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Black Friday Cyber Monday Predictions 2020: What to Expect and How to Get Ahead

By on October 29th, 2020 Reading Time: 7 minutes

You don’t need a crystal ball to tell you that Black Friday Cyber Monday will be completely different this year. With more people working from home and consumers being extra cautious, the shopping habits, preferences, and expectations of customers have shifted.

To thrive in the weeks and months ahead, you need to be smart about your holiday strategies and preparations. Things like timing, messaging, and the products you promote will matter a great deal, and it’s important to leverage these factors properly to engage and convert shoppers.

To help you do that, here’s a roundup of the top online shopping trends. Keep these in mind during the upcoming holiday season and go over our action steps to help you navigate Black Friday Cyber Monday 2020.

Prepare for a decline in spending this year

Customers will tighten their purse strings in 2020. A survey by Coresight Research found that 31% of consumers are planning to spend less during this year’s holiday season compared to 2019, with clothing and footwear being the hardest-hit categories. 

So what should you do about it? 

1. Set the right expectations

For starters, adjust forecasts and expectations for your holiday performance in 2020. Look at your average revenue this year and compare the numbers from 2019. 

For instance, if you’ve experienced a 20% dip in sales because of the pandemic, it makes sense to lower your forecasted revenue for the holidays by roughly the same amount. On the other hand, if your business has surged in the past few months and you have reason to believe your sales will continue to go up, adjust your revenue expectations accordingly. 

You need to know what to expect in the coming weeks and months. Adjusting your forecasts will also help you plan for 2021 and beyond.

2. Be relevant and creative with your promotions

Consumers will encounter discounts left and right, and you need to work extra hard to ensure your deals stand out. 

Serve up promotions that are highly relevant to your customers. Dig into your shopper data and send offers based on your customers’ purchase histories, preferences, etc. 

Check out the following email from Bed Bath & Beyond. It contains coupons and hand-picked product selections based on the customer’s previous purchases. 

Source: Email campaign by Bed Bath & Beyond

3. Promote your brand values

With consumers being bombarded with deals, you may be able to cut through the noise by showing customers that you align with their values and beliefs. 

Now’s a good time to highlight what your brand stands for. Which causes do you support? Will buying from your brand help promote values like sustainability or social justice? If so, include it in your messaging. 

Check out this example from the lifestyle fashion brand Sakroots. In the following email, Sakroots promotes its EcoTwill Collection, a line of purses made from recycled plastic bottles. The email also highlights the brand’s “Art for a Cause” initiative, in which Sakroots will match every dollar donated to its nature-related charity partners. It’s a great message that markets Sakroots’ products while encouraging customers to do good at the same time.

Source: Email campaign by Sakroots

Capitalize on categories like home and electronics

People will spend less money in general, but if they’re going to open up their wallets, it’ll likely be for home & living, technology, and fitness products. We already saw a surge in these categories in Q2 when lockdown measures were enforced, and stats from Amazon’s recent Prime Day only reinforces this. 

Shopping data from the most recent Prime Day shows that home appliances, fitness equipment, and electronics were the leading products. We can expect this trend to continue during Black Friday Cyber Monday.

To that end, take the following steps in the coming weeks:

1. Put home and electronics front and center

If you sell products and run deals in the home and electronics categories, make sure people actually notice your offers. Highlight homeware, fitness equipment, and gadgets in your promotional emails, storefront, and social ads, then come up with creative deals to entice people to buy. 

2. Pivot your offerings and messages

If you don’t sell home goods and electronics, see if you can shift your messaging to cater to these categories. For example, if you sell apparel, shift from images of people wearing clothes for large holiday gatherings to a stay-at-home theme, with people wearing loungewear while watching TV or enjoying a new kitchen appliance.

Deals will start earlier

It’s no secret that Black Friday Cyber Monday deals have been kicking off much sooner. In 2019, retailers like Walmart and Target started their Black Friday sales 4–5 weeks before Thanksgiving

This year won’t be different—industry data shows that customers are planning to shop early. Coresite Research found that over a quarter of consumers intend to start holiday shopping earlier than usual.

So, get your BFCM ducks in a row sooner rather than later. Black Friday Cyber Monday will be taking place on November 27 and November 30 respectively, but you should be on your customers’ radar weeks before these dates. 

1. Offer early previews

Give people a sneak peek of the offerings you’re planning to run. This is a great way to get shoppers excited about your BFCM initiatives. Use a countdown to get people to mark their calendars so they don’t miss out. 

Tinker Watches used Black Friday to build excitement around a limited edition product that the company was launching.

2. Provide exclusive access

If you have a loyalty program or a VIP club, it makes sense to give your best customers early access to your BFCM deals. Doing so can help drive sales while ensuring that your top customers feel valued and appreciated. 

This is what Target did last year when it allowed members of its loyalty program to access the Black Friday deals two days in advance.

3. Start running deals early

Another option? Beat other retailers to the punch by opening your BFCM doors in advance, so you secure sales and engage early holiday shoppers. 

This was Nordstrom’s strategy last year when it launched a “Cyber Sale” with massive deals one full week before Cyber Monday.

