eCommerce Webinar

Webinar: Prepping Your eCommerce Store for Black Friday & Cyber Monday

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the busiest days of the year for eCommerce. This webinar gives tips on how to get prepared.

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Get prepared for your most successful BFCM ever. In this webinar, we’ll share some tips for making the most of the world’s busiest eCommerce days.

Here are the slides from the presentation.


Machine Transcript – Prepping Your eCommerce Store for Black Friday & Cyber Monday

Brian Krogsgard  00:02

Hello, and welcome to another Commerce Journey webinar. My name is Brian Krogsgard. And I’ve got Karen Johnson on the line. Hey, Karen.

Karen Johnson  00:11

Hey, Brian,

Brian Krogsgard  00:12

we are talking about an exciting topic in this webinar today hope everybody’s here to enjoy it is getting prepared for Black Friday, and Cyber Monday is the most popular shopping period of the entire year it can make your whole year Karen, are you excited to talk about this as I am?

Karen Johnson  00:27

I really am, it is the biggest shopping day of the year.

Brian Krogsgard  00:34

Yeah, it’s fascinating. You know, some stores do as much as 80% of their revenue, just in like that three to four day period. But preparing for that time takes a lot longer than the just three days. Some people some stores, they prepare for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, six months or more in advance. Some some stores even have specialists that do this all year preparing for the season, because it’s such a big deal. So what we’re going to do today is we’re going to go over some tips, some things that we think will help you better prepare for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. And before we get to that, though, I want to let you know that this and all of our webinars are brought to you by GoDaddy Pro, they are an excellent partner, if you haven’t gotten started with your eCommerce store, or if you’re early in the game, go to slash go dash webinar. And it’s a special deal to get three months of GoDaddy Pro hosting for your eCommerce site. It includes a ton of amazing extensions, a domain name, and a bunch of other cool stuff. You’re basically bootstrapping your entire site for three months. And it’s only $1. There’s no better deal on the entire web. So thanks to GoDaddy Pro for being our partner on that and all pieces of content that we create at Commerce Journey. Now, let’s get to it. I said earlier, the better there is no under estimating that. And what do you say in terms of, you know, kind of your typical time? What about as a shopper Karen, how when do you start your holiday shopping? Are you one of those early birds that does it in like August and September?

Karen Johnson  02:19

Um, yes, but I like to wait for the cyber deals.

Brian Krogsgard  02:26

Yeah, so there’s, there’s some stuff you might start paying attention. You know, before, before Black Friday, Cyber Monday come around, but you’re really preparing as a shopper to take advantage of the deals when they show up. So there’s a couple of things to remember when you’re you’re planning your year for Black Friday, Cyber Monday. One is to know your audience is motivated to buy me, Karen, you, we’re all going out to buy that stuff for the holidays. Or even if it’s not for the holidays, you know, a lot of stuff does really well, during that season purely because it you know the deals are coming. So even if it’s like professional expenses or things that aren’t gifts, you just know the deals are coming. So you’re preparing to be a buyer at that time. So know that your auto audience is motivated, your audience is looking for the deals, so we need to put the deals right in front of them, it’s very important so that they actually know we have a great deal for them, and that we’re participating in this biggest sale season of the year. Also, there’s a big audience that hasn’t found you. So we’re going to talk about ways to go and actually find them. And let them know that you’re there. And like I said before, your sales can make up 60 to 80% of your entire year and this one to two weeks span. You know, a lot of people will talk about this, but a lot of people get started on maybe the Monday before Black Friday. So you could you could start your sale early and get a jump. And this general period, though, can make up a significant part of your yearly sales. And we’re going to want to plan accordingly. First, we want to plan our discounts. All of this is about you know, incentivizing your customers with big, awesome discounts. So we want to plan those discounts and make them worthwhile. We want to make dynamic coupons for our existing list. We talked in a previous webinar about setting up automated emails, our favorite automated email platforms like Jilt, enable dynamic coupons so that when you email your list, it’ll create a custom coupon per email subscriber. And what’s great about that is actually that you can make a coupon that is not generic. So for certain email subscribers, you might actually be able to give a more incentivized coupon so you could do a promotion. Let’s use an example here, Karen that says, hey, here’s 20% off Black Friday, Cyber Monday, just use BFCM. On Checkout, everybody gets 20% off. That’s what it says. But you could say on your website, or subscribe to our list for a special coupon and then when you subscribe to the list It automatically sends you an email automation that gives you 35% off instead of 20% off. Karen, would you sign up for that deal?

