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Winning Marketing Tips for Black Friday and the Holiday Season

The holiday shopping season may not be for another month, but as an eCommerce business owner, whether you have it as a side hustle or are running it full-time, this is the time of the year you definitely do not want to miss out on.

COVID-19 has rendered most of 2020 a little weird. But that's not to say that people have stopped shopping online. In fact, it's the contrary.

With brick-and-mortar stores not exactly viable shopping options for some, if not many, we're expecting shoppers to go bananas shopping online this holiday season. 

That said, now's the time to start preparing for the chain of high-volume e-commerce purchases that will be coming your way, starting with Black Friday on November 27.

To guide you through that, we're joined by Oberlo's very own Magda Kuzminski, a marketing expert on our team. Magda is going to go through, step-by-step, what you need to do to successfully prepare for your Black Friday marketing campaign.

She will be dropping valuable, insightful, and practical knowledge bombs so if you're looking to boost those sales, this is one episode you want to tune into.

Enjoying our podcast? Do subscribe so you never miss out on the latest episodes.

Short on time? Here are Magda's actionable tips for your Black Friday campaign.

Before Black Friday:

  1. Start preparing as early as possible
  2. Invest in a pop-up or conversion app
  3. Collect emails early
  4. Address the COVID-19 situation
  5. Connect with your customers

On the day itself:

  1. Encourage immediate action with time-sensitive offers like flash sales
  2. Offer bundles, gift guides, and mystery boxes
  3. Do not forget customer service

After Black Friday:

  1. Extend your Black Friday sales
  2. Recover abandoned carts
  3. Retarget your customers

Start Yours is a podcast about ecommerce, dropshipping, and all things launching a business.

Join us as we meet entrepreneurs who have gone through the triumphs and headaches of running an online store, and learn how they managed to survive and thrive.

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What Black Friday 2020 Will Be Like

Aleisha: Magda, a delight to have you back on Start Yours, you were on the show, episode six. And now we're in the 40s, so it's been a while, but between... Drinks.

Magda: Frankly, Aleisha, it's been crazy. When I was on the Start Yours podcast before, things were just getting started. And now this podcast is full-blown, it's really come into its own and it's its own little empire now, so it's amazing to be back.

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Aleisha: Well, that's very nice of you to say and we are delighted to have you back. This time we are talking about Black Friday and holiday marketing. It's been, as an understatement, a weird year, I think we can all say that for so many reasons. 

And perhaps this year, the holiday marketing might be different, I'm interested to hear your perspective, but I think a lot of the brick-and-mortar stores, unfortunately, people aren't able to visit them as much or they've had lots of closures, it's been on and off for people. So online shopping has really boomed, and I know we've had a lot of internal chat in Shopify and Oberlo about how we can help people and really make sure people are being able to fulfill their goals and also keep their businesses alive, which I think is a privilege to be able to be involved in that as a business. 

So I'm excited to hear some of our plans and how we can help our listeners prepare for this time of year because it can get pretty full-on, it can get pretty mental, and we want them to be able to cope and hopefully exceed their expectations when it comes to sales.

So where do we start in preparing for Black Friday? What are your thoughts... Actually, before we even get into that, what are your thoughts about this year? Do you think this is gonna be a big year for everyone, or do you think COVID's smashed it, in a bad way?

Magda: Well, you know, Aleisha, I think this year has... If it's taught us one thing it's you have to expect the unexpected and, absolutely, things have just been going wild this year. And I think the one thing that is particularly different compared to last year, and I think that this is really important to know, it's not necessarily that all the steps I'm gonna talk about today will be super different, but I think the important distinction to make this year is that you need to get into the right mindset and understand that just because there's a pandemic going on, it does not mean that people are not gonna be shopping

On the contrary, people are going to be shopping more than ever. 

And they're gonna be looking for deals more than ever as they're home, as they're working from home, as they're shopping for the holidays and things like that. So I actually think that this year, Black Friday will be even bigger than it was last year. And of course, Black Friday sales and growth increases year after year, it's been pretty steady. 

But I think it will explode beyond what is the normal growth expected because everyone is going to be shopping online. And if you're shopping online, you probably are already thinking, "I'll just wait until Black Friday," or "I'll just wait until Cyber Monday because I already know that that's probably the best time I'm gonna get a deal." 

So people are anticipating it and I think that it's going to bring in huge sales for store owners that properly prepare and then properly execute their Black Friday sales. Because when you get an email and it says, "50% off the entire store," or it says, "Scratch this to see if you get 10% off," it seems quick, but it takes a lot of time to set up. And it's a lot of intentional steps that you have to do ahead of time. 

And, good thing for you, Black Friday is at the end of November this year, on November 27th. 

