Another Black Friday Cyber Monday (BFCM) podcast episode

 

Have you heard enough about Black Friday Cyber Monday yet? No? Yes?

Either way- we're talking about it. 

BFCM looks vastly different this year, and there are a lot of unknowns about what to expect.

So this week Rhian and Kelly do a deep dive into BFCM.  They chat about their predictions for BFCM, give some spicy takes regarding the state of commerce, and so much more. 

 

 

sponsors.

 

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show notes.

  • [02:06] Okay fine, this episode launched in October
  • [03:09] Is BFCM going to be a thing this year 
  • [18:02] Ship early if possible
  • [19:19] Overcommunicate everything
  • [20:06] Set expectations NOW with your merchants
  • [25:31] Communicate with customers via email
  • [25:48] Scale your support
  • [28:08] Update your FAQs
  • [28:51] Make sure your store is SEO friendly NOW before you buy ads 
  • [32:32] Rhian’s spicy take: BFCM is going to start with Prime Day and continue through Cyber Monday
  • [33:57] Kelly’s spicy take: Deals won’t be great this year
  • [35:43] Store shoutout: Otherland
  • [36:45] Store shoutout: Oui the People

 

resources. 

transcript.

Rhian (00:00):
Have you heard enough about Black Friday/Cyber Monday yet? Because guess what? We're talking about it. In case you haven't heard, BFCM is looking vastly different this year and there are a lot of unknowns about what to expect so this week on the podcast we're talking about our predictions for BFCM and how to best prepare for the wildest sales season of the year/the century.

Rhian (00:31):
Welcome to Commerce Tea, a podcast to help you succeed on Shopify. I'm Rhian.

Kelly (00:36):
And I'm Kelly. Grab a mug and grab us as we talk about all things commerce.

Rhian (00:40):
Hey, Kelly. How can I get to know my customers better?

Kelly (00:49):
By using Octane AI's new Shoppable quiz, you can easily create beautiful quizzes to learn more about your customers and help them find products you know they'll love.

Rhian (00:58):
What kind of results can I expect from building a quiz?

Kelly (01:01):
You'll see increases in your conversions and average order value, growth in your marketing lists, and higher engagement on your marketing campaigns by using the personalization data you're collecting. The results are profound. Brands on Shopify with a Shoppable quiz have collected 16 times more emails and discover segments of customers for the 75% higher AOV than the average customer.

Rhian (01:23):
That's so rad.

Kelly (01:25):
Yeah, plus, Octane AI passes the quiz responses into the marketing tools you already use, like Klaviyo and Privy, you'll also get to use this personalization data with Octane AI's powerful Facebook Messenger and SMS automations.

Rhian (01:39):
Where can I learn more?

Kelly (01:40):
Visit octaneai.com/quiz to learn more and request an invite for early access.

Rhian (01:51):
Hello, Kelly.

Kelly (01:52):
Hello, Rhian. How are you?

Rhian (01:55):
I am doing very well, thank you. How are you?

Kelly (01:58):
I'm doing a lot better after you read that intro.

Rhian (02:03):
It's so goofy. So I'm obsessed with it.

Kelly (02:06):
It's so good. So, everyone's talking about Black Friday, Cyber Monday, because it is September, or it will be. Yeah, this episode will be launching in September.

Rhian (02:18):
It's September right now.

Kelly (02:19):
It is September presently, yes. We should... I'm not just making assumptions, it's not like it's July and we're recording this episode, no. We are inundated with Black Friday, Cyber Monday preparation and blog posts and contributions and podcast episodes, and here's what recommendations to make. We're adding to the pile.

Rhian (02:38):
Yeah, yeah.

Kelly (02:40):
Sorry, not sorry. It is an important thing to talk about.

Rhian (02:42):
I think so, and I think it's one of those things where just as most things with E-commerce, is we are trailblazing and some of us are going to get it right and some of us are going to get it wrong. And-

Kelly (02:55):
To be expected.

Rhian (02:57):
It's to be expected, yeah. So this is what we think is going to happen.

Kelly (03:02):
So let's start with this question. Is Black Friday, Cyber Monday going to be a thing this year?

Rhian (03:09):
No.

