Q4 represents the year's final and most significant stretch for eCommerce.
The holiday season, including Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the Christmas shopping rush. This is a prime time for brands to capitalise on.
Q4 is a challenging period to manage effectively, testing the limits of your eCommerce strategy with numerous holidays to prepare for.
Statistics reveal that Black Friday is among the year's largest shopping days, if not the largest - with last year's UK spending reaching an estimated £8.57 billion. Thus, adequate preparation is crucial.
But that doesn’t mean it should be a continuous concern. At Digital On Demand, we aim to help you implement an eCommerce marketing strategy that is both effective and free of stress.
Being an eCommerce marketing agency, we are fully aware of this year's expected challenges, from customer service to conversion rates. That’s why we’ve prepared a useful guide to see you through Q4 and Black Friday comfortably.
Here you’ll find key advice for enhancing budgets, augmenting engagement, and boosting online sales. Dive in to fully optimise your eCommerce strategy.
NOTE: Having trouble growing your eCommerce store as quickly or profitably as you desire? Click here to schedule a complimentary call with our team. We'll demonstrate how we can expand your brand, as we've done for numerous clients.
Tip #1 - Your Calendar is Crucial
First and foremost, in Q4, your calendar isn't just vital; it's your closest ally. Research shows that 57% of retailers see a sales boost in this quarter each year. Act swiftly to maximise this period and avert last-minute chaos.
Q4 is brimming with events and holidays that can capture customers and enhance online sales. Black Friday and Cyber Monday mustn't be overlooked while the Christmas season maintains sales momentum till the year's end.
Understanding when these holidays occur is vital. A well-structured marketing calendar can be an invaluable tool, helping you know when to launch new campaigns and customer communications, either through social media or landing pages.
Knowing the schedule of upcoming events enables retailers to prepare relevant campaigns for each holiday in advance, assuring optimal customer engagement.
Here's a rundown of 2020's significant holidays that every eCommerce marketer should recognise:
- October 31st: Halloween. Create engaging campaigns, like Marks and Spencer did on Instagram.
- November 27th: Black Friday. Expect huge deals, discounts, and a tremendous increase in online sales.
- November 30th: Cyber Monday. With larger discounts and the convenience of online shopping, it might even surpass Black Friday.
- December 5th: Small Business Day. Engage customers by celebrating uniqueness and community spirit.
- December 15th: Free Shipping Day. Offering free shipping can significantly boost sales.
- December 24th/25th/26th: Christmas Eve/Day/Boxing Day. Plan in advance to avoid last-minute panic.
- December 31st: New Year's Eve. Expect party-themed campaigns, though 2020's lockdown might affect this.
A coherent marketing calendar ensures smooth social media campaigns tailored to each holiday, enhancing engagement and sales. Also, remember to adapt customer messaging to reflect the specific holiday focus.
Ignoring customer messaging and your calendar can lead to lost engagement, conversions, and sales. Don’t let this crucial period slip through your fingers. Plan, prepare, and prosper with this comprehensive Q4 guide.
Tip #2 - Thoughtful Allocation of Your Social Ad Budget
Similar to maintaining a schedule of holiday-specific campaigns, you also need to pay attention to how you allocate your Social Ad budget throughout not just Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but the entire Q4.
As an eCommerce Marketing Agency, we've developed an effective approach to allocating your social ad budget leading up to Black Friday.
If implemented accurately, smart allocation of your social ad budget can yield sales beyond your expectations. For a fruitful paid social strategy, it's essential to secure your traffic well in advance.
Assess the best social, search, and display platforms for media purchases for your brand (Google Analytics will be quite handy here), and figure out when you can get the best deal to reach the highest number of potential customers.
What we suggest?
We suggest distributing your Social Ad budget on a 90/10 split in the week leading up to Black Friday, with 90% of your budget targeting new audiences. Then, in the week before Black Friday, distribute the remaining 10% on re-targeting.
When Black Friday finally arrives, adjust this to a 50/50 split between acquiring new audiences and re-targeting existing ones.
Re-targeting should focus on those who have:
- Visited your site in the last 180 days
- Purchased from you in the last 180 days
- Interacted with you on Facebook or Instagram in the past 365 days
- Watched at least 25% of your video ads or content in the past 180 days
But why is this important?
It's crucial to re-engage all individuals who have encountered your brand over the previous 365 days and convert them into customers on days when your site will experience the highest conversion rates.
If executed correctly, this strategy can yield remarkable results throughout Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the holiday season while securing the highest return on ad spend (ROAS) you've ever witnessed.
Tip #3 - Broaden Your Traffic Source Spectrum
Diversifying your social media traffic sources beyond Facebook can have a substantial impact on your brand, from increasing total revenues to reaching customers who aren't frequent Facebook users.
There are many traffic sources to pick from for your eCommerce marketing strategy!
So, where do we recommend expanding to after Facebook and Instagram?
Consider Pinterest, Snapchat, YouTube, and TikTok.
Snapchat, with 229 million daily active users reported in Q1 2020, may not be as widely used as YouTube or Instagram, but it offers a much more affordable cost per thousand impressions (CPM). Therefore, it's a good option if your target audience uses the platform.
Incorporating other social media traffic sources beyond Facebook can benefit your brand for several reasons.