So you have more than enough time to prepare and start looking into some of these strategies that we discuss today.

Aleisha: I'm so happy you said that. And I have a bit of a confession to make as an ecommerce person with my side hustle two Black Fridays ago. I let it sneak up on me and literally the week of Black Friday, I went, "Oh my God, I have got nothing prepared." And I just created all these graphics and freaked out. But then also, the third-party fulfillment company that I was using, they'd put all this documentation out, I'd sort of ignored it. This is very irresponsible. I just want our listeners to know, I make mistakes all the time, and this was one of them. 

And I thought, "I'll do a bit of a flash sale." And I was completely under-prepared for it, I luckily used Shopify codes to make it happen. But really, it was a bomb, and of course, my Facebook ads, I hadn't really prepped them, I had put them up the week before, they hadn't done their work... And it was a total bust. 

Last year I came back, I had done my due diligence, I'd prepared months in advance and it was a really profitable experience for me. But it's exactly what we were talking about now. I'd thought about it, I'd thought about the customer journey, I'd really thought about all of my promotions, and it was much easier for me as a business owner to deal with it when I knew what I was doing rather than just going, "Oh Black Friday's next week, quick, let's go into Canva and whip up something." 

So I will say, if you are listening and you haven't thought about it, take heed and Magda's gonna help you in this episode. So let's kick it off. What should we be doing to start preparing and not doing what I did two years ago and having a full breakdown?

Start Preparing as Early as Possible

Magda: Yeah. So the first thing that you wanna do is understand and I think come to terms with the fact that you need to start as early as possible. If you think that one week or two weeks is really enough, it's not. 

Whatever you think it should be, take an extra week or two because whatever you have planned, you wanna prepare for those discount codes to not work the first time. You wanna prepare for that pop-up that you are putting all your money on to maybe not work, or maybe you need to reach out to customer support to get them to help you install it. 

You want to prepare for those challenges ahead of time. 

Now, once you start doing that, I think the first thing that you can do as a business owner is to start building anticipation early. When it comes to Black Friday or any sort of big sales, you wanna make sure that you're promoting them to your customers. So whether that be with emails, whether that be with graphics that you can make, like Aleisha you did in Canva, you wanna make sure that people start associating your business with Black Friday sales. 

Because here's the thing, I'm gonna be completely frank with you: When I think Black Friday, it's hard not to think of Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart, these huge stores because you associate them with Black Friday because they are so great at building that anticipation. They are always telling customers to save the date, teasing sales, whatever it may be. 

And so it's really important that you start to kind of fight for your own little piece of that pie in your customer's mind, where when they think Black Friday, they think of your store and your business and the promotions that are gonna be coming up.

Aleisha: Do you think with the pre-release... Some of the chat I've been seeing, especially in some of the Reddit forums recently, is like, "Well, we don't like to say too early because then our sales before that drop," and I think it's an interesting perspective. But also, I suppose you need to figure out what you gain from doing a sale, and I know we're gonna talk about how much we're going to increase and decrease our prices. 

To be honest, if you're going to have the sale, you need to let people know. So I feel like that's a bit of a counter-productive perspective when you are pitching this to people. But what do you think about that? Is it worth taking the hit for the weeks before if you're promoting and saying, "Alright, there's gonna be a sale," or is that silly?

Magda: I think that's a great point, and I think that's definitely something that you should think through as a business owner because you do wanna think of all the possible sides to this decision and it's good to do your due diligence in that regard. But I think thinking about, let's say not promoting things early because you might lose out on some sales, is thinking too short-game. 

You wanna think long-game. You know, I think that let's say in ecommerce, in general, everyone knows, "You wanna sell products, put them on sale." Can you imagine if someone said to you, "Well, why would I put it on sale? I'm gonna lose out on a few dollars." 

And they're thinking so small, they're really thinking about just those few dollars rather than the opportunity of let's say X amount, hundreds of sales because that certain price point or that certain sale just hits it with certain customers and it really explodes. 

So I think that sometimes you need to cut those immediate losses because you're investing and you're kind of taking a calculated risk. 

And to some degree, I do believe that if you really want to succeed, you constantly need to be taking calculated risks. And building anticipation early for Black Friday, I think is one of them.

And one thing that I just wanna say really quickly is when it comes to wondering if that's the right move to make, always look at your biggest competitors. If they're advertising Black Friday now, you should be too. They make a lot of money, they have entire teams dedicated to figuring out when is the best time to start building anticipation. They pay people lots of money to figure this out, so learn from them, take that knowledge for free.

That's one thing that I always like to do because I feel like, you know, that way... Sure, you don't have your own team, but that's all right, they've already done the work for you and they've made that work public. So learn from it and think that if they're building it up now, it's probably a good time for you to start too.

