shop their hearts (and wallets) out. Follow my Cyber Monday advertising tips to use this opportunity and boost your sales off the charts.
Kick off your campaigns now
If you haven’t done it yet, now it’s time to start your advertising campaigns. As we’re in between post-summer sales and the holiday rush, it’s easier to start building connections with your potential audience now. Even if your discounts and offers don’t go into effect until Black Friday, it doesn’t mean that they can’t drive sales before. A lot of people plan their shopping ahead and are willing to check out their opportunities much earlier.
At the same time, there are early birds, already trying to get some shopping done. If you’re waiting until the week of Thanksgiving to start sharing your Black Friday marketing messages, you’re potentially missing out on major revenue.
Don’t fumble with irrelevant ads
There’s a lot of fish in the advertising pond, especially for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. How can you establish an edge over your competitors?
Foremost, include a unique value proposition with a clear call-to-action. Take a moment to explicitly answer the “Why should I buy from you?” question for your prospects. Once you get this, make sure the visitors on your website will understand:
- How your product will solve his problem or improve his situation (relevancy)
- What benefits does your product offer (quantified value),
- Why he should buy from you and not from the competitors (unique differentiation).
Choose the right ad format for your product. You can focus on the ad types which demonstrate higher engagement levels like carousel ads, video ads or instant experience but remember that even “ultimate advertising tricks” need to be tested. There is no strategy that works for everyone.
To ensure the best results, target your ads towards carefully chosen audiences and experiment with different traffic sources. To keep track of the performance of numerous advertising campaigns, you can use Voluum.
Be creative and choose the right play
Your ads, above all, need to be visual. Make your content eye-catching. Create rich push notifications and in-app messages with colorful videos and engaging images to help your message stand out. To get inspired, you can check out our advertising tips to make your content irresistible here.
But even the most beautiful designs aren’t enough sometimes. As plenty of other stores will be running major sales, to grab shoppers’ attention you will need to come up with a unique angle featuring whatever initiatives you decide to run on these days. Ask yourself:
“What can I do to spice up my initiatives?” What “hook” can I use to stand out?”
Maybe go against the grain and do something “un-Black Friday or un-Cyber Monday”? In 2016, Patagonia, a big fashion retailer, pledged to donate 100% of its Black Friday sales to charity. When they announced this initiative, they expected to reach $ 2 million in sales. Instead, they raised $ 10 million. Clearly, standing for a good cause resonates with their consumers (Fortune). What will resonate with yours?
Whatever you do, make it unique and make it yours.
Pimp your checkout to enter the end zone
Black Friday and Cyber Monday shoppers are picky. To score a touchdown, you need to make your checkout process as smooth as possible. Go through the purchasing funnel yourself, from browsing through to checkout to know where it will break down for the customer. Try to get in their shoes and ask yourself my top 10 questions to find out if your checkout process is ready for the Holiday Sales:
- Does your website look credible? Show security badges and help info next to checkout buttons.
- Is it clear that the product is or isn’t available? Show stock availability. When something is in demand, people are more interested.
- Do you show discounts in your cart view? Make sure your visitors know you applied promised discounts and sale prices.
- Are you offering guest checkout option? Make the checkout process smooth and painless. Don’t require creating an account to make a purchase.
- Is the shipment information clear? Don’t leave your visitors guessing or searching for delivery costs or timeframes.
- Is there customer support at their hand? They need to know that they can count on you if they will need help.
- Are you offering the standard payment methods? Many shoppers will simply not shop at a site without the option to pay by PayPal.
- Are there any taxes surprises? Show shipping costs and taxes as soon as possible, so the user knows what to expect.
- Do you offer a fair warranty and return policy? Build trust by clearly showing return and chargebacks policies.
- Last, but not least, are you rewarding customer loyalty? Give them something extra to make it clear that a purchase also earns these rewards.
Put mobile users in the spotlight
It’s official – there is no more eCommerce without mCommerce. It’s not enough to be mobile-friendly. It’s time to become mobile-best-friendly.
