Black Friday sales are critical to jumpstarting Q4 revenue in advance of the Christmas shopping season. The average American adult plans to spend over $400 on either Black Friday or Cyber Monday. In the US, the days from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday account for twenty percent of all online holiday shopping. But it’s not just the US—Black Friday has gone global, with companies in dozens of countries offering deals.
On Black Friday, shoppers expect good deals online. It’s not only ecommerce companies who need to prepare for Black Friday. Even B2B SaaS buyers peruse lists of top deals to score a discounted annual software license, so B2B SaaS companies need to be ready too.
A Black Friday special can be offered by many types of online companies:
- Ecommerce – BOGO, store-wide discounts, discounts when spending over a certain limit, large clearance inventory
- SaaS – Larger discounts on annual licenses, partnering with non-competing SaaS for bundles
- Home services – Discounts when paying online for services in bulk or in advance, discounts for new customers, discounts on higher priced services
- Professional services – Discounts when paying online for services in bulk or in advance, discounts for new customers, discounts on higher priced services
- Online courses / infopreneurs – Discounts on courses or bundles of courses
Black Friday sales can be used to convert leads on your email list, bring in foot traffic, pick up local or industry-specific press, or convert more traffic from ad campaigns.
In this post, we’re exploring how to monitor sales with your entire team, in order to make real-time optimisations to your campaigns, and collect learnings for next year.
Why you should involve your team in Black Friday sales monitoring
Let’s assume that you already know exactly what specials you’ll be offering and you already have a PR and marketing plan to make Black Friday a success.
You might do something like this: plan your promotion, market your promotion, create a report on sales a few days later.
By the time you learn how successful your promotion was, it’s too late to make any changes.
Why not monitor your sales in real time? There are three key reasons why you should:
- Make pivots in real time – When you monitor sales with your sales, marketing, and/or customer service employees, you can make decisions that have an immediate effect, such as spending more on a certain advertising platform, or increasing or decreasing the discount on certain items.
- Help employees see the direct effect of their work – Monitoring Black Friday sales is exciting. Sometimes, employees feel disconnected from their work. Monitoring sales in real time can make it very clear and tangible for them that their efforts directly impact the company, and the motivation can be last.
- Quickly make changes to your Cyber Monday plan – Many companies offer deals on both Black Friday and Cyber Monday. If you wait to look at Black Friday sales until a couple days later, it will be too late to make adjustments to your Cyber Monday plan, whether marketing changes or promotion updates.
Because real-time monitoring is incredibly easy to achieve, the benefits of it absolutely outweigh the setup time.
But how do you actually give your team access?
How to give everyone access
Depending on the size of your company, you might need to provide just a few people with access to your sales and website analytics, or it could be dozens of people.
When it comes down to it, you only have two options:
- Provide access to everyone on your team by adding additional users
- Set up digital signage in your office to broadcast your analytics live using a TV or monitor
Giving access can get messy, and when you add more users to your software accounts, you might get charged more for everyone you add.
For small teams that don’t already have a TV screen in the office, simply adding users and providing access might be the most affordable way to go. For bigger teams though, putting your dashboard on a screen in the hallway, conference room, break room, etc. will be more affordable.
And if we’re judging on fun and engagement alone? Well then, the screen wins hands down.
How to setup a live dashboard in the office
Digital displays for dashboards can cost anywhere from a few hundred to a couple thousand. It all depends on the features you’re looking for. If you want to also be able to use the screen as interactive whiteboard, be prepared to pay more. But if you’re just looking for the display functionality, you can mount any sort of TV or computer monitor in your office.
In addition to the screen, you’ll also need an HDMI cable and some mounting hardware. Find someone handy in the office to mount the screen, and then connect it to whatever computer will be running with the software you use to monitor website analytics and sales.
What to look for when monitoring Black Friday sales
To collect useful data, you’ll want to monitor your website analytics and whatever platform you use to report on sales.
- Traffic sources – On Black Friday, it’s especially important to track where your traffic is coming from. Is there an influx of direct traffic? How much traffic is coming from organic social, paid advertising, or certain influencer or press campaigns?
- Traffic demographics – You’ll also want to see how well your Black Friday marketing performed by checking that your traffic demographics largely match your typical customer base.
- Conversions – On Black Friday, tracking conversions by traffic sources will prove most useful. For the three to seven channels you used to promote your Black Friday sale, which ones are driving the most conversions? Which ones are offering the most ROI?
- User behaviour – You’ll also want to watch what users are doing on your site. How long are they staying on your site? What are the common pathways? How many pages are they engaged with? Is cart abandonment higher than usual? Are certain pages experiencing read time that is lower than usual? These could signal website bugs.
- Unified user profiles – Particularly in B2B, you’ll want to keep track of the individuals who are coming to your site. You should track which leads are coming to your site and what pages they’re viewing, so you can reach out and help secure the sale.
In addition to website analytics, you’ll also want to watch incoming sales. An ecommerce company might use Shopify, and a SaaS company might use Recurly, a popular solution for managing recurring payments.
Using your sales platform, you should check which offers are experiencing the highest and lowest amount of purchases. You’ll also want to look at average order size and compare repeat customers versus new customers.
You can display your sales platform and web analytics platform side by side, or switch between them every thirty seconds. If GoSquared is your web analytics platform, you can easily use GoSquared alone to track Black Friday sales because our Customer Data Hub tracks purchases.
How to optimise sales for immediate effect
Now that you know what to monitor on Black Friday, the question remains: how do you act on this information?
You might struggle to make changes right away: such as lower traffic than hoped for, or on the other side of the spectrum, inventory shortage because sales performed better than expected.
However, immediate optimizations are possible. The options truly are endless, so let’s take a look at some examples.
- Fix a broken link or update a webpage experiencing a high amount of website abandonment
- Spend more advertising dollars on platforms that are bringing in more traffic
- Spend more advertising dollars on platforms that are bringing in more sales
- Host an employee or influencer takeover on the social account that’s bringing in the most traffic
- Make changes to sales and promotions based on results
- Address any issues with the check-out experience
- Set up marketing automation for website visitors who have come to the site from certain campaigns or who meet other criteria
- Have sales manually reach out to leads who visit your website and view your promotion, but don’t purchase
Remember, watching your dashboard in the office on Black Friday isn’t just about optimizing your campaigns—it’s also about motivating employees, fostering team building, and helping employees see the impact of the work they put in over the last few weeks.
So make sure to display the dashboard somewhere everyone can see it, and at the end of the day, hold a thirty minute team meeting to go over which goals were met and which ones weren’t. Address any issues and have employees suggest what could be improved upon.
How to retain learnings for future promotions
Not everything can be optimized on Black Friday. By monitoring your website analytics and sales, you’ll learn plenty that can be used on future sales, such as Cyber Monday, the following Black Friday, or other days that are relevant to your industry.
You’ll learn which campaigns brought in the most traffic and sales, which ones were the most profitable and brought the most ROI, and which ones did not fare so well. You might also be able to identify new influencers and brand ambassadors.
From an operational standpoint, you might find ways to improve speed with how quickly you can address any known UX problems, or how quickly the customer service team gets back to people who ask questions on social media.
When you monitor Black Friday sales with your team, you not only make it possible to handle moment-to-moment optimisations, but you also get everyone thinking analytically about the success of the promotion throughout the day.