The BIG, commerce Podcast

Mastering Black Friday Cyber Monday: Strategies, challenges and tools for a successful BFCM campaign

September 19, 2023 Calashock Commerce
The BIG, commerce Podcast
Mastering Black Friday Cyber Monday: Strategies, challenges and tools for a successful BFCM campaign
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Get ready to become an expert on navigating the Black Friday Cyber Monday season with Ivan and me as we unravel the secrets of crafting a victorious campaign.

How can current economic uncertainties shape this year's sales and is it a smart move for businesses to partake in BFCM promotions? We'll tackle these questions and more, comparing last year's trends with this year's forecasts to give you a comprehensive understanding of potential market dynamics.

Step into the marketing arena with us as we strategise for a successful BFCM campaign. The clock is ticking and every second counts. We'll discuss the unique challenges you face as a merchant in these crucial times and how to engage your customers effectively. Is your messaging clear, concise and persuasive? We’ll provide insights on how to minimise confusion, and consequently, returns. And when your hot-selling items run out of stock, we’ve got you covered with our top picks for alternative product options.

It's not all about marketing though. A spike in traffic and demand can make or break your BFCM campaign. We'll discuss the potential pitfalls, from coding errors to a lack of sufficient support for your ecstatic shoppers. Fear not, we'll take you through the operational side of preparing for BFCM, sharing our favourite tools like Shipper HQ for logistics and Gorgias for customer service. Join us as we not only help you survive but thrive during this Black Friday Cyber Monday season.

Speaker 1:

Hi, welcome to the Big Commerce Podcast. Hello, welcome to a brand new episode of the Big Commerce Podcast. I'm your co-host, Luigi, and in today's episode, Yvan and I talk about Black Friday Cyber Monday. We're going to talk about how to prepare for a successful Black Friday Cyber Monday campaign, how you can optimize your website and online presence, some of the challenges that you can encounter during this season and some of the tools and technologies that can help you win. Enjoy the episode. How are you, Yvan? How are you?

Speaker 2:

Not too bad, luigi, yourself.

Speaker 1:

Not too bad, it's Friday yeah.

Speaker 2:

So we've got a couple of days off TGAF.

Speaker 1:

Yes, so today's episode we're going to talk about Black Friday, cyber Monday, bfcm.

Speaker 2:

Awesome, awesome, let's do it.

Speaker 1:

It's coming up in just over two months' time, so personally I think we're just about in time. I remember speaking to somebody once who said that you should start preparing for Cyber Five back in June and July, which I think if you're kind of a large business possibly, but let's be realistic for SMBs and lower mid-market I think five, six months ahead is probably a bit overkill. But anyway, we'll see if we can help listeners just to kind of find some snippets of information, some takeaways that might help them this year if they're taking part in Black Friday, Because I think over the last couple of years we've had an increase in number of merchants not necessarily ours, just in general, both online and offline, that refuse to take part in the Cyber Five kind of promotions. I don't know what your thoughts are on that.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I mean it's ad hoc for a company. I'm always a fan of people evaluating their own data and seeing if things work for them. If they've done things historically and the ROI is in there for them, I would say, and if the data backs that up, I would say, move away from that. So even if that happens for BFCM, then it's will be it, but from my experience, it tends to be the biggest shopping event of the year for online, and what's cool about it is it's industry wide. There's things like Prime Day and that's awesome for Amazon, but this really seems to be industry wide. Every year there seem to be more and more companies joining in offering deals, which means things are more competitive, which means the offerings are ever improving, so essentially, getting better and better for clients so that they can win the business through that competition, and that raises the standards and forces other companies to follow suit. So you almost really have to be at your best for BFCM.

Speaker 1:

But I think that's partly one of the reasons why some merchants just refuse, because it's like actually it's just a race to the bottom. It's like you know who can, who can give the biggest discounts, who can give the lowest price. But I think that there is this small shift that you know kind of historically. So let's let's start from the front of again. Obviously we've all heard of of BFCM, black Friday, cyber Monday, cyber Five, called by many different names, and I remember being in Italy it was just over a year ago, so was it before or after, I can't remember. Anyway, it's around the period of Cyber Five. They called it Black Week, so basically they've in the shops. I remember you kind of walk past the shops and they had like Black Week and whatever, which I guess, from a translational perspective, maybe gets lost in within English speaking countries, but nevertheless, that's what they meant is that for that whole week you are going to get some super cool deals that you work. The work and were repeated during the year. And the reason why I think it's really interesting at the moment is because I'm speaking to a lot of people about this, both in the industry and at merchants is. I don't think anyone knows what's going on with the economy. Like you know, if you read the news one day, it's doom and gloom. The next it's, you know, celebrating that we've just, you know, missed a recession, and you know, cost of living is going up, rates of interest rates are going up. You know now energy prices are falling, but their petrol prices went up. So it's really difficult to pinpoint what is going on, and I think that uncertainty is potentially going to fuel a Black Friday, cyber Monday, boom this year, because people are going to be looking after their purse strings more than ever because they might have money. But it's, you know, it's kind of let's get ready for this winter. That's coming Not physically, but also metaphorically. You know, if we do have a couple of months, or even a year or two years, of just economic downturn, then you know we've got to have money in our pockets, and so, really, cyber 5 is going to be an opportunity to be able to buy not just presents but maybe some other purchases that people have put off at potentially lower prices than, you know, the normal. And I think this is why it's going to be really interesting this year to see whether you know whether it's going to be a success or not. And compared to last year where we had like pretty much hyperinflation or maybe not hyperinflation but we had really high inflation that you know we hadn't seen well, if not for a generation, for a very long time.

