Nov 21, 201814 min read

5 Steps to Create the Best Black Friday Deal.

Kristian Borglund headshot

by Kristian Borglund

What is the perfect Black Friday offer? The one where people think “Oh, my god! I'll never get a better deal than this!” and rushing to buy – immediately. This guide takes you through how to put together those offers; high-converting deals that not only skyrocket your sales, but also contribute to long-term growth and business profitability.

With the right offers in place, your webstore will be ready to tap into a shopping rush that has been intensifying every November for decades (except for the recession year of 2008). In 2017, Cyber Monday hit a new record of $6.59 billion in sales, making it the largest U.S. online shopping day ever, while Black Friday three days earlier saw shoppers spending $5.03 billion online, according to Adobe Analytics.

But how ready are you for this multi-day shopping event? On November 23 (Black Friday) and November 26 (Cyber Monday) in particular, shoppers will willingly open up their wallets for the right deal. In 2017, the average U.S. shopper spent $335 over this period while millennials aged 24 to 35 splurged an average of $420 each.

Why you need “OMG offers” for this year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday

As Black Friday Cyber Monday has gained popularity in recent years, shoppers have become increasingly deal-conscious.

Retailers are discounting prices by an average of 44-45 percent, according to Market Track, whereas shoppers are looking for 50 percent off or more.

Offering discounts of “only” 20-30 percent won’t cut it unless you have a strong brand like Apple.

This shopping event is all about the deals. You have to come up with really, really good ones to get noticed.

But can you afford to take the hit? What about people who show up for the deals and then never buy from you again? You risk losing money, don’t you?

Yes and no.

Predatory deal-hunters exist for sure, but there are the other type, too. Those who do come back to shop at normal prices. In stores they like, that is. That’s one of the main reasons to participate in the Black Friday Cyber Monday event with “OMG offers”. You have the opportunity to bring people into your world while they are in the mood to buy (and that mood continues all the way to Christmas), and they will be back again when inspiration strikes or specific needs arise.

The arguments for putting together these kinds of irresistible offers are many:

Customer Acquisition. If a shopper hasn’t bought from you before, their purchasing resistance is higher. You still haven’t earned any trust points as a vendor, but an incredible offer can make up for that. Getting 10 percent off doesn’t give them much incentive to take the risk with an unknown retailer. But 50? Or 75? Now it’s worth it. Once they’ve ordered, it’s up to you to show they were right to have faith in you. Provide a great overall experience, and they will be willing to buy from you at more normal prices next time.

Incremental sales. People head to sites looking for bargains, but end up buying full-price items. It happens to everyone. Without your OMG offer you’ll struggle to have no way of attracting them into your webstore while they are in this buying state of mind.

Traffic and sales in general. Your marketing promotions in your paid, owned and earned channels will be much more successful – and lead to more traffic as well as more sales – if you have OMG offers that stand out from the crowd.

Re-converting former customers. If you have customers who haven’t bought from you in a while, they might just need an OMG offer to get back into the habit of buying from you again. In other words, this is an opportunity for you to change their status from “sleeping buyer” to “recent buyer”. As you know, it’s much easier to sell to recent buyers.

Easier fulfillment. Orders fulfilled during this event will easily arrive in time for Christmas, and they free up your capacity to deliver on those last-minute orders days before the big December holiday.

Clearing stock before Christmas. Black Friday Cyber Monday is a great opportunity to make space for new arrivals in time for Christmas so that you can have a second sales peak during the first, second and third weeks in December.

Increasing brand recognition. There are people you’d like inside your store that still don’t have your brand top of mind. Let them know about your existence.

Reward your loyal customers. Not only will your loyal customers feel well treated with your generous offers; new visitors will feel a sense of urgency to join that special crowd of people who regularly buy from you.

Now that the benefits are clear, let’s get started on creating those OMG offers for your webstore.

1. Choose your bargains wisely

The first challenge when creating OMG offers is to pick the right products to discount.

It’s important to choose products that bring in the right customers; people who are great for your business long-term, people who are likely to buy more from you in the future, people who match your brand. Pick your offers with them in mind. You could – or should, in some cases – personalize your offers to appeal to different segments of your market as well as segments of your existing customer base.

Another aspect to consider is your margin on specific products. Cutting 50 percent off the price of an item with just a 20 percent profit margin will be more painful, at least short-term, than an item with a 70 percent profit margin.

Don’t be too afraid to lose money upfront though, as long as you successfully target the right customers and inspire them to buy more further down the line – or even immediately at the point of purchase. “Loss-leaders” can be very profitable in the long run.

“He or she who can afford to spend the most to acquire a new customer, wins,” argues Ryan Deiss, founder and CEO of DigitalMarketer.com.

As long as you strategize about those OMG offers, and plan for how to turn loss-incurring sales into profitable sales down the line, you’ll be fine. One way to decrease risk is to run a few A/B tests small-scale, and expand on what works well – either this year or next.

Other considerations:

  • Do you want to keep specific items at full price at all times? For example, you might have one product that brings you a significant profit, and diminishing its value would hurt your bottom line too much.
  • Is it worth discounting certain items now that customers would have paid full price for closer to Christmas? But equally, if they ignore you now because of poor offers and head to your competition instead, will they bother coming back to you for their Christmas shopping at all? It’s up to you to find that balance.
  • What can you afford to lose short-term to win long-term? Make a budget for Black Friday Cyber Monday, taking into account key factors like advertising costs, profits and losses for discounted products, the lifetime value of customers, payroll, cash flow and so on.
  • Is it better to focus on having ONE unbelievable offer, or would a dozen bargains work better? Here’s where your knowledge about your customers and your gut feeling as an entrepreneur comes in.

