From the viewpoint of retailers, Black Friday has become the unofficial start to the holiday season. Black Friday saw 93.2 million shoppers online last year, accounting for a record-breaking $7.4 billion in sales for the holiday. It is essential for ecommerce app marketers to get the most out of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which serves as a fantastic opportunity to increase sales, build your audience and reward loyal customers. This guide breaks down everything you need to know about how to get the most out of the holiday season – from Black Friday to Christmas.
Black Friday marketing strategy: Where to start
As online shopping for Black Friday deals continues to grow year-over-year, there are several things to keep in mind when developing your overall strategy for the holiday season. Here are three key points to consider before finalizing your plan of action:
Outline your KPIs: Before outlining your advertising strategy in full, take a step back to outline what you want to achieve, and how you plan to do it. In addition to total revenue, you should set expectations for conversation rates, ROAS, installs, and other metrics that will benefit your overall goals.
Account for higher CPM on social media: As every online retailer tries to leverage the holiday season, you should expect to pay higher CPM on Facebook. Black Friday has the biggest impact on social CPM cost, showing an increase of 50 percent, compared to 38 percent for Cyber Monday. Your ad budget should also be adjusted for higher costs due to fierce competition.
Review your App Store Optimization (ASO): Your app store entry is the last thing users see become clicking install This is a critical step that should be fully optimized before seeing a significant increase in traffic due to Black Friday and Christmas campaigns. Moreover, ASO is a cost-effective way to optimize your app’s organic growth.
Black Friday ecommerce strategy: Best practices
1. Reward users with early access
Offering your existing customers early access to Black Friday deals is a smart way to reward your most valuable users. This also ensures that your existing customers get first pick on inventory that may sell out, and helps spread out the anticipated traffic increase.
You can also use this to encourage web-only users to install your app. For example, you can make specific early access deals exclusively available in-app - enabling you to build a larger and more active user base just ahead of the holiday season.
2. Increase your retargeting spend
According to Criteo, website visitors who are exposed to retargeting campaigns are 45 percent more likely to convert. By targeting users who have shown interest in your products, retargeting campaigns can be extremely effective when combined with attractive limited-time offers. A discount may be the deciding factor for users who have already clicked on a product page or abandoned their cart.
3. Utilize email marketing
Email marketing is a great way to reach existing users throughout the holiday season - with research from dropshipping platform Oberlo showing that email marketing returns an average of $42 for every $1 spent. Prior to Black Friday, you can build a larger mailing list by offering discounts and deals for signing up. This will help you throughout the holiday season, giving you another way to reach potential customers.
The frequency of your marketing emails is critical to success. Users may expect to receive more emails than usual throughout the holiday season, but too many offers can result in a large number of unsubscribed and irritated customers.
It’s also important to personalize emails whenever possible - as personalized subject lines can have up to 50 percent higher open rates.
4. Push notifications
Push notifications are another smart way to promote your Black Friday deals. Even before accounting for Black Friday discounts, this marketing method drives growth and increases engagement by up to 88 percent.
Users will have to have your app installed and have opted-in to receive push notifications in order for this marketing channel to be effective. The good news is that up to 42 percent of mobile users keep push notifications enabled on their device, and 65 percent of users return to an app within 30 days if push notifications are enabled.
When creating push notifications for the holiday season, remember to:
- Include a call-to-action. A simple CTA for push notifications communicates the action required. This can be particularly effective when used in conjunction with a limited-time offer – which should also be stated in your copy.
- Personalize push notifications: Personalized push notifications are proven to be more successful than generic ones: CleverTap statistics show that even basic personalisation will increase open rates by 9 percent. We recommend personalizing push notifications depending on the user lifecycle, and identifying when users are likely to require a push notification to complete a purchase: for example, sending a “last chance” alert on Cyber Monday to users who have items in their cart.
- A/B test copy: Early access deals are a prime opportunity to test copy variants, as the best performing CTA can then be used for wider audiences throughout cyberweek.
5. Optimize site speed
25 percent of users abandon a website that takes more than four seconds to load. Moreover, 46 percent of users will not revisit a website due to poor performance. Throughout the holiday season, e-commerce websites and mobile apps usually see a huge spike in traffic, so make sure your channels can handle the increase in traffic.
