Black Friday and Cyber Monday Strategies


The term “Black Friday” first came into the American lexicon when it was used to describe a financial crisis in 1869. The first time the term was used to describe the busiest shopping day of the year was in 1961 by a Philadelphia public relations newsletter. The day has since involved from its inception; today, it has become an all-out shopping frenzy, which has resulted in multiple incidents of trampling and even death. Brick and mortar stores see an increasing need to keep up with Cyber Monday and the immediacy and convenience they offer, by having Black Friday sales begin on Thanksgiving Day. Black Friday has proven to be an exhausting ordeal as many fight to beat the crowds, stampedes, seemingly never-ending shopping lines just to get a deal.

In 2005, Cyber Monday was coined by Ellen Davis, who was attempting to gain more traffic to online stores after Black Friday. According to New York Times writer, Michael Barbaro, in 2005 the Internet was a resource for people who had done window shopping over the holiday weekend and then went online at work because of high Internet speeds to shop for the items they already knew they wanted. Ecommerce marketers would offer the same prices online in hopes of getting the shoppers who didn’t make their purchases over the weekend. Now, due to the ubiquitous nature of the Internet and the digital divide slowly dissolving, eCommerce and convenience will become the forerunner for shopping over the weekend following Thanksgiving. According to Forbes.com, Cyber Monday could beat out Black Friday sales this year. Knowing this and understanding the sheer amount of competition online can seriously discourage small online-businesses. However, there are strategies available that can make your sales during this time more successful.

During Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the single biggest challenge for an online marketer is oversaturation. Whether the marketing is being done in-house, via freelancers, boutique firms, or agencies; all sizes of clients will have to contend with market saturation. Those marketing SMB eCommerce stores need to be shrewd with their budgets and avoid casting too wide a net. SMB marketers should be working closely with their purchasing departments and executives to identify items with strong availability and concentrate solely on those products in paid text ads, product listing ads, and email based campaigns. The key here is to have a narrow and aggressive focus, and remember Black Friday is a volume game, selling out of your top items can crush your KPIs and revenues.

Marketers and store owners often get so wrapped up with the concept of acquiring additional traffic that the on-site user experience and usability often becomes a secondary focus. I’ve seen many campaigns that have captured droves of traffic and still ended up losers because of dismal checkout rates, tiny item per transaction rates, and unmanageable bounce rates. Making sure from a UX and network infrastructure perspective that the store(s) are prepared for the traffic a successful campaign can bring may not be a traditional role for a marketer, but it’s your responsibility to be diligent and have clear projections laid out so the rest of the team can be prepared.

Some last minute optimizations for sales is identifying groups of highly engaged users and doing segmented email marketing to them with a fairly aggressive frequency. Optimizing the email messages for your most likely buyers may allow you to capture additional revenues with special discounts and sales, as well as extended the Black Friday sales and traffic spike over the entire weekend into Cyber Monday. As you approach the week of Black Friday companies should utilize secondary and tertiary contingency plans for both product availability and networking issues. Marketers need to be able to work in real time to both monitor live-traffic and KPIs on the site, but to adjust and pause campaigns based on demand.

The ultimate last minute optimization is your cart abandonment marketing, which is one of the strongest things you can do ultimately to capture indecisive shoppers. Crank-up the sensitivity of the automated mail triggers for these few days . If you have the member information or contact email for someone with products in their cart and over 15-30 minutes of inactivity you should be emailing them, and sending app notifications.


Ashish Magar

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