The Ultimate eCommerce Black Friday: Generate 50% of Your Annual Revenue in Q4 Alone

Missing out on this year's Black Friday Cyber Monday should be every eCommerce business owner's deadly sin.


We’re expecting holiday sales to soar by 7-9% compared to 2020 - and you’re gonna dive into this unprepared?


No, not on Kandy’s watch.


We tested offers, perfected our process, tested the creatives, and now - we’re presenting everything to you.


This year’s Black Friday will be slightly different and we want you to be ready.


We’re also facing a worldwide supply chain crisis.


That’s why Amazon already launched their first Black Friday deals on… October 4th? Oh dear.


You might already be a bit late in the game. But we’ve got your back.


Here at Kandy we're managing 15+ full-stack eCommerce brands for this Black Friday.


We're running a variety of established eCommerce businesses with a big scope of different revenue goals for Q4, and we’re prepared for every outcome.


We’re even taking some extra time to write this so...

We know a thing or two on making the most out of Black Friday & Cyber Monday for your eCommerce brand.


Here’s a list of eCommerce marketing strategies we’re focusing on and going to cover:

  • Black Friday planning August - start the plan or take a break?

  • Hyping up the team

  • The eCommerce Owner & the Marketing Team - Managing Expectations and Communication

  • Projecting Your eCommerce Black Friday Q4 Sales Numbers

  • Choosing the Right Product Offers for Black Friday

  • eCommerce Black Friday 5 Essential Creative Formats and 7 Proven Key Principles

  • Email Marketing - Skip This and Lose Up to 30% of Potential Revenue! (Increasing Deliverability and Avoiding Promotions Tab)

  • eCommerce SMS marketing - Surprisingly Easy and Effective

  • eCommerce Black Friday Influencer Marketing Best Practices

  • Old School eCommerce DTC Marketing Tactics to Increase Customer Retention and Have Them Fall In Love With Your Brand

  • Should You Be Doing eCommerce TIKTOK Marketing for BFCM?

  • eCommerce Website Checklist and Optimizing for Black Friday

  • Warming Up Your Audience With Pre-Bought Media

  • Labor Day Weekend

  • 1 week Before Black Friday

  • 48 Hours Before Black Friday - Calm Before the Storm!

  • During Black Friday - Don’t Panic

  • During Cyber Monday

  • eCommerce Q4 BFCM 25 Extra Tasks to Boost Your Sales: A Checklist (Steal This Google Sheet!)

  • Still overwhelmed after reading this article?

And now, here’s how to crush the Q4 revenue for your eCommerce business.

Black Friday eCommerce Planning in August - Start Planning or Take a Break?

As people are chasing the last bits of summer goodness, August is far from the peak of eCommerce.


Purchasing behavior is bound to be slower when clients are busy soaking up the sun on the beach.


So what are YOUR options?


Slowing down


Go with the flow, minimize the efforts. Taking a break = not losing money. If your cash flow is alright, and you think you can last 30-40 days on break, go for it.


Starting the plan


This means avoiding the banes of November: hyper-competitiveness, soaring CPMs, ad account crashes, and an indifferent cold audience.


If you’ve chosen option two, congrats, you’re in the right place! Read along.


The worst thing would be to sell out during Black Week.


Your warehouse will be put to the test.


And in the era of Amazon Prime and free 2 day shippings, your customers will be waiting, impatiently.


You really need to over-prepare logistically.

  • Monitor your customers and social media for any complaints. Respond ASAP.

  • Make sure your manufacturing and inventory is ready. If you’re using a third-party logistic provider, make sure you know their daily capacity.

  • Finally, make sure you have a backup plan in case of an unexpected flood of orders. Work with your team, have your customer service dialed in, be ready to answer any questions, and have some gift ideas to appease your customers.

Hyping Up Your eCommerce Team

Honestly, those numbers in the intro should do the job already. We’re talking ‘$223 billion rise in COGS for US retailers’ kinda numbers. And we all love a good challenge.


Black Friday is the special event of eCommerce, and you want the team to feel accordingly.