Karen Johnson  05:07

Oh for sure

Brian Krogsgard  05:08

Of course you would, because you get another 15% off. So you can make dynamic coupons targeted specifically to your list. And you’re building your email list at the same time you’re promoting at this biggest time of the year. So, make coupons for your list, make coupons for your website visitors, you can do this in a couple of ways for your website, visitors using a tool like OptinMonster, which we’ve talked about, so a pop up type of tool, or like a slide and discount, you can put special discounts on your checkout, you can put special discounts on certain products, if you want to have a very product specific discount, maybe you have a greater profit margin on your bicycles than you do for your roller skates. And you want to encourage someone to make the leap for the bicycle rather than the roller skates on your on your eCommerce store. So you can put a special coupon that’s like hey, buy this and get a little, you know, a little extra bonus. Next week, I’m going to skip the websites and blogs for a second because I want to come back to this VIP coupons for your best customers. Another thing you can do an automated email software is you can say find my customers that have spent more than X dollars in their lifetime on my store. So someone sent say they’ve spent $500 with you before? Well, you can send them a custom email that they’re more likely to spend another $500 with you then a brand new customer. So you go to them. And you say, hey, anybody who spent more than 500 bucks, let’s email them you send a special message. Did you know that you’re a VIP for, you know, Karen’s widgets incorporated? And they say no, I didn’t know that. We say Yes, you are. And here’s an extra 10% off. Or here’s a fun one Karen’s like, take our roller skates and bicycles thing. A lot of times your product line may have an accessory, right? Well, what you could do is say, buy a bicycle, get a free helmet, you know, you could do 100% off the free accessory that is trivial relative to your primary products price. And that’s the type of thing that you can do for VIP. All right, next, by x, get one type of coupon. So this is a little bit of a different type of promotion. But it’s still really handy. So you can say buy any two products or any three products and get a free accessory or buy $100 worth and get $20 off. That’s another way of essentially offering a $20 coupon, but you’re also creating a $100 minimum on their spin. So you’re not giving them 20% off on a $20 product, you’re pushing them up to that next level of purchase purchasing requirement to get them to spend, get them excited, and get them to participate at a higher level on your store. Next in terms of making these effective coupons for Black Friday, Cyber Monday make it compelling. And, Karen, how do you know if a coupon is compelling? Does it just kind of hit you in the face? Or what makes a coupon compelling to you?

Karen Johnson  08:02

Something that I’ve never seen the whole year round? I mean, I find this discounts are just amazing.

Brian Krogsgard  08:08

Yeah, okay. You just told me about year round, you remind me Do y’all have Bed Bath and Beyond where you live? Or do you? Have you ever heard of the store?

