On Black Friday, Cyber Monday or Single's Day, thousands of consumers storm the big shopping malls or go on a virtual shopping spree. But how relevant are these events for business customers? And how can wholesalers and manufacturers use Black Friday & Co. to generate more sales themselves?
Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Single's Day in B2B?
Black Friday refers to the Friday after Thanksgiving, a holiday in the USA. Thanks to the massive discounts and promotions in retail, it is regarded as the prelude to the holiday season - and is now also popular in many other industrialized nations.
Cyber Monday is seen as e-commerce sellers' answer to Black Friday, and takes place on Monday after Thanksgiving.
Singles' Day originated in China and is a shopping holiday that takes place every year on November 11 ("Double 11"). It was originally introduced as a response to the sales-heavy Valentine's Day to celebrate the single life.
By the way, Black Friday is comparatively insignificant compared to Singles' Day, as more revenue is generated on that day than on Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the U.S. combined. In 2019, goods worth more than $38 billion have passed through the hands of shoppers within 24 hours on Singles' Day.
Are Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Singles' Day relevant to B2B companies? From a business perspective, maybe not, but from a customer's perspective they are! Successful B2B companies have realized that leaning on B2C habits means more sales and customer satisfaction for them, too.
How about planning an initiative to do just that this year? Here are a few ideas that wholesalers and manufacturers can use to give it a try and gain insights.
Octavio Perales, Director of Solutions for Intershop North America:
"More and more B2B organizations are resembling their B2C counterparts and shift to a world of digital self-service, heavily influenced by creative marketing campaigns to drive seasonal sales rallies. Regardless of the business model - manufacturing, distribution, retail, the upcoming holiday season is the time to create that sense of urgency around days such as Black Friday and harvest fruitful business relationships."
1. The right discounts for B2B customers
Business customers are consumers themselves and may already be waiting for the perfect deal in their private lives. Take advantage of this expectation and offer products or services at a special price! Modern B2B commerce platforms support sellers with just the right discount campaign.
Black Friday is not about launching a new product line. With discounts, customers are tempted to spend more money than originally planned or try new product variants. With high quality products and smooth service, brand loyalty in B2B grows as a result.
Are you a wholesaler? Take a look at what the best sellers were in the previous year. Bundle up the most popular baskets and create your Black Friday campaign from them! Word will get out, and with any luck, you'll not only see high sales, but you'll also win some new customers.
Have you already divided your customers into segments? If you have, use their preferences to create personalized discounts that exactly match their needs.
Marco M., e-commerce manager of a wholesaler for office supplies, has had good experiences with this:
"We were able to revive dormant customer relationships with a reactivation campaign for Black Friday. We sent a personalized coupon by mail to the customer segment that had ordered only once in the last six months. This QR code was redeemable on a special landing page, where the most popular items of comparable customer segments were available at a special price."
2. Communicate Black Friday correctly as a B2B company
As the example just pointed out, you need to inform your customers about the Black Friday campaign! To select the appropriate communication channel, use all the data you have about your customers, and then choose the exact channel (or seamless mix of channels) for each target audience that will best reach them. Here are some ideas:
- Personal e-mails
The more personal you address your recipients, the higher the conversion rate. Are you not experienced with personalized emails yet? Start by embedding a photo of the sender in the footer of the e-mail. In our experience, users are twice as likely to respond to an e-mail if they felt they were addressed by a real person.
General newsletters are the opposite of personalized e-mail communication, but proven in the B2B environment. Since your customers have opted in to receive them, a basic interest in your offers can be expected.
Send out a special edition, and include an appealing banner announcing your Black Friday campaign. However, it's better to write discounts and promotion codes in the text area, because it's easier to copy them from here. Even easier: prepare a link to the store that will draw users to your Black Friday offers right away.
- Social media
Consumers, as well as business customers, can benefit from social media. For B2B companies, social media is often corporate communications, but your marketing can also announce offers, bundles and special deals as part of a Black Friday campaign.
Post engaging images of the products, services or bundles you are offering. For physical goods, image-centric platforms like Instagram and Pinterest are best. Use each platform according to user preferences. Do a Facebook Live session or direct followers from Twitter to your blog, where Black Friday preparations can be documented in a small series of articles or videos. And don't forget Instagram Stories, which are a great way to interactively engage with your audience!
Active social media management is a great way to increase your brand awareness and promote campaigns- Even in B2B, and not just for Black Friday.
- Paid advertising
Your customers are preparing to allocate an extra budget for Black Friday deals - and so can you! For example, custom-fit ads can be run on LinkedIn. Your B2B decision makers are almost certainly active there. To keep your investment in check, configure your target audience for the ad campaign to be your customer base only and set a precise daily and total budget.
B2B companies can also use the Black Friday to improve their brand image. Thomas I., sales representative at a video app for B2B sales support has a tip:
"We don't offer discounts or special promotions on Black Friday, but instead run a sustainability campaign. For every new customer we plant a tree, and of course people like to talk about that!"
3. Update your B2B website for the "Cyber Weekend" (Black Friday to Cyber Monday).
Just like your brick-and-mortar store, you need to optimize your digital sales channels and prepare them for a temporary surge in traffic. If your website is down, it's not just temporary revenue that is lost - the trust customers have in your brand is damaged as well.
Customers may be in for good deals, but having a great shopping experience can justify a higher price. Check that your website runs fast and stable on mobile. For example, a Progressive Web App (PWA) looks like an app to your customers, but uses the same solid technological base as your "classic" online store. Other advantages of a PWA: New customers will find your products directly from search engines, and nothing needs to be installed.
Ask your service provider or software vendor for a technical check-up if you are planning a Black Friday campaign. Load tests can help you find out if the system is capable of handling traffic spikes on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Such a feature stress test should cover the following e-commerce scenarios:
- Catalog browsing
- simple search
- Browsing the product list
- Loading the product detail view
- Filtering search results
- Calculations of the shopping cart
- Selection of the payment method
- Promotion handling
- Checkout or approval workflows
Single's Day, Black Friday, Cyber Monday - all B2C-heavy shopping holidays can boost online revenue for B2B companies as well, thanks to users' habits. All you need is a strategy, a robust website with high-performance commerce functionality and some courage to break new ground. We are happy to advise you!