Aleisha: And you don't have to say, this specific item is gonna be on sale, if you have a store that has multiple items, you are just teasing that something's coming. So I suppose the other thing is, you're building a little bit of a mystery behind it... You can say this product's gonna be 50 percent off or whatever, I'm sure we're gonna discuss that. 

But perhaps that's part of the bit of sexy Black Friday marketing is just saying, "There will be some items on sale, who knows which one? If you buy it this week, it could be this price. Who knows?" Maybe that's it.

Invest in a Pop-up or Conversion App

Magda: Absolutely, and I think this kind of flows into the next point, which was, I was going to say, to prepare for your Black Friday sales, you might want to invest in a pop-up or a conversion app. So in the Shopify app store, you can find numerous apps that will pop up and either offer discounts, deals, or ask your customers to sign up for an email list. 

Now, you don't need to give away, like you were saying Aleisha, exactly which product you're going to be putting on sale in addition to exactly how much because of course, that's gonna divert traffic from it. 

However, you can create a pop-up that says that you are going to be having a Black Friday sale with deals up to 50 percent off and to find out which products are gonna be on sale to sign up for the email list. 

It's always good to add a little bit of mystery, and when you do that, leave that space for mystery, you'll see more often than not that people will sign up for that email list or whatever it may be. But this is really a great time to invest in one of those pop-up apps.

Now, I do wanna just say, for anyone that's worried about budget, a lot of these pop-up apps do have seven-day free trials. This is coming to you from a shady shortcut entrepreneur. So for anyone out there who’s like, "I refuse to pay for an app." don't worry, I know the feeling. 

And the only thing I would say is to make sure you put in your calendar when it's... The seven days are up so you do not get charged. But they have free seven day trials so you can try it out, and as long as you test it beforehand to make sure you've got everything sorted, you can set that up before Black Friday and then start collecting emails with your pop-up app, and that's a great way to also share the message of your Black Friday sale.

Aleisha: Great, awesome. That's a really good suggestion, I think. And as you said, I've done that before, mark it on your calendar and go, "Quick, disable." But also, if you think it's working, support some app developers, but... Excellent idea.

Magda: Absolutely, I think just... It's important to note that a lot of times when you go to the Shopify app store, I get it, there are hundreds of apps, it's really overwhelming. You kind of think you need one app and then you end up thinking maybe you need 100 by the time you leave there. Of course, you wanna increase sales and conversions, and that's pretty much on the description of every app on there. So you might be stuck with a long list. 

But that's a great way to try it out, and I do completely agree, some of the best ones, especially the ones we've heard in the Oberlo success stories, is the spin wheel pop-up. It pops up to the side, allows customers that spin the wheel. 

I've talked to many six- and seven-figure entrepreneurs, and that pop-up app really does wonders for them. They are always surprised because it really does a great job of converting emails. 

Collect Emails Early

And that actually brings us to my next point, which is to collect as many emails as possible as early as possible. Now, when Black Friday comes around, it's gonna be a busy time. You know, your customers are gonna be thinking about what they want to buy, and they're gonna be thinking about the stores, probably major big-box stores because that's kind of what's associated with Black Friday.

So the best way to actually remind customers about your business is to send them an email. And you can send them an email by collecting their emails ahead of time. Don't forget, this is really important. Our emails are very personal. When you check your inbox, it almost feels like someone is texting you, you know, it's like actually a direct line to your customer. A lot of times, I check my email in bed before I get up for the day, so it's quite personal.

Aleisha: Yeah, me too.

Magda: And so I think that this is a great way to actually connect with your customer and let them know that when your Black Friday sale is live and also, the weeks leading up to it. And I think that's really important. Because you wanna build some more recognition and get your customers excited. 

Also, check to see if there are products that they are more interested in than others. Maybe that will give you a clue as to exactly what products you should be putting on sale. 

And I think one thing I would always suggest next time you go through your email list, note down the companies' emails that you love to open. You know they're from a company, you know they're from a business, you know they're trying to sell you something. But for some reason, you just love reading them. Maybe they make you laugh. I don't know what it is, but there are certain companies, even though I'll never buy their products, I love reading their emails and I actually look forward to them. 

And use that language and that tone as a template, rather than just creating a pre-saved template in an email app on Shopify.

Aleisha: Great, excellent suggestion.

Address COVID-19 and Connect With Your Customers

Magda: On the subject of talking to your customers casually and you know, discussing Black Friday ahead of time with them with emails, and then on the day of, the next thing is you want to make sure that you address the craziness that is going on with COVID-19 and use it to an advantage. When I say advantage, I do not mean that you should exploit the COVID-19 situation. 

