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The Ultimate Black Friday, Cyber Monday Guide for Ecommerce: What is BFCM + Tips for 2022
Every ecommerce retailer wants to draw in customers with Black Friday deals—but it’s difficult to stand out in today’s crowded market.
Setting up a suite of discounts and marketing them well is hard enough, but then you’ve got to deal with the huge spike in customer questions related to package deliveries and returns.
Route is used by thousands of merchants and millions of shoppers every day, so we know a thing or two about BFCM. In this article, we’ll give you a comprehensive breakdown of BFCM, including when it takes place and plenty of tips and tricks to set you up for success.
Route’s package tracking and shipping protection reduce support tickets by up to 75%.
What is BFCM?
BFCM is an acronym for Black Friday Cyber Monday. Let’s break that down:
Black Friday is the biggest day for retail sales in the United States. It marks the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season (though many retailers have started announcing holiday sales before Black Friday).
But the term actually goes back to the 1960s, when it was first used by police in Philadelphia to describe the congestion of crowds and traffic at the start of the Christmas shopping season. Black Friday was later rebranded as a chance for brick-and-mortar stores to announce big discounts. It’s now just as big (if not bigger) in ecommerce.
Black Friday traditionally takes place on the last Friday in November. It falls on November 25th in 2022.
Cyber Monday is a 24-hour online sales event. Originating in 2005, the term comes from the discovery that millions of Americans were returning to work on the Monday after Thanksgiving and taking advantage of high-speed internet at the office to buy products online.
Businesses ran with the idea and established Cyber Monday to promote online-only discounts, and it has since become the biggest online shopping day of the year.
Cyber Monday takes place on the first Monday after the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States and falls on November 28th in 2022.
BFCM combines Black Friday and Cyber Monday because they take place on either side of the weekend after Thanksgiving in the United States. BFCM is the most important shopping event of the year for retailers, with discounts attracting customers and driving up profits.
BFCM Challenges and solutions
We’ve checked out the stats from 2021, and they show exactly why you shouldn’t ignore BFCM:
- Nearly 180 million Americans purchased products
- Consumers spent an average of $301.27 on products
- $6.3 billion was spent on Shopify stores alone
These are exciting numbers, but a rise in sales also means an increase in delayed deliveries and other potential issues.
Cart abandonment happens when a customer adds an item to their cart but doesn’t complete the purchase. To combat this less-than-desirable outcome:
- Allow shoppers to complete the purchase without making an account
- Offer quicker alternatives to pay like PayPal and Google Pay
- Make sure the checkout page loads in under 2 seconds
- Send abandoned cart emails to remind customers of the bargain they’ve left behind
Build trust with package protection offered by services like Route
Just because a sale is complete doesn’t mean the buyer journey is over. Delayed deliveries can seriously hurt your company’s reputation and lower customer retention. In fact, 30% of consumers are much less likely to purchase from an online retailer that fails to deliver an item on time.
Send customers real-time shipping updates to keep them in the loop and reduce your support tickets. With software like Route’s package tracking app, you can give customers access to a real-time, branded tracking experience.
Damaged or stolen goods
With so many packages delivered during BFCM, it’s little wonder that some arrive damaged, or that porch pirates might take advantage of the situation. And even though your courier was the last entity to handle the package, it’s your customer support team who bears the brunt of customer frustration.
It’s a good idea to offer package protection during BFCM (or any time of year). With Route’s “Green Package Protection”, customers pay as little as 98 cents for peace of mind and swift issue resolution. There’s also no cost to your business because Route will replace any damaged or stolen goods on your behalf.
Customers want to pick up bargains during BFCM, but 84% of them say a poor environmental track record could cause them to stop buying from a brand. You can squash these fears by offering carbon neutral shipping. For example, when you partner with Route, all customers can contribute to our afforestation project and offset carbon emissions for their delivery.
How to prepare for Black Friday Cyber Monday in 2022
If you’ve ever seen a video of the in-store rush during a Black Friday sale, you know how intense the sales can get.
Website traffic, customer questions, and order issues will all be higher than usual during BFCM, so it’s important to have a clear strategy and plan ahead.
Use your data to determine what products to discount
To avoid running around at the last minute, order the products you want to discount for BFCM as early as possible. Use data from the same period last year to see which products sold particularly well so you know what to promote.
You can also segment your discounts according to demand. Products that always sell well should be moderately discounted, and dead stock should be heavily discounted. This way, you draw people in with products you know customers want and free up warehouse space by selling off less popular stock.
Plan your marketing strategy
In 2021, consumers spent $33.9 billion during BFCM. That’s a lot of sales—and even more competition—for retailers. Here are some ideas to help you cut through the noise:
- Start your email marketing campaigns early to build anticipation and get ahead of the curve.
- Focus on the most attractive product in your emails instead of listing all your discounted stock.
- Retarget past visitors and customers; they’re more likely to sit up and take notice.
- Create a sense of urgency by adding countdown timers to product pages.
- Upsell and cross-sell during checkout with product suggestions inspired by shopping data.
- Make banner ads or change your website’s header/hero image to promote your sale.
Decide on any changes needed in packaging or shipping
A poor post-purchase experience during BFCM will result in far higher-than-average volumes of support tickets, complaints, and returns. So make sure you have the capacity to meet packing and shipping demands.
To drive sales, you could consider offering free or discounted shipping during BFCM. And don’t forget to give customers a way to protect their packages against theft, loss, or damage with a provider like Route.
