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Black Friday eCommerce Strategy: 5 Tips for Success in 2022

Peak Planning
October 28, 2022
7 min read
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While consumer spending may be down overall, research from McKinsey indicates that consumers are excited for holiday shopping, and deal days like Black Friday may be the perfect opportunity for ecommerce merchants to tap into consumer demand.

The Black Friday eCommerce Makeover

Historically known as an in-person shopping event with massive crowds and endlessly long lines, Black Friday, like many post-COVID experiences, has gone digital. In fact, in 2020, twice as many consumers chose Black Friday ecommerce deals over in-store shopping.

According to a recent consumer survey around holiday shopping preferences, consumers are five times more likely to prefer online shopping to in-store, and 81% of consumers report that they will buy at least some of their holiday gifts online at the last minute this year.

So while Cyber Monday may have the reputation of being the online shopping holiday, savvy merchants are focusing on their Black Friday ecommerce strategy to drive sales early in the holiday shopping season.

Market Conditions & Your Black Friday eCommerce Strategy

Heading into the third pandemic holiday season, merchants face a unique set of challenges in 2022. Market headwinds like record inflation mean consumers are more careful with their spending this year. 

In fact, consumer survey data shows that 74% of shoppers are changing their holiday shopping plans this year.

  • 32% are looking for less expensive gifts
  • 29% plan to buy different types of gifts

This doesn’t mean, however, that the holiday shopping season is canceled. While it may be difficult to predict buying patterns this year, there are indications that consumers will be shopping, and major deal days like Black Friday could be the perfect opportunity for ecommerce merchants.

Holiday Shopping Excitement Is Back

Consumer spending may be down overall, but McKinsey reports that the holidays are back in full force this year. Their report reveals that over half of consumers surveyed said they are excited about doing their holiday shopping this year – compared to one third last year.

Higher income consumers in particular are anxious to start their holiday shopping, and in spite of inflation, household savings continued to grow in Q2 of 2022, so shoppers have the money to spend. In fact, around 40% of consumers that McKinsey surveyed reported that they are ready to splurge this year.

Deal Hunters Are Back

However, unlike last year, consumers are more likely to hold out on making their purchases. Last year’s shoppers were concerned about stockouts and shipping delays. They shopped early to ensure they got the gifts they wanted and got them delivered before the holidays.

This year’s consumers are more likely to wait for big ecommerce holidays like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Shoppers say they’re on the lookout for deals in the form of product discounts and free shipping.

  • 56% of consumers are looking for free shipping
  • 55% are on the lookout for deal days like Black Friday
  • 42% will be persuaded to purchase by 1- to 2-day shipping promises

Black Friday eCommerce Strategy: Top Five Tips for 2022

For ecommerce merchants looking to tap into consumer demand and appeal to holiday deal shoppers, we’ve put together our top five tips for a winning Black Friday ecommerce strategy this year.

1. Prep Inventory Early

The key to ecommerce success on major holidays like Black Friday is inventory management – having the right products in the right place at the right time. Proper inventory management helps reduce the risk of stockouts, lower operating costs, and increase customer satisfaction with fast shipping. Make sure you have the following three strategies in place when preparing your inventory for Black Friday sales.

  • Distribute inventory close to end customers to enable 1- to 2-day Ground shipping to your most valuable customers.
  • Align your marketing strategy to your distribution strategy. Create geo-targeted marketing campaigns that drive sales in the geographic areas where your inventory is stocked and ready.
  • Ensure accurate inventory counts and allocation by sales channel to avoid stockouts and backorders.

2. Advertise Fast Shipping Promises

Research shows that fast shipping promises sell. 69% of consumers report that they are more likely to click a display ad that mentions fast and free shipping, and 77% report that they are more likely to purchase a product that can be delivered to them in 2 days or less.

Fast shipping promises also increase perceived value – maybe more than product discounts. Shoppers are twice as likely to choose free shipping over a percent discount on their purchase. Increasing perceived value is key to winning customers when shoppers are on the lookout for deals.

3. Offer Exclusives for Loyal Customers

Your best Black Friday ecommerce marketing channel is likely your existing customers. Repeat customers tend to spend more money than first-time customers, which drives down the cost per sale and can offset a discount or promotion.

Offering exclusive deals to your regular customers can also increase brand loyalty and improve customer lifetime value (CLV).

4. Offload Slow-Moving or Obsolete Inventory

Most brands, from small merchants to major retailers, are struggling with slow-moving inventory after a shift in consumer buying behavior. An excess of dead stock increases inventory carry costs and drags down profitability. Fortunately, Black Friday is a great opportunity for ecommerce sellers to move some of that inventory quickly. Here’s how:

  • Offer deep discounts or BOGO deals on slow-moving items
  • Create mystery bundles – a great last minute add-on
  • Offer slow-moving items as a “free gift with purchase”

5. Communicate Your Black Friday eCommerce Strategy with Fulfillment Partners

A successful Black Friday ecommerce strategy hinges on fulfillment and delivery. Communicating your promotional schedule with your fulfillment partner helps them ensure better on-time fulfillment and on-time delivery rates.

Be sure to let them know when your sale begins, and let them know which items are on promotion. They may decide to re-slot products or even create a special pick station to make items more accessible for faster fulfillment times.

As much as possible, set expectations around demand so the warehouse can schedule labor appropriately and ensure pickups are available.

A Winning Strategy

Each holiday season presents its own unique set of challenges for ecommerce merchants. This year, consumers may be more cautious with their spending, but getting your Black Friday ecommerce strategy in place now will help you get the right promotions in front of the right customers to appeal to 2022 deal hunters.

Looking for more tips for a successful holiday shopping season? Check out our Peak Holiday Fulfillment Resource Center with everything you need in one place.

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