However, it is good to touch base on it and remind customers that because of everything going on right now, that it's most likely people are not gonna be able to get their Black Friday sales lining up at the department stores. They're not gonna be able to go to a lot of malls to do shopping for Christmas and because of that, this Black Friday is actually an amazing time to purchase gifts for family and friends, gifts for yourself.

Whoever you need to shop for, this is actually the perfect time because if you think about it, November 27 gives you about a month before Christmas. That is just enough time to really get a lot of products sold and actually shipped to your customers. And in addition to that, everything is gonna be on sale. So this is kind of the best time for you to be pushing this and kind of create a narrative and explain to customers why this is a great time to be purchasing from you. 

And I think one of the most important things, and for everyone listening, I actually run the Oberlo YouTube channel, and I can tell you just from the last few years working with merchants, entrepreneurs and also on the YouTube channel, I can tell you one thing people really resonate with is when you speak to them genuinely. 

When you are open about what's going on, when you are open about the challenges that we are all facing, it makes you able to connect with people on a human level. 

And you'd be surprised when you connect with someone on a human level, how much more likely you are to give them your business.

Aleisha: Yeah.

Magda: Because if you think about it, when you go into small boutique stores, or when we used to go into small boutique stores, I will be honest, I would buy things that normally I wouldn't care if I saw online. But just after talking to the person working there, I hear a story about a candle, and all of a sudden I have multiple candles that I'm leaving the store with. 

And I think that's really important and it seems like a small thing, but it actually makes the biggest difference when it comes to sales and business because you no longer seem like a cold store, which yes, big department stores can get away with. 

But if you're a small business, use that to your advantage and show that humanity. 

And I think that you will really see the benefit of connecting with your customers and ultimately making more sales. Speaking of boutique stores, when you go into a boutique store, if you have a question about a product, you can easily ask the person there, right away they'll be able to answer your question, and that way you'll be much more inclined to continue with your purchase. 

But when you have an online store, it actually is a huge barrier if a customer has a question, they have to reach out to you with a contact form or they have to find your email, then they have to write the email, maybe they won't even be interested in your product after you send them an email back in a few days. You don't want that.

So when you're preparing for your Black Friday, make sure that you write out a very clear return policy, FAQ, and shipping page, and make sure that you link it on every part of your store. 

You wanna make sure that if your customer scrolls down to the footer before they even think about their shipping questions and leave the store, you've already answered it.

Aleisha: Yeah.

Do the Boomer Test

Magda: As soon as they are looking at the size of the product, they're wondering, "Oh, I don't know if this will fit. Would I be able to return it if I did buy it?" Boom, you don't even need to ask, it's already there for you, and you already know what the return policy is. 

Making it easy for your customers to commit to the purchase is going to get those sales really rising. 

And I really think that it's something that a lot of people overlook because when you go through your own store, sure, it's easy to think, "Yeah, I know our shipping policy, of course, 'cause I wrote it." Well, your customers might not. 

So one thing in this regard is I would always suggest for you to ask a friend or a family member to go through your store as a customer and be very open and honest about what questions they have. If you have someone you know that is not as tech-savvy, even better. 

For me, I always get my mom to go. If she can find the FAQ page, then I know that the UX of this store is amazing and it is ready to go, so I would definitely suggest that.

Aleisha: Send a boomer in there.

Magda: Yes.

Aleisha: If a boomer can find it, you're fine, if not, get out of here. 

Magda: Exactly, yes, that's a great way of putting it, Aleisha. If you can get a boomer to identify your FAQ, return policy, and shipping page...

Aleisha: You're in.

Magda: You're in. You're seamless. Yeah, you're seamless.

Aleisha: The boomer test. I love it.

Magda: The boomer test. Exactly. And the last thing that I wanted to say for preparing Black Friday is, if you're listening to this podcast, I'm not sure, maybe you already have a business and you've never gone through Black Friday, or maybe this is your first Black Friday. 

I think after talking about all the tips in terms of preparation, one thing I can tell you is it's gonna be an overwhelming time, no matter what. 

Even if you prepare everything, it will still be overwhelming and there will be a lot to do. 

So make sure that not only is your store prepared, but also your ecommerce marketing. So pre-film any videos, ads and make sure that you pre-prepare all your social and graphics ahead of time because it will save you a huge headache.

What To Do on the Day Itself

Aleisha: Good tip. Great tip. Heading into the actual time when it's happening, what do we do? We take a breath, we get a coffee or a stiff drink, and we hope it all works?

