This isn’t exactly a groundbreaking revelation—but Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM) are an enormous, critical time of year for eCommerce businesses. One study found Black Friday generated 3.6 times more eCommerce orders than the average day, and Cyber Monday generated 3.1 times more.
And with that, BFCM is also peak season for email marketing. There’s an increase of more than 50 percent in email volume on and around BFCM—it begins around 10 days before Thanksgiving and extends until Cyber Monday.
Again, none of this is exactly shocking, but it’s worth reiterating—because it means that your store will need to find a way to stand out in the huge sea of emails and once-a-year super sales. And the areas where your email marketing can stand out is in your automations and personalizations.
As stores plan their BFCM email marketing, the focus tends to go to the big promotional emails—the ones that go out advertising your amazing and rare deals, your exclusive products, and your can’t-miss gift ideas. But there’s far more to email marketing, especially in the competitive holiday season, than just blasting out those sales announcements to your entire list and calling it a wrap.
By tailoring your automated emails to the holidays and using clever personalization and segmentation, you can help your emails stand out from the BFCM pack. In this article, we’ll cover five different email campaigns you can set up for your eCommerce store during BFCM and the holidays to maximize your sales and even turn one-time holiday shoppers into repeat fans.
1. Abandoned cart recovery emails
As your store gets more website visitors and shoppers during the holidays, you’ll also get more abandoned carts. A study found the cart abandonment rate jumps to nearly 75 percent on Black Friday—meaning that for every 100 orders you receive, there are roughly 300 people who went to your site, added something to their cart, but didn’t check out. At Jilt, we’ve found it’s possible to recover around 12 percent of those carts with our standard cart recovery email templates, and 15 to 20 percent of those carts with some tweaks. Based on our example of 100 orders a month, that’s anywhere from 36 to 60 extra orders, without you having to do anything beyond a one-time set-up.
You may already have an abandoned cart series in place, but if you tweak it to capitalize on the holidays, it can be even more effective for you.
- Timing. With a normal abandoned cart email series, most stores will wait up to 24 hours to send an initial, “Hey, you left something behind!” email. On the big shopping holidays, you’ll want to shorten that window. After all, you want to grab people while they already have their wallets open and they’re doing their Black Friday or Cyber Monday shopping. So while you don’t want to send the abandoned cart email within minutes of the customer leaving your site, consider a window of just a few hours.
- Set the ticking clock on deals. Your BFCM abandoned cart email should make it clear your sale prices aren’t permanent—in fact, prices are going to return to normal very, very soon. Create a sense of urgency by reminding the customer of when the price will jump and what the price will jump to if they don’t return to your site—you can even use a countdown clock in the email to further drive home the point that they need to return to checkout fast.
- Create a sense of scarcity. Everyone has an implicit understanding that things sell out quickly on BFCM—it’s why people will line up for days outside of Best Buy to try to get a $12 DVD player. So make sure to spotlight the scarcity in your abandoned cart recovery email. Let the customer know that if they don’t return to your site ASAP to checkout, someone else might take advantage of your once-a-year deal and snap the product up first.
Here’s an example of an interesting seasonal cart abandonment email from Tarte Cosmetics. Normally, cart abandonment emails will focus specifically on the products a person left behind. But here, Tarte went with an entirely different approach: They use a standard cart abandonment subject line (“You Forgot to Checkout!”), but the body of the email exclusively focuses on their huge holiday sale.
2. Welcome emails
A lot of new customers will buy from you during the holidays. A welcome email, or welcome email series, is a great way to start turning them from one-time seasonal shoppers into repeat customers and loyal fans.
- Introduce your company. People, especially millennials, care about who they’re buying from. (A study found seven out of 10 millennials, and 52 percent of all adults, consider a company’s values when they make a purchase.) Use your welcome email to introduce your company and show off its values. That will help begin to build your relationship with the customer beyond just the one-off purchase.
- Reiterate what they’ll get for subscribing. A welcome email is different than an order receipt or confirmation—it’s not about the nuts-and-bolts of a transaction, it’s about the beginning of a customer’s journey with your brand. Use your welcome email to clearly lay out what customers can expect from your emails in the future, from good content to future discounts and perks.
- Bring them back for more holiday shopping. There’s no reason you can’t turn a new customer into a repeat customer immediately. Tailor your welcome emails over BFCM to the holidays through graphics and copy. Point people toward gift ideas in your store, add-ons to products they’ve already purchased from you, and your ongoing seasonal discounts. Or invite them to join your VIP program by advertising the benefits of membership for the rest of the holiday season and beyond.
Here’s an example of Old Navy’s welcome email from the 2018 BFCM season. It uses seasonal graphics, tells a new customer the future benefits of subscribing from the list, focuses heavily on the gift-giving angle, and even offers a special discount to encourage the person to come back immediately.
3. Order receipts and shipping confirmations
Your order receipts and shipping confirmations may be rather straightforward emails—they give a customer the key details of their transaction and little else. That’s their primary function, and one that shouldn’t be neglected. However, during the holidays, you can use your receipts and confirmations to show off your customer service—which can help quell some of the inevitable uneasiness that comes from ordering gifts online.