Speaker 1:

And I remember, you know, reading reports of saying the highest, you know sales volumes for Cyber 5, ever this, that and the other. And if you actually cut through the BS and say right is the, you know, is the average order value gone up or down? You know you may have sold more, but actually does that mean is because the prices are higher than what they would have been last year because of inflation, because you haven't discounted as much, or is it because you have sold more? Is it because the average order value has actually gone down and you've done more orders? So I think it's been really difficult to kind of have that benchmark trend, because last year it was really difficult, the year before we were just coming out of COVID and you know e-commerce was still, you know, kind of on this massively upward trajectory. So we haven't had a constant benchmark for quite some time.

Speaker 1:

I think this year, with kind of the, as I said, the economy being a bit fragile again, it's not necessarily going to be one for being able to lay down the foundational data points for next year.

Speaker 1:

So I'm going to be really interested to see what happens with Cyber 5. But I think anyway, we all know, you know kind of the history of what Black Friday, cyber 5, is. So you know Black Friday traditionally the offline kind of you know promotional campaign that was run during Thanksgiving in America, and Cyber Monday being the online. But now it's a five day kind of holiday Thursday Friday, saturday, sunday, monday and, as you said, we've seen it for both B2C and also B2B kind of jumping on the bandwagon. You know that's partly due to the shift in the e-commerce customer being, you know, kind of a much younger tech savvy one that you know whether it's B2B or B2C, you know they're interested in those kind of offers. But if let's talk about kind of merchants and how they can, I guess, prepare for Black Friday, cyber Monday, if they're taking part this year, what are your thoughts on this kind of you know, from your perspective, what can a merchant do in order to get ready for Cyber 5?

Speaker 2:

I mean great question. You know it's for me it's really ad hoc per client, you know. So not that each merchant is the same. Not. Each merchant's nature of their business is the same. So you know different things will need to be done for different businesses.

Speaker 2:

So I think the key there is, you know, thinking about it before, so planning, really starting to think. You know you kind of mentioned six months. You know might be long for some, but if someone's doing their first ever VFCM and don't know what's involved, I'd say start thinking about it. You know, five or six months before Start, you know, kind of debating on what you want to do, how that wants to look, how you want that to look like. You know if you want to do it, of course.

Speaker 2:

And then essentially, once you start thinking about it and preparing, one of my keys is start tracking your data. So you know, really to see the benefits of VFCM or maybe that there wasn't any benefits and you actually were worse off you have to start tracking your data. So, knowing where you were before VFCM, during, after, if you could compare the same period last year as well, super, super informative as well as if you have multiple year data, that's fantastic. So you can actually see. This is how we do before VFCM, this is how we do during and this is how we do after and compare year over year of data and you know, year over year, you're making changes, you're making improvements, you're applying new initiatives. Maybe you know implementing a new partner platform into your store that will provide benefits and then, once you track your data before and after, you can really see what that did a year over year. So I think that's the key to things you know. Start thinking about it early, start planning, start tracking your data.

Speaker 2:

But essentially, once you get close, I would say test, test, test. Once you've implemented what you wanted to implement, test your site, test purchases, have people with fresh eyes. Look at the site. You know. Test to purchase again, because really that's when you know things are working and you know some of the data will help you also forecast. If you have forecasts on what your traffic will be like, you can prepare for that traffic. You can prepare for those numbers of sales or levels of sales. You can prepare for shipping, all of those. You know products, let's say. If you have, you know out of this world demand. So I think that's really important.

Speaker 1:

I think you're kind of really right and what you're touching on in terms of, you know, kind of looking at tech platforms that you can look at integrating, they can be on the short term as well. So you know, fine, let's kind of look at the marketing perspective of getting ready, like you said, for a, for a cyber five campaign. You've got a small window as a merchant. You've got small window of, say, around about five days to get as many orders in as possible, because you know your margins are going to be tighter, they're going to be lower. So you need to make sure that you up the volume to be able to maintain it, because your sales numbers, you know as a benchmark, you're going to go down. So if you're doing a thousand orders a day during cyber five, if you're taking part in a campaign, you're going to be doing potentially the same number of orders and you're going to take, you know, 30, 40% of top loan revenue down. So you need to make sure that you are converting as many people as possible.

