- Why Is Black Friday So Successful?
- 7 Black Friday Marketing Strategies That Use a Chatbot
- Over to You
Historically, Black Friday dates back to the early 1960s, when huge crowds of suburban tourists in Philadelphia came to do their holiday shopping. Those crowds lead to a lot of headaches for the police who worked longer shifts dealing with all the traffic, lines, and shoppers' misbehavior. The police started using the term "Black Friday".
However, the idea of Black Friday didn't grow nationwide until the late 1980s. At that time, trying to give the day a positive flavor, merchants started spreading the idea that they worked at a financial loss or "in the red" all year round until the day after Thanksgiving, when huge sales allowed them to profit or be "in the black".
As this shopping day became more widespread, and more stores tried to offer the best deals, get more sales, and make their marketing stand out, similar days started to appear: Black Thursday, Cyber Monday, Cyber Week, and so on. And the practice keeps growing, especially online. Just look at these amazing recent statistics :
All of this means that your marketing team shouldn't ignore Black Friday and should definitely have its own Black Friday marketing strategy that pays special attention to online shoppers.
Hope that this post will help you draw inspiration for marketing strategies for your business as well as help you use the full potential of your chatbot to promote your Black Friday deals.
Famous Black Friday marketing strategies might be hard to implement on a small business level, but they are a great source of inspiration. By looking at how other companies think outside the box, redefining Black Friday rules, using new technologies and social media to their advantage your business can generate new exciting ideas for your Black Friday marketing strategy.
In 2021 you can't surprise anyone with a marketing strategy promoting online shopping. But Walmart took it to a whole new level. It turned its Black Friday marketing into a fun, engaging, game-like experience. The marketing strategy used an Augmented Reality interactive Tik Tok filter that allowed users to "unwrap" Black Friday deals. Users could post videos of them uncovering a product and saying if they liked what they got. The strategy had enormous success: over 5.5 billion hashtag views, and an 18.4% engagement rate, breaking all TikTok Hashtag Challenge benchmarks, and, of course, bringing Walmart mind-blowing exposure and profit.
Kohl's: Getting Customer Engagement
Marketing specialists know that content generated by users and potential customers has much more value than any Black Friday commercial. Kohl's is aware that Twitter is a great platform to generate lots of reactions and engagement. So, Kohl's gave their users a chance to participate in easy challenges and answer small questions across their social media accounts. They earned a lot of user engagement, organic traffic, and attracted hundreds of customers, which resulted in much better company performance.
Cards Against Humanity Black Friday Marketing Strategy
One of the most hilarious and absurd marketing strategies for Black Friday comes from Cards Against Humanity, a company that has a large track record of trolling. Instead of offering some great Black Friday sales, they increased the price of the game by 5$. Believe it or not, this strategy engendered enough fuss and attention, and the company made $71,145 by selling literally nothing. According to its founders, 1,119 people gave more than 5$, one guy even gave $100. You never know where your Black Friday marketing takes you!
Patagonia has a reputation as an environmentally-conscious brand, so they stayed true to their company values even when designing their Black Friday marketing tactics. In 2011, they launched one of the first anti-Black Friday campaigns, encouraging to buy less and promoting Patagonia's services of helping customers repair, recycle, and reuse worn-out items.
First and foremost, you can't promote your strategies for Black Friday using your chatbot unless customers are engaged with it. Here are tips on how to bring customers to your chatbot on Back Friday and beyond:
- Take advantage of Facebook and other ads. We are guessing you are already running Facebook ads for the biggest shopping holiday of the year or maybe you are using some other platforms. What if, instead of sending your customers to the website, you could send your customers directly to your bot? TruVISIBILITY Chatbot allows you to send your customers to either a web site chatbot or Facebook Messenger.
- Broadcast your Black Friday strategy across all chatbot channels. You can connect TruVISIBILITY Chatbot to your website, Facebook, Twitter, Telegram, and Viber. Promoting your marketing strategy on each and every channel will significantly increase the amount of attracted attention. And of course, a catchy image or even a GIF is more likely to make your Black Friday message noticed.
- Create Social Stories or Posts. Today a lion's share of customers learn about your brand through social media. So, a great way to get your chatbot noticed is to talk about it on your social media pages, making stories or posts. Show off what your chatbot can do and don't forget to include the link to your chatbot welcome message or to a specific portion of the chatbot conversation flow.
Once you get the user's attention, use the chatbot to promote your marketing strategy for Black Friday. Here are some tactics:
Black Friday is a crazy day for both customers and businesses. By adding a personal touch to your Black Friday sales you can show your customers that you care even in such a busy period. Moreover, recommendations are powerful. How many times have you asked a sales representative to find something that suits your needs? Or how many times you followed the recommendation of your friend or a Youtube blogger.
