5 Things We Learned From Black Friday 2020

5 Things We Learned From Black Friday 2020 - Three Ships

Black Friday has transformed from one-day sales on your favourite products to a full-fledged campaign that lasts for anywhere from a weekend to two entire weeks. For many direct to consumer (DTC) brands like us, Black Friday and Cyber Monday gives us a chance to introduce ourselves to lots of new customers who are looking for new skincare products and also reward our existing customers with the best deals of the year. 

But this big incoming wave of customers also means our small but mighty team of four had to work extra hard to ensure that our sales promotion is exciting enough, that we have enough products in stock and that everyone will get their products shipped in time. Here are our five biggest takeaways from this year:

1. Start early and make it obvious 

Some brands offer deals throughout the weekend, others start with “early access” a couple days prior. We took it a step further and decided to begin our Black Friday celebrations the Monday before the actual Black Friday. By starting our discounting period an entire week early, our customers were able to focus on our product offerings instead of getting messages from all their favorite brands. This was done intentionally, so our customers could take the time they needed to carefully plan their holiday skincare purchases. By Monday night, we had already hit 90% of our goal!

2. Be clear and specific on your offer promotion

Brands also take their own unique approach to what discounts they want to offer. From what we saw this year, the majority decide to offer 20-30% off their entire collection. Our team decided to do a “buy-one, get-one-free” (BOGO) offer. The pros? It was an extremely exciting discount that set us apart from most brands. It also encouraged new customers to try out our products, given the value/savings! . The cons? We definitely could have been more clear on what “buy-one, get-one-free” means. Our inboxes were flooded with questions such as “which product will I get for free?” and “which products receive the discount?”. Next time, we’ll make sure to specify details of the offer! Running a more unique sale structure is great since it makes you stand out but more customer education is definitely needed when it’s not a straight discount.

3. Your best-sellers will be gone before you know it

While we tried our best to match up our supply and demand in time for Black Friday, we were still faced with out-of-stock for our three top-sellers: the Radiance Grape Stem Cell + Squalane Day CreamCalm Lavender Hydrosol Toner and Purify Aloe + Amino Acid Cleanser. Being out-of-stock is never a good experience for our customers so we immediately moved to provide pre-order options on these items. This was a good solution which allowed us to continue selling our best-sellers and also gave our customers what they wanted – which is most important. As a startup brand, inventory/demand forecasting is a constant challenge for us. We’re growing quickly so it can be hard to predict what demand is going to look like, especially during the holiday season.

4. Prioritize customer service and be available to answer any questions

Like we mentioned previously, our inboxes were absolutely flooded. From questions like “what types of products work best for my skin type” to “I need help checking out”, we scrambled to get back to as many people as we can. If we missed you, we’re so sorry! This experience has taught us to have the right resources in place during peak sales periods so everyone can have a good experience shopping on our site. For our team, it was all hands on deck this year, but the volume was still too much for us to keep up with. For future years, we’ll definitely be looking into bringing on extra customer service help during this busy period of time.

5. Make shopping and choosing products as easy as possible

This year, we focused our email strategy on both reminding subscribers about special discounts and also content newsletter that included things like “Our Team’s Top Picks” and “Six Types Of People To Shop For During the Holidays”. Our content pieces consistently had higher open rates and high click-through rates. Shopping during the holiday season can be extremely stressful – providing curated selections and personalized gift guides is a great way to make finding the right product quick and easy!

We hope this blog post provided a helpful behind-the-scenes look into what goes into managing a successful BFCM promo! If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below, or email us at hello@threeshipsbeauty.com

Thank you for being here with us and we are already counting down the days till Black Friday 2021!