Speaker 1:

Now take a traditional conversion rate of like two, three, four percent, five. If you're really, you know, nailed for conversion, five percent is still really low, is a high conversion rate, but that's still low. It means 95% of people are not buying when they're coming onto your website, or 95% of visits are not buying from. So you need to try and maximize your conversion and so, from a marketing perspective, you need to make sure that that's you've tapped into that, that you've got things like the abandoned cart campaign optimized for cyber five. So it's not the traditional saying hey, you left something in your basket. Click here, you know we've saved you, we've saved your cart. Click here to to continue. It is putting in and I'm not a fan of urgency messaging, but during that five day period you need to make sure that people know look, this is a really time sensitive offer and potentially also inventory sensitive as far as kind of once it's gone, it's gone. You know you're not going to.

Speaker 1:

We're not going to get it back, maybe for another couple of weeks, in which case it'll come back at, you know, either the the regular price, if not a new one, if the price from the supply has gone up in the meantime. So that marketing has to be tailored. So you need to start putting those designs together and those that content together on your, on your abandoned cart. You need to look at platforms like just do know, that can give you those kind of popups, but also, you know, clave you a mail chip, they'll do the same whereby you've got the messaging, depending on the user behavior. So, exit intent popups, get those on there to say, you know, hey, why are you leaving? Click here, you know, subscribe, and you're, you know, give us your email address and you get 5% off or $5 off or whatever. The, the initiative that you're, you're looking at pushing and that, without overwhelming the buyer has to think, be one of your priorities, because you've got to make sure that as many people are adding products to the cart and checking out as possible, but then you're semi creating another problem, which is majority maybe not majority, actually, that's not true but a lot of people will return products that they bought during cyber five. So you also need to make sure that you're you're not giving your customers reasons to buy a product that either they're misunderstanding what they're buying or is not fit for purpose, because then not only are reducing your profit margin, you're also having to, you know, lose money to deal with returns. And so from again, like if we're just focusing on the marketing, make sure your product descriptions are really well written. Make sure as much information is on the product description page or product listing page. Make sure that your images and photos are really, really clear so there is as little ambiguity as possible and customers can make an easy yet informed decision when they, when they're buying.

Speaker 1:

We spoke about, or I mentioned about inventory, about stock running out, making sure that you've got the ability for a customer to be able to buy an alternative. So whether that's kind of you know, if you're selling clothing, for example, you've got different colors, making sure that it's really easy because there's two different ways of managing you know kind of various. Some customers have them as a you know different color, some have them as on the same product description page, just with the different swatches, and some merchants have them as completely different products on different pages without been able to link. So you need to make sure that if you know red is out of stock, then maybe you know blue is very easy to be able to navigate to as an alternative product, or if maybe red in of that type of t-shirt is out of stock, that the alternative red t-shirt that's in a slightly different fit or style is also easy to access. So making sure that kind of you know alternative products are really well marketed as well.

Speaker 1:

And obviously the most important thing is making sure that the customer sees that this product is on offer or what the offer is that's running, whether it's a site-wide 25% off, site-wide, you know, 50% off, whatever it is. Just that messaging has to be clear. It's got to be clear in your adverts when you're driving traffic and it's got to be clear when people are on your website. They're navigating that. Whatever page they come into whether it's the home page, a category page, a product listing page, a product description, a blog page, even that they're able to see that there's, you know, an offer going and there's an incentive for them to be able to buy.

Speaker 1:

So from a market perspective, before they've even added something to the cart, just make sure that you know you've got the information going out, that the messaging is there and so people can understand what the different offers are and what the you know the benefit to them is going to be. And then that transcends obviously to you build up in social media and email marketing and so on. But I think those kind of things can often be overlooked on the website, where a lot of the things stay the same. Like I said, abandoned car emails it's always been the same one, let's you know, let's not touch them. No, you need to make sure that for those five days that they are very specific to the cyber five and people know that by midnight Monday that office finished and when you go on a Tuesday morning you're paying regular price. So I think that's something that is often kind of put to the side but I think plays a very important part in driving, driving conversions.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, I totally agree and kind of you know, what keeps standing out to me there is, you know, tests, tests, tests. You know, for example, before BFCM even starts, you know some of the keys of preparing earlier, you know, let's say even five, six months, is you can test some of these campaigns to 10% of the traffic on your site. But even before BFCM, you know, just just see the effects, see if they're different conversion data from that 10% and the nine that you sent to your normal site, and if things work and if you see there are optics, then maybe these are some strategies you can apply for BFCM. So I think that's super, super important. And another piece that stood out was just kind of having those outside eyes, you know, and maybe having someone with some actual intent or, you know, putting someone in the right shoes, at least when they're going through your site. So let's say you know you ask a family, friend or who knows a family or a friend to take a look at your site and you know have the intent of actually wanting to buy a blue sweater or you know, whatever your site delivers, but essentially then have them going through the site and actually maybe not running into that sweater and seeing what the alternatives are kind of as you said there and seeing you know what would you choose here. You know, would you buy this, you know is something stopping you. Sure, it's not the final intent of a real client with money on the line, but it can prepare you and some of those AB tests, you know, with strategies actually to 10% or 5% of your traffic or 20, whatever you decide can actually provide some of that data with real clients. So I think that's super important, just having that fresh set of eyes where you know someone actually wants to buy something.

