What to do after Black Friday & Cyber Monday: 5 tips for retailers

Matt Ellis
Matt Ellis / Published November 11, 2019

As the smoke clears from the end of the Black Friday-Cyber Monday shopping frenzy, you’re hopefully looking at less products and more profits. The questions is… what now?

Maybe you’ve spent the last couple of months getting ready for the busiest shopping days of the year, or maybe you’ve gone into overdrive these last couple of weeks with last-minute Thanksgiving Weekend preparations. Either way, most retailers have been so focused on Black Friday and Cyber Monday that they haven’t had time to consider what to do after.

And that’s precisely what this guide is for. Here are five great ways to capitalize on your Thanksgiving Weekend business and press home your advantage all the way until next Thanksgiving!

1. Analyze sales data

The value of a sale isn’t just the price. It’s also what you can learn from the interaction—the data—which you can apply to improve your business going forward.

Considering the influx of new customers and sales, the holiday shopping season is a gift for your data analysts. For most brands, Thanksgiving weekend will be the peak shopping time of the year, providing you with great sales data you can use for the rest of the season, and into the new year. (See no. 5 below for more on how to apply this data now).

On the surface, your sales data from Black Friday and Cyber Monday shows which products are most in demand. Your bestsellers. You may have already guessed which ones they were, but surprises happen often—enough that you should regularly check the data.

But it’s not always as easy as finding the products that make the most money. For one thing, you have to consider price, so the units sold figure is just as important as the total revenue generated.

You also have to consider which products were advertised. Some may have sold well because they were promoted, while other popular items were held back from lack of publicity.

Look at it this way: if Product A and Product B both sold equally, but Product A had a lot more press than Product B, then it seems Product B is the superior product. Imagine what Product B could have done with all that publicity instead.

You can also find products that have room for improvement. Pay attention to the traffic on individual product pages. If a certain product gets a lot of attention but disproportionately few sales, it means there’s something holding it back. Try offering it at a lower price, or maybe with additional features like new color options.

Aside from product performance, your sales data can also reveal some subtler things, such as the best times to sell. Although these figures may not represent the rest of the year—shoppers behave differently during Thanksgiving weekend—they can still offer some valuable insight into when your specific customers prefer to shop. You can leverage this data to make sure you have adequate customer service available during peak hours, or to plan better deals, particularly flash sales.

Last, be sure to check any new product reviews. You may not receive a lot—or any at all—considering most Thanksgiving Weekend shopping is buying gifts for the December holidays. But if you do get reviews, they can provide early feedback into how your product or brand is received, hinting at what you can improve moving forward.

If data collection and analysis is too cumbersome for you, consider changing your analytics software to something more user-friendly, or using Zapier to link your analytics to a data visualization app to automate easy-to-read charts and graphs.

2. Analyze campaign data

Just like your actual products, you want to assess the performance of your marketing efforts, too. What types of campaigns worked best? Where and when did they work best?

Once again, the answers lie in the data. Trace your Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales back to their source: the referral channel. How much traffic did your Facebook ads send you compared to your guest post on a friendly blog?

Marketing and advertising aren’t always free, so the most precise strategies are also the most cost-effective. Figure out which channels and methods work with your target customers so you can invest more in them. Certain types of shoppers frequent certain places, so the trick is to find out where your target customers are and invest your marketing money there.

But it’s not as easy as counting the amount of visitors a source sends. You also want to consider how much revenue that source’s traffic generated. It’s common for campaign data to show one source sending a ton of traffic, but not a single sale. This indicates that the ad, post, or content was seen by a lot of people, but the wrong kind of people, i.e., not your target customers.

Rather than traffic, look for the sources that send the most conversions, visitors that actually buy something. Depending on which advertising and analytics software you use, this data may be readily available, or you may need to dig through and calculate it yourself.

3. Segment customers

For retailers, the Black Friday & Cyber Monday sales data is the holiday gift that keeps giving. What else can you do with it besides optimizing product selection and marketing campaigns? How about building better relationships with your customers!

With what you learn from Thanksgiving weekend, you can take your list of customers and divide them into groups based on similarities, known as customer segments. These segments allow you to specifically tailor content and marketing campaigns to what each group likes, particularly useful for email.

For example, if you have a segment of all your female customers, you can send them an email with only women’s clothing. You don’t have to risk male customers unsubscribing because they feel the products aren’t relevant to them.