Karen Johnson  08:17


Brian Krogsgard  08:18

Okay, so you’re in, you’re in South Africa, I’m in the United States, Bed Bath and Beyond is a home goods store. That’s all over the United States. And there’s nothing wrong with it great store. But they have drilled the fact that you get mailed these 20% off coupons all the time, all year, if I don’t get 20% off at Bed Bath and Beyond like, I feel like I got ripped off because I did it’s always available. So now for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, if that’s my standard coupon, if all I get is 20% off, I’m not incentivized to buy from there whatsoever. So you need to make it compelling, you need to make it beyond whatever the expectation is. Now, some stores, they just don’t offer coupons all year. So people know like this is the only time you can get a discount on keratins widgets Incorporated. So a 10% off coupon may be all you need to incentivize your customers because you are just not the type of store that does sales. If you’re the type of store that has a lot of a lot of coupons for various interactions that the customer may have. Maybe you have direct mail campaigns, maybe you have all this stuff, they kind of expect 10 20% off something like that is common. Well, you need to up your game for Black Friday, Cyber Monday because you are spending this time you’re spending this energy and you need to compel them to want to go the extra mile. So you’re gonna have to pony up for that coupon for Black Friday, Cyber Monday. Because you know what? every store in the world is putting sales up and you’re still competing with every store in the world, and their own marketing strategies that are going right up against yours. Okay, one more thing to talk about effective coupons. You can make special coupons for websites and blogs that curate deals. Sometimes people even have affiliate campaigns to where the website or blog hat gets like a little kickback. So this is really common and software where I come from, maybe the Black Friday, Cyber Monday deal is 30% off. But at say I’m the blogger, I will put the coupon in there. Because I also get a 10% cut of the sale if someone uses my link to do it. So if you have an affiliate program that’s useful, but also even if you don’t have an affiliate program, some bloggers and people, they’re just putting together great deals for their, you know, for their subscribers. So you might give them a custom one, it makes them feel like elite, right? So if, let’s say this is Cory’s, blog, Cory’s blog is special. So I’m saying, you know, Cory, bikes is my coupon. So if my bike shop has a special coupon, just for Cory’s blog, then Cory might just be more willing to promote it. And I’m also made to be, I might be able to give him an extra 5% off for his blog readers, because they use his coupon. And that people are more incentivized to use that too. So you can do things like that, in almost every industry has kind of this core group of websites that are just really into the what they do. And we’ll help you kind of get situated there. Karen, are you ready to buy with all these incentivize coupons? Awesome. So we talked about showing these on the website. But really the the primary way you’ll get to people get to your people is through email. This is through your existing list. And then those who you bring into your list, every webinar we talked about, we’re talking about email, because that is the number one way to communicate with your existing customers. And we want to do that as best as we can. Your list will absolutely be your moneymaker. However, if your list is cold, meaning you haven’t emailed them enough, then if you just bombard them right away at Black Friday, Cyber Monday, they might be turned off a little bit by that and they just kind of discard it. Warm up your email list before you get to Black Friday, Cyber Monday, a month ahead two months ahead. If you’ve not been a steady email writer, first of all, shame on you. Because that’s a great revenue stream for your website year round. But you really need to prepare them for Black Friday, Cyber Monday you need to warm them up, get them more incentivize, get them thinking about opening your email, it could be about product launches, it could be about new variations on your existing products. It could be about a ton of things it could be maybe you’re offering a free shipping deal or you know something like that. It could still be a deal. But you’re just reminding them, Hey, I’m here. I’m going to be in your inbox a little bit and prepare for Black Friday, Cyber Monday. The way you warm them up could even be Black Friday, Cyber Monday is coming. And essentially you’re postponing them from you know, you’re creating anticipation you’re saying don’t buy yet because you’re about to get an amazing deal. are you cutting into your current revenue? Yes, but you’re also getting them excited about how good of a deal they’re going to get when Black Friday, Cyber Monday comes around.

Brian Krogsgard  13:06

Next, don’t forget about your cart abandonment sequences. This is during Black Friday, Cyber Monday, especially. A lot of people got a lot of stuff going on. Karen, how many people do you shop for in any given year? When you’re in doing holiday shopping?

Karen Johnson  13:22

um just about three of us. I have a small family.