Speaker 2:

Maybe you should even sit down with clients you know, get a. You know five of your most common clients that come to the site. You know biggest purchasers or longest standing customers. Maybe you asked them, hey, can we interview you? For you know a Starbucks coffee card or an Amazon gift card, and you reach out to them and say, hey, you know, what would you do in this situation?

Speaker 2:

Can you, you know, go ahead and you know, try to purchase something like this or show me what your intent is and actually see them making a purchase, you know, not influenced by you. So I think some of those tactics can really help in understanding your clients in that way is invaluable. You know, I think that's the key to creating a company. You know you have to fulfill needs and clients have to like you. And then you know if you have clients that do like you today, you know, ask them why. Ask them what you do well, ask them what you don't do well and improve on those things and I think, again, basing that off of data and testing at the superpoint.

Speaker 1:

You're so right on that. I think if you want to then expand that reach of getting the customer feedback, you can do the traditional kind of survey forms, but actually they're quite long-winded and the conversion rate of those is ridiculously low. So one of the ways I think merchants can achieve that is doing NPS, net Promoter, score campaigns. So we've all received these.

Speaker 1:

I've spoken about these on the podcast before, which is where you get the email saying from zero to 10, how would you, how likely are you to recommend us to? You know to recommend us and it's skewed. So zero to six, I think, is your detractor, seven, eight, you are passive. And nine, 10, you are promoter, so you'll like to be tell people. And the good thing about those NPS campaigns is that you get feedback as in okay, you only gave us a six Y or you gave us an eight Y and you get good back. You know good and bad feedback. So it's like you know, the checkout was too long, maybe I waited too long for the order to arrive. I didn't get any confirmation emails, the shipping cost was too expensive. Or you send you know you send the parcels by this courier and I don't like them.

Speaker 2:

You know.

Speaker 1:

So, whatever the reasons are, you can take that feedback. Like you know, half of that is going to be, you know, pertinent to that individual merchant. So it's like you know, I don't like that courier, okay, well, you know that's your opinion, but you know no one else has got massive problem with that. Or you know maybe a few people saying, you know the packaging wasn't. You know, if you're selling wine, the packaging wasn't, wasn't sturdy enough or whatever it is. But you can get a feedback and act on it and say, okay, fine, this is this might actually, you know, be be be worthwhile considering and seeing if we can implement that.

Speaker 1:

So shipping costs too high, can we do something about it? You know we're waste. We could look at alternative couriers, we could look at subsidizing, taking, you know, maybe some budget out of your marketing funds to to subsidize shipping or add that price onto the product. So you kind of you know send, you're shifting the shipping costs somewhere, somewhere else. So NPS campaign is a really good way of kind of getting that feedback. And if you can do that now, you know, kind of in September, you've still got enough time to make some small tweaks just in time for for Black Friday and Cyber, cyber Monday.

Speaker 1:

So I think I agree with you even that you know if you can sit down with somebody and you can say, you know, because then you can poke, you can poke a question, yeah Well, why, why? Why do you say that? And what if we were to do this, any other thing, you can get some real feedback. But you know, if you've got, if you're a merchant, there's got thousands and thousands of customers You're certainly not going to get that feedback in the next six weeks and you know it's going to take you forever and a day to do that and obviously time has a cost attached to it. So you know, like you say, kind of get maybe your top five, 10, 15, or maybe you know 5% of customers or maybe a top 20 customers in general, and have a sit down with them and you know an MPS campaign and, like you say, you know, send them out $5 or five pound coffee coffee gift card or 10, you know however much a coffee cost these days and and and go from there.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I mean these, these understanding your clients, especially why your biggest clients today like you and why they don't like you, and what you can improve, I think is invaluable.

Speaker 2:

So you know, personally I would always jump on a call. You know, make it an hour long interview. I know it can be painful for them, but give them a hundred dollar voucher or, you know, get by them lunch or whatever it might be. But I think you know, once you have that data, once they've really bought in, once you really understand those five to 20 customers or what some percentage of them, you're really really going to be able to use that data to change things for the better. I think that's super important and really, you know, kind of putting that to cost, you know, let's say you do take out, you know five customers or you know 20, maybe not a hundred each, but at a reasonable price. You know something that is meaningful to them is the key. You know you're going to get real great data for, again, not a huge cost for what it will mean to your business in the long run.

Speaker 1:

So we spoke about kind of you know, I guess getting ready for cyber five from a intangible perspective, so doing the marketing, getting the data, testing, making sure that you're set up from a website perspective. What about operationally? What are the kind of things that maybe merchants can? What are the sort of spanners that merchants could be thrown during the cyber five campaign and what are the kind of challenges that they should be prepared for during the campaign?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, I can definitely talk about things I hear as well as things that I've experienced, which you know. Kind of I'll put an asterisk on to say that you know these actually happen, I've seen them happen. But essentially you know things I hear of. This and I have sometimes seen happen is issues with. You know things like traffic and sites going down. It's, you know, increased traffic. You don't even, can't even forecast how much, if really you know something goes viral, a deal goes viral, product goes viral, let's say, but essentially you sometimes can't forecast the increased demand. So you know, making sure that your traffic can handle increased traffic and won't slow down and won't make the experience by your experience bad for those clients is something I've heard of happening.

