This is October and this means that e-commerce companies should be at the heart of Black Friday preparation. I tackled the subject last year, in "A Plan for Black Friday Planning." I have actually dusted this article this year and have used it for FringeSport. It was useful!
In this article, I will talk about FringeSport 's Black Friday state of mind. I will also discuss the hidden dangers – the pitfalls – of the sudden increase in sales.
State of mind
Last year, the REI outdoor retailer canceled his black Friday sale and asked his customers to just go out and enjoy the sale. I am a fan (and a customer) of REI. I respect this position against consumerism.
However, for FringeSport, the cancellation of our black Friday sale would be a commercial suicide. Consumers in our industry are looking for Black Friday offers. I would like to tell our customers to go to lift weights or do something athletic in their garage. But I'm afraid it does not work well for us.
When we are planning a Black Friday sale at FringeSport, we think the entire weekend – Black Friday at Cyber Monday – is an opportunity to acquire customers. Buyers are ready to buy. We observe both traffic and conversion peaks during this period. Our overall conversion rate peaks for the year on Black Friday. Cyber Monday is number two.
The highest circulation day of the year is usually Black Friday. The exception is when content becomes viral, causing an increase in traffic, but not a corresponding increase in sales. Thus, we consider Black Friday as an ideal day for customer acquisition.
We also have a lot of customers coming back to Black Friday. This is important because the success of e-commerce depends on regular buyers. No matter, whether it's the first time or the return of the buyers, we must make sure that their experience with us is the best possible. If they are beginners, we want them to buy again. If they return buyers, we want them to stay well, to be lifelong customers.
Even though we offer discounts and are busy, we must make sure not to degrade the customer experience. This includes front-end responsiveness on our phones and emails, as well as shipping delays and after-sales service efforts.
The other thing to remember about Black Friday is that it's early in the shopping season. When buyers buy Black Friday from us, we want them to buy again during the holiday season, either for themselves or as a gift.
Now let's go to the traps. A big mistake we made over the years is to let employees feel frustrated because of a high workload. We are a retail business, and we need to remind our employees. While we appreciate their work-life balance, and their time with their families, Thanksgiving week and the following week is a very busy time for us. We need all hands.
In fact, we are busy until the last days of expedition before Christmas. Our employees must be on. Conversely, a little after Christmas we slow down. This is a good time to allow employees to recover, spend time with their family and prepare for the coming year.
Another trap is slow accomplishment. A few years ago, it took us up to two weeks to ship all Black Friday orders. Last year, we completed all Black Friday orders on the following Wednesday. This year we have a more aggressive goal. Remember, it's not because customers are buying at a discount that they expect a degraded experience.
Another trap is errors – shipping errors, customer service errors, and all kinds of errors. Tired employees and untrained seasonal workers are the main contributors to errors. But the customers do not care. They just want great service and fast, accurate shipping.
In short, you can make a lot of sales during the weekend of Black Friday. You can make a lot of customers happy. This can be fun for the employees. Certainly, these are the goals of FringeSport. But we also want to manage it better than last year, to minimize the pitfalls.
Do you have any suggestions for Black Friday sales? Let us know in the comments below.