It’s here. The weekend brands count on to meet annual revenue goals and to (potentially) turn the red numbers black. Black Friday Weekend is unquestionably important to the financial health of companies and worth putting serious thought into the strategy. While Black Friday Cyber Monday (BFCM) may be best associated with larger retail stores such as Target, Best Buy, and Amazon, a number of niche and challenger brands have emerged and expanded upon the traditional BFCM rules. The following is an analysis of BFCM brand strategy with a list of considerations to consult when building out your own unique BFCM game plan.
Some Questions to Ponder Before Crafting Your Campaign:
How do most of your customers interact with your brand (newsletters, social media, catalog, etc.)? Put the medium with the highest conversion at the forefront of your BFCM outflow.
How many repeat customers did you have within the BFCM weekend last year? How important is this to you?
How can you ‘wow’ your VIP customers and give them something special over the weekend?
special gifts with purchase
Are there like-minded brands that you can partner with before BFCM for a giveaway in order to increase email subscribers? This would give you a larger audience to reach out to when BFCM rolls around.
Who are customers purchasing for on BFCM- themselves or for holiday gifting?
would free gift wrapping be a good added value for the weekend?
What is your value proposition for BFCM weekend?
Sitewide sale (can be rough on profit margin, but one of the simplest promos logistically)
New Day, New Deal (switching the promo each day to retain customer engagement and repeat purchases)
Product Launch (protects brand value while offering something exciting to customers)
Tiered sales (promo depends on the product or category i.e. 30% off T-shirts and 15% off Jackets). Outdoor Voices is slated to do this again in 2018.
Bundling (offer customers a lower price when buying a group of products together)
Free Gift/Giveaway (i.e. first 100 customers get a tote bag signed by the founder; great for getting sales early in the day or you can have a random 100 customers receive the promo throughout the day for a more sustained traffic stream)
Free Shipping through the weekend
Charitable Giving (switching the weekend’s value proposition from increased savings, to increased impact. This year Everlane is donating $13 for every purchase received on Black Friday to the Surfrider Foundation).
Note: If you go this route, be specific and tell customers the actual percentage of sales or dollar amount given to the charity. Nothing can unravel a well-intentioned charity campaign more than vagueness and perceived lack of transparency.
A follow-up social media post or newsletter is a great way to remind customers of what you accomplished together and optimize brand resonance. Everlane did it well in a post here.
How many days do you want your BFCM campaign to run? (Starting the Tuesday before Thanksgiving is becoming more and more popular. Or you could consciously encourage customers to spend time with loved ones on Thanksgiving by waiting until Friday to release any sales.)
Will you create an arc to your BFCM promos (build up each day to a higher discount?).
Swedish Hasbeens did this in 2018: Friday-Saturday = 30% off, Cyber Monday = 70% off Outlet styles
Note that customers could catch on that each day in the weekend gets ‘better’ and may delay their purchase until the end of the weekend, potentially undermining the strategy’s intent.
How can you best build hype? Do you tease upcoming sales on social, but keep the actual promo private until the stroke of midnight on Thanksgiving? Do you work with your PR team to get an article in HuffPost elaborating on the exact details?
How will you merchandise your website so that all users are aware of your BFCM campaign? (A striking number of brands did not include any mention of BFCM on their homepage even when they were running heavy sales in 2018. This is a missed opportunity. Do not confuse customers or make them go on a scavenger hunt in order to locate your sale page. Whether through a dedicated homepage banner, promo bar, or pop-up, put your campaign front and center).
What is your back-up plan if sales do not go as well as expected? Do you change your outflow strategy and send more newsletters on Saturday if sales are less than expected on Friday? Do you change the promo completely? (Create a robust contingency plan).
What are your customer service resources throughout the weekend? Will you have staff on-hand to help customers that may run into site or promo code issues?
If you opt to have your customer service staff take the weekend off, it is best to preemptively warn your customers and set their expectations. Doen did this in their 2018 BFCM announcement post (pictured below).
How will you handle customers that purchased an item the day before it went on sale that call to complain? Will you honor the sale price with the customer (even though the item was not on sale at the time of their purchase) in order to retain customer satisfaction?
Discuss these questions at length with your team to configure a BFCM plan that is authentic to your brand and profitable for your bottom line.
Creative BFCM Promos:
A few other 2018 BFCM promos:
$100 off Sale items (Office of Angela Scott)
30% off Sitewide + $30 credit (Taylor Stitch)
20% of + tiered Gift Card; Spend $250, Get $25, etc. (Snowe Home)
15% off site wide (only sale of the year) (CatBird)
40% off orders of $50 or more (Harvard Business Review)
12 Weeks for $6 (New Yorker Magazine)
It’s also important to note that not all brands participate in the promos and discounting of BFCM. Often luxury brands or brands that feature transparent pricing year-round are good contenders to skip the mass discounting holiday; they provide value to their customers in other ways and may not need to rely on BFCM for a revenue boost. This is how some brands tastefully explained their BFCM stance on social media:
When Things Fall Apart. A Case Study on How to Handle BFCM Snafus :
More Resources to Consult Prior to BFCM:
How brands and consumers used social media for BFCM 2017 (helping you settle on how often you should post and what you should spend on digital ads)
On Shopify? Make sure your store is prepared with their 27-point check list.
This article was updated throughout the 2018 BFCM weekend.