Speaker 1:

And this is sort of interesting. This is more an issue. I mean, it's obviously a potential risk for everyone, but it tends to be more of an issue for merchants that are self serving, so, on-prem, like, they're responsible, or their agency is responsible for the server, or maybe ones that are working with e-commerce platforms that don't have the size to be able to kind of have a have a solid infrastructure that their platform runs off. So, lena, like, become a Shopify and so on, who do? Because this is one of the things that I often, when I'm speaking to merchants that are looking at replatforming, and I mean, if we've ever, if we're pitching up against an e-commerce platform that is on -prem, that's one of the first things that I talk about, not necessarily Cyber 5, but it's saying okay, you know it's Friday 8.30pm and your website goes down and either your agency is responsible for the server or you are as the merchant and you're meant to be going out for dinner with your wife because it's your anniversary. What do you do? Because you know, whereas, if you work with a SaaS platform and you know, with all respect, not a small one, that is pretty much an agency in itself, but one that has a global support network with engineers and technicians you know, available 24-7,. They're basically an extension of your team. So if something happens on Cyber 5, you know it's Black Friday and it's, you know, 8.45 in the evening, where you are and something should happen, you can bet your bottom dollar that they are on it and they are fixing it and trying to get it back up and running as soon as possible.

Speaker 1:

Now big comments make a big deal of the fact that throughout the last I think five or six Cyber 5 campaigns they've had zero downtime.

Speaker 1:

They had one of their largest enterprise merchants also do some advertising during the Super Bowl which just caned the server and there was zero effect on performance. This wasn't obviously during Black Friday, it was during the Super Bowl at the beginning of the year. But just to kind of say that they've got those systems and those controls in place to make sure that when there is a massive spike in traffic it doesn't bring everything you know crashing, because you know if that just has to happen once and you know you've lost, you're not going to be able to kind of recover from that. So I completely agree with you that it's making sure that your platform can handle those things. So, again going with the SaaS platform, it is probably a bit too late to re-platform for Cyber 5 now. In fact, it's probably a bit too late to re-platform for Christmas. But making sure that you know you've got the ability to manage these spikes in traffic is just one less thing that you need to worry about as a merchant.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I totally agree and you kind of mentioned you know that was one I'm close to because I used to be at Rewind. They back up online stores for clients, but essentially they were a really great app to have. If things go down, they can restore the store. So if it's you know we used to call it too many cooks in the kitchen lots of people making changes to the site before Black Friday, cyber Monday, because that's when a lot of changes are needed. A lot of work is done, you know making those changes. Then someone can, you know, be working on the same thing and you know, delete someone's previous work or make an edit to the theme code that isn't correct and brings the store down.

Speaker 2:

So things like that can happen and having a nap like Rewind to be able to restore things is really great as well, and making sure that that app can restore things quickly and that can restore all of your data versus some.

Speaker 2:

So, again, this is some of the considerations going into things as well, as you know thinking about. Can you know? Can we meet the demand, the forecasted demand, in terms of manufacturing, in terms of, maybe, delivery, in terms of support? You know, will there be a lot of tickets, will there be a lot of chats? You know we have partner solutions in our ecosystem that will help supplement or create a support team for you if you don't have one. Maybe that's something that you use just for BFCM, maybe you use it for the holidays as well, maybe you decide to institute a team, like them, to handle your chat, after, of course, they've been trained by your team and know exactly what to do to handle your chat and support tickets ongoing. So you know, preparing for potential increases in traffic and demand delivery, demand, support demand will absolutely help you prepare.

Speaker 1:

I guess you also got to be aware of kind of external factors that you cannot directly control but will still affect the success of your campaign and, I guess, how your brand is perceived. So there's one merchant who uses quite a well-known courier company here in the UK but for some reason the particular, and they're quite good actually they've historically been at the forefront of kind of innovation in terms of courier. I mean it's DPD and everyone knows that DPD kind of had a massive growth years ago because they were the first to kind of put out the time delivery. So your driver, you know Ivan, will be with you between 1117 and 1217 and you can track and whatever. And then other carriers seem to follow suit.

Speaker 1:

But for some reason this particular depot was either not picking up parcels, was not shipping amount of time Obviously they had, you know, isolated incident but that particular depot had issues with its operations and so what that means is for a merchant that's relying on the depot like that it's going to reflect on them that actually they've got all these orders that they probably can't store in their usual warehouse because you know they're not really geared up for this peak in sales. But you know, so they're trying to get it out the door as quickly as possible and yet the courier is not turning up. So you know they've got these parcels piling up, they've got customers that are expecting next day delivery that aren't going to get it, and that creates an additional kind of array of issues. So making sure that your carriers are also geared up for and you know you stand, I mean, you know more. So I guess in the USA, but then the UK, but also here in the UK, when it starts to get busier, the couriers will change their operations to say, you know, if we want to do a pick up before midday, or maybe we don't offer next day for this particular week or this particular month because we're just going to have an increase in orders overall and we just can't handle that. So it's been aware of that and not kind of realizing in the last minute that actually you know the orders that you sold on next day service are not going to be delivered on the next day service or are not going to be delivered or, you know, could conversely be delivered on a Sunday, because again those couriers are trying to get the orders out.

