12 eCommerce Marketing Ideas for Black Friday & Cyber Monday 2020

A record-breaking Black Friday & Cyber Monday eCommerce weekend is fast approaching. Customer expectations are high after months spent honing online shopping skills. And, with in-store restrictions in place, eCommerce competition will be fierce.

12 eCommerce Marketing Ideas for Black Friday & Cyber Monday 2020
12 eCommerce Marketing Ideas for Black Friday & Cyber Monday 2020. Photo by freestocks on Unsplash

To stand out, your store needs to cater to the three types of holiday shoppers in 2020: motivated searchers overwhelmed browsers, and those Black Friday & Cyber Monday eCommerce bargain-hunters. Each has different needs. You need a shopping experience that converts all three.

This article outlines 12 ideas you should be copying in your Black Friday & Cyber Monday eCommerce strategy, with real examples from retailers who are already getting it right. Learn how to deliver:

  • Search that ticks all the boxes for purchase-ready customers
  • Navigation that delights overwhelmed browsers
  • Merchandising that converts serious bargain-hunters

Table of contents

Brace for holiday shopping going virtual like never before
Chapter One: The Searcher
Start with insights from holidays past
Turn your data into landing page magic
Ensure there’s no such thing as no results
Read your customers’ minds with autocomplete
Content search = contented shoppers
Chapter Two: The Browser
Focus your facets on the holiday shopper
Repurpose your product finders for gifts
Ask the right questions, show the right products
Chapter Three: The Bargain-Hunter
Captivate shoppers from the homepage
Merchandise category and product listing pages
Accentuate product detail pages with recommendations
Curate landing pages for flash sales and promotions
Ready to supercharge your store for the holiday season?

Brace for holiday shopping going virtual like never before

2020 has already been a year like no other for eCommerce. “Black Friday traffic levels” have been making headlines since March, with no signs of abating. What happens when the holiday shopping peak brings a fresh surge of customers to online stores?

Retail heavy-hitters that have focused on in-store promotions in the past will be throwing more resources than ever into their eCommerce efforts, meaning more competition for smaller and independent retailers.

And, shoppers who have honed their online shopping skills over the past few months will expect stellar eCommerce experiences while they exert more caution with their spending.

This article breaks down the differing needs and expectations of holiday searchers, browsers, and bargain-hunters, and how you can personalize each of their buying journeys to boost conversions.

If you were caught unprepared for the spike in eCommerce earlier this year, don’t miss this opportunity to close 2020 strong. Now is the time to bolster your store for what is sure to be a record-breaking season.

Chapter One: The Searcher

The Searcher has a list, a deadline, and a credit card in-hand. This holiday shopper is on a mission. They know exactly what they want and they head straight to your search bar to find it. Deliver the right results quickly, and you’ve got yourself an easy conversion. Provide a confusing or irrelevant search experience, and this highly motivated shopper will quickly bounce to a competitor. Don’t drive your highest-converting traffic away with a poor search experience. Help this shopper tick off their gift list with stress-free search and they’re sure to convert.

Start with insights from holidays past

Dig into last year’s holiday reports to identify your most common search terms, searches that produced no results, and some of your most commonly misspelt terms.

Start with insights from holidays past
Start with insights from holidays past

This isn’t just about correcting typos, these insights are an opportunity to learn more about the language your customer speaks. Do you label your products “gift boxes” when your customers are searching for “gift sets”?

Keep an eye on these reports in the weeks leading up to Black Friday and other key dates in your calendar. Shoppers often start researching their wishlist long before the sales to compare sites and offers. Your search trends from late October to early November could provide an early indicator of what your most popular products of the season will be.

Turn your data into landing page magic

For your top searches, consider whether dedicated landing pages with carefully curated products would be more effective than your standard results. Some shoppers may head straight to your search bar to find “gifts for her”, for example. Send them to your beautifully merchandised landing pages with synonyms or redirects. More on this in chapter three.

Those searches that regularly turn up “no results”? They’re another opportunity for redirects. If you see a high volume of searches for a brand that you don’t carry, consider curating a landing page of products that you do carry, which may be relevant to those shoppers. Borsheims, an independent jeweller, does an excellent job of this by sending searches for “Tiffany” to a page highlighting their solitaire engagement rings.

