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Every year Black Friday Cyber Monday is expected to be different, but whether it will change for better or worse, nobody knows.
2020 went under the umbrella of the COVID-19 pandemic, which on one hand reduced the purchasing power of many people, but on the other accelerated e-commerce integration into the daily lives of many people, who previously never purchased anything online.
Taking a closer look at BFCM sales figures helps us understand better global commerce overall. Raw data, gathered from sales shows how big and small businesses adapted and how consumers responded to those changes. Studying that information carefully will tell us what awaits us at the 2021 Black Friday Cyber Monday event and beyond.
Let’s talk numbers
Here is what Shopify analytics gathered. Despite, or probably thanks to global lockdowns, Shopify merchants reported making 2020 the most successful BFCM event up to date. Between Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend merchants made up to $5.1 billion USD in sales figures, with a tremendous increase of 76% from 2.9 billion USD. Last year's season was also the longest - many merchants started their campaigns and promotions as early as the 2nd week of November and many chose to prolong it until December.
Big improvements for small and local businesses
Such a prolonged campaign had a huge payoff because not only businesses were willing to promote for longer periods, but also customers wanted to support said businesses. During Black Friday Cyber Monday 44-million holiday shoppers purchased from small businesses, which is an incredible 50% jump from last year.
However, it is also important to note that in most cases customers picked the fastest delivery methods with minimal delays, such as curbside pickup. Such delivery strategies must be prioritized by small local businesses in order to reinforce the willingness of customers to support them throughout the pandemic.
But is it worth the effort? According to numbers, it is. Shopify survey runs in the summer of 2020 reports that customers are more likely to check out with a 25% bigger cart when they opt for local pickup and delivery methods. Curbside pickup and local delivery are also great tools that help customers to avoid queues, which greatly increase and consume time on holidays and days leading to them.
E-marketing channels are important as always
Generators of online traffic remained quite stable despite the pandemic. Traditional workhorses of online marketing such as Email, Social Media, Direct and Search traffic perform quite well during Black Friday with a stable conversion rate of 4%. Those results could be further amplified by web-push notifications, Facebook Messenger, and SMS which perform remarkably well during a Black Friday weekend with a conversion rate up to a whopping rate of 7,2%.
But why are web push notifications so good? Web push notifications can be sent instantly to your subscriber’s device and convey a sense of urgency. Moreover, it is also a great tool for converting those, who wish to remain anonymous and don’t register for one reason or another into paying customers.
As an example, one Shopify Plus store owner launched a web push campaign during a Black Friday sale and they reported generating $4,000 in revenue just from one campaign. A well-thought-out web push notification strategy can also bring back old customers and convince them to shop.
Nudges are also a great tool to remind shoppers about wishlist items they haven’t purchased. It’s an easy way to increase sales since those buyers already wanted to purchase something from your store.
It is important to note, that while launching such a campaign make sure you start with notifications as soon as your sale starts, mid-sale, and make sure you press on FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) approximately 6 hours before your sale ends.
Such last chance notifications reinforce the sales pitch you are offering to drive your shoppers to make a purchase if they haven’t bought from you.
As we can see the main tools of online marketing are just as relevant, and profitable as they ever were.
Importance of customer support for converting potential customers
Conversation with a customer has always been a critical part of commerce. Despite the modern era, customers still want to build a personal connection with brands and they want to communicate.
Live chat app services, such as Shopify Ping report that businesses that responded to their potential customers within 5 minutes from their initial request are 70% more likely to convert that customer to a paying one. Shopify data indicates that the faster businesses respond to shoppers’ queries, the more likely they are to secure a successful sale.
However, reaching such speed can prove to be quite a challenge during holiday rush time. We recommend assessing the ticket volume your business received last year, which questions are asked most frequently, and what are the most common complaints. Make sure at peak times you have most of your agents available to be able to handle the ticket influx.
Cross-border selling is a cornerstone of modern commerce
Global pandemic created many challenges for shipping abroad but also demonstrated how vulnerable businesses become while limited to one market. Overcoming those obstacles by executing perfect shipping and logistics strategies proved to be the right way for many Shopify stores. 2020’s BFCM weekend Shopify report indicated that over 14% of all purchases were from countries that differed from the store owner’s.
While the complexity of international shipping and logistics is a whole challenge in itself from small businesses, succeeding in it is vital for our business growth. This is a whole topic in itself that we would definitely love to cover next time.
What does 2021 Black Friday Cyber Monday have in store for us?
These BFCM reports indicate that e-commerce shows no signs of downfall or shrinking, regardless of the challenges the global pandemic creates for everyone, and it’s only going to grow bigger and better for everyone. 2021 might just as easily break the sales record, as the 2020 Black Friday weekend did. So make sure to prepare your business to face those challenges head-on and get ahead of your competitors.