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Sales automation

Top Black Friday & Cyber Monday Tools for eCommerce Automation & Sales

Frank Jackson, 11/06/2018,

Black Friday. The term, first used in Philadelphia in 1961 to describe the heavy and disruptive pedestrian and vehicle traffic that would occur on the day after Thanksgiving, is now ubiquitous in the ecommerce and brick and mortar retail lexicon. It is not only the unofficial opening of the Christmas season, but also routinely the busiest shopping day of the year.

Although the term was coined in the 60s, it did not become widely used until the early 2000s. Since then, the day has taken on a life of its own, with stores opening on Thanksgiving and giving rise to Cyber Monday, one of the busiest online shopping days in the United States. With all of these consumers looking for deals and ready to spend money, it can be one of the most lucrative times of the year for ecommerce businesses. It can also be one of the busiest. And most stressful.

But, fear not, let this serve as your guide for automation tips and tricks.

We’ll show you some BFCM tools that will help you convert the increased traffic that you’ve been generating through your holiday advertising strategy. We’ve even got a few app suggestions that will turn potential customers into new revenue and will even allow you to get a few extra hours of sleep at night during the hectic holiday season.

Best Shopify Apps for Black Friday Sales

Product Discount

We know what a pain it can be to update your sale prices in Shopify. Going into each item, verifying the numbers are correct, and then waiting for it to publish can feel like an eternity for ecommerce shop owners. It can be especially burdensome if you want to run a flash sale or reduce the price for just a few hours.

Luckily, the Product Discount tool costs just $14/month and makes it easy to set up a variety of offers, on a schedule, and manages the price changes for you. Unfortunately, the Product Discount feature only allows you to reduce the price of a product (not other sales like Buy One, Get Ones (BOGOs)). However, if you pair the product discount app with Shopify’s product upsell, which starts at $9.99/month, you can offer more types of sales like BOGOs and Buy One at Full Price, Get One 50% off.

Privy

A second great tool offered by Shopify is Privy, the app that lets you add pop up messages to your store – for free! Not only are these types of messages incredibly effective at capturing customer email addresses (and we know how important email advertising is!) but with Privy they can appear at the most impactful time.

Privy allows you to trigger based on exit intent, on scroll, after a certain threshold of time on your site, a cart abandonment, and much more. By triggering at specific times, you avoid spamming a user while still getting all the benefits of pop-up messages. Even better, Privy integrates with MailChimp, Klaviyo, and many more so the emails you capture go right into your email automation software. And, a bonus tip, give customers a discount for opting-in, this will not only increase the size of your email rolodex, it’ll boost your sales as well.

FOMO

We all know how powerful the fear of missing out can be. We’ve all bought that pair of jeans or t shirt because someone mentioned that it “fit perfectly” in your review. Luckily, Shopify offers FOMO (you might know it under its previous name of Notify) that shows real time reviews from past customers advertising their first name, location, and their review of their product. You can customize the appearance, location, and frequency of this information to show your customers exactly what you want them to see. FOMO starts at $29.99 a month and can integrate with your social media platforms to show great customer reviews from there as well.

Referral Candy

If you turn your holiday advertising strategy into sales, you’re going to have a lot of new customers. And what is better than these new customers? Even more new customers.

We know current customers can be your most effective brand ambassadors by vouching for you and your product to their friends and family. Referral Candy let you offer referral-based discounts to reward your current (and new!) customers for shopping with you. This referral based strategy has worked for companies like Uber and Dropbox – why wouldn’t it work for you?

Back In Stock

While “sold out” might be a nice reminder that your Black Friday strategy is working, it isn’t great for customers who really want to buy your product. If these customers leave empty handed, it not only leaves a bad taste in their mouths but also keeps a few dollars out of your pocket. Luckily, there’s an app to avoid situations like this.

The Back In Stock app adds a tab next to your sold out products that visitors can click and enter a few pieces of information to get notified when they should revisit your site to buy the item that they wanted. Hopefully, you’ve correctly forecasted your sales and will have additional replenishment options for the products you sell out of early in the day or weekend. If you don’t have replenishment scheduled, that’s okay as well, as seeing the customer interest in the product will also help you forecast replenishment and more accurately plan your next shipment of product.

Also, this app is another great way to generate new leads and add to your customer email list. The plug-in asks your customers for their email address to receive a message when the product they’re looking for is back in stock. This app also integrates with MailChimp, Klaviyo, and other email automation software to send targeted advertisements while they’re waiting for their product.

Boost

Most of these apps have focused on turning the new, potential holiday customers into actual customers while Boost helps you get more out of someone who is already purchasing your product. By helping you upsell and cross-sell boost increases your average order value by presenting customers with the option to buy complementary products or “upgrade” their order by suggesting a glasses case with the purchase of sunglasses.

Loox

As we’ve discussed on many previous blogs, good photographs can be the difference between a potential customer clicking your ad and scrolling right on by. This phenomena extends to your listings as well. We talked about FOMO, which just focuses on written reviews, but Loox takes it one step further by including photos real customers post with their product in addition to their written review. They work with over 10,000 merchants to collect and display these reviews so your product listings can get a big boost – just in time for Black Friday.

Master Automation and Follow-Up

The above list of apps is more than enough to help you automate your sales, lead generation, and conversion stats, but how can you automate your follow-up and customer retention after your big boost from Black Friday? Read on to find out.

TextExpander

How many times have you answered the same questions from your customers? What day do I have to order to receive the product by Christmas? What is the threshold for free shipping? What Black Friday promotions are you offering? When will you receive more of your most popular product? Do you offer any promotions on a second purchase?

These questions can all be answered on auto-pilot with TextExpander. Once you have a template response, you can use TextExpander to create keyboard shortcuts to quickly and easily respond to customers and save you a ton of time. During Black Friday, keep notes about the most common questions (you’ll probably get a lot from your new customers) and create auto-responses for them.

Zapier

Zapier is one of the most useful apps on the planet. You can automate almost anything using “Zaps” to help autonomous apps work together. A few of the best uses of Zapier:

Thank you notes – We know how important it is to communicate via email with customers to build loyalty, and you can use Zapier to send personalized thank you notes based on the product purchased (using TextExpander) or other unique services like Bonjoro to send a thank you video. These notes also give you a time to emphasize your company’s unique story or what you’re doing to help your community. However, don’t forget to thank your customer!

Social media monitoring – You probably can’t monitor all your social media mentions without a little help. Luckily, Zapier can be that help you’re looking for. You can use a zap to add every mention of your brand (whether you’re tagged or not) on social media to a Google spreadsheet. So, instead of constantly refreshing Twitter or Instagram, you can scroll through a spreadsheet and respond to your customers quickly and use the time you saved on something else.

To Do Lists – Zapier integrates with over 750 apps so whatever you use to manage to workload, you can use Zaps to update it automatically. Do you want to add a Trello card for every Shopify order? Zapier has you covered. What about a Trello card to respond to every mention on social media? Zapier can do that as well. Instead of scrolling back and forth through a number of apps, Zapier does it for you and helps make the chaos of Black Friday a little more manageable.

Good luck this holiday season

So, you’re all set to own your Black Friday. You can manage your price drops in one spot and pair those price changes with more unique promotions like buy one get one free. You’re improving your listings with more effective reviews from customers and real time social media updates from other happy users of your print on demand products.

Once you’ve successfully converted those new customers, you now have the tools to automate your thank you notes (or videos!) and also reward those customers with referral promotions and responding to their outreach on social media.

Now, the only question is, what are you waiting for?

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