Turn your data into landing page magic
Turn your data into landing page magic

Ensure there’s no such thing as no results

You’ve taken all possible steps to avoid shoppers hitting you no results found page, but it’s inevitable that there will be the occasional term that you didn’t anticipate or simply don’t have a relevant result for. With a carefully optimized no results found page, you can still keep that shopper engaged.

Take Fabletics’ lead and feature some of your best-selling products and categories on this page to entice shoppers with popular alternatives. If you have a holiday gift catalogue, landing page, or product finder, link to it here. Another often-overlooked tactic is to promote gift cards on your no results found page. All of these options immediately diffuse the frustration that can come from encountering “no results”.

Ensure there’s no such thing as no results
Ensure there’s no such thing as no results

Read your customers’ minds with autocomplete

Smart autocomplete predictions that drop down from your search bar can guide shoppers to relevant products in even fewer clicks. Customers are often unsure of the best search terms to use, especially when shopping for gifts they aren’t familiar with. Incorporating spell correct and synonyms into your suggestions is a rapid way to overcome those not-quite-right search terms without interrupting the shopping process.

When a shopper clicks in the search bar, your drop-down should prompt them with popular predictions before they even begin to type. As they enter a search term, these suggestions should dynamically update in response. With the right tool, you can also pull merchandising rules into this box and adorn the additional space with promotions. GolfBox achieves all of this by featuring top reviewed results and sale badges.

Read your customers’ minds with autocomplete
Read your customers’ minds with autocomplete

Content search = contented shoppers

Search isn’t just for products. Don’t forget to make important customer service pages searchable so shoppers can quickly locate your return policies and delivery costs. Content like blog posts and buyer’s guides can also provide reassurance that shoppers are making the right purchase.

Patagonia does an excellent job of this by offering shoppers the option to filter their search results by-products or content. In-depth blog posts covering topics related to their product line can help educate shoppers to the point of purchase if they’re still researching the perfect gift.

Content search = contented shoppers
Content search = contented shoppers

Chapter Two: The Browser

The Browser isn’t sure where to start and needs a little help finding the perfect gift. We’ve all been this shopper. Fending off the creeping panic that comes with browsing unfamiliar products, trying to remember our loved one’s obscure preferences. Or worse still, shopping for a distant in-law, awkward colleague, or friendly neighbour whose name you can’t recall. Haven’t we all almost fallen at the knees of a store assistant who immediately produced the perfect suggestion? Solid website navigation and clever product finders are the online equivalents for those difficult gifts. Take the stress out of your customers’ holiday shopping and watch your conversions skyrocket.

Focus your facets on the holiday shopper

Shoppers browse differently when they’re buying for someone else, meaning your facets should be adjusted accordingly. Allow shoppers to filter by “gifts” as a product type, and if you’re offering in-store or curbside pickup for select online orders, enable last-minute shoppers to find those results quickly.

There’s more to facet displays than a standard list. Get visual with colour palettes and grid options to make the filtering experience more interactive and intuitive. Range facets are useful for shoppers who want to filter their gift search by price brackets, or by-products with specified review ratings. Show Me Your Mumu is one brand that makes good use of a variety of facet displays.

Focus your facets on the holiday shopper
Focus your facets on the holiday shopper

Repurpose your product finders for gifts

If you don’t already have a product finder tool on your store, you should. They’re useful all year round, but they’re especially effective as gift finders during the holidays. If you do have one, review its positioning. Whether featured on your homepage, globally in your website header, or on specified category and landing pages, make sure it’s easy to find and use.

Your no results page is another smart location to help out shoppers who aren’t finding success with the search bar. Home Science Tools simplifies the process of finding the right kit for the little scientist in your life with one such finder.

Repurpose your product finders for gifts
Repurpose your product finders for gifts

Ask the right questions, show the right products

Even better, level up your product finder with a guided selling feature. By asking shoppers to answer a sequence of questions, you can help them filter their way to the right product, even when they don’t know the relevant brands or product names.

Think of it like an unobtrusive sales assistant who knows exactly what to ask an overwhelmed shopper. Dia&Co nails this process with their denim style quiz, helping shoppers navigate their way to the perfect jeans based on how and when they wear them.