Magda: And we jump in. So during Black Friday, the first thing you wanna do is jump in, and you wanna jump in by encouraging immediate action. When your customer wakes up on that day, you wanna put yourself in their shoes. They're gonna wake up to hundreds of emails, anywhere they go online, it's gonna be Black Friday sale this, Black Friday sale that. 

What you really want to do, and you will have competition here, but that's okay 'cause people are ready to spend money on this day, so don't worry about the competition, is you want to encourage immediate action. You want to let people know that, yes, there are a lot of Black Friday sales going on, but that customer needs to go to your store immediately or as fast as possible because they might miss out on a sale. 

And having a lot of time-sensitive offers and products really does wonders when it comes to customers converting. 

Because if a customer feels a bit of time pressure, which during Black Friday is completely normal so definitely lean into it. You might think you're being pushy, but just think about Amazon's limited time offers, think about other stores that have a counter of how many products they have left. This is something that the entire industry uses and for good reason because it really does a great job at converting. 

Now, one thing that I want to mention is that I looked into a study that was conducted in 2017 and it showed that when it comes to time-sensitive offers and encouraging that immediate action, phrases like, "Hurry," or, "This deal won't last long," didn't convert effectively. 

Why? Well, let's be honest, you probably see that in other emails, you'll probably gonna see "Hurry,” and, “This deal won't last long,” at least 10 or 20 times in your email inbox. So I think part of the reason, personally, that this isn't as effective is because it just doesn't stand out. It sounds like a big box store just looked up Black Friday suggestions for promotions and copy-pasted "hurry" and "this deal won't last long." 

Instead, try to use a different language. A language like, "Get ready," or "Prepare yourself," "From us to you," "Treat yourself today." Try to make it a little more interesting. And one thing that I noticed works really well is including a funny phrase, include a funny phrase or include a funny GIF. In Parks and Recreation, for example, treat yourself day was a really popular thing.

Aleisha: Yeah, it's great.

Magda: Yeah, and it's something that makes you smile. And if you said... If you put into your email treat yourself day and you showed a GIF from Parks and Rec with the promotion, that would stand out among all the other emails. 

Even if the other emails actually had better promotions, you would still remember that one way more because it just made you smile, made you laugh, and it was a little bit different, whereas if you just had something, say, "Hurry," you're not gonna remember that.

Aleisha: I totally agree. And it's the same with all your email marketing. If you're gonna be fun and sassy, do it through everything, and then at least it's memorable, and it does make people smile, and it brings it back to your brand. You want people to instantly be triggered to go, "Oh, I wanna go back and buy that thing 'cause that was funny, I remembered it, it made me laugh," rather than that was just like everyone else.

Create Flash Sales and Gift Guides

Magda: Boring. Absolutely, and speaking of taking immediate action, one thing that I did want to mention, and this is an absolute must for Black Friday, is creating flash sales. So if you are one of those people that are still thinking, “I'm not going to start encouraging customers to wait for Black Friday because I don't wanna miss out on sales,” that's fine. Don't worry about it because for you out there, that is what flash sales are for. 

So if you want to just surprise your customers and do a flash sale instead, that's no problem. I do personally believe that building anticipation earlier is more effective. But here's the thing, every business is a unique snowflake, they're all different. So if you firmly believe that flash sales will work better for your business, no problem. 

Make sure you don't come up with a flash sale in a flash.

Make sure that you take a few weeks to figure out what's gonna be going on sale and preparing the graphics and the promotion. But there is nothing wrong with a flash sale, and if you know in your heart that works better for your business, then you go with your gut. 

When you've been doing the work to remind your customers earlier that you're going to be having a Black Friday sale and this is the perfect time to buy gifts, take the extra step and create gift guides. When people are shopping on a website and they're shopping for someone, they actually have no idea, a lot of the times, what it is they want. For example, they might know that they're interested in biking. But beyond that, if they went into a biking website, they would have no idea what exactly they would want from that store.

So as a business owner, it's extremely important and a huge benefit to you to create gift cards for people. 

So during Black Friday, if someone signs on to your bike store and they're shopping for a loved one who's interested in biking, before they get confused and have time to leave the page, you'll already have a beautiful gift guide in front of them to show them what would make the perfect gift. Easy, they will convert in a snap because you've gone through the work and they know that you've taken the time to actually think about someone who'd be interested in a gift from them.

Aleisha: That's great, and I think it doesn't have to be complicated to create these cards, does it? And it's also good if you put it on your page for SEO, that's gonna be a good click back for people to be sharing.

Offer Bundles and Mystery Boxes

Magda: Absolutely, and one other thing, one other huge benefit of creating gift cards is that you can create bundle offers. So if you're someone out there who is interested in ecommerce, then you'll know that bundles are one of the ways that some of the biggest ecommerce entrepreneurs build their empires. 