So how do you craft a superior mobile experience? Above all, focus on website speed and navigation. Your website needs to be responsive, so your layouts and content will adapt based on the size of the screen they are presented on. Users have thousands of stores to select from and only a limited amount of time. If your website doesn’t run effortlessly, they will leave your store before you know it.
According to statistics, 53% of mobile shoppers will abandon a website if it doesn’t load in 3 seconds (Google marketing Platform). Make sure that your page can handle the additional traffic that’s bound to come your way. Performance tests are the best way to know whether your system will or will not be able to support your expected load.
Mobile users are impatient and demanding, so give them what they want. No muss no fuss:
- Simplify your mobile form interactions by minimizing the number of fields requesting information from the user.
- Eliminate unnecessary words from your page.
- Serve only the most relevant information to the user, based on his current stage in the buying cycle.
Go the extra mile
To capitalize the shopping craze, offer something special as part of your Black Friday and Cyber Monday campaigns. This could mean a free or reduced-price trial, a gift wrapping or a discount with every purchase above a certain amount.
Be social. Make some buzz on your page. Share engaging and relevant content, boost it a little and if needed, incentivize your audience with some special discounts. You can also reward the most active social media fans.
To drive more attention to your webpage, create an exclusive Cyber Monday newsletter and email blasts. Many Holiday shoppers will gladly sign up for a newsletter in exchange for a deal you, which you were already going to offer.
Last, but not least – Go for One-Day Deals. This is the ultimate touchdown. Launch offers with an expiration at midnight without stating it’s a one day deal. Leave it open for a day or two. Once it comes to an end, launch the next one right after.
No luck? Score in overtime
There’s no denying that Black Friday and Cyber Monday are huge for eCommerce, but there is an actual life afterward. There will be a big chunk of latecomers, who missed out on the biggest promotions and will be looking for gifts and presents at the last moment. Use the “afterparty” angle and go for them.
Capture traffic after these key dates by running post-shopping-craze campaigns. Extend your promotions by a few days to maximize your sales. This is a good way to market any leftover stock and reach shoppers who missed your initial offers.
Keeping in mind, that you will likely see a huge surge in traffic on your website and not everyone will make a purchase, hit your non-buyers with as many remarketing ads as possible.
All in all, rather than thinking about Black Friday and Cyber Monday as a sprint, picture it as a marathon. Start your preparation off on the right foot. Get Voluum to track, manage and optimize all your advertising campaigns in one place.
To win the Super Bowl, it takes the full organizational commitment from the very top down. It’s the same with your advertising campaigns for the Holiday Season.
Personalized rich push notifications and flashing banners about discounts won’t do much if you fail to engage the users with eye-catching ads and offer them value proposition within a smooth checkout process.
The hype around Black Friday continues each year and shows no sign of abating. No matter what business you’re in, if you sell anything online, take advantage of this wonderful time of the year.
- The holiday eCommerce sales this year will grow 16.2%, reaching $123.39 bn.
- The eCommerce craze will be heavily driven by mCommerce, which is expected to jump 32.6% and account for 44% of all holiday eCommerce spending.
- Waste no time and kick off your campaigns as soon as possible.
- Don’t fumble with irrelevant ads – Include a unique value proposition with a clear call-to-action. Choose the right ad format and target towards carefully chosen audiences.
- Come up with a unique angle featuring whatever initiatives you decide to run on these days. Think of a “hook” that will help you stand out
- Black Friday and Cyber Monday shoppers are picky, so make your checkout process is as smooth as possible.
- Smartphones steal Black Friday dollars – As mCommerce is the main driver behind the growth of Holiday Sales, craft a superior mobile experience for your audience.
- Go the extra mile – Offer something special as part of your Black Friday and Cyber Monday campaigns.
- What’s a party without an after party – Engage your users after Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Hit your non-buyers with as many remarketing ads as possible.