Kelly (03:11):
Oh, do tell.

Rhian (03:14):
Maybe, maybe. So I think it's going to be a thing, I just think it might get moved up. Black Friday, Cyber Monday is a construct built around Thanksgiving. Back in the olden days of my youth, [crosstalk 00:03:33]-

Kelly (03:32):
Way back in 1960.

Rhian (03:34):
Way back in 1960. In the '90s, we would line up outside of Mervyn's for Black Friday, Cyber Monday deals.

Kelly (03:43):
Rest in peace.

Rhian (03:44):
5:00 AM on a Friday.

Kelly (03:46):
Mervyn's isn't around anymore, right?

Rhian (03:47):
No, no.

Kelly (03:49):
I didn't think so.

Rhian (03:51):
Poor Mervyn's.

Kelly (03:52):
RIP.

Rhian (03:54):
They were like Kohl's, for those of you who are listening and they're like, what is Mervyn's. For those of you who are like, what's Kohl's? I don't have a great... I don't. JC Penny's? I don't know.

Kelly (04:01):
A department store, just a department store.

Rhian (04:02):
A department store. So we would wait outside and it was always this hype. My mom and I would cut the coupons ahead of time, it was this whole thing, but then in the what, early 2000s, Black Friday got pushed into Thanksgiving. Do you remember that?

Kelly (04:20):
Oh yeah.

Rhian (04:22):
Then Cyber Monday happened, I don't even remember what year that was. So then all of a sudden there's a festival of shopping.

Kelly (04:27):
It's four and half days of shopping, basically, because it starts on Thanksgiving. Basically, as soon as people have their Thanksgiving dinner, which happens at 3:00 PM because it's Thanksgiving, they line up at a store and start shopping. It continues, these sales would continue through the end of Monday, although Monday is a day when people are back to work again. For those who, well, had the pleasure of getting Friday off, because it's not a holiday everywhere.

Rhian (04:59):
Or, if they weren't work retail like I was.

Kelly (05:01):
Or, that. This is true. I only worked one Black Friday, ever.

Rhian (05:07):
I have worked many Black Fridays in my life.

Kelly (05:11):
My Black Friday was a cheat though. I was working at an Apple Store.

Rhian (05:15):
That doesn't count, that doesn't count.

Kelly (05:17):
It doesn't count.

Rhian (05:17):
If you work in a store that has discounts, then you know what it's like. I worked at the Gap my freshman year of college on Black Friday.

Kelly (05:27):
No thank yo.

Rhian (05:28):
It's a gauntlet, you could survive anything if you survived an early 2000s Black Friday at one of the Gap Inc stores, but the other thing about Black Friday, Cyber Monday, before we go into why I don't think it's going to happy this year, is it's not something... I used to give talks on this around the United States and in Europe. When I first started giving them in Europe, Black Friday, Cyber Monday wasn't as much of a mainstay or a tradition.

Kelly (06:00):
Very American thing.

Rhian (06:01):
It's a very, yeah. Dare I say, just US thing. It's trickled into Canada, but it's really a US thing. Then it has trickled into Europe and into Great Britain, but I remember giving a talk over there and then realizing I had to reframe the talk because the people in the audience were like, what is she talking about with this Black Friday thing, because the tradition and all this hype wasn't built, but now it is because it's 2020. Those talks were four years ago, and a lot has happened since then. [crosstalk 00:06:34] really-

Kelly (06:34):
One or two things has happened.

Rhian (06:38):
Earlier I called February a Tuesday. So yeah.

Kelly (06:42):
This is true, the Tuesday of the year.

Rhian (06:44):
February was Tuesday of the year. This was a really long way of explaining what Black Friday, Cyber Monday is and why it was cool in the '90s. The reason I don't think it's going to happen this year is because I think it's going to happen early, like a month early.

Kelly (07:03):
I think yeah. So I've been reading what others are planning on doing, and it looks like Amazon is planning on starting their Black Friday, Cyber Monday deals October 26th.

Rhian (07:17):
But they're starting Prime Day way earlier, right?