Bundles are amazing. Sometimes, it takes a little bit of work to put them together. But it can definitely be worth it, and Shopify has numerous bundle apps that make it super easy to create them, so I would definitely suggest checking bundles out if that seems appropriate for your store and the products you're selling. 

Speaking of bundles, the next thing I wanna mention is mystery boxes. Now, mystery boxes saw a huge spike in popularity in the last two years. However, they're still around and they're still making businesses a lot of money. 

A mystery box is a bundle of products that when you purchase and you receive, you will receive a surprise of products. 

The idea being that some of them will be very expensive and then some of them not so much, but ideally still favorites within your store. Mystery boxes have proven to be an amazing way to make a lot of sales because people love to have fun and engage with this sort of thing. 

So it's a really amazing opportunity and one that actually successful entrepreneurs, Kory and Rodney, who are on the Oberlo success stories blog, as well as being featured on the Oberlo YouTube channel.

Aleisha: Yeah and our show. They're on Start Yours as well. So yeah, they're everywhere, I love it.

Magda: Exactly, and so Kory and Rodney actually used mystery boxes to launch their store into success without really investing anything in ads. Get that.

Aleisha: Amazing.

Magda: So instead of spending their time worrying about Facebook ads, to be honest, on the weekend where they're probably gonna cost you the most because you have so much competition, so much advertising, they went ahead and created mystery boxes and saw a huge success with that. 

So I would definitely suggest looking into them, start checking around mystery box websites to see what they're like and what copy you should be using, but they could really be an amazing opportunity for you. 

Do Not Neglect Customer Service

Now, the last thing that I want to mention to do during Black Friday itself is customer service. Now, this is so important. This is something that I think a lot of people don't really realize is as important as it is, and I can tell you from interviewing many, six- and seven-figure ecommerce entrepreneurs that one thing that they always talk about is how important customer service is.

Because when someone is on your website, they have questions. You wanna be right there for them. 

You wanna let them know that you're not nagging them, you're not that person in the store that's staring at them until they purchase something, but you're close by. If you have any questions they can just ping you and you will be right there to answer any questions they have or concerns. 

Even if they actually don't have any concerns, understanding that when a customer is on your online store and they know that they do have your support, should they need it, goes a huge way in actually helping you to convert that sale.

Aleisha: That's great, and it's also just being able to feel like you're a real person, there's someone really running the business, and it's not just someone... You're not having emails sit there for weeks and weeks, and there's not... The integrity and trust aren't there when you don't get back to them as well.

Magda: Absolutely. I've been to a lot of online stores where they just have a contact form and it kind of feels like when I send an email, it goes to a black hole. I don't know where it goes. If I get something back, cool. But I'm not even expecting something back when there's just like a blank contact form page, to be honest. 

But one thing that I found really works well is for... In your product descriptions, make sure that you just have a little piece of copy that gives someone a direct link or a direct email that they can send you a question to. 

And one thing that I always suggest writing is that you have a 24-hour response time. 

And you need to make sure that you are on top of this to respond to customers. But if someone sees that you have a 24-hour response time, immediately, they just start to see the human on the other side of the online store, and it goes a huge way into making them feel more comfortable.

Aleisha: And also the chat apps and all... We've got so many different options I suppose people can explore. But there's an app that I've been seeing recently that sends the chat straight to the merchant's phone. So as long as you're switched on and you're there and you've said, "Yes, I'm available," you can write straight back and it's also good with automated responses that you can hit the button and know that templated responses that you can write straight back to them, and you don't have to be sitting at your desktop. 

So there are certainly options to make it look like you've got a huge customer service team, even if it's just you and your mobile phone, it's pretty good, and people will be happy to see that you're responding and answering questions and not just being ignored, as you said, going to some sort of spam box that never gets responded and you've lost a sale.

Magda: Exactly, and you've also lost... One thing that I always think is, you've lost a sale, but you've also potentially lost a life-long customer. If you really make the sale and you take the time to actually treat them with respect and treat them as a valued customer, it's crazy. They'll be so happy to come back and spend more on your store. 

And I think one of the basics of business is that it's always so much cheaper to have returning customers than actually new customers, so don't forget to think that. 

If you think this is just us trying to be nice, it is. But it's also not because having return customers is way cheaper than getting new ones all the time, so you'll actually be way more profitable with their strategy. 

Alright, well, that kind of covers what you should be doing during Black Friday. So let's go over what you should be doing after Black Friday or after the holidays. Now, mind you, we're referencing Black Friday, but this includes Cyber Monday, and this includes any sort of holidays, and one thing that I wanna start with is extending the sales. As I talk about Cyber Monday, and as you start to get more emails as we get closer to Black Friday, I'm sure you'll start to see Black Friday week, that's my favorite.