Chatbots are great at giving personalized recommendations. Huge brands know that and use it to their advantage.
For example, in 2018 LEGO launched a Facebook Messenger gift-bot for Black Friday weekend. The plan was to help customers reduce their struggle with choosing gifts. The bot took users through simple questions identifying the preferences, for example, "What's the child's age?", "What are their playing interests?" and in the end, gave some gift ideas. In case Ralf (the was the bot's name) was still at a loss as to what to suggest, it offered the help of human LEGO experts.
Chatbots are the future of product recommendations. Their capabilities extend way beyond recommending products just for Black Friday, which you can easily turn into your permanent marketing strategy. Let's look at one great case study for American mattress retailer Purple.
They introduced a conversational display ad. It offered potential shoppers to chat with a "Mattress Finder" to find out what is going to be a perfect mattress for them based on their habits, sleeping patterns, and other preferences.
The results were amazing: the first campaign resulted in about 2,500 conversations and influenced over $100,000 in revenue. Later Purple had improved the chatbot and all this work lead to over 1 million one-to-one brand engagements and more than 100,000 unique messages sent by customers. Besides significantly increasing revenue, customer engagement, and brand exposure, Purple received tons of valuable information about their customers that the company could use to their advantage.
Use Follow-Up Messages to Increase Sales on Black Friday
Cart abandonment rates during Black Friday of 2020 were 79.83% and 78.46% during Cyber Monday. These are not out of the ordinary figures, they are regular for the holiday shopping season. That means that customers need a little (and sometimes a lot) more incentive than usually.
One of such incentives that could be done with a chatbot is recovering abandoned carts.
TruVISIBILITY chatbots can be configured to send emails or SMS to customers to recover abandoned items in the cart. Here is how it works:
- A user notices your Black Friday ads, pop-ups, or engages with your chatbot, let say, on Facebook.
- They go to your website and add certain items to their cart, but leave the website without making a purchase.
- After closing the page they receive an engaging reminder in SMS, email, or Messenger.
- They return to your site and complete the order.
Enable Quick Payments
Another incentive that will make Black Friday shopping much faster and simpler is to enable direct payments through the chatbot. For example, a user clicks on the "buy now" button on your website, and instead of going through multiple payment forms and pages, your messenger bot will handle all the payments. This is an amazing strategy to boost your sales on any day of the year, but it becomes even more efficient on Black Friday since there is much more hustle and bustle. On Black Friday, automation is your best friend.
With TruVISIBILITY this can be done in just a few steps.
The sense of urgency is the foundation of Black Friday. With a chatbot, the process of building up a sense of urgency can be automated. So, how can it be done?
Notifications about Low-Stock Items
Providing personalized shopping experiences during Black Friday days is absolutely necessary for your Black Friday marketing, but learning about your customers' preferences throughout the year is just as important. If you know what your customers prefer to buy or what they looked at before, you could automatically send them emails or messages when you are running out of the product.
Just imagine seeing a message like this: "Your favorite lipstick/perfume/detergent is almost out of stock! Just wanted to let you know that there are just 4 items left – act fast!" or "You were interested in iPhone 13 Pro some time ago. Just saying that there are just 3 left at this price. This is an opportunity not to be missed!" I bet you can feel the willingness to make this purchase.
Black Friday is the time for offers and discounts that are limited in time, otherwise, this holiday just wouldn't make sense. TruVISIBILITY Chatbot can help you automatically send time-sensitive offers and coupons to certain segments of customers.
A good idea would be to send reminder emails and messages when the deals are about to expire.
TruVISIBILITY chatbots can be configured to send an email, an SMS or a Facebook message to all customers or to certain segments of customers indicating how much time is left before the sales start or when the sales will end.
Using this type of Black Friday email as a countdown will boost a sense of urgency and ensure your customers won't forget about you.
According to Salesforce research, shoppers prefer using chats, emails, and SMS for support issues during Black Friday shopping. Luckily, support is something that chatbots handle easily and successfully. Here are a couple of insights on how to ensure your Black Friday support services are flawless and shopping goes smoothly with a chatbot:
Introduce Black Friday FAQ
Customers are likely to have lots of repetitive questions during the days of Black Friday sales. Dealing with each query takes up time and distracts from more important things and complicated customer support issues. Luckily, these questions can be easily automated with a chatbot.
TruVISIBILITY Chat already has a template for FAQ and Customer Support bots. To achieve maximum efficiency, your team needs to research and think about information your customers will want during Black Friday sales, or you could take advantage of the data from previous years.
Then you can have the list of questions and answers that your chatbot will use to automate the majority of the queries, and your support team can take care of more important and complex issues. Let the chatbot create an unforgettable Black Friday experience.
