Get more sales on Black Friday online – now stores are closed for lockdown

BY Suzanna Chaplin

In 2019, 77% of Black Friday sales took place online (PWC) but only 51% of the presale research. With another lockdown starting, retailers only have their online storefront this year and the only ‘free’ channel they have to communicate is via their CRM but how do you cut through the noise, win new customers and make sure your advertising costs don’t skyrocket, as 100s of other brands compete for the same eyes.

At esbconnect, we are experts in customer acquisition and CRM, working with brands big and small, including Topshop, Clarks and Debenhams. If you need help this festive period reaching new customers and keeping them, we can help you. Speak to our team today on
- By Suzanna Chaplin, CEO

a) Don’t rely on Black Friday

There were 78% more emails sent on Black Friday last year and many people are predicting social media costs to skyrocket on the day but if you planning to spend your marketing budget on Black Friday, have you already missed the boat?

The fight for the inbox on Black Friday may cause your normal delivery and open rates to fall with more brands coming online and sending on that day, so ensure you are planning sends earlier in the month to promote your activity and don’t send on the hour.

Our platform has worked with over 100 retail brands across this period over the last few years and has sent over 100m emails on their behalf, using the data collected from this we have seen the week preceding Black Friday is now driving a better engagement rate and conversion rate than Black Friday itself. Open rates on the day of Black Friday have typically been 40% lower than the week preceding. The week following October payday and the first Monday in December drove some of the best conversions rates of Q4.

With consumers facing longer delivery periods and more conscious of spending this year, use this year to run longer promotions or use the build-up to collect email data, signing consumers up to exclusive access or early access to your Black Friday deals.

b) If you have a credit offer, promote it

Historically, expensive items are purchased on Black Friday with Computing and Technology being the most popular, followed by health & beauty and luxury fashion. But if you want to avoid your audience waiting to payday and overwhelming your site and your delivery services, consider running your offer early with credit integral.
Remember, tell the customer the offer won’t improve on Black Friday.

c) Lock customers in with unlimited free delivery

Getting goods delivered is going to be hard this Christmas and services like Prime are going to keep customers coming back. If you can afford it, offer consumers unlimited delivery for a low price or as your Black Friday deal, offer them free delivery for the next 12 months – might be better than a one-off 20% off discount?

d) Social media isn’t your only choice

Think outside the box when it comes to promoting your offer. With more brands competing for consumer’s eyeballs, CPM and CPCs are forecasted to skyrocket on social channels. Look at other ways to promote your offer.
Email acquisition drove an average CTR of 10% in retail last year.

An email sent + SMS send generated a 60% better conversion rate than just doing a single email to your database.

And don’t forget direct mail is seeing a resurgence with everyone stuck indoors – can you slip offers into the packages you are sending out already or even partner up with another brand to place inserts in their packaging.

e) What offer to run?

After analyzing over 100m retail emails sent last year, what subject lines drove the highest open and CTRs?

Surprisingly not the biggest discount, in fact, subject lines where the discount was greater than 40% engagement reduced.

Offers which promoted ‘Exclusives’ or ‘ Events’ drove some of the best engagement. In the beauty sector, basket builders worked and ‘free products’ worked where they offered full-size products on larger spend e.g. Spend £50 and get a free full-size hand cream versus get a free sample with every purchase.

In summary…

  • Consider using November to build your CRM database and get people to sign up early to BF.
  • Run promotions across the month but also consider Monday, December 7th.
  • Remember social costs are likely to be high over this month, so look at other channels.
  • Don’t leave all your emails to BF day, as you may not inbox due to the volume of email being sent that day
  • Lock people in with ‘unlimited delivery’ offers.
  • Offer credit, so people don’t buy on payday.
  • Large discounts are not the only options.
  • Think about how you can use click and collect to move between the online and offline world.

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