  • Consider incentives for good performance - motivation does wonders.

  • Celebrate your major revenue boosts - it’s a special occasion, after all.

  • Bring the team together: try implementing hype calls to keep everyone engaged, or if possible - make time to eat together. It’s been proven to make humans bond better.

They may need to work weekends, nights, solve various crashes and feel like they lost a few hours of their lifespan by the end of it - wellbeing is important, and no one will want to risk it if they don’t know that it’s worth it.


In addition to your eCommerce team, you’ll also want to consider your engineers, managers, and support staff.


Try to make sure everyone is available on call to fix bugs (product errors, inventory issues, website issues, etc.).


If possible, try to make it so that your team doesn’t decide to randomly take day-offs during Black Week.


When 50% of your annual revenue is at stake, you’ll want to pull out all the stops.

The eCommerce Owner & the Marketing Team - Managing Expectations and Communication

Starting off with expectations: no need for exact numbers here.


Of course, eCommerce owners are still planning themselves. But the team needs to know what they’ll be dealing with.


Approximate estimates are what they’re after. Here’s a checklist of what should be discussed:

  1. The stock - How many units are we planning?

  2. Selling out - Is it possible? Do we have a backup plan?

  3. Fulfillment center - Are we ready to handle a flood? What’s the daily capacity?

  4. Customer service - Have you scaled it up?

  5. Brand image - More on that in the “choosing the right offer” section.

If you’re doing 30k right now, don't even aim for 1 million. The question isn’t whether it’s possible, it’s whether your systems are able to handle it.

And once you’re in the middle of Black Friday Cyber Monday hectics, a set of trained employees won’t magically appear at the snap of your fingers.


For project management we use Asana.


And for project management methodology, consider using Agile Scrum Framework and weekly meetings.

Projecting Your eCommerce Black Friday Q4 Sales Numbers

The forecasts begin in summer. As early as August or July.


Here’s what to consider when projecting your eCommerce sales numbers:

  1. Look at last year's data. And the year before. Focus on the revenue, ROI and other KPIs.

  2. Inspect the COGS. Put it into a calculation table if you can. Visuals should help.

  3. Shipping costs. Packaging. Anything that you’re outsourcing - many major companies’ prices skyrocket. Especially in China - they’re smart, they know you’re desperate.

  4. Consider how 2021 is different. What worked last year may not remain effective. Obviously, things are a bit different with the global pandemic. Take into consideration if your shipping will be stable and your inventory is ready.

Once you’ve boiled it down to something digestible, you can start crafting your offer.


Here’s what you need to know:

Choosing the Right Product Offers for Black Friday

Imagine you have a quantity discount - buy one, get one free.Lets say 30% of people are buying two or three items. Some are buying more in a bulk.


For the latter, the cost of fulfillment drops - you’ve got more units per transaction (UPT), meaning less spending on the packaging, shipping, and an overall drop of per-unit costs.


Making scenarios for how customers will be distributed amongst different deals is key.


There are also differences in regions.


In the USA, there’s more interest in buying huge amounts, consuming a lot.


Not the case in Europe.


In the States, we see increases in the AOV (average order value) by 10-30%, even without quantity discounts.


Now here are some types of different eCommerce product offers you can choose from for your Black Friday sales:

  • Quantity - decreased price for a greater amount of units bought. The most common type being BOGO - buy one get one free.

  • Free products - like a small gift, or an extra item if you exceed a certain price point.

  • Bundles - themed product combos, great at targeting niches. And a good boost to your AOV, if done right.

  • Sitewide discounts - everything for X% off. Less specific, more versatile.

  • Buy 2 get 10% off, buy 3 get 20% off.

  • Mini gifts.

  • Free product if you exceed a certain $ amount.

But the principle is - be aggressive with it.


At the same time, a 15% Black Friday off special sales won’t do much if your competitors are doing 50% off deals.


Brand imaging policy can get in the way of being aggressive.


A business owner may not like to damage their brand image by looking “desperate” with the discounts.


