Over the last few years Black Friday and Cyber Monday have developed from being a purely US phenomenon to a global sales event, marking the start of the all-important Christmas shopping season. 

In 2014 the effects of Black Friday saw UK retail sales rise at their fastest annual rate in more than 10 years, with £810m spent and online sales jumping 13% year-on-year.

For commerce marketers, the four-day sales weekend is a critical one to capitalise on.

So to help you design a smart and efficient communication strategy for some of the busiest shopping days of the year, here are key tips to drive customer engagement and boost sales:

Create convenience 

Consumers crave convenience. Remind them of any services you are offering during the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales period that will ease the stresses and strains of shopping.

Anything from free gift-wrapping to delayed shipping options can be an additional reason to buy from you.

Don’t forget to highlight basic information, such as return and exchange information and any in-store pickup or drop-off, to make the shopping experience as transparent as possible.

Implement an abandoned shopping basket strategy

If you don’t have an abandoned shopping cart email strategy in place already, now is the time to implement a campaign to rescue revenue when shoppers stray.

Basket abandonment rates are on the rise, so it is critical to successfully re-engage customers who have abandoned the order process.

Stand out with animation

If you want to stand out in a busy customer’s inbox, consider using animated GIFs.

Used effectively, they can make a shopper stop in their tracks and check out your email, and are a great substitute for videos that can bring a brand to life.

Offer customer-friendly promo codes 

If your promo codes are within an image, your customers will either have to commit it to memory, or write it down to enter later on.

That’s forcing the customer to do more work, unnecessarily. Make promo codes plain text – allowing for copying and pasting – and simple, so they’re easily remembered and easily shared.

For more on this topic read: How to get the most out of your online coupon campaigns.

Remail throughout the day, but change it up

Remailing to non-openeres can be an excellent way to drive sales and keep you front-of-mind for shoppers on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but don’t send the same content or use identical subject lines, as this will only frustrate consumers.

If you don’t have the resources to modify the email design, limit the repetition by changing the subject line and altering the pre-header copy. 

Target first-time buyers

By effectively segmenting your audience according to previous shopping habits, you can tailor email content for each segment, maximising the likelihood of engagement from recipients.

Build a segment of subscribers who have not purchased from you yet, and send them communication that is personalised and speaks to their needs.

Consider offering first-time-buyer discounts as offers could be the push needed to get potential buyers to stop procrastinating and convert. 

Consumers will be receiving dozens of promotional emails about Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, but only a few will cut through the noise: Those that are not sent with the ‘spray and pray’ method but are part of a shrewd and data-driven email marketing campaign.

Commerce marketers must apply a more personal approach to email marketing, particularly during the frenzied shopping period when consumers are bombarded with promotional content.

Emails that understand the shopper’s needs and are relevant and engaging will be the key to success. 

Georges Berzgal

Published 30 October, 2015 by Georges Berzgal

Georges is Managing Director Europe at Bronto Software and contributor to Econsultancy. You can connect with him via LinkedIn, or follow Bronto on Twitter.

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Mike Bonanno, Editor - Atcemsce.org at Atcemsce.org

This year should be huge for the retailers with the right website setup. While all the above sound good, let's not forget the hosting requirement needed to handle the surge in traffic. Even some of the big retailers do not have the required resources to enhance the user experience. This is not the time to have a slow website.

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