Brian Krogsgard  13:26

I feel like you’re on the low end of that spectrum. Okay, well, depending on who you are, I know people that shop for like 1015 to 20 different people in their lives. You know, if you’ve got someone shopping for their friends and their parents and their kids and their maybe they’ve got grandkids or their cousins, it depends on who it is and who the what the holiday is. But some people are shopping for a lot of different people. And they could be going through checkout. And they’re like buying presents for three or four or five different people. And you’re you just need to remind them, hey, you started checking out over here, but you forgot to check out the rest of the way for those new roller skates that you got for your niece. If your cart abandonment email, email sequences there, collect that email early. And then make sure you send them reminders in your cart abandonment sequence. Also, send the first one and say Hey, did you forget to check out send the second one if they don’t say Hey, remember you meant to check out and here’s another 5% off the deal you already had just in case you couldn’t. If they still don’t do it, Hey, get a free accessory when you actually complete this purchase. So you create escalating incentives for them in your abandoned cart or cart abandonment email sequence and that’s going to help encourage them to cross the finish line. Because the number one thing you want for them to do is cross the finish line. Not only are you getting them to be your customer, you’re also paving the way for them to be your customer in the future. By Friday, Cyber Monday. You make a lot of money. Based on the sales you get, you get a lot of new customers, but you’re also increasing your base for future sales, future email incentives and all that good stuff. Next, help your email subscribers actually know where to go. Okay, what do I mean by this right? Well, you could have something very specific that you want to talk to them about. Maybe it’s a product landing page, right, or maybe it’s a blog post that you want to explain, you know the details behind something, or maybe you have a product launch or something like that going on. Don’t send them just to your homepage, send them somewhere specific based on what you think they’ll want to do. If you just send them to your homepage, then they’re just going to get a splash of the same kind of promotions or instant, you know, marketing material that you’re putting in the email itself. Within the email, say, go here for Karen’s roller skates go here for Karen’s bicycles go here for this awesome accessory. Now you’re sending them straight to the products, they’re one step closer to checkout. All right, next, we’re going to get social Karen. Karen does a ton of social media stuff for Cory and I, with Commerce Journey and our other projects. Karen, you’re like the social butterfly around here? Right? So what do you what are some of your tips in terms of how to relate to a social audience? What do you think of just top of mind?

Karen Johnson  16:20

I think mostly treat them like they’re your friends. I mean, try to get personal and just give them information that’s going to be useful to them as well. Try think what are their pain point. Try to help them.

Brian Krogsgard  16:37

Yeah, absolutely. That’s exactly where I was hoping you would go. And you’re totally right. Be personal, don’t just blast them with, you know, all caps, you know, nothing but deal, relate to them try to get in their, their state of mind for what they might be looking for. And also someone might be vetting you through your social media, right. They don’t know if Karen’s, you know, roller skates or bikes are exactly right for them. So they might visit your Facebook page and see like, what kind of activity is going on there? Is this for real? Is this person posting? Or who’s who’s the owner of this? Maybe I want to see like, Is it a real person? Or is this just like a, you know, a random on identifiable drop shipping campaign? You know, like, Who knows? So be personal and be visible on your social media channels, because people might scope you out? Almost like if you’re hiring some for somebody and you like, look at their LinkedIn page, you know, like, you’re like, Hey, what are their bonafides? What are their credentials here, Can I check, check out what they’ve got going on, your social campaigns are going to enable that. Also, if you’ve been working on your social all year, it’s just another way to put the same types of links or promotions, on your social media that you do in your email. Some people might follow you on Twitter, but they’re not in your email list, that gives you another avenue to reach that person. All right. Now, logistics, we says 60 to 80% of some store sales come from Black Friday, Cyber Monday. That’s exciting. Unless you’re a logistics person, and you’re thinking that’s terrifying. I have to have inventory, I have to fulfill these orders, I have to have warehousing space, I have to have the money up front to pay for all this stuff. Because, you know, you got to put all that money out there to get the product and get everything ready and hire the help. And you don’t get the money until people actually purchase. So it can be it can be really a struggle. So there’s a few things to consider. You need to plan for your inventory, you need to potentially hire help. There’s, from a monetary perspective, maybe you don’t have the cash to cover this, but you do have a certain anticipated return. There’s actually I don’t have this in the thing, this is a good little bonus. There are some programs through merchant processors like stripe and PayPal, and especially around this time of year, but it really year round. They know your order flow like they know how much money you make in a year. And they will actually offer a line of credit to help you essentially pay for some of these expenses as you go along. So let’s say if your store makes $100,000 Well, PayPal or Stripe or your merchant processor, if you go to their dashboard, they might offer you like a $10,000 line of credit that you could tap into at this time to essentially help build up your inventory preparing for Black Friday, Cyber Monday. Now remember, you’re going to be responsible for repaying that. It’s just like any other loan. what they might do, though, is actually what they absolutely do is they allow you to pay it back through your sales. So they’ll take a percentage of the sales and then they’ll build in the interest that you know maybe like 567 8% whatever you qualify for. So you may owe the you will owe the interest, but they’ll allow you to pay it back through your sales themselves. So if you tap into this line of credit, you might be able to fund more product than you anticipated. And then you can pay it back through the sales themselves. Of course, there are risks, I can’t be your financial advisor to tell you whether this is the right thing to do. But if you need the, if you need the funds to help supply for your Black Friday, Cyber Monday promotions, then that can be really helpful. Next is hiring help. know if you normally sell, you know, 10 pairs of roller skates in a week? Well, Karen, you can you can handle, you know, shipping 10 sets of roller skates. Right. Karen, what are you gonna do if you sell 100 sets of roller skates on Black Friday?

