Black Friday and Cyber Monday have forever changed the end-of-year marketing and retail strategy landscapes. Further, Black Friday has gone global, and a clear majority (60%) of Amazon Prime members across several continents participated in Amazon Prime Day in 2020. Many European countries, in particular, are firmly on the Black Friday bandwagon, with 2021 Black Friday sales three-to-four times higher than the daily averages in France, Germany, Spain, and the UK.
In America, eCommerce trends surrounding Black Friday have risen vastly and steadily. 2020's Black Friday period saw eCommerce increase by 10% over 2019 figures, accounting for 514 million visits to online retail sites. An Insider Intelligence report stated that 2021 marked the strongest Black Friday in 20 years, hitting $1.221 trillion and seeing another 10% rise in eCommerce activity. It will be a challenging year to beat – but we'll discuss Black Friday eCommerce ideas to help you break your own Black Friday records by funding end-of-year sales strategies using highly adaptable financing methods.
The Origins of Black Friday – eCommerce Ideas Being Incubated
Black Friday established itself as the most popular shopping day back in 2003, and it's remained that way since. This was fueled mainly by stores opening extremely early and staying open much later, driving sales by offering the year's best deals all at once. As eCommerce steadily took market share away from brick-and-mortar outlets, especially in the 2010s, their nonlocal advantage has proven instrumental in another critical aspect: online retail never closes.
Cyber Monday, the Monday right after Thanksgiving, began in 2005 to help smaller retailers compete with the frenzy of Black Friday that big box retailers had previously maintained complete control over. From the beginning, Cyber Monday was the SMB torch held high against Black Friday's bonfire, and it's interesting to note the core eCommerce foundation in all of this.
Though physical storefronts recovered impressively in 2021 after the 2020 shutdowns (see the Insider Intelligence report linked above), the sequential 10% rise in eCommerce activity each year since 2019 shows few signs of slowing down. The only difference will likely be how eCommerce is marketed in 2022, as incredible advances in marketing analytics have thoroughly capitalized on the massive amount of consumer data collected over the years.
Such analytics and customer relations management tools have proven to be a worthy ROI for those able to find new financing streams. We'll show you how to put novel financing methods to use for your 2022 Black Friday eCommerce marketing and inventory management strategies.
Black Friday eCommerce Ideas Worth Implementing Now
The merging of highly automated eCommerce marketing and inventory management practices now makes it possible to zero in on the profitability of any given marketing campaign, product, or promotion with razor-sharp accuracy. Doing so has become essential as customers expect higher relevancy in their shopping experiences.
If you aren't yet leveraging such data-management tools, don't let funding stop you. Now more than ever, the solutions are both more advanced and affordable – along with it, so are the financing options. By acquiring greater financing for inventory and marketing in the run-up to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, you'll be packing a one-two wallop of online retail might that will keep your competitors on the ropes and that your customers will notice.
Ask yourself: if funding weren't an issue, which inventory, marketing, and supply-chain management systems would I put into place now? Even minor improvements in your Black Friday performance will result in substantial revenue windfalls, and the following are some ways you can best prepare. Later, we'll look at financing strategies tailored to eCommerce businesses that can immediately help you take advantage of these Black Friday eCommerce ideas.
Prepare Your Site for Major Traffic
First and foremost, you'll need to ensure that your site host can handle a radical spike in traffic in anticipation of up to 300% higher sales (over an average day). The last thing you want is for your site to buckle under the weight of increased traffic just when everyone's credit cards are out. Since most SMB online retailers do not consistently get massive online traffic as big box retailers do, many are not as well-prepared for the increase.
To make it memorable, consider the following simple equation going forward with your Black Friday planning:
- Develop a marketing strategy to drive higher traffic
- Ensure your site is equipped to handle this increase
Boosting your site's hosting plan and streamlining your websites to manage an influx of visitors are necessary when trying to drive greater traffic. Otherwise, your site could break at the worst possible moment.
If your hosting relationship is locked in and can't be upgraded, consider these other options to manage your traffic flow better:
- Offer early promotions, and advertise this as a selling point (e.g., "We're starting Cyber Monday early this year ~ and for the first 100 customers who purchase, we're including a free holiday gift!")
- Extend your promotions past the sales rush to catch any shoppers who missed out on the shopping window and outmatch competitors who may have kept the opportunity timeframe narrow.
- Include further great discounts with purchases, which are helpful at later dates – this could give a residual effect to spread Black Friday's sales at least somewhat more over the rest of the year.
