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Optimizing Black Friday – putting your plan into action

Optimizing Black Friday – putting your plan into action

October 27, 2020
Reading time: 
10 min
Lauréline Kameleoon
Lauréline Saux
Laureline is Content Manager and is in charge of Kameleoon's content. She writes on best practice within A/B testing and personalization, based on in-depth analysis of the latest digital trends and conversations with Kameleoon's customers and consultants.

Black Friday is getting closer and closer, so this week we’re focusing on how brands can optimize the visitor experience to increase conversions across the holiday shopping season.

In our first blog we outlined how to set your strategy – this article explains how to put this into action to drive e-commerce success.

1 Overcoming the challenges of Black Friday

The period from Black Friday on is critical for online retailers as they see an exceptional peak in traffic. They face three key challenges:

  1. Generate as much traffic as possible on the day itself
  2. Generate engagement from their visitors
  3. Get to know their audience better

How can you guarantee that buyers will turn up? How can you promote your events to make them a success on your website? How can you anticipate visitors’ needs to give them an exceptional experience during the Black Friday and Cyber Monday period?

Use A/B testing to check website usability during Black Friday

During very short events, you clearly can’t wait several weeks to get the results from your A/B tests. However, as we set out in our previous blog, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be running experiments.

With dynamic traffic allocation (also known as multi-armed bandit testing), it’s possible to run your test and automatically send traffic to the winning variation after a short period of time. It means that even at the busiest times you can continue to test your visitors’ experience on your website while improving the journey for as many customers as possible. Using dynamic traffic allocation therefore reduces risk and also frees up your time for other activities.

Multi-armed bandit testing is well-suited for the holiday season for two key reasons. It reduces regret and increases conversions as traffic is auto-allocated to winning variants so you don’t send visitors to non-optimal experiences. And at a busy time, you can set an experiment up for a single day (such as Black Friday) and you don’t have to constantly monitor it.”
Michael St Laurent, Widerfunnel
Michael St Laurent
Director of Experimentation, Widerfunnel

Use personalization to adapt messages and offers to individual visitor interests

During this sales period, brands must find a way to offer a journey that is adapted to each individual visitor, by showing them the most relevant products and messages for them.

With personalization, you can segment your audience to optimize the journey for every visitor: For example:

  • if a visitor has viewed three product information pages in the shoe category and added an item to their cart >> Display a “You might also like these products” upselling block.
  • if a visitor is leaving the site with a full cart >> Display an exit pop-in with a “Your items will only be set aside for one hour!” countdown.

With artificial intelligence, you can identify the conversion probability of visitors (even if they are anonymous) so that you can then target them with messages and offers that correspond both to their engagement level and interest in one product over another. This approach is ideal during the holiday season, when your website attracts a high number of visitors, both known and unknown. By using predictive algorithms, you can offer an individual experience to each and every one of these visitors in real-time.

Personalization enables you to provide a tailored journey to each visitor, but also optimizes your promotional costs since your actions are better targeted. For example:

  • Displaying personalized upselling blocks to visitors with a high conversion probability, based on their interests.
  • Offering undecided visitors free shipping to encourage them to finalize their purchases. As you don’t offer this discount to visitors who are going to buy anyway, it doesn’t impact your margins.

2 What experiences should you implement during Black Friday?

To support you with your digital strategy during this pivotal period, we’ve identified three key things brands must do on Black Friday and beyond:

  • Make it easy to access online promotions: when visitors arrive on your website, they must be able to directly access the promotions that interest them most.
  • Maximize and accelerate conversions: to increase the average cart value and the number of purchases, you need to find strategies to encourage visitors to convert.
  • Boost visitor loyalty: you need to capitalize on the increased traffic to your website by turning as many visitors as possible into loyal customers.

To help you with this, here are some example use cases to implement on your website during the holiday season.

Make it easy to access online promotions during Black Friday and the wider holiday season

The number of visitors to your website increases significantly during the peak holiday season and you want as many of them as possible to become customers. This means displaying your offers prominently to smooth their purchasing journey.

An immersive layout to showcase Black Friday/Cyber Monday promotions

Fnac offers its visitors a 100%-Black Friday experience with a home page in the colors of the event and a slider showing their deals. Visitors are completely immersed in the Black Friday experience and have immediate access to the best offers.

Fnack black friday


Retargeting ads and emails to reactivate customers who didn’t buy

Amongst the visitors who come to your website during the holidays, the majority will leave without completing checkout or even without adding items to their cart. This is why it’s vital to communicate with your visitors off-website to encourage them to come back and complete their purchases.

Adidas informs its visitors by email that Black Friday is finishing soon. The message contains several urgency-inducing elements ("Ends tonight", a counter) to get visitors to return to the website before the end of the promotional period.

Adidas black friday email


Philips uses an ad targeted at a specific product for Cyber Monday: “Missed out on Black Friday?" This is a good way to reactivate visitors who have completed their purchases.

Philips black friday


Maximize and accelerate conversions

To hit your business targets, you must also increase conversions and average cart value. To do this, you can deploy methods such as urgency messages, flash sales or even competitions.

Heighten urgency feelings to encourage visitors to convert

Asos uses a highly engaging promo code, “GOGOGO”, as a subtle way of introducing a sense of urgency without overloading the page with extra information.

Asos black friday

Run flash sales to boost conversions

To create some excitement around promotions, you can offer your visitors flash sales and bring your prices down even more.

Darty holds an exclusive flash sale evening with a €10 discount for every €100 spent. This really encourages visitors to increase the value of their cart.

vente flash darty

Competitions to encourage visitors to convert

Competitions are a good way to engage your visitors. During Black Friday and Cyber Monday, they can be used as conversion incentives too.

BirchBox gives away 10 carts every day on its site, encouraging people to check out their purchases. As the brand puts it in its pop-in: “A good excuse to place an order…".

Birchbox black friday


Use Black Friday to boost loyalty

Black Friday and Cyber Monday provide the perfect opportunity to recruit the maximum number of visitors to your loyalty program. To encourage them to join up before period ends, you can focus on the special deals that loyalty club members receive, relevant to their interests.

Rakuten highlights promotions that are for Club R customers only and the additional benefits that loyalty club members enjoy.

Rakuten fidelité

To find out more, read How Rakuten boosted its conversion rates by optimizing mentions of its loyalty program on product information pages.

3 And what about after Black Friday?

The period around Black Friday and Cyber Monday is a very concentrated and important time of year for brands that wish to gain new customers and boost online revenues. For your campaign efforts to have a lasting effect, you must keep in touch with your visitors and put a long-term retention strategy in place. Some ideas for achieving this include:

Redirect visitors towards current deals

If visitors click on an email sent during Black Friday or search for your brand with “Black Friday” as a keyword once the promotional period is over, they should be redirected to current deals and the products that most interest them.

Retain the maximum number of visitors

To ensure they return to your website for their regular purchases, you must retain customers through follow-up emails and activities.

Communicate clearly about your returns policy

To field the large number of requests you might receive, don’t hesitate to send personalized messages and test several ways of sharing this (such as chat or a pop-in, for example.)

The Black Friday weekend doesn’t last very long – and shoppers have high expectations of the brands they buy from. That’s why you need to be ready, both at a strategic and tactical level, basing your activities on understanding the needs of your customers and using practices such as personalization and A/B testing to successfully engage with them.

Lauréline Kameleoon
Lauréline Saux
Laureline is Content Manager and is in charge of Kameleoon's content. She writes on best practice within A/B testing and personalization, based on in-depth analysis of the latest digital trends and conversations with Kameleoon's customers and consultants.