We do not want to make people buy products just because of the offer”.


Yeah...


During Black Friday, that rule doesn't exist.


Well, Apple can do what they want. But Apple is Apple. They do light shows for fun. 99,9999% of eCommerce brands can’t be like Apple.


Here’s an important thing to keep in mind:


Unless you’re doing 2 million monthly, or 10 million yearly, you’re not really a “brand" yet.

When you’ve reached those numbers, THEN you can invest into branding.


But if you’re middle class, 1-3 million per year, then BFCM is a huge opportunity.


Not only to bring in new people, but to gain the ever so valuable data.


Even if you are not so profitable during Black Friday, you’ll be collecting rewards in the long run.


Especially for health and beauty products. With a 40-50% returning customer rate, they need to go aggressive as they can.


Scaling the shit out of Black Friday will mean a whopping 10% increase in their usual customer list, and huge growth in yearly revenue.


Keep an eye out for our Q4 checklist at the end of this article for other ways to capitalize on this.


By the way, we’re discussing a lot about offers in our Facebook group. If you want to expand your knowledge, and meet like-minded people, don’t hesitate to join → 360 eCommerce Growth | Facebook Ads, Content, Email, CRO & More | By Kandy

Now that you’ve got your offers, it’s time to hand things down to the creative team.

eCommerce Black Friday 5 Essential Creative Formats and 7 Proven Key Principles

There is no standard for what your creatives should look like.


But we HAVE tested a lot of types, and here are some proven eCommerce creative formats you might want to try out yourself for Black Friday Cyber Monday:

  • Extreme product demonstrations - Try to find a way you can show the usage of the product in the best way. It can be any type of video, but if you don’t have this inside your creative, you’ll fail. People are engaged by this format as they go out of their way to consume this kind of content, especially on TikTok. People are used to the perfect product demonstration format and you should deliver it to them.

  • Collection/Carousel ads - For us, collection ads worked really well last year. Do not hesitate to use and test different placements during BFCM, especially these formats. A lot of people also forget to use stories in their ads and creatives, which can be another needle mover.

  • Curiosity Buzzfeed style video - imitates the organic content in a user's feed: has a headline banner at the top, a progress bar, etc. Starts with a strong attention grabber (slowly opening a box, someone going “OMG” ), then states the USPs (unique selling points) with snappy 3rd person POV copy.

  • Don’t blink type - extremely fast, glues your eyes to the screen. This method was perfected by Apple, it makes you loop the video and gets you emotionally invested. Best for top or middle funnel audiences. Starts with a short bold statement, comparison, countdown or “are you ready?”, maximum 1-2 words per frame. Testimonials between 3 to 7 seconds, products always centered to avoid the need for rapid eye movement. Text-based, cuts made in sync with the music.

  • UGC video - or “user-generated content” - shitty quality, filmed with a phone, therefore creates a sense of familiarity. Works with middle and bottom funnel audiences. Starts with an “extraordinary”, “omgbottom-funnel”, “wow”. Then immediately shows the product that the video is about, proceeds with the benefit lists, and has product effectiveness proof at the very end (for example: before and after pictures for skincare).

Other key principles:

  1. Scarcity - humans hate being scared, so if they see limited time or stock, they’re more likely to look past the drawbacks.

  2. Mentioning free shipping increases their chances of buying. And even though 30 day returns are mandatory in Europe, mentioning it as a selling point is always effective.

  3. Risk aversion - people hate uncertainty, so combat their possible objections with proof - visuals, reviews, etc.

  4. High profile mentions from TV, magazines or huge sites barely take up time in the video, but have a huge effect.

  5. Unboxings and show offs work best if aesthetics are a selling point.

  6. CTA - you MUST include a call to action at the end of every video - to click the link, subscribe to the email newsletter, enter a giveaway and so on.

  7. It depends on the item - a lifestyle video may not fit most cleaning supplies, but it sure does wonders for luxury items.

GIFs in particular can work great during Black Week.


As people are getting numb to video ads and they’re also bombarded by different ads and creatives during this time.