Kelly (07:19):
Supposedly. They have a place holder date of October 5th, and hopefully by the time this episode is launched, the actually announce when that is because there's usually some hype in preparation of Prime Day, which is two days long. There has been literally nothing about it.

Rhian (07:38):
Prime Day is weird. Sorry, Amazon. We're never going to get sponsored by Amazon because I just said that. Prime Day feels a bit like-

Kelly (07:50):
Emptying out the warehouse of junk?

Rhian (07:52):
Yeah, like you're going to a garage sale. The stuff is nice but it's organized really strangely and the deals aren't that good, but you're also like, this Instapot is $60 so I should probably buy it. That's how I feel about Prime Day.

Kelly (08:09):
But most of the things that are sold on Prime Day and going with the analogy of being a garage sale are like the arts and crafts that your mom day, because Amazon's just like, oh do you want to buy an Echo? Do you want to buy a Kindle?

Rhian (08:22):
Yeah, how many Kindles would you like to buy? I'm like, I've got three.

Kelly (08:25):
Would you like a deal for six Kindles?

Rhian (08:29):
Yeah.

Kelly (08:29):
One for every day of the week, minus one.

Rhian (08:32):
Do they still make Fires? I remember I bought a Fire on Prime Day one year.

Kelly (08:36):
Yeah, it still exists. I have the Amazon website up right now. They have three of them. It's a Fire HD8, HD8 Plus, and HD10.

Rhian (08:46):
I splurged on a fancy Kindle.

Kelly (08:49):
I have a Kindle Paperwhite. I finally upgraded, actually I had the original Kindle Paperwhite and I finally upgraded to one of the new ones because it was working fine, but I'm like, these new ones are better. Not much better, but they're better.

Rhian (09:02):
Yeah, I got the one that's water resistant.

Kelly (09:04):
Exactly.

Rhian (09:05):
In my head I'm like, yeah, because I'll read it in the bath, but I actually hate taking baths. So I don't-

Kelly (09:10):
I could read it in the bath.

Rhian (09:13):
Yeah, it's very theoretical. Maybe I thought I'd go somewhere tropical but I haven't, so.

Kelly (09:19):
Oh mine, I've taken my Paperwhite to tropical locations. So I'm doing it for you.

Rhian (09:25):
Oh okay, good. I'm so glad.

Kelly (09:27):
Nothing's better than drinking a Pina Colada and reading a crappy romance novel. Love it, perfect combination.

Rhian (09:34):
Give me trashy literature. I read over 100 books a year and everyone's always like, oh my gosh, 100 books.

Kelly (09:41):
How do you do it?

Rhian (09:41):
Most of them are sheer garbage and I am fine with it. [crosstalk 00:09:45].

Kelly (09:45):
Yeah, that's the point of reading. Read what you want to enjoy.

Rhian (09:48):
Yeah, if it makes you happy, who doesn't need a bit of escapism every day but also in this year? So Kelly, you know my Black Friday, Cyber Monday prediction. What is yours? Is Black Friday, Cyber Monday going to be a thing this year?

Kelly (10:04):
I think it's still going to be a thing, however, I do agree with you that sales are going to start sooner but I do think that there's still going to a traditional Black deals and Cyber Monday deals because the big box retailers are all still doing Black Friday and Cyber Monday. So the idea is that because the bigger big box retailers, let's say Target, for example or Walmart, they're taking up a lot of space and they're being very noisy. The idea... and we'll get into this a little bit later, but smaller businesses need to differentiate themselves somehow. They can do that by starting their sales sooner or offering their sales even the week before Black Friday, Cyber Monday, but I still think the BFCM is going to exist.

Rhian (10:55):
So do you think that these smaller stores are going to just extend it out? So let's say they start it on the Monday and they're going to extend it out all through the following Monday? A week of-

Kelly (11:06):
I think we'll definitely see-

Rhian (11:08):
... sales festival?

Kelly (11:09):
I think we'll see some businesses do that. I think we'll see different sales every day, kind of thing. Like oh, free gift with purchase, or the usual like, our tunics are 30% off, but.

Rhian (11:21):
Tunic? You just chose a tunic?

Kelly (11:24):
Yeah.

Rhian (11:26):
Do you want a tunic for Christmas?