Speaker 1:

I think it's really interesting if you kind of think from a merchant's perspective. You kind of do all your marketing to drive traffic to the website over the build up for the few weeks before Cyber 5 and then you know Cyber 5 starts and you've got the orders coming into your website and you get the orders out and then you know, right Monday evening you finished and you're literally there just waiting because some of those orders are going to start coming back in again because you're going to get the returns. So it's making sure also that your returns process is really fluid, because what you don't want to do is have a really complicated returns process where either customers don't want to use it because it's so convoluted and complicated or for you to manage. You know a volume of orders being returned that you're not traditionally used to is also going to put a strain on your things and that's going to reflect badly in customer service and when people go to leave a review they'll say the customer service was poor. You know took me forever, you know had to chase this and you want to avoid that because what you're basically doing is trying to.

Speaker 1:

You know piggyback on the Cyber 5, you know kind of wave, but then find that it's had some negative impact on your business and you know you've potentially lost that customer for good.

Speaker 1:

So making sure that the returns process as well, and that you've got you know, you've got that written out. Everyone understands what it is. Your customers maybe you know whether it's an online portal or whether it's state you know that they have to send in a complete form or whatever it is. Just make it as easy as possible, and there's lots of tools out there as well that can make the returns easy. In the UK also, raw mail depending on the type of product and the size of the product that you sell, you know, allow the customer to create return labels and the raw mail will even come and pick it up for most addresses, which makes it easier on you because you're just then waiting for the parcel to arrive. But making sure from an operational perspective as well, that you know there's orders that are going out is great, but there will also be some that are coming back in again, and just that you're geared up from that perspective as well.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

I totally agree, and I mentioned obviously kind of, you know, some of the apps that are available for returns. Let's talk about kind of the maybe some technology platforms that can help merchants predominantly during this period, if not during, you know, during our city. So the first thing you mentioned I think we're both in agreement of is rewind, because there's a lot of people working a lot of time at the same time on the one platform potentially and you know, are able to make mistakes, so it's just been able to kind of restore within a matter of I mean seconds, but realistically, minutes, the data that somebody's working on.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I think that one's huge. Yeah, just because I get I'm biased, I've heard so many disaster stories where, for example, a client while I was at rewind, a client, someone within their company, an employee had left the company or had been let go and they had access to the store and they essentially just come to a employee, deleted everything. Yeah. So things like that happen, things like too many cooks in the kitchen, theme code edits, you know, lots of things can happen. So I think rewind is definitely a good one, and not just for Black Friday, cyber Monday, just for that peace of mind ongoing, because if and when something happens, you're going to wish you had them and they will have paid themselves off, probably when that happens, for your lifetime.

Speaker 2:

So that's a really important one. You're kind of mentioning some of the returns, logistics, shipping. I think shipper HQ is great for that, especially in terms of some of the logic for the warehousing that you were mentioning, where they'll have multiple warehouses in a lot of different regions and essentially be able to warehouse things closer to where people might be ordering and they help with that logic for you. So I think that can be a really good one, especially in increased demand on your general store, as well as for the shipping and returns for your store, and then maybe a platform like Gorgias, if you don't have it instituted already. You know people will ask questions. You know we've spoken previously about, you know, having everything clear cut on your site, having all the information someone would need to purchase things on the site, and that's best practice.

Speaker 1:

But people will have questions no matter and that could help with the customer service as well, because you know people having to email in or having a call in that takes away. But you know time, because I mean I know that I don't know if they still do it, but many because I think Amazon kind of hired eventually like logistics and operations pro that fix this. But basically I think as a month of December you had people from accounts and you know and finance and sales and everyone just going in HR, going onto the warehouse and helping packing parcels like Amazon. But basically you know small businesses might be like that as well. So you know, maybe a customer service team has to split their time between obviously answering the phones and dealing with correspondence, but also going in and you know whether it's packing orders or just taping them up or picking whatever it is. You know you might be pulled in loads of directions.

Speaker 1:

So actually having something like gorgeous in the which to be honest it isn't actually that expensive if you think about it Also allows you to automate. If you get in the same types of questions over and over again, not only you know can you identify that and say right, we need to somehow answer this question on the website but actually using things like macros you can automate the responses. So somebody saying, you know I'm tracking my parcel, that can be automated as a response in gorgeous. So not only is your customer getting a super fast reply but you're not actually having to send that reply, it's all automated. So I would agree with you on the gorgeous side of things. You know they don't have to take out an annual contract and you know it's just you can have it for that. You know, maybe two, three months between October, november, december or November December, january. I'm pretty convinced 90% of people that will take out a subscription with gorgeous will stay with it in the long run because they'll see all the value that it can, it can bring.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, and that's definitely the case with our clients. You know who we work with on getting gorgeous set up. They tend to keep it. I think it's part of that vetting process as well. You know you should know that you need it at least for BFCM, or that you want it at least for BFCM, and then see the benefits to institute it for longer. But yeah, they just save so much time through macros, through automated tagging, through no-transcript. You know the to providing benefits. You know being being on facebook, being on instagram, being on where they can kind of still reach clients and clients can ask their questions and still purchase.