Especially in a medium like email, personalization is a big deal. Each email has to prove its value to the reader because unsubscribing is just a click away. Effective emails, then, are the ones that “speak” to the individual reader—a nigh-impossible task if you have each and every one of your diverse customers in the same email list.

You can segment customers however is most beneficial to your brand. For some companies, it might be gender; for others, it might be age. If you’re an international company, you can segment customers by country and send them warm wishes for national holidays.

Customer segmentation also complements niche marketing well, so you can segment by specialized preferences. For example, if you sell sports team merchandise, you can segment customers by their favorite team. Red Sox fans aren’t going to buy Yankee hats, and they may even resent your brand for bringing up their rivals.

There’s a lot of nuance to customer segmentation we don’t have room to discuss here. If you’re interested, check out our detailed guide on how to segment email lists.

4. Follow up

Most of us know the feeling: you thought you had a great, meaningful date with someone, and then you never hear from them again. It’s not a great feeling, so why would you put your customers through that—especially new ones?

One of the most important tips for after Black Friday & Cyber Monday is to follow up with your customers. Let them know you still appreciate their business even after their payment goes through.

The most obvious method is the Thank You email. Exactly as it sounds, this email is just to thank the customer for their business, showing you care. They may not directly lead to a new sale, but they do tend to make the customer think fondly of your brand—and that usually leads to a new sale in the future.

If you have reliable shipping in place, you can also time a Review Request email to when the package is delivered. Online reviews are crucial to eCommerce success, with shoppers trusting peer reviews more than branded descriptions. Keep in mind that around 15 percent of all holiday spending is for “non-gift purchases,”, in other words, “gifts for me.” These are the shoppers likely to leave reviews, and if you can time your Review Request email to arrive at the same time as the delivery, they’ll write a review at the time they’re happiest and most excited with the product.

Another important follow-up is the Abandoned Cart Reminder email. In general, these emails have a good success rate: according to Omnisend abandoned cart emails have a 46.1 percent open-rate and a 13.3 percent click-through rate. Of the people who click, over a third (35 percent) complete a purchase.

This behavior might be different during the shopping holidays, but things like abandoned cart emails can offer big yields for no risk.

Finally, you can follow up with customers by initiating a drip campaign. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, a drip campaign is an automated email campaign that sends out prescheduled emails based on preset timelines or user actions. For example, if your customer buys a smartphone, they’re automatically sent an email of phone accessories three days after the purchase.

When handled smartly, drip campaigns can rank among the most effective methods for email marketing—especially when combined with the customer segmentation discussed above. If you want to learn more about the fine points and how to handle these the right way, read our complete guide to drip campaigns now.

Zapier helps you save time with these kinds of communications. You can set up automated workflows that, for example, add Shopify customers to a Mailchimp or ActiveCampaign list. Here are two pre-built Zaps you can try. You can explore more in our App Directory, by searching for the apps you use to manage your newsletters.

5. Keep holiday deals going until New Years

While Black Friday and Cyber Monday are usually the biggest sales days of the year, many of the top 10 are still ahead. For the sake of your store, don’t stop now—the holiday shopping season is far from over.

Weekends in December typically rank highly, especially the Saturday before Christmas, known as “Super Saturday.” You may think that most people would have finished their shopping by mid-December, but according to the National Retail Federation, 61 percent of all shoppers buy at least one gift the week before Christmas. Even the days after Christmas see a boost in sales, in particular December 26 and the Saturday after Christmas.

That’s why one of the best things you can do after Black Friday and Cyber Monday is to keep going. You can even reinvest your profits from Thanksgiving weekend into fresh ad campaigns and outreach endeavors in a bid to collect more of the early December shoppers. As we mentioned above, check the data to reveal the most effective marketing ventures.

After December, once the new year starts, you’re still faced with the aftermath of the holiday shopping season—namely returns. January might be a good time to hire extra customer service representatives to help with the incoming returns and exchanges. It’s worth keeping in the back of your mind, in case you want to budget your Thanksgiving weekend profits to handle additional temporary hires.

Want some help with holiday tasks like managing campaigns, segmenting email lists, or aggregating data? A lot of these tedious and time-consuming tasks can be automated, freeing up your time for more important, hands-on tasks. Automation software like Zapier can easily take care of the busy work for you so you have more time and less stress this holiday season. Take a look at how we can make your business more efficient:

Browse our list of apps to find out if your favorites are on there and see our recommendations for how you can automate the most common tasks.

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