Route’s package tracking and shipping protection reduce support tickets by up to 75%.
Test your website’s UX (for both desktop and mobile)
With a sudden influx of new customers on the horizon, you’ll want to ensure that your website’s UX is as smooth and stable as possible. Use a simple website design that’ll be familiar to customers and create an easily accessible page dedicated to your BFCM discounted products.
And don’t forget to optimize the mobile version. Figures from last year’s BFCM show that 69% of all site visits and 54% of all sales were made from mobile devices.
Test your checkout funnel
If there’s even a tiny problem with your checkout funnel, you’ll lose out on hundreds, if not thousands, of purchases. To ensure customers complete every sale, perform these tests:
- Load testing to simulate demand on the website and see how it behaves under the heavier use associated with BFCM.
- User testing with non-tech-savvy people unfamiliar with your website. You’ll be surprised what problems they find.
Plan your pre-, during, and post-purchase customer support
You will see a significant uptick in customers during the BFCM period, and this inevitably means an increase in customer support needs. Reduce customer support demands pre-purchase and during by making your website as clear and comprehensive as possible.
To avoid queries about “where is my order?” (WISMO), damaged packages, and product returns, partner with a post-purchase service like Route. Route’s app empowers customers to self-resolve issues in seconds, giving your team more time to focus on bigger-picture issues.
Need more tips for BFCM? We literally wrote the book on it.
Top 7 tips to increase BFCM sales
From harnessing the marketing potential of social media to distributing discount codes, there are hundreds of ways to increase your BFCM sales this year. To save you time, we’ve narrowed down the list to the ultimate top 7 tips to skyrocket your BFCM weekend profits.
1. Write catchy copy
If you want to draw customers’ attention, your writing needs to be less Shakespeare & more Beyoncé. Keep it short but sweet across all marketing materials but pay particular attention to email subject lines to maximize open rates.
2. Offer awesome deals
Offering quality BFCM deals might seem obvious but simply knocking 10% off a few products isn’t going to make you stand out. Get creative by offering a free gift with your discount code, match the discount amount to order quantity or cart value, or create product bundles with special prices.
3. Use amazing packaging
People are visual creatures, and memorable packaging sells. Go the extra mile and create a unique design to match the holiday season or represent your brand. Given how many BFCM purchases are gifts, you should also offer gift-wrapping options at checkout.
4. Design for incredible UX
User experience (UX) isn’t about making flashy backgrounds and filling the screen with technically impressive animations—it’s about making the shopping experience as seamless as possible. And it doesn’t stop when the sale goes through.
To really make your customers love your brand, keep focusing on UX during the post-purchase phase. That means letting them make purchases, track deliveries, and return items without any hassle.
Route can help you take care of the post-purchase experience with our parcel tracking app, which has an attractive but simple UX that doesn’t distract from the information customers need.
5. Take advantage of cross-selling
Add to your ecommerce tech stack and take advantage of AI-driven cross-selling. Cross-selling is when you suggest products to customers based on previous purchases or what’s currently in their basket.
For effective cross-selling, make it hyper-specific to customer preferences. If a customer is buying/has bought a wok, cross-sell them a cooking spatula or tongs, not oven gloves. It also pays to add discounts or create bundles out of these suggestions to maximize BFCM sales.
6. Provide easy checkout
If your checkout page is overly complicated or simply isn’t functional, busy customers will look elsewhere. Ensure a smooth checkout process by:
- Performing user testing to see how easy it is to navigate
- Allowing customers to purchase as a guest instead of making them go through a sign-up process
- Giving them multiple payment options such as PayPal or Apple Pay to speed up the checkout process
7. Use a secure post-purchase platform
Bigger online retailers like Amazon have already earned customer trust. If your ecommerce store is less well known you will need to prove how reliable you are, especially during BFCM.
A secure post-purchase platform like Route guides shoppers through the post-purchase experience with detailed and up-to-date tracking information, and offers robust package protection—so they’ll never suffer from package anxiety.
Deliver the best post-purchase experience during BFCM with Route
It’s easy to put a bunch of BFCM offers on your website and turn a decent profit, but without a solid post-purchase experience to go along with it, you’ll get a lot of unhappy customers. In the short term, this means more support tickets and returns. In the long term, it means a lower repeat customer rate.
Route is the ultimate tool for improving the post-purchase BFCM experience. The Route app gives customers on-demand, branded tracking experiences from any device. Customers receive real-time shipping updates across multiple channels, increasing brand affinity and reducing support tickets.
Route’s “Green Package Protection” gives customers access to buyer protection at checkout that covers product loss, theft, or damage while neutralizing all carbon emissions associated with shipment and delivery. That’s not all—customers can resolve issues in seconds, and if the worst does happen, we’ll cover the cost of replacing goods.
A holistic approach to BFCM sales success
To boost ecommerce sales during BFCM in 2022 you need to take a holistic approach to the customer journey:
- Pre-purchase. Decide what products to discount, launch an eye-catching marketing campaign early, and test your UX and checkout funnel.
- Purchase. Adopt anti-cart abandonment policies, cross-sell, and make sure product description pages are information-rich.
- Post-purchase. Give customers an easy way to track their orders, prepare for an uptick in support tickets, and provide environmentally friendly shipping options.
Given the high volume of sales during the holiday season, improving the post-purchase experience is more crucial than ever. This BFCM, you’ll need package tracking and protection services from companies like Route to keep customers coming back for more.