6. Design overhaul
Users visiting your website or app during Cyber Week will benefit from a design overhaul that makes the experience unique to the holiday season. Implement a cohesive design theme in-app, on your website and across your social media channels also ensures users are aware of your time-sensitive deals.
7. Test the user journey
Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) is a complex process with a simple goal: ensure your users can complete a purchase with minimal steps. App developer Reinder de Vries wrote a guest post for us on the subject, where he explained that “each step leaks, so not every customer will successfully move from one stage to the next. The goal of CRO is to make changes in the funnel that result in more people completing the steps and making the purchase.”
Test every step in the conversion funnel ensures that your customers have a seamless user experience during Cyber Week, making it an essential practice for all ecommerce app developers prior to Black Friday. If a portion of customers are getting stuck in the user funnel, this will prevent you from optimizing your revenue. This is an important step throughout the entire year, but increased revenue opportunities during the holiday season make it a critical step in your Black Friday strategy. Ecommerce apps should also ensure that checkout is optimized by limiting the number of clicks a user needs to complete a purchase.
Online christmas shopping statistics
When developing a marketing strategy for Christmas, it’s essential to know online christmas shopping statistics and how this will impact your overall strategy.
What are Christmas shoppers buying online?
Finances Online reports that the top retail category for Christmas shopping is Clothing and Accessories (mentioned by 73 percent of respondents), followed by Food and Beverages and Health and Wellness (70 percent each), Toys and Hobbies (64 percent), Electronics (40 percent) and Home and Kitchen items (36 percent).
How is online christmas shopping growing?
The Centre for Retail Research found that even before the coronavirus pandemic, sales growth in physical stores was static or falling during the holiday season. For example, sales in the UK in 2019 fell by 1.5 percent in physical stores and 2.3 percent in Germany. On the flipside, the organization found that online retailers' share of Christmas revenue continues to grow: “In the UK, online [purchases] accounted for 32.4 percent of Christmas retail sales, in the U.S. 26.4 percent, Germany 26.1 percent and in France 20.3 percent.”
How has coronavirus impacted Christmas shopping?
The impact of the coronavirus pandemic on customer behavior will depend on the guidelines of each region. eMarketer has concluded that “This year, ecommerce will account for nearly a third of all holiday spending” in the UK, concluding that “issues and concerns with in-store shopping won’t pause for Christmas, and so online shopping will take the strain of the seasonal demand.”
Christmas marketing strategy: Best practices
1. Free shipping
Adding unexpected costs at the final stages of the user journey may frustrate your customers and cause them to churn. This is why free shipping may be worth the expense. Entitling your users to free shipping during the holiday season is an effective gift to shoppers that may give you the edge over your competitors.
2. Bundles and gift guides
Creating bundle offers is an effective way to autonomously upsell to your customers while also giving them a better deal on grouped purchases. Bundles are also a smart way to turn inexpensive items into a more significant gift recommendation for your users. Alternatively, you can include a ‘recently bought with’ function on your website or app to encourage multi-item sales.
You can also create curated gift guides to help shoppers with their search, combining best selling items, surplus stock and discounted items.
3. Offer gift cards
Gift cards are a simple but effective way to generate revenue during the holiday season. For best results, gift cards should be purchasable and usabe digitally and in-store. This accounts for the preferences of all gift-givers and those who have received your gift vouchers.
4. Set up a themed landing page
Get your shoppers into the Christmas spirit by directing them to a Christmas-themed landing page - where you can share your curated gift guides and bundle options, and display them with a clear CTA.
5. Branded hashtags
Using a branded, Christmas-themed hashtag across your social media channels is a smart way to raise brand awareness while also providing users with a means to share their purchases on social media. Examples of Christmas-themed hashtags by brands include #SwishUponAStar (Lush cosmetics) and #BarbourChristmas (Barbour).
This also gives your social media team the opportunity to gather user-generated content (USG), which can then be shared and retweeted. USG is cost-effective and can help build brand recognition: according to Stackla, 79 percent of people say UGC highly impacts their purchasing decisions and customers find UGC almost ten times more impactful than influencer content.
For more mobile marketing insights, you may be interested in The Mobile Shopping Apps Report 2020. You can also find out more about ecommerce marketing with our guides, “How to increase conversions for e-commerce apps” and “How bot fraud affects Gaming and Ecommerce apps.”