It’s that time of year again – Black Friday is coming, and it’s coming fast. Customers worldwide are preparing for the biggest retail season of the year, with many websites leaking deals and assembling lists of the biggest discounts and price cuts. With so much attention devoted to the shoppers, we thought we’d devote some attention to the retailers. How should your brand prepare for the upcoming onslaught of deal-hungry customers?
In this article, you’re going to learn three tips to survive Black Friday as a brand. Don’t worry – it’s not as hard as it seems!
Customer service tips to survive Black Friday:
- Tell customers about your deals!
- Get ready for increased traffic!
- All support hands on deck – even after Black Friday!
#1. Tell customers about your deals!
Although we don’t need to explain to you the importance of good marketing, it is worth stressing that your efforts should be doubled around Black Friday. After all, every brand is fighting over customers’ attention spans. Everyone’s fighting dirty, and so should you.
The leadup to Black Friday is a perfect opportunity to try more aggressive campaigns: use social listening data to precisely zone in on what your customers are interested in to make yourself distinct from the crowd.
Websites such as BestBlackFriday, as well as established news outlets like Forbes, cNet, and TechRadar regularly publish “leaked” deals in the leadup to Black Friday. Those “leaks” are, of course, entirely orchestrated by retailers as a form of guerilla marketing. It’s also an effective way of gathering information about your competition.
Leaking deals ahead of time is surprisingly effective! Savvy shoppers and Black Friday veterans put a lot of effort into planning their Black Friday shopping spree ahead of time. Make sure you meet their expectations!
#2. Get ready for increased traffic!
There’s nothing worse than too much of a good thing – especially when that thing is your newly acquired customers, who overrun your website to the point of collapse. All too often we hear horror stories of stores who couldn’t handle the traffic.
Obviously, you don’t want to tarnish your reputation and miss out on sales. That’s why you should set up special redundancies – more servers located around the globe, ready to handle all of your increased traffic. High availability is the name of the game. Ideally, look into purchasing space on a content-delivery network (CDN) – they are built specifically for this scenario, and as such will save you a lot of time you’d otherwise spend implementing an analogous solution.
#3. All support hands on deck – even after Black Friday!
Aside from a marked increase in sales, Black Friday has another major effect on brands: the increased volume of sales inquiries, requests for technical support and product questions, which can prove overwhelming to an unprepared company.
As such, not only should you ensure you’re adequately staffed – you should make sure your customer service processes are properly automated. This means setting up automated routing, organising discrete teams based on competencies, allowing chatbots to handle the most repeated questions – the works. Customer service automation as a discipline was designed precisely to manage large volumes of inquiries. As an added bonus, automation stays with you even after Black Friday. That’s good – unlike your sales and marketing departments, the work of the support team is not over when Black Friday ends. Your customers will require constant care for months after the event. Proper tooling and methodologies can make the entire process painless and straightforward for both your customers and your support staff.
If you’d like to learn more about the proper way to automate your support pipeline, read our customer service automation guide.
Bonus tip – it’s not all about Black Friday!
Although Black Friday commands the most attention, there are other dates you should be aware of. Cyber Monday, Cyber Week, and Prime Day are also important – here’s why.
Cyber Monday is the logical extension of Black Friday – after the event reached critical mass in regards to popularity, many customers found themselves dissatisfied with long lines, limited availability of supplies and the massive crowds swarming every mall in sight. As such, some shoppers elect to avoid all of the hassle and look for deals online, usually on the Monday following Black Friday. Hence, Cyber Monday was created as an effort by retailers to encourage more online purchases. Since its inception in the early 2000s, it has become a particular favourite of smaller retailers in particular, as it offers them an easy way to compete with larger, more established brands.
Sometimes, though, a single day isn’t enough. Hence Cyber Week – it’s Cyber Monday, but all week long! Although Monday is still the day on which you’ll likely experience the most sales, Cyber Week allows you to reach customers who, for one reason or another, could not have participated in either Black Friday or Cyber Monday. Many retailers decide to take advantage of Cyber Week’s length by offering new deals every single day, culminating in an all-out sales extravaganza just before the weekend.
Finally, let’s talk about Prime Day – the annual sales event held by Amazon for subscribers of its Prime service. Unlike Black Friday, it takes place in July – well away from the holiday shopping season. It’s Amazon’s attempt to create a second intensive retail season worldwide – and it seems to be working! Many retailers embraced the trend, offering “Black Friday in July” sales to capitalise on the excitement around Prime Day. Amazon themselves seem fully invested in the concept, offering significantly better discounts than they do during Black Friday.
We hope you find these tips helpful in preparing for the oncoming retail storm. If you need assistance in automating your customer service, implementing chatbots, or discovering the power of social listening, feel free to reach out to us via our contact page. In the spirit of Black Friday, we’re offering 50% off of the first three months of any Team plan – learn more about our Black Friday promotion here.