GIFs can get the message across just as well and take less time.


Now more than ever, your target audience will. have a very short attention span.


So, if you’re going to be using GIFs, consider focusing on:

  • Flashing colors.

  • Changing text.

  • Different effects.

  • Products changing in the slides.

  • And more.

The same goes for copywriting. Make it really simple and don’t waste time.

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You get the point.


If you’re looking for more creative inspiration, check out our free eCommerce swipe book of 99+ Facebook ad creatives to skyrocket your sales.

But in the end, amongst brands, the winners of this competition are the ones who adapt their creatives/messages to showcase and demonstrate their product in the best light. If you’re struggling with this, test even more.


Email Marketing - Skip This and Lose Up to 30% of Potential Revenue! (Increasing Deliverability and Avoiding Promotions Tab)

The power of email marketing is greatly underestimated.


Another great thing about pulling people into your eCommerce ecosystem early on is that it’ll pay off hard later.


With over 116.5 million emails sent on Black Friday though, standing out will be a challenge.


For us, they usually generate 30% of the total revenue.


This might be the most important part of the game.


CPMs (cost per 1k impressions), such as we have on Facebook, are non-existent. And your audience is always yours - peoples emails don’t change if you change your inbox provider. With FB and IG, you’re kinda stuck with ‘em.


But to make things effective, you need a high quality email list.


Quality really is the name of the game here.


In October, start collecting your audience’s emails, but don’t just aim for anyone.


Just like with Facebook, when BFCM hits, you don’t want to be dealing with those who are indifferent. Here are some ways you can filter out those who will care:

  • Hype campaigns, or more specifically, giveaways. Either your own, or through an influencer - give them a chance to get a free product, but in order to compete, you need to leave your email.

  • Simple VIP list invites, letting people unlock special discounts with their email. Give them the special treatment - early announcements, seperate landing page, maximum feeling of scarcity. They should understand that they’re receiving the DEAL of the YEAR.

And with the email structure itself, it’s quite simple:

  1. It comes down to the headline. They’ll either open your email or they won’t - catch their attention in the first few words. But make it related to what’s inside - you don’t want to ruin their trust with disappointment.

  2. The text inside - no one wants to read a novel about some broom when checking their inbox in the morning. Keep it short and simple.

  3. Images - sometimes, plain text actually works better. But if you keep the golden ratio - 60% text, 40% images - then it can be exactly what catches their attention or makes them remember you.

You can also try engagement emails to filter out the inactive ones, or survey emails for better segmentation and more info on your target audience.


Bonus option - wheel of fortune strategy: the customer doesn’t know their offer until they’re in checkout. This way, you can easily collect emails and drastically increase conversion rates.


Swipe some Black Friday emails here!


Some other Black Friday email marketing best practices include:

  • Promoting early access BFCM deals.

  • Emailing engaged content more often.

  • Evaluate your checkout page and make sure the experience is seamless.

  • Hit all of your marketing channels to maximize reach, promote your offer, and discount across all other social media channels.

  • Consider prepping your subscribers for Black Week too. If there’s a time you’ll want to avoid the Promotion section in Gmail - it’s now.

Another essential to-do for email marketing is increasing your deliverability and staying out the Promotions tab.


Here’s how to do both.

Increasing the quality and deliverability of your email list

Below, we’ll cover one of the easiest ways to increase the deliverability of your emails.


Essentially, the idea is to make your audience feel special and increase engagement.


Giveaway campaigns are ideal for this as your customers will feel like they were chosen especially and are lucky.


Give them 3 places to win in the campaign:

  1. 1st place - 4 free units of your product.

  2. 2nd place - 2 units of your product + free gift.

  3. 3rd place - Amazon gift card of $60.

You need to make sure you have incentives for people to join the giveaway.


And how to join the giveaway?


Simple, get them to reply to the email saying “I’m in!”.


That’s it!


Replying to the sender’s email increases the deliverability of your email list and your campaign messages can be starred as an important email.