Speaker 1:

I think is is prices two platforms from my side, and I've already mentioned one of them is is just do know. I think you know it's the one platform you absolutely need, is so easy to implement anyway. Yes, it will take some time just to put those campaigns together, but they do help you um with their templates. So making sure that your kind of templates and your branding is is relevant to the uh, to the time period. So just do know, we'll put all these links in the show notes, I think, and I think if anyone wants to speak to us about these apps, they should get in touch with you because you can obviously put them in touch with the partners, um, but also probably, you know, make sure that they get some offers and some discounts as well, or some incentives.

Speaker 1:

And the other one is, um, one of my favorites is claveo. Um, sorry for claveo's competitors that we also work with, but one of the reasons why I like claveo yes, it does also do the message in the pop-up, but I I I feel the customer segmentation, the way that that's done within claveo, meets the best of both worlds. It's not, it's very in depth, but it's not too complicated to manage and it's not too primitive or too simplistic like other platforms. Um, and that's really important for two reasons. The first one is we spoke about abandoned car emails. Now you know big commerce out of the box, um, abandoned car emails. But why I would recommend you turn those off in big commerce and look at using something like claveo is you can segment the type of abandoned car email you send, based on logic, so you could say, if somebody's got a particular product in their cart that you know is a fast mover, um, then you can send one type of abandoned car email and so you don't just send out a blanket saying, hey, you know this product's gonna, you know this product may sell out soon. Click here to continue. You can really say, look, this is one of our top five products and this will sell out. Um, you know, click here to jump back in.

Speaker 1:

Whereas someone that maybe isn't as much of a fast mover or maybe does need some more time because maybe it's expensive, it's high, high ticket item, you don't put as much pressure but you still make people understand look, you know, if there's any questions you've got, so let's say it's like a I don't know 500 dollar item of clothing, or you know a 2000 pound, you know electronic equipment or something, and maybe somebody's got some questions, then you can, you know, either put in some FAQs in there or you can put some links to get in touch with um customer services, either you know, you know on gorgeous, or by phone or or email, or whatever it is um.

Speaker 1:

So I think that's why it's really good, because then you're starting to to tailor that message based on, realistically, the well, really the the product that the customer's got in their um, in their basket. So I would put claveo down as one of your must-have. Again, if you don't want to take it out for the whole year, you don't have to um, you probably will end up doing it, um, but um, that's something that um will really get you to understand and understand your customer.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, I agree. Um, all great apps and I'm biased towards all of them because you know I work in partnerships and know the great things they each do, so it's really hard to create this list, but just some of the top ones that come to mind, and I always say this is ad hoc, per client. You know businesses differ, so you should really evaluate the types of tools that would be right for your business and then pick, you know, the right tool out of the options there. So you know, not all of these will apply to everyone, and some people have instituted chat and have not gotten replies or messages from clients, so maybe those don't make as much sense to them and it depends for each, each item. But it's ad hoc and you shouldn't evaluate it individually.

Speaker 1:

I think um, one key takeaway as well for a for a merchant to evaluate is what does the post-purchase relationship look like, and I think we did a webinar last year about this um with one of our partners. It's like a majority of customers will come on to your website doing cyber five, buy product and you probably never hear from them again. It could be somebody buying a product for them, buying a product for Christmas. It buys them gifts for Christmas um stocking up on gifts for the next year, um for the birthdays that they might have, or buying, you know a, a gift for their the significant other or, you know, parent, sibling, whatever it is um, and how can you create a relationship so that they come back? They come back year after year and, you know, month after month, depending on the product that you you sell. So I think really, one of those um things that merchants need to be aware of is how can we hook them in, how can we make sure that you know we build this relationship and we've got them? So, depending on the type of product, you could look at offering some of our subscriptions um, but conversely, it's just making sure that you are, you get them in your marketing funnel, um, so that you're able to nurture that relationship. And again, tools like just do know and claveo will allow you to do that.

Speaker 1:

So it's not just about the cyber five, but it's also saying right coming up to Christmas. You know, maybe we we send about some marketing coming up in January and February, maybe we've got another sale going and we keep them coming back, or maybe we've got a new product, a new range that's been launched. That you know. And if you go really deep with the data, you know as you know we love talking about data this, this kind of data, is a bit different in so far as you're building a customer profile, so you know that this type of customer buys these products and will probably like this type of product.

