Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM) have become consumer staples, with 51% of UK adults planning to spend during the Black Friday weekend.
In 2022, consumers set a record, spending $9.12 billion online, as reported by Adobe Analytics. For e-commerce companies, it's the most favourable and profitable period, especially for shoes, fashion, and accessories.
Due to the high demand, be prepared to optimize this period. Here are some logistical tips for managing peak periods.
With an average budget of £190 for Black Friday, UK consumers intend to make the most of it! At Bigblue, we've seen some brands multiply their sales by 4X during this period.
1. Anticipate stock shortages
Your challenge? Identify your best-selling products and make sure you have enough available units in stock. There's nothing more frustrating for a customer than to search for the right product, only to find that it's not available.
For brands, stock-outs mean lost customers and lost sales. According to Veeqo, 70% of consumers would buy from a competitor if the product they are looking for is out of stock in your shop.
1.1 If you manage your logistics in-house, prepare to pack a high number of parcels.
Faced with a peak of orders and shipments, define an optimal organisation to avoid errors and delays in delivery. Indeed, it is very likely that you will spend your days preparing the packages and shipping them via Royal Mail or your carrier partner.
Remember that 84% of buyers say they are unlikely to buy from a company again after a bad delivery experience.
1.2 Externalised logistics in peak periods: communicate with your logistics partner
Outsourcing your logistics is an effective strategy. It frees up your time to focus your efforts on your business, customer acquisition, and loyalty.
But during peak periods such as Black Friday Cyber Monday period, you should provide a precise brief to your logistics provider so that he is, in turn, armed to face the rush.
Gain full control of your inventory with Bigblue: receive proactive alerts to prevent stock shortages during BFCM, and monitor orders, returns, and inbound shipments in real-time for efficient problem-solving. Start with Bigblue today!
1.2.1 Make sure your logistics partner is ready
Make sure that your logistics partner can manage the peak periods and alert him on the arrival of your goods at the warehouse, your promotions, and the avalanche of orders he will receive.
Allow an extra month for the arrival of your products at the warehouse and make sure that the merchandise is in stock.
With accurate data, your logistics partner will be able to anticipate his needs in staffing, storage, and transportation.
1.2.2 Share your stock planning forecasts.
In the end, it's all about organisation and passing on information.
We advise you to share your schedule with your logistician. He will be better prepared to organise receipts and stock entries. Above all, he will inform you as soon as possible of any possible gaps in quantities and delivery delays.
2. Delivery options
Customers have a lot of expectations about delivery speed. Since Amazon Prime started offering express delivery, consumers have become very demanding.
To meet customers' demands, we advise you to offer several delivery options: express delivery, free delivery, pick up point delivery, and standard delivery.
2.1 Master the delivery time
BFCM periods are known for longer delivery times.
To avoid unpleasant surprises for the customer, be transparent on your cutoffs. Inform them about shipping times as soon as they place their order.
Also establish a scrupulous tracking of the parcel and indicate the status of their purchase in their client space or by e-mail:
- preparation of the parcel;
- delivery of the package to the carrier;
- last-mile delivery tracking.
This way, the customer will have a real-time view of the package, and above all, good communication will take away the stress of the delivery.
2.2 Offer multiple delivery options
2.2.1 Express delivery
Part of Amazon Prime's success is their fast 1-business day delivery on about 2 million items. Consider offering your customers at least an express delivery option.
During Black Friday, play the game. You can take a cue from CAVAL, which offers several options:
- delivery in a pickup point: free, 3 days delivery
- home delivery: 6 euros, 2 to 3 days
- express: 12 euros, 24 hours
What do consumers appreciate the most? The choice on the delivery time and the transparency on the prices.
2.2.1 Opt for an environmentally friendly approach for your express deliveries
You have the option of choosing less polluting transportation.
At Bigblue, we partnered with different carbon neutral carriers like Colissimo for their carbon-free option with their electric fleet.
Working with this type of company is good for the planet but also for your brand image. You gently sensitise your customers without falling into greenwashing.
2.2.2 Standard delivery
Express delivery, although much appreciated by customers, pollutes 30% more than standard delivery.
To limit the craze for express delivery, propose alternatives by explaining the benefits for the consumer:
- standard delivery, which is the least expensive for the customer;
- delivery in pickup points is free and allows the customer to pick up his parcel whenever he wants.