So you’re making sure before BFCM that the majority of your emails will be delivered to the Primary section, and not Promotions or Spam.


You should also focus on re-engagement campaigns. Just make sure those emails are increasing the desire to reply or are starting some kind of a conversation within those email chains.


It can be:

  • An email from the founder or co-founder thanking the recipients for being part of the community and asking a question that leads to an email reply from the receiver.

  • Touching a hot topic in the industry or niche that raises awareness and starts a conversation (can ask the recipient’s thoughts or if they agree).

  • A feedback email - thank them for being part of the journey and encourage people to reply with feedback on how you can improve (this will also help with customer analysis!)

And more!

Avoiding the email Promotions tab

Landing in your audience’s primary inbox can be a huge boost in sales.


The main reasons why your eCommerce emails might be going to Promotions includes:

  • Unpersonalized emails.

  • Too many links.

  • Abundance of images.

  • Overly promotional language.

  • Irrelevant context.

  • Too long email text or too much HTML coding.

  • And more.

And how to avoid the cursed Promotions tab?


You’ll want to:

  • Warm up your email account - verify your email list, check your SPF, DKIM, DMARC records, deliver emails manually, increase the number of emails you’re sending gradually.

  • Ask your subscribers to help you - this is the most sure-proof way to get into your subscribers’ Primary tab. Simply ask them to move your emails there from Promotions. You may do that in your welcome email, when your subscribers have signed up for your letters. If you have a great relationship with your subscribers, most of them should be glad to do so. Especially if you’ll let them know huge Black Friday deals are coming up and they should do this so they don’t miss your offers!

  • Send personalized messages - Address your subscribers by name, use personalized subject lines, and make the content relevant to your users. Consider focusing on engagement and warming up your subscribers BEFORE Black Week! This will pay off. Try to cut back on links, ton of images, and promotional language during this too.

eCommerce SMS marketing - Surprisingly Easy and Effective

SMS marketing is a great solution to information overload.


Your audience has their inboxes full to overflowing, and ads are so common they hardly notice them anymore.


This is where SMS finds its advantage, as you can get your product offers in front of your target audience on their phones directly.


Millennials and Gen Z always have their phones on them. And people open texts faster than emails.


So, putting two and two together, email marketing is a no brainer.


Getting started is easy too.


Just ask for a phone number in exchange for a one off sales discount, which can be up to 20% or even higher, as the goal is to grow your audience.


SMS marketing messages are also surprisingly effective… And similar to emails, except for these key differences:

  1. Find where you will offer sign ups - it can be in the same places as for emails.

  2. Use “you” and “we” pronouns for a more personal feeling.

  3. Incentivize - offer discounts, coupon codes, giveaways and early information.

  4. End with strong CTA’s, links to your site for convenience.

  5. Send cart abandonment reminders 30-60 min after they’ve left the site - you can include a compliment for their choice, create urgency, and include a picture to trigger an emotional response.

  6. Make sure you comply with the region's requirements. In the US, you’re legally required to send a descriptive text to newcomers, include an opt-out option, and avoid federal “quiet hours”. In Europe, getting user contacts may be harder with GDPR rules.

You’ll find a lot of SMS marketing is very similar to email marketing - creating a sales funnel, defining your goals, segmenting your audience, and so on.


But the main thing you should keep in mind when writing SMS messages is how you’re communicating.


SMS copywriting is radically different from email marketing.


You’ll want to be extremely straight to the point and obviously, you won’t be able to use fancy creatives and designs.


Also, make sure your messages are phone-optimized.


Use emojis, merge tags, “SMS-talk”, and URL shorteners (e.g. Bitly) to save space.


With SMS, you can use cart recovery reminders, ask for reviews, and offer sales discounts.


Here are a few SMS messaging samples to get an idea:


“Hi {first_name}! You forgot your cart at the checkout 😅Get free delivery in just 2 days for purchases >50$. Checkout now at [URL].”


Or:


“Help us with a review? 😍 Receive a 10% discount coupon after publication. Leave your review here: [URL]”