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Don't Make These Black Friday Mistakes

bfcm-mistakes-1US online holiday spending topped $200 billion for the first time in 2021.

And you definitely want to grab a piece of that pie for your online store. But if you don’t have a strategy, you're sure to lose out on potential sales.

So the sooner the better when it comes to  planning and strategizing for what could be your biggest sales day of the year: Black Friday.

At Privy, we’ve seen what works and what doesn’t work for our customers on Black Friday. These are the mistakes you don’t want to make this year.

Mistake #1: Sleeping on the power of a text campaign

During the 2021 holiday season, more than 40% of online sales happened on smartphones. If you’re not sending out text messages leading up to and during Black Friday, then you’re failing to reach your customers on a device that’s already in their hands when they’re shopping. 

With texts, you’re able to notify your audience about sales, flash sales, abandoned carts, when products are low on stock, and so much more. Plus, SMS messages have a much greater open rate than emails – up to three times higher. When you’re trying to compete with other retailers on the busiest shopping day of the year, texting is a vital part of your marketing plan.

Mistake #2: Skipping email in favor of SMS

While texts are important, don’t stop sending out emails during this time, too. In fact, emails and SMS messaging combined can provide up to a 250% increase in conversion rates. 

But don’t just send emails on the day of. Send them out well before Black Friday to inform your customers of your upcoming sales so they can plan ahead. And on Black Friday, send out discount codes, coupons, and out-of-stock alerts.

Bonus tip: Schedule your emails ahead of time so that you’re not worrying about them while you’re busy checking orders and monitoring other time-sensitive issues over Black Friday weekend.

Mistake #3: Ignoring abandoned carts

Your audience will be busy on Black Friday, too. They may get distracted by another store’s sale and click over to that page, forgetting that they’ve put items in their cart. If you don’t have cart abandonment emails set up, that’s a lost sale for you. Up to 45% of shoppers will open an email about an abandoned cart, and 20% of those carts could be recovered if you send that email in enough time. 

With an ecommerce marketing platform like Privy, you can automate those emails to go out to customers who abandon their carts. You can also send out SMS messages about those carts if a shopper signed up to receive texts from you.

Wicked Wicks Candle abandoned cart text exampleMistake #4: Charging for shipping

According to FinancesOnline, 49% of Black Friday shoppers see free shipping as a decision-making factor. If you’re not offering that on your store’s site, it could affect your total sales this year. 

For smaller businesses, it may make more sense to offer free shipping on orders up to a certain amount. Offer it when the order reaches $50 in value, for example. Make it more enticing with a free shipping bar at the top of your site that tells the customer how far they are from reaching that free shipping incentive. This can help increase your average order value, too.

Wicked Wicks Candle free shipping bar example

Mistake #5: Treating your entire audience the same way

If you’re not segmenting your audience and sending different emails or SMS messages to each of those segments, you’re not marketing the right way. Everyone in your audience shops differently, so treating everyone in your audience the same way may not work. 

If you have VIP and loyalty programs, then those customers should receive early access to your Black Friday sales. These are your most lucrative customers. In one case study, loyalty customers brought in 665% more monthly revenue than other shoppers. Consider rewarding them on this day, and it will pay off all year long. 

A Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) option could also increase your average order value. For customers who don’t have the ability to buy big-ticket items or pay for larger orders up front, this option gives them more flexibility to spend on Black Friday. BNPL is also an option customers have come to expect from retailers. The use of BNPL programs has increased almost 500% since 2019, according to Adobe.

Mistake #6: Sending out the wrong offer

Mistakes happen. Especially if you’re rushing and make a costly error like sending out the VIP offer to your entire customer base. 

For example, if your VIPs expect a deep discount, but you accidentally send that offer to everyone, you’ll have people outside that group who order with that discount, too. And that’s lost money that you may not recoup in future sales. You also risk losing your loyal customers who didn’t get the perks they were promised in your VIP program.

If you send out an incorrect offer with a typo, like an invalid discount code, then you’re likely going to lose sales as people get frustrated and move on to an offer that actually works. 

You’ll then have to send out another email or text with the right code, and what happens if customers don’t see it? Instead, create your emails and texts early. Test the codes before you send them out to make sure they work, and set up your audiences well before the craziness of Black Friday takes over. 

Mistake #7: Failing to collect emails and phone numbers

Imagine this scenario: a customer visits your site, adds $200 worth of product to their cart, then leaves. If you didn’t collect their email or phone number, then you just lost that $200 sale. In order to reach them with a cart abandonment campaign, you have to collect their email and phone number when they get to your site.

Do this with a welcome popup that offers a certain discount in exchange for their information. You can set up an automated process to send them a welcome email with their discount code once they submit the form. 

At Privy, we’ve seen merchants earn an average revenue of $33 per email they send. That’s a solid return on your investment right there. Need tips on creating a welcome email? Check out our Masterclass video here.

Mistake #8: Ignoring cross-sell and upsell opportunities

Black Friday is a great time to both use both cross-sell and upsell techniques to increase the amount shoppers spend with your business. 

Cross-selling gives you a chance to recommend related products, such as accessories or products other customers added to their carts.

Upselling showcases a more expensive product, such as a premium version, limited-edition release, or larger size. 

Either way, both of these tactics can help increase that average order value and bring in more revenue. Almost half of online shoppers said they bought a product after seeing it recommended to them. Customize your cross-sell popups now and identify any possibilities for upselling so that those will be ready to launch during your Black Friday sales.

Mistake #9: Skipping promotions for Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday

Your marketing doesn’t end after Black Friday. If you’re not promoting sales for Cyber Monday, then you’re not capitalizing on the biggest shopping day of the holiday season. In 2020, Cyber Monday saw more sales than Black Friday – $10.84 billion compared to $9.03 billion – according to Business Insider. 

Traditionally, Black Friday is for larger, big-ticket items and shopping in-person, and Cyber Monday is for online shopping, when customers expect to see even better deals online. As an online ecommerce retailer, Cyber Monday is when you want to shine. 

The next day, Giving Tuesday, provides you with an opportunity to show customers that you care and what causes your business supports. You can ask customers to donate, or donate a certain percentage of profits a charity that aligns with your brand. Customers like to see a business practicing corporate social responsibility.

Elevate your Black Friday marketing this year

Earning money on Black Friday is easy when you have the right tools and tricks up your sleeve.

When you’re able to automate emails, SMS messages, popups, and more, you can plan ahead and focus on other tasks while Black Friday is going on, like answering customer questions and giving them support.

Privy can help you get there. Start your free trial today and start exploring ways to improve your holiday sales.

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Written by Lauren Hall

Lauren is a Brand Marketing Associate at Privy. She's the brains behind all things content. When she's offline, she's obsessing over her Bernedoodle pup, Monster, and plotting ways to being a full-time Vermonter ASAP.

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