Source: Email campaign by Nordstrom

The best BFCM strategy will depend on your customers and the market. For example, if you already have a large and engaged VIP membership program, then giving members early access is a good way to go. Or, if you know that your competitors are running early BFCM deals, then kick off your Black Friday Cyber Monday sales ahead of schedule. 

The bottom line is—pay close attention to the needs and preferences of your customers, see what other players in the market are doing, then craft a BFCM schedule from there. 

This might be ecommerce’s biggest year yet

Fewer people will head to stores this year. A study by DealAid.org found that only 60.2% of consumers (compared to 87.4% in 2019) are planning to shop offline during the 2020 holiday season.

With more shoppers completing their holiday purchase online, it’s critical your ecommerce game stays on point. Here’s how.

1. Use simple and familiar designs on your store

Did you know it only takes 17 milliseconds for people to form opinions about a website? Customers make snap judgments about a webpage, so if your site’s design doesn’t captivate or fails to tell the visitors what they need to do within the first few moments, you will lose sales. 

Prevent lost sales by using a simple and familiar look on your page. In retail, for example, the site’s navigation menu—which usually contains product categories or the store’s “departments”—is commonly found at the top or on the left-hand side of the page. Consumers are used to this type of layout, so it makes sense to adopt it if you want shoppers to find what they’re looking for.

Now’s not the time to reinvent the ecommerce design wheel. Stick to tried and tested concepts that immediately tell people what to expect and show visitors where they can find what they’re looking for.

Have a look at Kosas’ website, which sports a clean design. There’s a navigation bar with the brand’s product categories and a prominent button that leads to Kosas’ bestsellers. There’s even the familiar bar at the top of the page promoting free shipping and returns on all US orders.

Source: Kosas

2. Make the checkout quick and simple

You worked hard to drive traffic to your site and get customers to add your products to their cart. The last thing you want is to lose shoppers at the checkout stage.

Make the checkout process easy by reducing the number of steps customers need to take when completing a purchase. Use autofill forms to make the checkout as effortless as possible. 

When it comes to payments, strive to accept all the ways that customers want to pay. This means supporting all major credit cards, popular payment methods like PayPal, and buy-now-pay-later solutions like Klarna or Afterpay. 

Kosas, once again, does really well here. When you proceed to checkout, Kosas’ site will autofill your information. In addition to accepting all major credit cards and PayPal, Kosas also supports the buy now, pay later solution by Afterpay so customers can pay in installments.

Source: Kosas

3. Speed up your site

Make sure your site loads as quickly as possible. Your web traffic is bound to increase during the holiday season, so expand your bandwidth capabilities if necessary. Go through your site and identify issues that may be slowing it down. Are your images too large? Are you using unnecessary plugins or scripts? Make the changes you need to bump up your site’s loading speed. 

Fast shipping may take priority over free shipping

Consumers are generally big fans of free shipping, but with people wanting to get their orders in time for Christmas, speed may become the bigger factor. 

Set up your shipping and fulfillment offers so they allow customers to get their hands on the items they need as quickly as possible.

If you’re outsourcing order fulfillment, choose a provider that has warehousing and fulfillment capabilities to pack and ship your products quickly.

If you’re using Printful’s print-on-demand services, you can speed up order fulfillment by stocking up on high-demand products and storing them in Printful’s warehouses for same-day fulfillment. 

Go over your sales and product reports for the last few months and look at the items that sold well during last year’s holiday season. From there, identify the top-sellers and add them to your warehouse stock, so Printful can fulfill those products quickly.

Communication around timing and stock availability is more important than ever

Social distancing, stricter health measures, and service disruptions within couriers like USPS may cause delays when it comes to receiving and sending inventory, as well as fulfilling customer orders. 

To that end, it’s essential you stay on top of customer communications. Be clear about what you have in stock and when customers can expect their purchases. Encourage them to place their orders early to ensure their products arrive on time. Need help ironing out the dates? Check out Printful’s holiday order deadlines for 2020 to get a handy guide on key dates to watch out for.

If you run into unexpected delays, contact your customers immediately, and explain the reason behind the delay. Then, offer a timeframe for when shoppers can expect their purchases to arrive. 

Add your contact information and outline the steps customers need to take if they want to get in touch or change their order. 

Are you ready for Black Friday Cyber Monday 2020?

Black Friday Cyber Monday is right around the corner, and it’s high time to prepare. So schedule those emails, nail your promotional messages, and make sure you have the right products in stock.

And if you need ideas on what to sell or how to market your merch, check out the following resources:

Francesca is a writer and content marketer specializing in retail, ecommerce, SMB, and technology. Her work has been featured in Entrepreneur, MarketingProfs, Thought Catalog, and more.

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  1. Mark A Cooper

    Why do you give all of this advice and talk about people spending less when you’re not lowering your prices for black friday. You’re reaping all of the profit. How can people be expected to lower their prices any more? What a joke!

    1. Alise Zindiga

      Hey, Mark, thanks for reaching out! It’s important to understand that Printful is a supplier, and, similar to other industries, we have our base price, bulk discounts, and monthly discounts (based on historical data), however, we don’t offer special seasonal discounts. Our customers can choose their retail rate and their marketing activities according to their preferences.

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