Brian Krogsgard  20:40

I was just thinking that. Really? I mean, I think that just tells you the highs and the lows.

Brian Krogsgard  20:50

Yeah, you got to think big, especially, you know, I think of like roller skates or bicycles, things like that. If you have kind of a retail-driven product, your percentage of sales in that period is probably going to be even higher than most and try to plan how can you be elastic? So how can you say, Okay, here’s definitely one person that’s going to be able to help me fulfill these orders. But you know, what, if it becomes even crazier than I think, here’s to other people that I might be able to tap into to get them to help me out. A lot of people are looking for temporary work in the holidays, and around this time. Just plan ahead and think how you’re going to be able to structure that in terms of finding the right people, how you’re gonna train them, how you’re where you’re gonna put them? Like, are you doing your eCommerce business out of your home? Or do you have a storage unit or a warehouse or something like that, where you keep inventory? How are we going to structure that kind of stuff? And then how are you going to work on it financially, because again, you’re you know, the time differential between when you have money in your hands. And when you actually have to pay people, it might get a little tricky. So just try to plan that ahead of time. Finally, in terms of it being a busy time and the logistics, you want to be able to follow up with your customers, you want to ask them for reviews, you want to make sure they’re happy, you want to let them know that hey, you’re not just here during the holidays, you’re here you’re around. Some of that you may actually do manually caring if you sold like 10 sets of roller skates to one customer. Maybe they’re a wholesale buyer. Maybe you actually follow up with them manually, right?

Karen Johnson  22:23

Yeah, but I think those automations will come in handy. And start getting them ready now.