Kelly (11:27):
I'm good, I'm just thinking about the sales that my clients have offered in the past. I have a lot of boutique clients, okay?

Rhian (11:36):
It just felt so specific. I was like, okay, so Kelly is going to be into tunics this fall.

Kelly (11:42):
I'm into athleisure.

Rhian (11:45):
Oh yeah.

Kelly (11:47):
I've lived in athleisure all year.

Rhian (11:50):
I'm into athleisure but it's really more like leisure.

Kelly (11:59):
Okay.

Rhian (12:01):
So okay, I do see your point when it comes to the big... because we can't expect the big boxes, let's be pragmatic. I need to be more pragmatic. Target's not going to wake up and be like, aha, shipping times. This might be a problem.

Kelly (12:17):
What might we do?

Rhian (12:18):
They're going to be like, no, we're Target. Yeah, they're going to, I don't know, rent their own fleet of trucks. I feel like Target will make it happen, so Walmart and so will those giant players who have been also tiptoeing into the E-commerce space now.

Kelly (12:32):
Especially Walmart.

Rhian (12:34):
Especially Walmart. They've been playing super hard for the E-commerce space.

Kelly (12:38):
Agreed.

Rhian (12:38):
So okay, I see where you're coming from. I will modify what I have said to, kind of.

Kelly (12:45):
One point for Kelly.

Rhian (12:52):
Kelly, I'm going to be really honest. I need to save time and make my marketing workflow more efficient. I don't want to continue to dump money into ads if they're not converting. Do you have any suggestions?

Kelly (13:03):
As a matter of fact, I do. With Justuno, you can capture, segment, and re-target your website visitors, then personalize their shopping experience. Why spend hours on writing email copy when they're not customized in the buyer journey?

Rhian (13:16):
Okay, I am in, but does Justuno work with my marketing tool?

Kelly (13:19):
Yes, Justuno integrates with email tools like Klaviyo and Omni Send, as well as SMS providers, such as PostScript and SMS Bump. You can even capture both email and phone in the same pop-up. I recommend the Justuno Plus plan, it gives you access to their AI component, which creates smart product recommendations based on things like most purchased and most viewed. You also get access to a Justuno strategist to assist with a game plan and technical support.

Rhian (13:46):
Where can I learn more?

Kelly (13:47):
Go to justuno.com/tea, to sign up and get 20% off your plan for the first year. Again, that's J-U-S-T-U-N-O.com/T-E-A.

Rhian (14:08):
So we just gave you two scenarios.

Kelly (14:11):
Yes, either it's going to happen as it normally does every single year, or it's going to be a blur of multiple days of sales, multiple weeks of sales, just spread throughout the remainder of the year.

Rhian (14:25):
Sprinkled.

Kelly (14:26):
Sprinkled, exactly.

Rhian (14:29):
But either way, you have to plan.

Kelly (14:31):
Yes.

Rhian (14:32):
Because if you don't plan to win, you plan... What is it? You plan to fail? I never remember that adage but basically you need a plan, otherwise you will fail. So have a plan.

Kelly (14:42):
You need to have a plan and you need to make that plan be adaptable. You need to be ready to pivot when you need to, according to what the landscape ends up looking like because I hate to say it but I don't know if you've noticed, but this year is also an election year.

Rhian (15:00):
I was afraid you were going to say the word unprecedented and I was going to throw something at my monitor to hit you.

Kelly (15:06):
We're in these unprecedented times.

Rhian (15:10):
Yeah, there is also an election going on. Lest us not forget.

Kelly (15:14):
There's more going on here basically, than just a typical fall, winter, Q4, which means you have to plan for changing up the language that you're using for marketing. Changing of what you're going to be actually selling. We don't know what's happening with the pandemic. There are countries that are locking back down again because their cases are skyrocketing.

Rhian (15:36):
Yeah, many.

Kelly (15:38):
Exactly, so people are still going to continue to pivot, as far as what they're buying and what they actually want and need right now, and you're going to have to do the same.

Rhian (15:46):
You have to be flexible right now. It's like that startup ethos of being agile and being quick on your feet. It's not just hyperbole right now, it's really real.

Kelly (15:57):
Honestly, you're most likely already doing that.