Use the Chatbot to Handle More Support Issues
Just think about how much time your team spends answering a ton of similar support questions on the craziest Friday of the year and during the busy holiday season. A customer support chatbot is there to take over these queries. To see how effective this Black Friday marketing strategy is, let's take a look at the company HelloFresh, which delivers fresh ingredients and instructions so that people could transform them into delicious meals.
In 2017, the company already had a functioning Facebook chatbot named Freddy. For that Black Friday, they decided to post fun riddles or questions on Facebook, and when a user left the right answer in the comments, Freddy would reach out to them via Facebook Messenger with a promo code.
Clearly, that was a great campaign that saw a 64% conversion rate. That means that more than 60% of those who received the code actually placed an order!
First of all, this is a good example of Black Friday marketing with a chatbot. Second of all, using a bot for handling most of the support issues let HelloFresh shorten their response time by 32% given that they had a 31% increase in incoming messages.
TruVISIBILITY Chat already has a template for a customer support bot. You can create it in just a few clinks and then customize it to fit your ideas for Black Friday marketing.
Enable Returns / Exchanges Through the Chatbot
Statistics show that 1 in 3 shoppers return what they bought on Black Friday which is about 30 million unwanted goods being sent back to stores.
So, speaking about marketing for Black Friday, return policies need special attention. On Black Friday and Cyber Monday shoppers often feel over-stressed and buy on a whim, which results in a lot of returns. Returning a product that didn't satisfy you is always a big issue for Black Friday shopping and creates difficulties for both customers and businesses.
To create a more favorable customer experience, you can certainly set a more flexible Black Friday return policy. Here is an inspiring example from Cartier:
With their groundbreaking black Friday marketing, Cartier was able to outperform the competition. If you did some Black Friday shopping but then changed your mind, the company offered a possibility to return or exchange these items until mid-January.
A more flexible return/exchange policy will surely add up to a better shopping experience and a more favorable image of your company. However, you will still have to deal with tons of offline and online returns.
That is where a chatbot can be especially helpful. A chatbot can guide a user through each step of the return process. This way customers will be able to get it done quickly and easily without having to interact with support managers. Another idea is that a chatbot can be configured to collect all the information necessary to make the return to pass it on to agents.
Either way, chatbots will make the life of your support agents much easier, resulting in better work, a better customer user experience, and consequently, more sales.
To stand out in the eyes of Black Friday customers, whose attention span is incredibly short, you need to gamify. Gamification means applying game-design elements and principles into a non-game environment. This strategy can make your bot way more engaging and increase the odds of your Black Friday marketing success.
Let's see what the stats say. Low engagement bots see 35-40% response rates, which is still not bad. But if we look at better bots, their experiences can result in 80-90% response rates. So, it makes perfect sense to strive to make your chatbot more engaging, particularly for Black Friday days. An efficient way to do this is to add some game elements.
A great example of how a chatbot experience can be gamified was given by Disney. In 2016 to promote the movie Zootopia, Disney launched a chatbot based on Judy Hopps, one of the main characters of the movie. Detective Judy Hopps engaged users in one-on-one conversations where they could solve mysteries related to the films' details.
On average, users spent about 10 minutes in these conversations, and many actually repeated the game several times to see all the different outcomes.
While it might not be the best strategy for Black Friday sales (or is it?), there are a couple of other ways to gamify your chatbot.
1. Earning Points
One of the ways to make your chatbot more desirable to interact with is to reward customers with every interaction or every click. These points can later be exchanged for some tangible or intangible rewards.
2. Badges and Titles
The next step might be giving customers some fun badges or titles as they gain a certain amount of points. Not only does it show a personal approach of your company, but it also gives customers a great experience and reinforcement to further interact with your bot and maybe make a purchase or two on Black Friday.
3. Small Prizes
Another marketing trick that might move holiday shoppers towards a purchase is sending coupons, discounts, and other small prizes via email in exchange for small fun game-like tasks. A chatbot can be used to automate the process. This will give customers real incentives to make a purchase and will lead to deeper interaction with your brand.
Remember: this is just one Friday of the year, but these strategies are suitable to take your marketing to another level no matter what day it is.
Just our general advice: all your chatbot efforts and ads will be useless if your website cannot handle crowds of customers and orders. Make sure you provide shoppers with a flawless website experience.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are great opportunities for your business to stand out. According to 2018's Salesforce estimations, 40% of companies' revenue happens on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. So, the marketing effort that you put in will definitely pay off. Chatbots are here to make your marketing for Black Friday easier, more engaging, fun, and provide the best customer experience for the holiday shoppers. Putting effort into your Black Friday marketing scheme is going to result in excellent sales and great revenue.
TruVISIBILITY Chatbot is equipped with all you need to make Black Friday a profitable holiday for your business.
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