Podcast

Episode 28: Easy Last Minute Hacks To Win BFCM 2018 + Q4 Holiday Season


On today’s episode, I discuss and give further context on a recent article I published 13 Last Minute Hacks To Win BFCM 2018 + Q4 Holiday Season

Black Friday Cyber Monday is upon us.  The question is, how can your Shopify store benefit from this year’s anticipated holiday season growth? Take advantage of these last-minute hacks to help you win BFCM 2018 and the remaining Q4 Holiday Season!

Any of these strategies below will only require an hour or less of your time but will have a significant impact on your business!

Take advantage of this vetted resource of Shopify Apps and Marketing Platforms.  It’s the small incremental changes that have a significant and lasting impact on the success of your e-commerce brand.

Please don’t JUST LOOK at this list below.  START NOW!  This resource is your key to an incredibly prosperous holiday season.


1. COUNTDOWN TIMER or ANNOUNCEMENT BAR

Create urgency in your marketing! After you have written your marketing message into your content and built up the emotional connection with your holiday visitors, it’s time to create a sense of urgency. The emotional connection and the urgency in your message can create a feeling that the user must act now to avoid missing out on something important.

Always keeping your customers in the loop about your promotions and special events is a key element of managing the customer relationship. Informing them with a site-wide banner or promotional countdown timer is a simple but effective way to achieve this.

If you are using Klaviyo as your email service provider, have a look at this guide for complete details on how a timer can be inserted into your email sequences.

Recommended Apps:

Countdown Timer Bar

Quick Announcement Bar


2. FACEBOOK MESSENGER CART RECOVERY

It’s incredibly important to recover abandoned shopping carts.  Did you know over 90% of shoppers leave without purchasing?  Use ShopMessage to recover lost revenue by sending personalized messages through Facebook Messenger. This can be more than 10x more effective than email due to higher opt-in rates and a better messaging experience.  A Facebook Messenger bot like ShopMessage solves this problem by providing a private channel of communication with each user. It’s instant and interactive, and no message is ever lost. Easy to install and comes with a 30-day free trial.  Absolute perfect timing to install this before BFCM.  I’m recommending Justuno for email capture and exit offers below but I also absolutely love the new connection to ShopMessage.

Recommended App:

ShopMessage


3. TEXT MESSAGE CART RECOVERY / HOLIDAY SALE ANNOUNCEMENTS

SMSBump is a text marketing and automation app that will improve sales through abandon cart recovery and build lifetime customer value. Many Shopify merchants have ShopMessage and SMSBump working together to help recover abandoned carts. An effective strategy is to stagger the communication with your prospective customers between the two solutions. Automatically trigger SMSbump for a cart reminder at 45 minutes and 25 hours. ShopMessage at 30 minutes, 23 hours, and 48 hours.

Also, many store owners are also achieving great success by using SMSBump to announce a BFCM or Holiday Sale through text messaging.

Recommended App:

SMSBump


4. CUSTOMER JOURNEY RETARGETING

Using ShopMessage (Facebook Messenger) and SMSbump (text messaging) are great strategies for helping to recover abandoned shopping carts.  Shoelace grows sales through customer journey retargeting on social media. Showing the right ads, to the right customer, at the right time, is why Shoelace is so popular and effective for Shopify brands. The days of annoying retargeting ads are over. Shoelace helps you deliver engaging retargeting experiences that wow your customers and tell your brand story. Journeys that help fight ad fatigue and maximize results by delivering retargeting sequences across the entire customer lifecycle. As your customers move from one stage of the buying journey to the next, their ad experience evolves to become more relevant and personalized.

Recommended App:

Shoelace


5. EMAIL CAPTURE / EXIT OFFERS

The holiday sales promotions aren’t just about making the most of your current email list, it’s about bringing in new customers to help build your business in the future. With the increase in traffic that occurs from seasonal demand and marketing efforts, it only makes sense to put forth efforts to capture their information. New shoppers will be driven by your promotions and marketing campaigns, so make sure you have an email pop-up or signup bar to capture email addresses, but don’t make it required.

Justuno is a very powerful, innovative, and robust conversion optimization suite for sales conversions, email list growth, and onsite promotions using real-time user data from your Shopify store. This platform will deliver amazing results by growing your audience and increasing your conversion rate through highly targeted pop-ups with the correct dynamic content.