Rhian (16:00):
Yeah, I know I am, so. Everyday is a new adventure.

Kelly (16:05):
I haven't changed since 2014. Yes I have.

Rhian (16:10):
Could you imagine if you were just building stores like you were in 2014?

Kelly (16:15):
Responsive? No, we build a mobile version of your website.

Rhian (16:19):
Oh, that's the worst. My daughter described, you know the hamburger menu? So for those of you who don't know what the hamburger menu is, it's the three lines that look like a hamburger, and because I work in E-commerce, I just assumed everybody knew what a hamburger menu was. Two days ago, she's like, "Mom, it's the lines." I was like, what is she... I'm looking over shoulder. I'm like, what is she talking about? She's pointing and I'm like, oh, the hamburger menu, but the hamburger menu plagues all mobile websites.

Kelly (16:54):
Yeah, and that's the issue which-

Rhian (16:57):
[crosstalk 00:16:57] in a bad way.

Kelly (16:57):
... we can do a whole episode on mobile optimization. What do the icons really mean? Does everybody interpret this icon to mean the same thing? For example, the lines or my favorite thing that you told me about your daughter was what she calls fruit that are round.

Rhian (17:20):
Oh my god, circle fruits?

Kelly (17:22):
Circle fruits. What are peaches?

Rhian (17:25):
It's because she eats so much fruit. I spend so much money a week on fruit. You do the Costco order through Instacart and we get a lot of circle fruits. There's some plums, peaches, nectarines. I get why she's like, okay, can I tell the difference between the yellow flesh peach, the white flesh peach, and the nectarine, because they all look the same.

Kelly (17:47):
They do.

Rhian (17:48):
Except nectarines don't have fuzz.

Kelly (17:50):
Aha.

Rhian (17:52):
It's a crucial thing. Speaking about Instacart, something that they do quickly, which might not happen quickly over the holidays is delivery.

Kelly (18:02):
Yes, so there are already known issues with mail carriers right now and delivery times. I mean, you see it everywhere. USPS is delayed, FedEx is delayed. I've had fewer issues with UPS, but they still exist, the issues do exist. These delays are very real right now and as more people are shopping online for the holiday season and buying gifts for people, it's only going to get worse.

Rhian (18:30):
Yeah, [crosstalk 00:18:31]-

Kelly (18:31):
I hate to be negative, but it is going to get worse.

Rhian (18:34):
These are going to be a lot of first time or more recent to the... I think of my mom, sorry mom. I know she listens to this, but I think of her, who has only recently transitioned to online shopping. This will be one of her first holiday seasons where she buys the majority of her gifts online. So you have a boomer parent, sorry mom, who... she's going to be like [inaudible 00:19:02] how old I am. Buying things, and if you don't communicate to them that it's going to take maybe a month to get somewhere, you're going to have a lot of pretty upset customers.

Kelly (19:19):
Yeah, and not only are there more people shopping online for the first time, there are more new businesses online for the first time who don't know what to expect. Part of putting together a solid Black Friday, Cyber Monday marketing strategy, especially if this is your first time, is over communicate everything.

Rhian (19:39):
Yeah, you want to make sure there is no room for, wait a second, that was supposed to come before Hanukkah, before Christmas, before whatever you celebrate, and it didn't.

Kelly (19:53):
Exactly.

Rhian (19:54):
You need to communicate this into the ground. There's a few different ways to set that expectations. Kelly, I know you have some places where you are really adamant about setting those expectations.

Kelly (20:06):
So the first place I usually always recommend is a promotional bar at the top of your website. So this is a fixed top bar where usually you're saying like, "Oh, free shipping on orders over $20," or, "We're currently shipping orders during COVID," whatever it might be. This is where you want to communicate that message to everybody like, we're open, but orders might be delayed or shipping and handling might be delayed, whatever it might be. On your product page as well, right below the add to cart button, if you can include estimated shipping times so people can plan for an event such as a holiday or a birthday or whatever it is that they're purchasing a gift for. Let them know when it's actually going to be delivered. There are apps in the app store that said order ship before or orders placed before this date will ship next business day, or this time, whatever. You see that kind of thing Amazon, there's a reason why it works.

