Blast From the Future
Imagine yourself four months from now, as your eyes open early on a Friday morning after a tryptophan-induced slumber. It’s the day after Thanksgiving, and you’d usually be joining bleary-eyed Black Friday shoppers lining up at 5am to get amazing door-busters, but you’re up early for a different reason. You’ve set up your Shopify store and you’re ready to witness your web traffic explode!
As exciting as it will be to watch that live map light up, a greater volume of site traffic will just be greater—unless you take steps now to prepare your store for high conversions. Take those steps, and Black Friday weekend will compound your efforts and you’ll achieve the promise of the holiday: doubled sales (or higher)!
A Changing Landscape
Black Friday used to be a one-day phenomenon. Shoppers used to force themselves out of bed early and spend the day sprinting from store to store to get limited time deals.
Today, many deals are offered online, and extend from Friday through Cyber Monday. All five of these days, including Thanksgiving, see a tremendous increase of traffic to both physical and online stores. To capitalize on this surge of traffic and customer drive to spend money, your actions as a business owner need to start long before the holiday so your store is prepared to reap the benefits of those days of heavy traffic.
Why Start in the Summer?
To make the Black Friday weekend explosive, there are a few actions you’ll need to take in the weeks leading up to it, and on the day itself. Lay the groundwork now.
For example, you’ll want to establish a sale, and share details with your customers and visitors. This step will only be easy if you’ve already built a list of contacts.
Furthermore, if you only have ten or fifteen names in your contact list, any promotions you run on Black Friday won’t have the impact you’re looking for. The sooner you commit time and resources to building your list, the bigger and better the list will be by the time you’ll most want to use it.
Your contact list will also be of greater quality if you focus on building trust early. Getting contacts to trust you is not a quick process. We’ll talk about specific actions you can take to build that trust a little later.
Another reason to start early? In the early days your efforts have lower stakes, so you can feel free to experiment and test. Figure out what content resonates with your audience so you can be sure to use that approach when the stakes are higher. You can do this with A/B testing!
How to Prepare
If your store is currently producing great results, excellent! Stick with them and build on your processes now through October, so that you’re ready for rapid growth in November. If your store isn’t getting the results you want, work on optimizing the processes below.
First, you want to build a list, not buy one. Why? The email addresses in the list might not be current or even active. The people won’t be expecting your messages, so they’ll likely mark you as spam. This will lead to your address being flagged for other users, even ones who have opted in to your communications. The emails may have been unethically collected, and it may be illegal for you to send them an unsolicited message.
Build, Don’t Buy
You definitely want to build your own list of contacts who have given you explicit consent to send them marketing emails (which is essentially how all your emails will be classified, even if you’re using them to just build a relationship).
It takes some level of trust for a lead to give out their email address. Your task in the first several mailings is to build and deepen your relationship.
Welcome to Your List
Start off with a welcome series that thanks new subscribers for the opportunity to send them updates and offers. Let them know you’ll be sending emails over the next several days introducing your company and asking them for suggestions to make your company even better. Then do it! Follow these suggestions from Omnisend on how to use a welcome series to engage your audience.
Ask for Help
After the welcome series has ended, aim to stay top-of-mind by engaging with your contacts through other relationship-building messages. Lisa Foster at Groove points out that one of the best ways to do this is by asking your contacts to help you create content for your site.
Our team at SeaMonster Studios, recommends that you use reviews as integrated site content. In a one-time or periodic email you could let your contacts know how much you benefit from this and ask for their help. Asking for help is a powerful way to deepen a relationship. It’s probably not wise to ask for help in every email, but it’s definitely a good strategy to put this tool in your relationship-building belt.
After tackling active interactions with your audience through the emails you send directly, it’s time to tackle the passive interactions you’ll have with them through your website.
Your Subtle Influence
Your site visitors control how much of your content they want to engage with—but this doesn’t mean you’re powerless to influence their choices. The decisions you make about copy and images, CTA placement and color, etc, have a clear influence on your audience.
That influence is divined after hundreds or thousands of interactions that can be A/B tested to show which elements drive better results. In an A/B test, you will provide two different options for a component in your store—button text, button color, paragraph text, particular image used, layout, etc. Then the A/B test provider will serve up one permutation to half of your visitors at random, the second permutation to the other half, and it’ll record which way gets more results.
An A/B test performed on just a few visitors has a high degree of chance for anomalies so that it won’t represent the wider audience very well. Knowing this, you should give the A/B test enough time to run until the interactions it has measured are enough that you can draw fairly accurate conclusions.
This is a great way to tweak your site into a better form, before the stakes get higher and your traffic goes exponentially up for the Black Friday weekend. Statistically, you can expect traffic to more than double, and in some cases, it’ll more than double.
There are many things you can do to prepare your store for the Black Friday weekend, and we’ve only gone over a few of them. But every action you take now will pay huge dividends, so you should jump in and start making the changes today. You won’t regret it!
*This is a guest post from the team at SeaMonster Studios
- What to pledge
- How to improve
- Which tools will set you up for success
I think the most important thing brands can do in 2023 is to better manage their customer data—both ethically and effectively. There’s an opportunity for brands to know their customers better than ever before—a clear benefit for both the customer and the brand. When you manage your data correctly, you’ll create stronger and more personalized ads, creative, site experiences, and so much more.