Ask the right questions, show the right products
Ask the right questions, show the right products

Chapter Three: The Bargain-Hunter

The Bargain-Hunter is on a mission to save and isn’t afraid to shop around. Site merchandising is crucial for locking down those flighty bargain-hunters whose heads are easily turned by offers elsewhere. Many savvy holiday shoppers do their research long before Black Friday, deciding in advance which sites to shop from on the day. Merchandising is key to catching the bargain-hunters eye and letting your holiday promotions shine. Make sure shoppers can immediately spot your sales, special offers, and product highlights to build anticipation, keep them engaged, and drive those conversions.

The Bargain-Hunter is on a mission to save and isn’t afraid to shop around.
The Bargain-Hunter is on a mission to save and isn’t afraid to shop around.

Captivate shoppers from the homepage

Your holiday offers should be instantly identifiable when a shopper lands on your homepage. Get creative with your banners and introduce the messaging and promotions that can be found across the rest of your site. Update your homepage frequently over the holidays to keep your site fresh and your returning visitors engaged.

Follow Alex and Ani’s example and spotlight flash sales or limited edition products to build urgency around purchases. Whatever banners you have on display, make sure they’re consistent with your current marketing and social campaigns to reinforce your promotions across all touchpoints.

Captivate shoppers from the homepage
Captivate shoppers from the homepage

Merchandise category and product listing pages

You don’t need us to tell you that you’re going to be busy. Too busy to manually update product placement while monitoring which products are selling well. Automation is your friend. Set up global campaigns to boost the products you want to promote site-wide. This could be your best sellers, popular products, and latest arrivals; or it might be your house brand, high-margin items, and excess inventory. Then, consider focused boost rules for specific category pages where different promotions or objectives apply. Lastly, don’t forget to demote items as they sell out.

Complement your boost rules with badges to highlight discounts or label products that are sold out, almost gone, and selling fast. And don’t forget banners on your category and landing pages – they’re not just for your homepage. Volcom takes this to the next level by displaying promotional banners in-line with product results.

Merchandise category and product listing pages
Merchandise category and product listing pages

Accentuate product detail pages with recommendations

You’ve drawn the shopper in with your homepage, highlighted the most relevant products on your result pages, and now they’ve clicked on something that caught their eye. Keep the merchandising magic going by featuring badges and highlighting discounts on individual product detail pages. Even if the shopper doesn’t purchase the first product they click on, you now have an indication of their preferences. Use it to cross or upsell similar products so they don’t have to click back to keep browsing.

Wildfang does this by prompting viewers of a yellow blazer to check out the matching pants, as well as other blazers in a similar style. Holiday bonus points if you bundle products together in your recommendations to increase AOV.

Accentuate product detail pages with recommendations
Accentuate product detail pages with recommendations

Curate landing pages for flash sales and promotions

Sometimes, your standard categories just won’t cut it when it comes to flash sales or holiday offers. Create dedicated landing pages to showcase gift guides and direct targeted marketing traffic to carefully curated results. Add banners to reinforce the messaging that attracted shoppers in the first place and voilà, you have yourself a conversion machine. Don’t forget to drive up that AOV with bonus gifts or free shipping if shoppers reach a certain spending threshold. For particularly hot deals, schedule your landing pages for custom time ranges to achieve the flash sale effect.

Wine Enthusiast makes good use of visual banners on its dedicated gift category, directing shoppers to various landing pages focused on the recipients’ preferences and interests. Shoppers also have the option to view gifts by budget and personalization options.

Curate landing pages for flash sales and promotions
Curate landing pages for flash sales and promotions

Ready to supercharge your store for the holiday season?

Whether your customers are motivated searchers, overwhelmed browsers, or devoted bargain-hunters, it’s imperative that you deliver a shopping experience that intuitively meets their expectations.

Take the guesswork and manual intervention out of your eCommerce strategy with Searchspring’s site search, navigation, and merchandising solutions.

Source: searchspring

Published by Jeannette Scott

, a wellness coach specializing in stress management and quality of life. She’s covered topics from nutrition to psychology, from sexuality to autoimmune diseases and cancer.