Rhian (21:05):
Yeah, and you want to have your fulfillment time in there as well.

Kelly (21:08):
Yes, that's important. It's not just shipping, it's fulfillment as well.

Rhian (21:13):
Because a lot of customers don't realize that there's two steps to this process. You have to fulfill the order, and then ship the order. Then your order that's being shipped gets stuck in Kentucky or something.

Kelly (21:26):
Yup, or you yeah, you place an order that's originating from let's say Wyoming, and it goes to Massachusets and then bounces back to Colorado, and then it goes to Florida. Then it goes to Atlanta, and it just sits in Atlanta for a week at one of the FedEx locations.

Rhian (21:46):
This sounds really personal, Kelly. Do you need to get something off your chest?

Kelly (21:49):
No, I am totally fine. I'm just hypothetically speaking here.

Rhian (21:55):
It's like when you try to do the cheapest flight route you can possibly find. It's a 28 [crosstalk 00:22:02]-

Kelly (22:02):
I did that one time.

Rhian (22:02):
... hour travel day. You're just flying in a zigzag.

Kelly (22:06):
I went to, it was from Atlanta to Ottawa, and I went from Atlanta to Memphis, to Detroit, and then to Ottawa.

Rhian (22:19):
How much did you save?

Kelly (22:22):
So I used some points to book it and I think I paid $30 for the flight, total.

Rhian (22:28):
Was it worth it?

Kelly (22:29):
Yes.

Rhian (22:32):
That's the difference between Kelly and I. I'd be like, no.

Kelly (22:34):
Now? No, I was still in college at that time. I'm like, oh, I'll spend all day on a plane, I don't care.

Rhian (22:39):
Oh, when you were in college. Yeah, yeah, that's fair, that's fair.

Kelly (22:40):
I'm going somewhere.

Rhian (22:42):
I'm going, I'm doing an activity.

Kelly (22:44):
It fit my college student budget.

Rhian (22:46):
That is reasonable, that is very reasonable. Okay, so besides setting the expectations now with your merchants, I think also communicating with them via email if there's any kind of delays. I ordered some masks back, I don't even know when anymore, but they've had some challenges. They've had some challenges in their supply chain, they've had some challenges just in general, but they have been communicating with me this entire time. So never have I ever been like, oh, what about those masks? Every week I'm getting an update. Okay, so here's what's happening. That's important, especially if you know. Let's say you're saying, "Okay everybody, you need to order by Monday of Black Friday, Cyber Monday, for it to come in time for Christmas." Then you realize a week later you are not going to hit that deadline. I highly suggest sending that email out then.

Kelly (23:39):
Yes, don't wait until after the fact, be like, "Oh, sorry."

Rhian (23:43):
Yeah, you need to set the expectation because they'll probably still keep the order but they'll maybe buy another gift that they can get quickly or something. So, then a placeholder gift. I don't think that's going to be that uncommon this holiday season.

Kelly (23:56):
Agreed, also, I just really want to stress, Christmas is not the only holiday that happens in December.

Rhian (24:03):
No, it's not.

Kelly (24:05):
So in planning your marketing materials, understand that not everybody celebrates Christmas.

Rhian (24:10):
Yes, including myself.

Kelly (24:12):
Exactly.

Rhian (24:15):
Yeah, we have eight crazy nights but they're among other holidays. There's several holidays that happen. Then some traditions also celebrate the New Year, there's Kwanza.

Kelly (24:31):
There's Single's Day.

Rhian (24:33):
There's Single's Day. What day is Single's Day?

Kelly (24:36):
So Single's Day is a really popular holiday in China. It's 11/11, it's November 11th, and it's when people who are single treat themselves to a nice gift or a dinner out or something like that. It's becoming more popular in Western culture now too. So, if you're looking for another holiday to celebrate and put things on sale for your store, 11/11, mark it on your calendar.

Rhian (24:58):
Especially if you sell something that's really self caring.

Kelly (25:01):
Oh, totally. That's perfect.