- Start introducing frequent buyers and other programs in exchange for consensual first-party data acquisition, which will set you up for the new third-party unfriendly online marketing landscape set to take hold in 2023.
You'll also want to put as much effort as possible into streamlining your site for maximum ease of use – think like a restaurant owner who wants high table turnover on a Saturday night. Here are several ways you can do so:
- Make sure your site runs efficiently on desktop, mobile, and tablets – then scrutinize the checkout process across all devices.
- Reduce proxy- and geolocation blocking as much as possible, which clog your site access requests down as users continually refresh the page.
- Minimize the number of cookies your site runs on.
This last point will become more of the standard operating procedure once 2023's third-party cookiepocalypse arrives. Besides, do you need to track every shopper's move when you already know they want to make large purchases and then step out of line? What if maximizing metrics, as valuable as it can be, clogged your traffic to the point of slowing conversion rates or even contributing to site breakage and screen freezing at the worst possible time?
Don't forget that above all, current sales matter more than even the most highly leveraged future analytics. For the holiday buying rush and greater overall efficiency, shift to more trim site operation, first-party data collection, and lower site bandwidth requirements. It may also open the doors to higher sales from those running older technology, who are more likely to turn and leave when your site stalls their machine.
Lastly, spend time auditing your checkout process. This is the most critical point of your site and where bottlenecks are most likely to happen when your site needs to connect with outside networks, such as credit cards and other payment processors. Ensure you spend time tweaking your checkout for speed and user experience.
Here are a few tips to make your checkout faster (which again could be outsourced if you have the funds available to do so – it will more than pay off):
- Do a cost-benefit analysis on adapting to international sales, then establish international shipping and foreign currency acceptance (remember those global metrics cited above).
- Offer a wider choice of payment options (and test each one), including Venmo, American Express, Monero, and run gift cards through your credit card processor to see if customers can use them with ease.
- Enable automatic notifications for cart abandonments.
- Introduce faster account-creation methods.
Smoothing out your payment processing will also help reduce the number of contested charges or even chargebacks as your customers experience fewer payment processing errors. Beyond these technical tips, be sure to prepare your company staff too. Increase your customer- and tech-support staff during this period, or consider offering "on-call" arrangements with them.
Optimize Your Site for Search Engines and Contextual Relevancy
This is one task that has already been mastered countless times over, and you owe it to yourself to loosen up funding for a complete site SRP analysis and subsequent SEO facelift. The name of the SEO game in recent times is leveraging advanced tracking analytics for omnichannel presence – the ability to deliver precisely what the customer seems to want most, wherever or whenever they are.
Tracking your customer's activity can be delineated in two ways:
- Correlating activity across devices
- Correlating activity through different platforms
The former is useful for anticipating which customers may require more desktop or mobile-friendly applications, while the latter is helpful to know which platforms are more efficient.
Take a moment to consider that last point broadly, though. It may be tempting to consider actual sales generated almost entirely as the measure of a platform's bottom-line performance. Don't neglect the possibility that a seemingly under-performing sales platform may be serving to increase window shopping that does convert later on. This is one underutilized metric when correlating traffic across platforms and devices.
At the moment of checkout, your insights into an optimized site will also inform your efforts to optimize your inventory. Study shopper product display pages to see which products led to the greatest click-through and purchase rates during previous Black Friday periods. Use this information – as well as information you can gather from your competitors and insights you can obtain from your vendors – to plan something special for your audience.
What types of products have they shown the most interest in lately? How are certain new products doing? Can you obtain exclusivity rights for certain products (which will help from both an inventory and marketing perspective)? These are just some of the questions you should ask yourself as you determine the SEO and inventory strategies that will generally have the highest ripple effect on your total performance.
Related: What Is Revenue-Based Financing?
Funding Your Black Friday eCommerce Ideas Easily & Efficiently
While it may seem like a ton of extra work, assessing website functionality is one of the best investments of your time during the entire year as an online retailer. If it seems like implementing these changes is hamstrung by worries about cash on hand in the months running up to Black Friday, you owe it to yourself to look at the equally innovative financing methods available to eCommerce SMBs.
Onramp is loosening up crucial funding access for online business owners at a record pace. These funds are tied to easy repayment plans that conform perfectly to actual cash sales. With low interest rates that blow any legacy bank or credit offer out of the water, you can rest assured that new financing methods for eCommerce solutions are just as revolutionary as the Black Friday marketing and inventory management ideas discussed above. Get an offer today to see how much financing you could qualify for.