Speaker 1:

You're able to say you previously bought this product. You know this is a great complementary product. So if you're looking like jewelry or maybe, um I don't know um some electronics, you know if you're gaming or so on and you've bought a particular computer, um, maybe you know a keyboard that's coming out or a chair or whatever it is that um that you sell, you're able to then market to those, to those customers. So it's not just a customer that's come on your website, bought something and then gone off into the business that you'll never hear from again. Um, so that's something that I think merchants need to think about for the long term and, seeing which of those tools that actually I'm going to look at implementing during cyber five, I should be using post purchase as well in the long run.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, big time. And you know, I think kind of some of the keys that stand out to me there is again being able to track your data before and after, see what the implementation did, see the effects it made, the value it brought or didn't, and then be able to evaluate those strategies and kind of keep the good ones going and get rid of the ones that didn't work.

Speaker 1:

Exactly right. So let's round off um. Let's uh come up one actionable tip each for uh e-commerce merchants preparing for cyber five. Do you want to go first, or shall I?

Speaker 2:

Absolutely. Yeah, I'm happy to um for me again, my biased opinion because of the nature of my work and my background and experience um, I would say evaluate partner platforms that could bring value to your business and implement the ones that could really make an impact. Of course, keep in mind that you should start this prep before, before you think you need to, and just kind of start thinking about it, start planning. You know it's always good to potentially, as I said, ab test some of these partner platforms, let's say, before Black Friday, cyber Monday, before those increased demands, to see that they hold out, that they provide benefits that you are expecting, and so on. Um, so I think that's really important. Uh, and just kind of um, you know, not reinventing the wheel.

Speaker 2:

If there are things that you're struggling with or improvements that could be made, where there are partner solutions in the space, leverage them Versus doing it yourselves. There are definitely bigger experts in the space. If you're just going into it, they've kind of already provided a paid solution to a lot of clients. So you can most likely leverage at least some of the tools to make impacts and improvements to your business, and fine, if some don't, that's fine, you can get rid of them. You could have done a trial and say this is not for me, but some will definitely bring benefits. So just kind of suss them out, see what exists in the space and where you could make an improvements, and then determine if you want to test things out.

Speaker 1:

I just to add on that about the tech as well. One thing I thought was to mention about Clever that you kind of briefly where I guess you reminded me about was also standing out from competitors oh, actually, not even the competitors standing out from the noise of Cyber 5, but I do have a different. So, for example, sms utilizing that, so whether it's kind of like Clavio or Yoppo, for example, just the SMS marketing, so that somebody because I think the data shows that you're likely to or at least open an SMS message within three minutes of receiving it than an email which could be like three days. So doing those things that make you stand out from the competition, I think is gonna be super, super important and I would agree with you, obviously in terms of everything you said about those tips. From my perspective, I'm gonna park to the side the bit more of the server side, the technical side of making sure that you've got the capacity and the bandwidth and all this kind of technical jargon about the server for Cyber 5, because most merchants will probably be on a SaaS platform anyway and I'm hoping the ones that aren't are aware of the pitfalls of on-prem and therefore have already taken into consideration those kind of things.

Speaker 1:

But I think for me it's making sure that customers can make a really informed decision, so using social media integrations or user-generated content, so reviews and so on. So the customers don't just read your carefully curated product description and your great images, but actually can get real life feedback from previous customers and say, right, yep, because also you're gonna be looking. If you're by clothing, it could be like if it's a bit tight or if it's a bit loose, or it's perfect, and those kind of things. The product's not bad, it's just to fit, maybe the size that they thought they would be. It's not gonna be the one for them, and that's when you get into the letter, returns and so on. So making sure that your customers can feed off that information and make informed decision is gonna be important as well. So just making sure that you've got everything in place where customers can make that decision and check out as quickly as possible and don't have obstacles, don't have any kind of doubt in their mind that can say, I'll pop in later and have a look because let me have a think about it you want them to be able to if this is the one time that you need customers to make that purchase now and not kind of ponder on it.

Speaker 1:

So just making sure that the customer can go in, make an informed decision, check out properly, without having to go through 16 steps or having issues with performance, and complete the purchase. So, yeah, excellent. Well, this has been quite a long one, but I hope there's been kind of some value for our listeners. If there's any, if you know, if there's got any questions, or for free to reach out by email, on social media. We'll put those links into the show notes and, yeah, we're hoping you have a really good Cyber 5 campaign.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, best of luck. We're here if you need any help, and thanks for listening. See you again soon.

Speaker 1:

Brilliant.

Speaker 2:

Thanks, yvonne, thanks, bye, bye-bye.

Speaker 1:

Thank you for listening to the BigCommerce podcast. If you've enjoyed today's episode, please leave us a review on your favorite podcast platform and make sure you're following us on social media, on Instagram and on LinkedIn. If you've got ideas or suggestions for future episodes, please send us an email info at thebigcommerspodcastcom or on our social media platforms.

Speaker 2:

MUMP Sauce.

Preparing for Black Friday Cyber Monday
Preparing for a Cyber Five Campaign
Preparing for Cyber Monday Operational Challenges
Recommended Apps for Ecommerce Success
Preparing for Cyber Five and Beyond