When retailers rely solely on Facebook and Instagram for their eCommerce strategies, they may see occasional performance fluctuations, leading to forecasting problems and unnecessary panic. However, if your eCommerce strategy involves a wider variety of traffic sources, your data will be less susceptible to abrupt changes.
Another benefit of diversifying your eCommerce traffic sources leading up to Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the Holiday Season is that it allows you to reach potential new customers who aren't regular Facebook or Instagram users.
Exploring new audiences like this is almost always valuable. Last year, the average customer's order value through Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals was estimated to be £300.
Finally, diversifying your traffic sources is essential because, as social media evolves, a broad variety of sources can help future-proof your business. Much like investors need a diverse portfolio, your eCommerce marketing plan requires a vast and varied selection of traffic sources.
Tip #4 - Get Your Video Creatives Ready
Video content plays a crucial role in any eCommerce marketing strategy, with 62% of consumers indicating that they watch product reviews before purchasing and fresh data suggesting that authentic videos enhance a brand's trustworthiness.
In the run-up to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, retailers should leverage video content. When employed correctly, video content can elevate conversion rates and stimulate sales.
Therefore, understanding how to optimise your video content to its fullest potential in preparation for Black Friday is paramount.
A straightforward yet effective method to craft video content is to use the AIDA approach.
A - Attention
I - Interest
D - Desire
A - Action
First, you must catch the customer's attention with an engaging headline. If you fail to intrigue the customer within the first 5 seconds, there's a high likelihood that they will abandon the video. Hence, it's crucial to capture their attention quickly and sustain it.
Capturing a customer's attention doesn't guarantee retaining it, which is where the next step, Interest, comes into play. Engage the viewer by relating to their experiences, intriguing them, or creating some form of connection.
So, you've got the viewer's interest.
Now what? How do you convert this into sales?
To transform the viewer into a potential customer, you must create a desire for your product. Illustrate why they need your product and demonstrate all the benefits it offers.
Finally, the Action step involves guiding the customer on their next steps. Where should they visit? How can they get there?
You should strive to make this step as simple and straightforward as possible to ensure that the viewer follows the call-to-action without confusion.
Remember, the optimal duration for video ads to maintain viewer engagement, on average, is approximately 30 - 45 seconds. Keep this in mind to avoid viewers abandoning the video.
It's also noteworthy that recent studies show that 85% of Facebook users watch videos without sound. One strategy to address this is to incorporate compelling subtitles, enabling customers to comprehend the video while preserving their viewing preference.
Done correctly, video content can significantly enhance your Black Friday eCommerce strategy. However, some challenges exist, such as the risk of viewers abandoning the video if it doesn't immediately capture their attention.
Assess Potential Improvements to Your Page's Loading Speed Scrutinise areas where you can enhance your page's loading speed to prevent losing prospective sales.
Ensure a Seamless Checkout Experience
A convoluted checkout process can lead to cart abandonment by customers - this is one of the prime reasons for cart abandonment, second only to shipping costs.
By ensuring your checkout process is effortless and user-friendly, retailers can transform potential abandonments into valuable sales during Black Friday and the ensuing holiday season with enticing deals.
If you're keen on discovering more ways to swiftly amplify your conversion rates and stimulate sales, consider reading our previous year's blog post on the subject here.
From initiating email retargeting campaigns to observing and simplifying your checkout process, numerous strategies exist to optimise conversion rates, which will propel your sales during Black Friday and the holiday season!
With Black Friday and the holiday season rapidly approaching, and with numerous deals prompting customers to engage with retailers globally, it's more crucial than ever to examine your eCommerce strategy critically and question whether it's fully optimised.
Data has already shown that Black Friday is the biggest shopping holiday of the year. Therefore, by ensuring your eCommerce strategy is leveraged to its maximum potential, it's feasible to enhance conversion rates, heighten engagement, and accelerate sales throughout the holiday season.
What key takeaways can we discern? Your calendar is your ultimate ally.
With a series of holidays falling in Q4, it's crucial to meticulously plan your marketing content and messaging, adapting the theme and tone to align with each forthcoming holiday, ranging from Halloween to Free Shipping Day.
Plan and allocate your paid social ad budget wisely and ahead of time.
By strategically balancing your ad budget between cold traffic and re-targeting, you can tap into new demographics and enhance sales at a lower cost.
Broaden the scope of your traffic sources.
There are numerous benefits to diversifying your traffic origins - from discovering new audiences to making your brand's marketing strategy resilient to future changes.
It's the right moment to devise a video content strategy.
Since video content is one of the most potent forms of marketing content, it's vital to incorporate it into your strategy if you haven't done so yet.
As the holiday season is imminent, and consumers are looking for deals, now is the prime opportunity to showcase why your product reigns supreme, adhering to the straightforward AIDA model.
Implement your conversion rate changes promptly.
Making changes to your conversion rates sooner rather than later can decide between a triumphant Q4 and a dismal one.
If your site is drawing visitors but failing to clinch sales, consider investigating where you can tweak conversion rates. You can try initiating email re-targeting campaigns and refining the checkout process.
By sticking to these straightforward steps, you can ensure that your eCommerce strategy is fully prepared. If you need help improving conversion rates and managing your paid social ad budget during Black Friday, book a call with our performance team.