- Prominently feature shipping estimates. The biggest thing people want to know about their holiday purchases is: When are they going to show up at my house? Feature that information prominently. And don’t be afraid to send multiple emails: Your order has been received, your order has been processed, your order has been shipped, etc. Your customers want those emails for peace-of-mind.
- Spotlight your return policy. What if someone gets their order and it isn’t quite right? Will they have time to return it and get a replacement? And if the person who receives their gift doesn’t like it, will they still be able to return it after Christmas, even though that could be more than 30 days after they ordered it on BFCM? Use your transactional emails to spotlight customer service options, shipping speeds on returns and replacements, and your return policy. Even if a customer doesn’t need to return something, just by showing off your generous return policy and customer-centric thought process, you’re sending signals that you’re a company with whom they should continue to do business.
- Consider cross-selling related products. Under the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act, retailers can include some promotional content in transactional emails like receipts and shipping confirmations—as long as the promotional content comes after the important business info and doesn’t make up the majority of the email. So, to that end, you might want to consider putting a few related products in your receipts and shipping confirmation (and, of course, note how quickly the person will receive those products if they order them too). One study found that transactional emails have excellent open rates of around 45 percent (more than double non-transactional emails), so with all those eyeballs on these emails, they can be a good chance to do a little bit of selling.
4. VIP and loyalty emails
One way your email marketing can stand out during BFCM is through targeted emails to your best customers.
- Give VIPs early access. BFCM brings a scarcity mentality—customers feel like they’re in a competition with each other to get the best deals from stores. By sending an email to your VIP customers offering them early access to your BFCM deals, you can bring them to your store in the days leading up to the holidays and get them to buy immediately, while at the same time making them feel appreciated and incentivized to do so. It’s a win-win.
- Make a special offer. There’s no shortage of sales during BFCM, but you can stand out to your repeat customers by making them a special offer. It doesn’t necessarily need to be a larger discount (say, 35 percent off instead of the 30 percent off you’ve offered the public-at-large). It can be something additive as well, like a free gift for spending at least $100. That will make your VIP customers feel special (building further loyalty) and encourage them to spend more.
- Take advantage of last-minute shoppers. One incentive you can offer your loyal customers is free last-minute express shipping after they hit a certain spending threshold. That shows you’re looking out for the procrastinators out there, and also encourages them to shop at your eCommerce store, rather than going to a brick-and-mortar store, for their emergency December 21st gift buying.
Here’s another approach that Withings took with their Black Friday email. They offered their VIP customers a shot at getting their discount after Black Friday—that’s a clever way to take the Black Friday discount they offered to everyone and turn it into a VIP perk that can drive even more sales.
Via: Really Good Emails.
5. Segmented and personalized offers
Segmentation and personalization are powerful ways to drive more sales. Segmented emails bring in 760 percent more revenue than non-segmented campaigns, and personalized emails generate six times higher transaction rates and more revenue per email. Even though your BFCM deals are, most likely, deals you want to advertise to your entire email list, you can still use segmentation and personalization to encourage customers to take advantage of those deals.
- Upsell related add-ons. You can set up automated emails so if someone buys a specific product, they’ll automatically receive an email suggesting they buy some add-ons. For instance, if you sell printers and someone buys a printer, they’d get an email advertising ink, paper, and USB cables.
- Add personalized offers to your big sales announcements. While there are certainly some products you’ll want to promote to everyone, you can include personalized product recommendations and offers in emails to different customers. That’s a good way to stand out in the BFCM email rush—you’re not just offering a sale, you’re offering a sale specifically for them.
- Segment your list for your sales announcements. Your sales announcements don’t have to be one size fits all. You can create slightly different versions of the email and send it to different segments of your list. For example, if you sell men’s and women’s clothing, you can segment your list by gender so male customers get a version of the email advertising men’s products, and female customers get a version of the email advertising women’s products.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are a huge time of year for email marketing—so it can be tough to stand out. One great way to do so is by focusing on things like automation and personalization, not just your big sales announcements.
- Abandoned cart recovery emails. Tailor your recovery emails to the season, focusing on the very real senses of urgency and scarcity to bring customers back to your store.
- Welcome emails. Welcome new customers and begin the journey of turning them into repeat customers—potentially even repeat customers during this holiday season.
- Receipts and confirmations. Show off your customer service and give your customers peace of mind by eliminating any ambiguity with shipping dates and explicitly stating your return policy.
- VIP and loyalty emails. Reward your VIPs with early access and special offers. It’s a win-win: You encourage them to come to your store and spend a lot, and they feel incentivized and appreciated.
- Segmentation and personalization. Upsell related products, add personal recommendations to your big sales emails, and even segment your sales announcements to make sure the right people are seeing relevant offers.
This was the second installment of our Black Friday series. Eager for more tips on optimizing your ecommerce performance? Stay tuned for more posts just like this one featuring industry experts and some of our technical partners. Learn how to improve your website design, conversions, online marketing, and more.