What I recommend for a low effort – high impact win is to turn on the exit intent popup inside Justuno.  Select a premade template so your site visitors can be notified for the release of new sale items, low inventory alerts, and more, throughout the weekend.  Don’t forget to reward loyal customers with early VIP access to your sale or exclusive coupon code through a shareable discount link. Help docs here.

Recommended App:

Justuno


6. REFERRAL PROGRAM

Turn your customers into your best marketers. Reward your existing customers when they refer their friends and family to your store. It is a true win-win! A referral program is most effective when both the person sending and receiving are incentivized. There are multiple ways to reward referrals and that is why Smile gives you multiple options to choose from like:

  • DOLLAR OFF COUPONS: The go-to reward for most referral programs. This is usually the most motivating.
  • FREE PRODUCTS: Use products as the motivator to get your existing customers to refer their friends.
  • POINTS: Combine your referral program with a points program to use points as your motivation to refer.

Recommended Apps:

Smile


7. INCREASE AVERAGE ORDER SIZE

You have likely noticed on Amazon that sometimes you can add a bunch of related products with one single click. The Frequently Bought Together app brings this feature into your Shopify brand in the most convenient way. You can have it ready in your store in no time and with zero configuration. The app analyses the previous purchases in your store database through data mining algorithms and produces a memory graph with the products that are usually added together to the shopping cart. When a customer visits a product page, a bundle comprised of the products usually bought together is displayed. By default, all products are selected but the customer can remove any of them with a user-friendly user interface. If your store uses variants, the customer can also select the desired variants; their pictures and prices are automatically refreshed. After that, all products are added to the shopping cart with a single click making it easier for your customer means more revenue and increased average order size.

Recommended App:

Frequently Bought Together


8. BUILD A BETTER RETURN MANAGEMENT PLAN

Simple math reveals, with the increase in sales this holiday season, it will directly correlate into more returns. Customers want a simple process when returning their purchases if they wish to do so. Some might argue that an easy going, no questions asked return policy might put a dent in a Shopify stores ability to remain profitable. However, numbers confirm, if you take long-term profitability into account, the ability to retain customer loyalty through an easy return policy can boost lifetime customer value. Return Magic integrates with your Shopify store to create a seamless return experience for your customers.

  • You will be able to easily refund your customers on their original payment method.
  • Process exchanges or issue new gift card refunds.
  • Return Magic creates a return portal on your store that sits on your own domain.
  • The return portal is automatically branded to your store and integrates seamlessly.

The app does not affect the performance of your store in any way, which is great for this busy traffic season. An amazing return experience can be installed and implemented under 10 minutes. You will save a lot of time by simplifying and automating the return process.

Recommended App:

Return Magic


9. PROACTIVE PACKAGE TRACKING FOR BEST USER EXPERIENCE

Did you know, your customers visit their tracking page on average 2.4 times until their package arrives? It’s a huge marketing opportunity. Creating a unique and amazing delivery experience that your customers will remember by driving them back to your website. Shipup tracks your packages in real-time to offer best-in-class delivery notifications to your customers which improves your brand experience.

  • Keep in close contact with your customer’s with over 60 smart notifications.
  • Adapt your notifications to your brand’s visual identity and tone of voice.
  • With a 64% opening rate, this will give you the opportunity to promote a loyalty/referral program and your brand’s values.

Recommended App:

Shipup


10. FACEBOOK EVENTS

Here’s a creative way to use Facebook for free in order to drive traffic to your BFCM sale.  Start a Facebook Event for your sale!  Customers can then invite friends by saying they are “interested” or “going” and then receive updates from you.  As a shopper, this is great for staying updated and being reminded about sales you want to participate in for the holiday season.  It gives you the added advantage of promoting the event through Facebook’s natural algorithm that shows events your friends are interested in.

Recommended:

Facebook Events


11. DEDICATED BFCM DEALS PAGE

It’s no surprise that dedicated landing pages convert very well by removing the distractions, which is why I’m recommending Shogun to help display a curated selection of your best selling products over the holiday season. Customize your Black Friday landing page visually, without coding, by using Shogun’s powerful drag and drop page builder or even better, select a predesigned and tested template from their library of hundreds to choose from.  Don’t forget to link your BFCM deals page to your top navigation for easy discoverability.