Brian Krogsgard  22:28

Yeah, they absolutely will. And that’s the trick we’re coming with there is even these follow ups can be through automated email sequences, but you need to plan them ahead of time. Because if you don’t set up your automations, before this busy time starts, well, then you’re going to have to remember to go do manual campaigns to thank all those people later. And to follow up with them and ask them for reviews and things like that. What you want to do is set up an automated campaign that say, let’s say seven days after they’ve ordered, right, that’s probably enough time to have received their shipment. Another trick there, though, what is the time between then and when they actually give this gift if you think of it as something that’s going to be gifted to someone else. So you may want to set one up that’s automated. That’s like 60 or 70 days down the road? Because it’s after the holidays, and you say, hey, how is this product treated you? Now will you consider review? Did you send this to a loved one? What do they think about it, share a picture on Twitter of them riding their new bicycle and tag us, you know, like you can do some really cool and clever things, following up with those customers. And the best part about that the later ones, your busiest stuff, you’ve already kind of calmed down. So even if you’re a little late to get into that you can structure that to go out a little later. But that would be a really fun way to get more traction. Get the you know, get more chatter about what you’re what you’re providing out there. Preparing for the next year of eCommerce, because Cyber Monday Black Friday, Cyber Monday. They can be a flywheel effect on the rest of your year as well. It doesn’t have to just be about Black Friday and Cyber Monday. All right, we got one more thing for folks, Karen. It’s our bonus idea for the day. This is a little tricky, but depending on what your story is considered exclusive product just for Black Friday, Cyber Monday. Let’s stick with our roller skates and bicycles. What if it’s a custom color roller skate? What if it’s a you know? Never else any other time in the year? Can you ever get highlighter yellow roller skates from Karen’s shop. But you know what? These highlighter yellow roller skates are so cool. And you better buy them during this one week period or else they’re all gone. We only have 100 pairs of highlighter yellow roller skates. And you know what the trick is? If you don’t sell them all, you can keep them on your store to sell them later. But it’s just creating a extra little bit of what I call FOMO. You know that term Karen? The fear of missing out yes You’re creating an extra little bit of FOMO that if they don’t act now, they will not get this super custom cool highlighter yellow roller skate, or whatever else is custom, it doesn’t have to be significant, right? It can just be something that you normally sell, but it’s a different color. Alternatively, you can go out and launch something brand new, maybe you’ve never carried skateboards before. But now you do, you can certainly do it. But just a little tweak in your product line, that’s a special thing for the season could go a long way in terms of helping entice email opens and feeling exclusive to your customers, especially your repeat customers who may want to buy a new from you. They already know it’s good product. But now Hey, they’re getting it in a whole different color, a whole different iteration. Or maybe it’s like the advanced version that has like something else special, it’s like a little souped up from what their prior one does. Stuff like that goes a really long way. I think we got it, Karen. So unless there’s any questions or answers, or any, any questions in the chat, we will call that a day and and move on next time. Karen, do you have anything you wanted to ask? Did I miss anything?

Karen Johnson  26:10

Um, I wondered, do you know, what sort of percentage it would be more your sale to be more than the rest of the year – the percentage increase?

Brian Krogsgard  26:22

Do I do I know what percentage they would increase? Hmm. Um, I’ve had some, my sales are primarily had been primarily for digital products. And I’ve noticed like, maybe like 100% increase relative to like a normal week. That’s not actually that’s not actually a lot though, compared to some people that I know who do more like firm products, whether it’s a downloadable product, like software, or a physical product. So I’ve heard. So if you talk about 60 to 80% of your whole year that you might sell in that period. That could mean as much as 10 times your normal order flow. And I’ve actually seen this in a lot of stores, especially relevant stores for things like gift giving. I know people who have sold 10 times if they say they normally sell like, you know, 10 widgets in a week, they might sell 100 or more just on Black Friday, Cyber Monday, that range of time. So it can really be significant and you need to plan for it. And the best time to plan for it is now months ahead of Black Friday, Cyber Monday. Because if you think about all the work and energy that has to go into doing so if you’re too late, you know, if you’re just getting going and it’s like early November, you might be behind the eight ball and logistically you just might not be prepared. We want you to be prepared. I hope this has helped you be prepared. Because this can really make your whole year by getting ready for Black Friday, Cyber Monday. well in advance. You know, we put at the top of our emails, how many days until Black Friday, Cyber Monday because we want our subscribers to know it’s coming up, you can subscribe to our email list at Commerce We appreciate you if you do that. And also check out our friends at GoDaddy slash go dash webinar. They are also going to get you super hooked up to make sure you’re fully prepared. Thanks for joining us today. Go to for all of your eCommerce needs. We’ll see you next time. Thanks Karen.

Karen Johnson  28:31

Thanks Brian.

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