2.2.3 Free shipping
We don't recommend passing on the cost of shipping to your customer. In fact, according to the Baymard Institute, 53% of consumers abandon their shopping carts because of high shipping costs.
Most of your customers will expect free shipping. So it's part of the norm...
We can say that it is an essential lever to sell your items. But, don't lose out either! You can encourage spending a certain amount before offering free shipping.
The most important variable to take into account is the ratio between your expedition costs and your revenue. We advise our clients to offer free shipping for purchases equivalent to 10 to 15% superior to the average shopping cart.
3. Limit waste and promote eco-friendly packaging
The packaging, and the phenomenon of over-packaging that results from it, are polluting. Unfortunately, Black Friday and the holidays accentuate this phenomenon. What can you do to reduce your impact?
3.1 Opt for eco-friendly packaging
According to Hipli, Bigblue's eco-friendly packaging partner, delivery represents 218 million tons of delivery package waste per year. In response to this, Hipli proposes to use the same packaging several times.
It’s pretty simple:
- You buy reusable packages on their platform;
- You send the order to your customer;
- Your customer sends the empty parcel by post, free of charge for him, to the Hipli centre, which will reuse the packaging.
At Bigblue, we do not use bubble wrap or polystyrene. To achieve zero plastic, we choose suppliers who pay attention to the composition of the packaging and its recyclability.
Moreover, consumers are increasingly sensitive to the ecological cause. Favour a customer experience that takes this new value into account.
In 2022, approximately 80% of UK consumers expressed a preference for eco-friendly packaging materials. Additionally, the same proportion of shoppers, 80%, perceived that online deliveries included excessive amounts of packaging.
3.2 Customise your packaging
Personalisation is an essential element if you want to offer an optimal and very differentiating experience to your e-commerce customers. Therefore, it is crucial to find a logistics provider who can help you personalise your packages with your brand's image to anchor it in the minds of your consumers!
Think about adding a thank you letter in your packages, small gifts, and promo codes for the upcoming activity peaks. This will help you create the best unboxing experience possible and encourage your customers to come back to your site for more purchases in the future. This way, you will build loyalty and create a long-term relationship with your buyers.
3.3 A commercial gesture: Gift notes!
Peak shopping times like Black Friday and Cyber Monday often align with gift-buying occasions, particularly Christmas. These purchases are more than just items, they represent feelings of affection and care.
The little extra: allow your customers to add a personalised note for their gifts purchased in your e-commerce. If you wish to offer them this option, book a demo with our team.
4. Returns management: Black Friday’s hangover!
4.1 Managing product returns
Mass promotions during Black Friday make consumers particularly euphoric. 72% of them want to get "good deals" for their Christmas shopping, which leads people to buy products they don't want.
This is even more true for ready-to-wear, as the return rate for clothes and shoes is 18.8%.
We can therefore say that order returns are now an integral part of the user journey.
4.2 Peak Periods: how to manage returns?
4.2.1 An efficient customer support
The 2022 Zendesk Customer Experience Trends report reveals that 93% of consumers are inclined to spend more with companies that avoid making them repeat information. One of the most substantial frustrations is the difficulty of reaching customer service.
One of the keys to getting through Black Friday is to plan for more robust customer service. But, there are other tricks to avoid e-mails and phone calls explaining the return policy:
- Prepare a FAQ with all the most basic questions: how do I return my package? What is the return period? In how many days will I be reimbursed? The objective here is to anticipate the customer's pain points and to relieve you of an information service.
- Use personalised tracking e-mails to reassure your customers. 60% of brands do not inform customers of the status of the package during the return. Yet, returning packages is always a stressful moment for the consumer.
- Describe your products in detail and take realistic photos of your products. For example, for clothing, it is crucial to be precise about the sizing. It is the same for the colour.
4.2.2 Be prepared for the avalanche of returns
Package returns are an integral part of the shopping experience. And, there's nothing more unpleasant than being stuck with an item that doesn't fit and that you can’t return.
During peak periods, strengthen your teams and make the return experience easy for customers by implementing :
- free of charge;
- the already prepared shipping label ;
- return from a pickup point which is the preferred way of return;
- extension of the return date.