Recommended App:

Shogun


12. SHOPIFY PLUS EXCLUSIVE HACKS

A great strategy over Black Friday / Cyber Monday is to offer a range of discounts throughout the day and weekend. Many creative Shopify merchants will be discounting different products every hour on the hour, similarly to Amazon Prime Day. If you are a Shopify Plus merchant you get access to Launchpad in order to change your theme and pricing at predetermined dates and times. Plus shops now have access to 100 themes in their admin, which is ample for rotation of products and prices as the sale unfolds. This keeps things fresh, and customers returning to your store.

Recommended App:

Launchpad

Amidst the frenzy, it’s easy to get consumed with menial tasks that don’t make a real impact on business. What if you could free yourself from the mundane and menial and make this holiday season your biggest, most profitable, and easiest ever? Now you can with Shopify Flow.  It’s the first ecommerce automation software that works natively in just a few clicks for Plus merchants. Thousands of merchants have already offloaded millions of tasks — not to mention, millions of hours — to grow bigger, faster. Using a three-step visual builder, Flow lets you put repetitive and time-consuming tasks on autopilot. That way, you can make room for growing your business.

Here are the top 10 automations to make this holiday season easier and more profitable:

  1. Personalize by Customer Buying Preferences
  2. Segment Customers that Converted Quickly
  3. Track and Reward Your Top Customers
  4. Discover Customer Insights from Returns
  5. Send Expedited Shipping Alerts to Logistics Team
  6. Sell Through Low Stock and Hide Out of Stock
  7. Reorder Low Stock and Pause Marketing
  8. Standardize Merchandising for New Products
  9. Get High-Risk Warnings before Capturing Payment
  10. Cancel and then Restock High-Risk Orders

Recommended App:

Shopify Flow


13. SOCIAL IMPACT BUSINESS MISSION

If discounting your products for BFCM is not part of your brand identity, there is a way to be impactful by providing a way to help a charity or cause that’s close to your heart. It’s so important to have a social impact in one’s business, think about Patagonia, Toms, and Starbucks. These brands all incorporate social impact into their business model. Not only is it incredibly important to our society to have businesses working together for good, but there is a serious monetary benefit to it.

  • 92% of customers have a more positive view of mission-driven companies
  • Brands can experience a 33% increase in lifetime value
  • 87% of consumers will switch to a competitor’s brand if it aligns with their values
  • Average email open rates increase up to 4x for brands associated with a cause

These statistics really point to the potential to grow one’s business through giving.  This is the inspiration behind the Give & Grow app. On top of all these awesome stats, so many Shopify store owners have such a great heart and genuinely want to help out their community.

Choose Your Cause: You can choose to support any cause and change it anytime! Each product can support the same or different causes. Choose from a range of top causes that they curate, or select a specific nonprofit to support from the database of 150k+ organizations.

Share Your Impact: In less than 5 minutes you can easily add an Impact Calculator to your store and checkout experience to share the real-time impact of your customers’ purchases. It automatically quantifies the good your business is doing in the world with each purchase made!

Simple & Secure: Give & Grow handles all of the back-end work that comes with charitable giving. When you partner with them, you can be sure that the legal and financial challenges of working with nonprofits are taken off your plate, so you can focus on growing your business.

Recommended App:

Give & Grow


A FEW POINTS TO PONDER BEFORE YOU IMPLEMENT

Too often during the holiday season, we forget about the actual buyers, our customers. We should reframe our thoughts from, what can I sell them, to what do they want and need. Take some time over the next few days to use social media, email, and in-person to ask them what they’re excited to do this holiday season and what are their 2019 goals. Then see where the brand can help or assist. Take time during BFCM to engage with the buyer via social to discover what they’ve been excited about (during the sale) and encourage buyers to share and refer others. There are a lot of great tools and tactics recommended here, let’s not forget to authentically care about the buyer experience and needs.

And let’s not forget about you…the entrepreneur!

Pause, slow down, enjoy the moment, celebrate what got you here, make sure you step away during the chaos and spend some time with family and friends, and be sure to rest.

Cheers to you, the journey, and your continued success!

Thank You For Listening

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Thanks for being a supporter and loyal listener... I'll see you in the next episode!

About the author

Steve Hutt

I'm obsessed with entrepreneurship, commerce, and Shopify. If you have the desire to implement what's working today for direct-to-consumer brands on Shopify, I'm excited you're here! Get the Shopify help you need. This industry blog and podcast is my digital brain where my guests and I share cutting-edge marketing strategy, must-have Shopify apps, and marketing platforms that will help you build and scale lifetime customer loyalty. To do this, I'm part of the Merchant Success Team at Shopify Plus and host of the eCommerce Fastlane Podcast.