Aleisha: Just spread it out, it's never gonna end.

Extend Your Black Friday Sales

Magda: It's never gonna end. And I have seen Black Friday month, it is out there, and I'm sure if you keep your eyes peeled, you'll see that as well. Now, Black Friday month, I will say, does take away I think from the immediate action that you're looking for your customers to take. 

However, extending the sale is a really great strategy. 

If you have something that's going on sale on Black Friday and your customers miss it, sending them an email on Sunday and saying, "Don't worry, you get one more chance on Cyber Monday," your customer is gonna be super inclined to put it on their calendar and think, "I'm not gonna miss out on this again. I'm gonna make sure that this time when I see it, I'm gonna purchase it." 

And whether that's with Cyber Monday or just with the Black Friday week, that idea to give your customers another chance because you care about them and you want them to get the sale goes a huge way and they will appreciate it and you definitely will see sales. 

So I would definitely suggest extending it. If you can make sure that you set up the proper emails and graphics for it, but this can be an amazing way to see a lot more sales.

Aleisha: If you can afford it. I suppose it always comes back to doing your maths as well about saying what you can physically afford and how much you can afford to extend sales for. It's not worth extending a sale if you're not making any money, I suppose.

Magda: Absolutely, that's very true. And I can imagine the Black Friday month, probably not the best for a business, so maybe stick to a few days you could be extending the sale. It also doesn't need to be as great of a sale maybe as it originally was. But I do think that it's a great idea to, number one, check your checkbook, make sure that everything balances, and then see how long you can extend the sale for. 

Recover Abandoned Carts

Once you've extended the sales, the next thing you wanna be doing is sending out abandoned cart emails. Now, this is something you probably hear all the time. And I will say, personally, I think we all know how important sending out abandoned cart emails are. 

But when it comes to setting it up, it can be a bit of a maze to deal with any of the mail apps. They can be super complicated and convoluted, and here's the thing, it's just like Facebook Ads. Unfortunately, there is no way to snap your fingers and make it happen. You just need to get your hands dirty, start making emails, start sending some test emails, and eventually, you will be the master of that email app. So that's the first thing that I wanna say. 

And when you are setting up these abandoned emails, I think it's really important that you understand and take the time to really explore this strategy. You might just think, “Okay, I will send out one abandoned check-out email. Check. Done.” No way. 

If you really want abandoned emails to work and work as effectively as they possibly can, you wanna actually set up a sequence. 

Now, there are Shopify apps that'll allow you to do this and what they'll do is they'll set up a sequence of one to three emails or however many you like. So that way, once a customer abandons check-out, they'll receive one email maybe an hour or two afterward. Then you can set up the second email to send them an email in a few days, and then maybe a third email a week later. 

Normally what a lot of big companies do is they will actually put a discount or additional promotion in the final last email, so that way, it's really the final push to get the customer to come back and commit to the purchase. 

Now, abandoned check-out emails are extremely effective. 

Lots of people abandon check-out for a number of reasons. On Black Friday, people will probably have 100 tabs open. They're probably gonna be flying through stores, flying through sales, flying through check-out, no problem, it's gonna be a messy day online. 

So if you set up this abandoned check-out sequence, guess what? In a week, when things settle down and everyone is kind of finished with the Black Friday sales, they'll get a little email from you directly in their inbox with a promotion or maybe the same deal that you offered on Black Friday, and it will really stand out among the quiet once things have settled down. And it's a very effective way to bring in some additional sales.

Aleisha: I totally agree. I think some of my sales from that previous year definitely... The click-backs that I got from those abandoned cart emails were really substantial. So I think it's absolutely worth setting up and it's so quick and easy to do that you'd be silly not to do it.

Magda: You've got to do it. I know, I've been there before. Sometimes the email apps have made me just wanna reach for the computer. But you've just gotta get through it because you know what? There are gonna be more apps that make you feel like that and it's a step-by-step process. And speaking of abandoned check-outs, the idea with them is that you're touching base with your customers again.

Retarget Your Customers

Now the last tip that I wanna add for post-Black Friday or post-holiday sales is to make sure that you re-target your customers. 

Aleisha: Yes.

Magda: Now, you can re-target in a few ways. When I talk about retargeting, I am referring to Facebook ads. So if you're advertising with Facebook, this means that you will be targeting the people that visited your store or did an action on your stores such as press check-out. And what you'll be doing is you'll be sending them targeted ads to say, and trying to convince them to come back. 

Now, the idea with this is very simple. It's a common, I guess, marketing phenomenon that customers need to see something at least three to seven times before they actually commit to purchasing it. So if you didn't see a lot of sales on Black Friday, don't feel defeated. That's okay. A lot of times, customers just need to see things a few times. 

