Though summer’s not yet over, major retail organizations around the globe are already developing strategic marketing plans for that oh-so-special day of the fiscal year: Black Friday.
In 2018, Black Friday resulted in $6.2 billion in online sales, a growth of 23.6% year-over-year (per Forbes). Thanksgiving Day saw $3.7 billion in online sales, growing 28% year-over year. These staggering dollar figures magnify what’s become a make-or-break window for many retailers and their marketing departments.
In prepping for Black Friday weekend 2019 (the National Retail Federation considers Black Friday Weekend to include Thanksgiving and the four days following), is your organization ensuring its analytics capabilities are not only prepared to report on marketing activities, but also serve as an unbiased, realtime driver behind strategy shifts and changes during this window?
At InfoTrust, our team has helped major online retail organizations prepare for Black Friday weekend through improved measurement capabilities, revenue forecasting, and predictive analytics. Delving into our knowledge base, here’s what your organization should be doing to prepare for Black Friday 2019.
Ensure Tracking Works Before Your Campaigns Start
You wouldn’t run a marathon before stretching first, right? A majority of athletes undergo proper training and stretching before running 26.2 miles (or in the case of Black Friday, a 100-yard dash). Though the Black Friday window is small time-wise, the months and weeks leading up to it are key for confirming your organization can track campaign performance properly. Here are some best practices to consider:
- Ensure your analytics, marketing pixels/tags, and tracking are working. Use Tag Inspector to perform an assessment of all current tags and data collection. With this platform, you won’t miss any details on the revenue insights and user behavior during this short, yet important, period. Tag Inspector Realtime Monitoring processes the checkout funnels and conversion thank-you pages so you can have peace of mind that all of your conversion marketing pixels are working before you start the campaigns.
- Test all your campaigns—offsite with media and onsite with promotional offers—in your analytics tool ahead of time. Enhanced eCommerce for large organizations is a good way to ensure you have the proper measurement architecture in place on-site and off-site.
- Prepare your reports, dashboards, and team to be ready to analyze! You can have the tracking in place and tags/pixels deployed, but does your team know how to use the reports? Are those reports built for quick analysis? Do you have your cohorts and funnels all built out?
Build Out Your Funnel
By building out your funnel within your analytics tools, or confirming your funnels are ready for the influx of data, you can pinpoint areas of success or friction during the high-volume period. We recommend using your standard reports to analyze potential changes that may have contributed to an eCommerce conversion rate drop, then focusing on the shopping and checkout funnels to confirm if there were any issues (or how to re-engage customers).
If a specific analysis is around drops in conversion rate, follow these steps to review:
- Start at the funnel reports to determine if there are key areas in the journey that lead to this friction.
- From here, isolate if it’s earlier in the site navigation/journey where most users drop (such as at PDP or after Add To Cart) or closer to the end (checkout).
- Use the main drop-off stage(s) to segment further and investigate commonalities that could have led to this (technology, promotions/deals, or other characteristics).
- Continue to review all reports with no segment (all users) or segments applied, and list actions that can be completed to test if this is a true issue/improvement or not.
Get Ready to Take Action During and Throughout the Campaign
With all the prep in place, get ready to act on the data to ensure smooth sailing for the campaigns—and gain insights about your customers and products you can use for Black Friday 2020.
- We recommend adding in the Real-Time Revenue Dashboard for day-by-day actions that can be executed. If you aren’t trending to hit your sales goals, you can consider a new marketing or CRM pushes like email or SMS with a new offer or discount highlight.
- Utilize Intelligence Alerts for errors and high bounce rates to be proactive about fixing issues in campaign landing pages or product pages. You may have new products or offers for Black Friday–what if they show errors with the increased traffic? Or have unhealthy bounce rates? Create alerts for 404 errors or any redirects that may fail with the newly-launched pages so you can start fixing issues right away. You’re probably planning on putting a significant amount of money in advertising promotions and landing pages, so you want to know as soon as possible if they’re having issues or performing poorly.
- Run real-time Optimize tests. The accuracy of test results improves with more data, so use the high traffic volume as an opportunity to maximize test data during this season. You may want to test product placements, promotions, CTAs, but make sure you only do that with tests you have great confidence in. (You don’t want to get it wrong and be missing sales during this season.) Partnering with a test expert is a great idea, in this case; our team at InfoTrust can help you strategize your tests while managing the risks to bring you insights that matter.
Bring On Black Friday 2019
Has your eCommerce analytics team started is Black Friday planning? Turn to the analytics experts at InfoTrust for guidance. Our team can begin developing your Black Friday weekend analytics strategy now to give your organization the data confidence it needs.