2. Get creative with your discounts

The main pull of an OMG Black Friday Cyber Monday offer is the discount. And as you well know, discounts can be set up in all kinds of ways.

On the most foundational level, there are only two types of discount to play with during the Black Friday Cyber Monday event:

  • The percentage discount
  • The cash amount discount

Customers can get 10 euro off, or 50 percent off – and it can be applied to a specific item, a collection of items (“everything on this page 50 percent off”), a whole category, or the entire site.

That’s the easy route, and probably the most popular.

To take it further, you can add specific conditions for the discounts to increase profitability, target a group of customers, get them more involved, or reward loyalty:

  • “Spend 20 euros and get 50 percent off anything you buy”
  • “Spend 20 euros and get 50 percent off anything you buy AND free delivery”
  • “If you are 60 years or older, you’ll get 50 percent off today”
  • “Answer this 1-minute survey, and get 70 percent off”
  • “Buy any 2 products and get 40 percent off your entire basket”
  • “If you’ve bought from us before, use the code VIPLOVE at checkout for an additional 10 percent off”

No matter if you take the “easy” discount route or the more sophisticated one, don’t forget to make use of the most effective condition of all: The deadline.

  • “Buy within 30 minutes and get 70 percent off this item”
  • “Buy before midnight and get free delivery”

Creating urgency is one of the oldest sales strategies in the book. For that reason many online retailers even display a countdown timer to remind consumers that their discounts are about to expire.

3. Spice it up to make your offer a no-brainer

On top of your discounts – or as a separate way to create a Black Friday and Cyber Monday frenzy among your customers – you can throw in something extra to seal the deal.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What bonuses could sweeten the offer? Include a special item with the purchase, exclusively for this special event, but make sure it’s relevant to what they’re buying.  What are your customers aiming for? The bonus could complement the purchase or help customers get the most out of it. It can be applied sitewide, or attached to a category or a specific item.
  • What upgrades can you include? Just for this event, give away something you would usually charge extra for, like a premium delivery service.
  • How can you meet the desire for instant gratification? If the customer has to wait 1-3 days for delivery of the product, what can you give them “right now”? For example: “You not only get 50 percent off these trekking shoes, you’ll also get immediate digital access to our Staff Trekking Guide – our collection of amazing trekking routes around the world – so you can start deciding where to use those shoes”.
  • What exclusivity can you offer? “If you buy this item today, you’ll get invited to our [special event] that we normally charge 30 euros for. If you can’t go yourself, it’s a perfect gift to any friend who loves ____.”

Also, remember to make use of pricing psychology to help your customer understand what a good offer it really is.

The Wall Street Journal tells the story of Williams-Sonoma. The company introduced a bread maker to the market, priced at $275, but customers were hesitant to buy. It did poorly. It wasn’t until a slightly bigger, better-functioning bread maker was displayed next to the original one, at double the price point, that sales of the first bread maker skyrocketed.

The site Conversionxl.com says it more bluntly: “What’s the best way to sell a $2,000 wristwatch? Right next to a $12,000 watch”.

Does the same logic apply to your products? Test it out.

4. Irresistible all the way to completed purchase – and beyond

A big part of your irresistibility is how smoooth the full Black Friday Cyber and Monday shopping experience is. All the way from first discovery to payment methods and delivery. Let’s say someone clicks on a social ad promotion or a link in an e-mail, or has heard from a friend about your sales – what happens next?

Unfortunately, even experienced retailers screw up the opportunity to make the most of this event. Here are some common mistakes:

  • They make their Black Friday Cyber Monday deals hard to find. You can avoid visitors-getting-lost syndrome by using landing pages and sections on your website that are dedicated to this event.
  • They make it too complicated to buy. Most of your visitors are probably checking out deals from lots of other websites too, and are not very patient. If it’s a hassle for them to complete the checkout process, with lots of fields to fill in and buttons to click, they’ll be spending their money elsewhere. How many steps must shoppers complete before they are done? Remove all friction. The quicker the checkout process, the better. Customers will remember how smoooth it was to buy from you.
  • They don’t think mobile first. It’s late 2018. You must make it super-smoooth to complete purchases on mobile.

If you don’t, you’ll lose sales. Mobile-friendliness is not a nice-to-have, but a must-have. Considering the number of spontaneous purchases during Black Friday Cyber Monday, you can’t afford to be missing out on the floods of mobile-first shoppers. Check your website via Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test service.

The bottom line for this section: make your Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals easy to find and easy to buy.

Remember, this event is your opportunity to establish, renew and deepen your relationship with your target market. First impressions count, and so do last impressions. If they get a smoooth experience buying from you now, chances are they will come back for more Christmas shopping later.

5. Additional tweaks for Black Friday Cyber Monday success

  • As always, upsell and cross-sell to bump up the average order value with special event extras.
  • Personalise the shopping experience as much as possible. For example, let visitors know upfront how and when they can get orders delivered, based on where they live.
  • Use your post-purchase e-mail sequences to progress your relationship, support your customers, inspire them, educate them to make them hungry for more, and give them new promo codes to use.
  • What risks are they taking by buying from you? Don’t hide your guarantees; shout about them. Consider coming up with an irresistible “Black Friday and Cyber Monday Guarantee” too, by extending the returns period from 30 days to 60, for example. The safer people feel about buying, the better for you.
  • Let customers spread their payments. The upcoming holiday means expenses are adding up, and people who don’t have an unlimited amount of money in their bank account might resist buying from you – no matter how good your deals are. Many will appreciate an opportunity to spread the cost of their purchases into monthly payments. A no becomes a yes, thanks to you meeting their needs.