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Did you know that 31% of online shoppers start their Black Friday shopping spree early? With more than half of seasonal browsers now claiming to start their Christmas shopping in October, it’s time to start thinking about your winter sales strategy.

Black Friday is singlehandedly the largest shopping event of the year. As the day and the weeks and months surrounding it drive consumers in and out of the high street and online stores, brands have the opportunity to increase their conversions tenfold if they play their cards right.

The key here is to start early in 2023. As socials continue to rule the selling scene and the e-commerce industry becomes even more popular in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, the stakes are higher than ever before for a Black Friday sellout this winter.

There are plenty of ways you can use Black Friday and Cyber Monday to your advantage when aiming to increase your sales online. From early bird social campaigns to VIP offers, there is no doubt that the phrase ‘Black Friday’ will draw consumers in and drive online store traffic.

The question is, where do you start? Let’s unpack the UK’s largest-selling event and reveal how you can make sure your brand comes out on top in the winter season.

1. Start the sale early on socials.

It’s no secret that social media has become a game changer for the Black Friday shopping experience. Packed full of gamification, clever filters and trend-driving influencers, the social selling scene is home to some of the most successful ecommerce campaigns on the planet.

In fact, according to a recent Salesforce study, a whopping 76% of UK-based cyberweek traffic was generated by social media campaigns. Better still, the social selling scene was responsible for driving another 10% of referrals and contributing to a 22% year-on-year holiday season revenue boost.

While this ranks social platforms such as TikTok and Instagram as the key destinations to run a 2023 Black Friday campaign, it also renders them one of the most competitive spaces for ecommerce success for the upcoming holiday sales.

The key here is to beat your competitors and start early. Use the Black Friday anticipation to your advantage, and start releasing your deals just that bit earlier for a chance to boost online sales before the mad rush.

A great way to do this is to let your followers know your sale is on early in the form of a clever Instagram post or story. Take popular retailers Coach and Monica Vinader as an example.

Better still, why not get creative with your strategy by introducing a holiday gift guide post or a clever AR-powered filter showcasing some of the key products on offer that users can simply try on and send over to their peers?

Make your social campaign sharable, and provide your consumers with easy call-to-actions. Consider releasing your Black Friday campaigns between one to two weeks before the big day for maximum effect.

2. Optimise your online store for increased traffic.

Once your social strategy is running, it’s time to ensure that your website is up to scratch as it receives higher levels of traffic.

Black Friday is the time of the year when every online brand wants a spot on Google’s front page. In order to make sure you appear high up in the SERPS, you should be prioritising your SEO to help make your online store more visible to seasonal shoppers.

One way to do this is to simply optimise your current site content. Start searching for rankable keywords within your niche, and edit your current blog posts, product descriptions and meta tags.

If you’re building an online store from scratch, however, it’s important to cover the basics from the beginning. If you’re using a website builder with templates to choose from, opt for minimalistic designs that prioritise UX accessibility. The easier your site is to navigate, the less likely you’ll be to see a high bounce rate.

Your page loading speed is also a key factor to watch out for. If your site takes longer than just 3 seconds to load, your conversion rate decreases by 0.3% for every consumer.

3. Turn your loyal customers into VIPs.

Another way to increase your sales using Black Friday is to start making your customers feel like VIPs. Every brand on the high street will have a Black Friday sale event, so what makes you so special?

The key here is to tap into your existing consumer base rather than shoot for acquiring new leads during Black Friday. Not only is it less expensive to focus on a retention strategy, but recent stats from Bain & Company found that retailers with good loyalty programs grow their revenue 2.5 times faster than their competitors.

Black Friday is a great time to enhance your loyalty program. You can give away steeper discounts to loyal customers, as well as discounting special products and offering bundle deals. By making your loyal customers feel special, you’ll be more likely to see your sales increase during the seasonal period.

Take Walmart, for example. The popular retailer used Black Friday to promote their membership program by advertising that members got a four-hour head start when it came to scoring the hottest deals.

Creating that sense of urgency that products may simply ‘run out’ before the official sale opens is a great way to get more customers signing up for a membership status.

4. Optimise your sale for smartphones.

Smartphones will dominate 2023’s Black Friday sale strategies. As the number one way most consumers now access the ecommerce world, smartphone shopping must be a part of your strategy if you want to see success.

Mobile commerce sales have been growing rapidly since 2016 and are expected to reach a staggering £150 billion in revenue by 2025.

According to Segmentify, 73% of Black Friday revenue in 2022 was generated from mobile sales. As we head towards a digitalised tomorrow, 2023 looks as if it will rake in even more smartphone conversions in the seasonal period to come.

In the wake of a social selling explosion, it’s time to make sure your online store is optimised for mobile consumers. This could consist of a mobile-friendly UX design strategy or even the introduction of a shopping app that can be downloaded straight onto a mobile or tablet device.

Offering more ways for your consumers to reach your site is key. Linking to your store from frequently accessed locations, such as TikTok and Instagram, is an easy way to keep mobile customers clicking.

When it comes to Black Friday, why not offer some mobile-only discounts? Introducing an SMS campaign, for example, is a great way to gain the attention of smartphone consumers.

5. Don’t forget the follow-up.

Last but not least, don’t forget the post-Black Friday follow-up. While many businesses rake in revenue during the actual event, many fall at the last hurdle when they fail to follow up on the new shoppers acquired during the shopping spree.

According to a new study by Shopify, a whopping 64% of the conversions acquired on Black Friday have a lower lifetime value than traditional leads.

If you want to improve your sales strategy, Black Friday may help with acquisition, but it’s up to you to keep those new consumers coming back all year round.

A great way to do this is to start by offering a follow-up discount via email or SMS. This is an easy way to achieve a repeat purchase not long after the Black Friday sale. Better still, why not release a customer service survey to your newest conversions? Showing your customers early on that your brand values their business is a great way to gain a loyal repurchaser.

The winter shopping season starts now…

If you haven’t already, you must start crafting your seasonal sales strategy now if you want to see results.

Start social listening and take notes on the market trends and topics likely to be cropping up during the winter shopping season. Gaining as much knowledge as you can about your consumers and their favourite platforms will provide you with a great foundation for your Black Friday marketing campaign and into the holidays.

From social media stories to smartphone site optimisation, the only question is, where will you start?

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