So this is your opportunity to continue to advertise to them and get them to that level where they are more comfortable and ready to make the sale.

Now, that's with Facebook ads. You can lightly re-target or re-target in theory with emails as well. And you should make sure that once you've run your Black Friday sale, don't just look at the how many sales you've made, hopefully, it's tons though. I know it will be after you listen to this podcast.

Aleisha: Yeah. Exactly.

Magda: One thing that is really important is to also look at your email list. That is so important and something people often overlook. Your email is a halfway step to a sale. If someone is interested enough to put in their email into our email list, that's huge. 

That means they're even one percent interested and you can drag that one percent to a sale. You can absolutely do it. 

So make sure to look at your email list and don't forget to retarget those customers. Don't send them spam emails, but just start sending emails and start sending good emails as Andrew suggested in the previous podcast where you provide additional content, you really give them something. You'll see the benefit of that as they appreciate that genuine connection and then they will eventually come back to your business.

Aleisha: It's one of those steps that if you ignore, I think you're just missing out on huge amounts of sales, so it's such a good tip, Magda. This has been like, oh my gosh, how many value bombs have you dropped throughout this episode?

Think About the Experience From Both Points of View

Magda: I could talk and talk about ecommerce and, to be honest, any sort of Black Friday sales. And I think I want to say to everyone out there that one of the reasons that I love all these tactics is because they work on me. I'm a huge Black Friday shopper. 

And I feel like as someone who works in ecommerce, I love to see both sides of it, and I will be honest, countdown timers, they work on me. Abandoned check-out emails with a discount, they work on me. They get me to convert.

Aleisha: I was gonna say, I'm a sucker. Not a sucker, but I do know if I want something that if you can entice me to push that button and put my... Well, I use Shopify Shop Pay, so it means that all my stuff, if you're using a Shopify store, all of my information is already there. I can check out within about 13 seconds, I'm gonna push that button, I'm gonna make that happen. 

So whatever you can do to entice people to add to cart, checkout, boom! You got a sale. It's gonna make your life easier and your business more successful.

Magda: Absolutely. And always think like, if you're someone that has an online store, think about your buying habits. You know, what gets you? Is it countdown timers? Where do you put your email into other businesses? Is it on a pop-up? 

And when you start to see yourself as a customer, it will really help you as a business owner, try to think on both sides of it and I think ultimately, Black Friday is gonna be a good time. 

You are all gonna be making a lot of money and people are gonna be purchasing a lot of things that they've really want. So it's gonna be good for both businesses and consumers. So I think the one important thing is don't get too overwhelmed and remember that there's gonna be another one next year and another one the year after that, and holidays in between. So just try to have some fun. But also go out there and get some sales.

Aleisha: Yes, exactly. Kick ass. This is the time. And exceed your customers' expectations. Make sure you communicate and also make sure you have fun with your marketing as well because it shouldn't be a slog. It should be something you enjoy, and it's really a good feeling when you hear those little chi chings come and know that the work that you've put in is making you money, and that is a good thing.

Magda: Exactly.

Aleisha: Magda, this has been a brilliant, brilliant episode. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and information that you manage a lot of different marketing areas for Oberlo, where can we see your magic work and learn your skills about what you do?

Magda: Well, thank you. It has been a pleasure to be back on, and for everyone out there, you can find me on the Oberlo YouTube channel. I am in a lot of the videos with Jessica, who I'm sure you know. And then we also go live every Tuesday at 11 AM EST, and we bring you five winning products from the database, so you know that they are real winning products. 

So make sure to join us there, subscribe and join us for the lives on Tuesdays. I would love to see you there, and I'm always reading the chats. So please shout me out in the chat, let me know that you heard this on the podcast, and I will shout you out on the live.

Aleisha: I love it. And yeah, the lives are great because also if you're looking for a product, you're in that product sourcing mode, which I know a lot of our listeners are, they're such great up-to-date broadcast where you can get a lot of information, but also just be guided in the right direction for finding what might be right for you to sell now.

Magda: Exactly.

Aleisha: And of course, you can check out for more information about blogs, links to all of the magic videos, and lots of courses that we're offering at the moment, which we're very excited about with the re-brand that's come out recently that looks pretty sexy.

Magda: It's cool. It's definitely really cool. I feel like we really made ecommerce cool again and I think that everyone should definitely go check it out.

Aleisha: I agree. Alright, Magda, you'll be back soon, I have no doubt because you're always a wealth of information and we love having you on the show, so thank you. And until next week, lovely listeners, we'll see you soon.

Magda: And keep hustling.

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