This is a classic: Let the data guide you. Go where the buyers for your products are and communicate with them on a personal level (i.e. by persona and funnel position) and nurture those relationships (past, present, and future customers). It’s possible—all through data.
We recommend that Shopify brands analyze and update their websites using data-driven decisions. Using analytics tools such as heatmaps and scrollmaps can help brands better understand how customers are interacting with their store.
Store owners tend to make assumptions about the way customers interact with their website. Most never go back and analyze their design choices to find pain points or areas of opportunity. By using heatmaps and scrollmaps, they can see where real customers are clicking and concentrating their attention. Leveraging this data, brands can start to iterate on design and make their online store experience streamlined and intuitive.
Hotjar provides a simple way to implement heatmaps, scrollmaps, and recorded user sessions on your site, helping you acquire incredibly informative user data. Additionally, it gives you the ability to create on-site surveys, which allows you to obtain direct and often critical feedback from users about their experience.
Test various attribution models and analyze the impact on your business. At Fifty Six, we are always here to help our clients identify and optimize their approach—a critical step in any successful marketing strategy.
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times–Customer Lifetime Value. And even more importantly, Future Lifetime Value (FLTV). With the ever-growing importance of first-party data, it is crucial that brands take a good look at their CRM and FLTV metrics.
Stop allocating budgets to low-hanging fruit that doesn’t move the needle on conversion. Think about what’s really going to improve your CX and the return of undertaking different initiatives—not just on what’s top on your list of bugbears on the site!
One of the best ways to understand your customer behavior is by using HotJar. Their heat-mapping and screen recording tools shine a light on where customers are navigating to and from on your site, where they're rage clicking and experiencing frustration, and where conversion is dropping off within real life customer journeys and flows!
Understanding your customers’ pain points via data and analytics , will allow you to work with your CRO/CX Agency to solve customer frustrations and improve conversion.
Rewind backs up all product, customer, and order data for Shopify sites—essential since Shopify itself doesn’t provide this solution. It's saved so many of our clients time and money from administrative accidents.
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33% of customer service inquiries are pre-sale questions. What does this mean? If you’re not investing in customer service, you’re missing out on revenue-generating opportunities.
The benefits of elevating your customer experience:
- 10% to 25% increase in AOV for customers who engage with live chat pre-purchase
- 21x higher conversion rate for customers who reach out via Live Chat or SMS compared to other site visitors
- 87% of customers who have a great customer experience will make another purchase
- 72% of customers share positive experiences with 6 or more individuals
Gorgias is our favorite Helpdesk platform. They can reduce costs by 35%, primarily by decreasing the average ticket handle time. Their machine learning algorithms are trained on millions of ecommerce-related interactions across Gorgias’ customer base and provide accurate, automated replies for the most common ecommerce inquiries. This helps our agents resolve tickets faster, which provides the customer a seamless experience.
Trust your agency! Agencies do the same things across multiple brands and niches, so we see the trends and have the practice and experience!
Don't be afraid of data and insights. If customers aren't clicking on your emails, try a new CTA. If your ads are driving good metrics at a small spend, start scaling. If your customers are complaining about a product, look into QA! If the data tells you something isn't working, let it go and try something else!
I'm supposed to say Tydo, right? 😉
Double down on differentiation. There will be a lot of headwinds this year and standing out from the crowd will set you apart.
A picture is worth 1,000 words. A video? Probably millions. In ecommerce that value translates into engagement, acquisition, and retention—everything you need to impact your bottom line.
At soona, we've seen the we've seen the impact of creative and the continuous split testing of it yield results. Our resolution is to challenge ourselves and double down on innovation and creative optionality so that each brand we work with can distinguish themselves in a crowded sea of D2C ecomm. We'd love to see our brands share this resolution and keep pushing the creative limits.
Klaviyo. We're using it to power our email and newsletter at soona too!
Optimize your returns strategy! This can lead to valuable customer insights, enhanced user experiences, and increased revenue and customer loyalty.
Brands need to dive deeper into understanding their customers to set themselves up for success. Conduct research to gain insights into customer needs, preferences, and behaviors. By doing so, you can develop targeted strategies that will enhance customer experience and boost overall retention.
Right now I would say Gorgias. Having a good customer service tool is crucial to building strong customer relationships.
Start paying heavy attention to data, specifically around retention. We see a lot of effort put towards acquisition with the assumption that once someone buys, they are your customer forever. Instead, get to know your customer, understand their needs, and analyze their behaviors once they are on-site and judge their sentiment after they have visited. Work with a retention focused and data-driven agency to implement tools that contribute to repeat business and customer delight. It will pay dividends.
When surveyed, about 80% of ecommerce merchants think that they are delivering a great experience to their customers. However, when the same customers are surveyed, only 8% of those customers think that they are getting a great experience from the merchant. Now, more than ever, retaining loyal customers is an essential part of any online business and you should spend time with your customers to judge their experience with your website and products and offer improvements based on that feedback.
Tydo's report cards are an essential tool, along with Klaviyo for email and SMS, Recharge for subscriptions and memberships, Okendo for reviews and surveys, Rebuy for AI driven collections and upsells, Loop for self service returns... each tool is great on their own, but their strength as the ultimate tool comes from when they are used together!
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