Black Friday & Cyber Monday are nearly here, are you ready for the busiest days of the year?

Aran Reeks
By Aran Reeks
14 Oct 2020

Black Friday and Cyber Monday used to be something that happened only in America. But recent years have proven UK retailers that don’t appreciate the significance of these dates are missing out!

And, of course, you can’t ignore how around the end of November people’s thoughts start to turn seriously to Christmas shopping. Smart and successful eCommerce businesses will already be making preparations for how to make the most of the opportunity.

So when are they this year?

Black Friday: Friday, 27th November 2020
Cyber Monday: Monday, 30th November 2020

For online retailers, it’s the most critical time of the year. In the USA Black Friday is the Friday following Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday is the following Monday. Historically the Friday was always a big shopping day, even before the internet. The story goes that the 'black' title refers to the day when retailers finally move into profitable trading for the year.

Here's a round-up of the things you need to be doing to maximise your sales this festive season.

American retailers capitalise through online promotions, Black Friday and Cyber Monday special deals, email and social media campaigns and ‘the whole nine yards’, as they would probably say.

American online retailers (and a significant and growing number of UK ones) capitalise through online promotions, Black Friday and Cyber Monday special deals, email and social media campaigns and ‘the whole nine yards’, as they would probably

  1. Last year studies showed more than half the UK population were interested in Black Friday deals (PWC)
  2. Barclaycard recorded a peak of 1,184 transactions per second on Black Friday 2019, beating the previous year by 9% (Barclaycard)
  3. In 2018, 67% of all digital traffic generated on Black Friday came from mobile devices (Adobe Analytics)
  4. 42% of U.S. and U.K. shoppers now research brands, products and services through social media sites before making a purchase on Black Friday and throughout the year (GlobalWebIndex)

The numbers are huge

The ‘Black Friday’ effect is impressive, with US sales passing $1 billion for the first time in 2012 and with 57.3 million Americans shopping online on that day. Since then the numbers have only continued to climb and in 2019, Black Friday online sales in the US beat all previous records, reaching $7.4bn and incredibly, Cyber Monday sales managed to dwarf even this at a staggering $9.2bn.

2013 was arguably the first time that Black Friday and Cyber Monday had a major impact in the UK. We might not have Thanksgiving, but we sure do like a bargain! The UK’s online shoppers spent £1.49bn on Black Friday 2018.

The clear lesson for all retailers is how much can be achieved when you have concerted and coordinated strategies to maximise traffic and conversions, particularly at times of the year when people are in the mood for shopping. 

It's increasingly likely that shoppers in the UK will be searching specifically for Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals. 

And remember that according to the CRR, as bricks and mortar Christmas shopping is declining, online sales continue to grow year on year, with well over £25bn worth of festive spending carried out in the UK in 2019, up 10% on the previous year.

So here’s a round-up of the things you need to be doing to create your own Black Friday effect and maximise the sales from your eCommerce site:

1 ) Make the most of email marketingemail-marketing

All year, your eCommerce site will have been collecting email details from people who bought things from you and those who were at least interested enough to start a shopping cart. I can’t think of a better place to start targeting your Christmas, Black Friday (or whatever you want to call them) offers. 

I’m not talking about indiscriminately blasting offers at your entire mailing list but a more considered and targeted approach so that people receive the offers they’re most likely to be interested in. Remember you might want to send marketing emails to these people during next year too, so don’t let Black Friday signify the day they blacklist you for spam email. 

2 ) Get serious about remarketing


Remember too, that people will be doing a lot of browsing in different stores. Quite likely, they’ll be putting things into shopping carts to compare prices and features. It’s not difficult to lose track of what sites you’ve been on and what offers you saw where.

We see so often how well-executed remarketing activities using abandoned cart emails or dynamic remarketing can retrieve ‘lost’ sales and turn browsing into new business. This is one time of year when people are much more likely to be browsing with a purpose and with a real intent to make a purchase. Make the most of this with abandoned cart emails and dynamic remarketing via the Google Display Network.

3 ) Capitalise on social


Naturally, you won’t want to rely on just email to get your message out. The run-up to Black Friday and Cyber Monday is also a peak period for social media activity. There are so many opportunities to capitalise on the work you’ve been doing all year to create a social media following. And so many opportunities too to get social networks to take on some of your marketing efforts cost-effectively or even for free!

Promoted posts, Facebook Ads or just using your Twitter feed to highlight offers and encourage people to tell the world about the great deal they just received from you. The opportunities are only limited by your powers of imagination. Plan how you are going to increase and target your social media activity and how you can make it easier for people to share information about your products and offers.

4 ) Remember the basicsexperience

In the flurry of activity, there’s a danger of overlooking a basic truth of all eCommerce - success and profitable business come from giving your customers a great experience.

People will still care about delivery terms and costs and they still want help and support with their purchases. They will want to know what your returns policy is and how this will work over the Christmas period. Now could be a good time to ask some critical questions about whether you are giving people the best experience possible in these areas. 

After all, a customer should be for life, not just for Christmas.