Rhian (25:04):
Yeah, yeah, there are these fancy pajamas I keep looking at that are too expensive for me to justify, also I'm married, but if they were-

Kelly (25:13):
I was going to say, [crosstalk 00:25:13]-

Rhian (25:12):
Yeah, but if they were 35% off for Single's Day, I'd be like, I'm single for the next one hour. Well, I'd buy this.

Kelly (25:21):
Just casually take the ring off while you place the order and then put it back on.

Rhian (25:27):
Yeah, I would love a Single's Day discount there. It's really expensive.

Kelly (25:31):
I'll take whatever discount I can get, but point being, communicate with your customers via email. Make sure you're keeping them apprised of any kind of changes to their orders or continuously send out emails saying, "Hey, the deadline for shipping on time is quickly approaching."

Rhian (25:48):
On the note of emails, it is important to have also or be scaling up your support right now, even if that means you are the ones answering emails. I don't care if your team is 100 people, if your team is inundated with emails, you as the leader are also responsible for answering the emails, in my opinion.

Kelly (26:11):
Exactly, so-

Rhian (26:12):
No email goes unanswered in the holidays. Well, ever [crosstalk 00:26:16]-

Kelly (26:15):
But particularly the holidays. So it's important to note this though. Also understand that again, there's a lot going on in the world right now. People tend to be easily set off by small things now. So also make sure you're training your team to have patience with the emails that are coming in, especially if you take phone support as well.

Rhian (26:41):
Yeah, do you recommend taking phone support?

Kelly (26:43):
Totally, if you can, absolutely because people don't like waiting for a response from an email because you never know how long it's going to take to get a response. If you just need to know, is this going to fit me, or does this contain a certain that I'm allergic to? If they can quickly call a number and be like, "Hey, I'm looking at placing this order. I just need to confirm that this is okay for me to purchase," and you get an immediate yes or no, they can actually move forward placing that order. If you don't want to offer phone customer support, totally fine. I do recommend live chat. There are a lot of free apps in the app store for live chat. I've used Tidio before, I don't know if that one is still in existence, but I'm a big fan of Gorgeous, just in terms of... since we're on the topic of customer support right now. It's more of an all under one roof kind of customer support solution. I know I've talked about it numerous times, but one of its features is live chat. Another one of its features is being able to write automatic responses to the commonly asked questions from your customers, so you can speed up the response time. So, highly recommend considering using Gorgeous.

Rhian (28:01):
What is the other way you can answer the commonly asked questions, besides in chat?

Kelly (28:08):
If a question is frequently asked, I would consider putting it on a page and maybe we'll call it frequently asked questions. What a great idea, but seriously, have an FAQs page, make sure it's up to date. Use your most recently asked questions from customer support, and put the answers to those questions on that page. Put the answers to the most frequently asked questions directly on the product page as well. Make that content as easy to find as possible. We just recorded an episode on FAQs, please listen to it if you want more information on how to build the perfect FAQs page.

Kelly (28:51):
So another thing I think we should talk about, okay, let me just put it this way. SEO, we all know SEO is a marathon, not a sprint, but there are things that you should be doing now to prepare for a Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or just general holiday shopping season. So SEO is your baby, so tell me how you can best prepare your SEO for Black Friday, Cyber Monday.

Rhian (29:17):
Well, by now we'll have an entire conversation of you and I talking about this up on YouTube, which I would probably direct us to because it's going to be [crosstalk 00:29:28]-

Kelly (29:27):
It's like an hour and a half.

Rhian (29:28):
Yeah, it's an hour and a half. This is an hour and a half long question, but I guess the main takeaway that I want you all to have is ensure that you have the fundamentals of SEO in place before you do any big ad buys. This is ad buying season, this is PR seasons, this is when you work with influencers, and if you're sending a bunch of traffic one, to a store that has... or to a broken page, that's the worst, but two, to a store that's not optimized. You're just throwing money at it. Like I've said before, I really put conversation rate optimization and SEO in the... they're like otters. You know the little sea otters that hold hands really cutely while they sleep? That's CRO and SEO. They are bestie friends. The reason why is because SEO is dependent on CRO, and both things are dependent on traffic. While SEO drives traffic, traffic without conversion doesn't really do anything and you'll lose your traffic.

Kelly (30:37):
Exactly.

Rhian (30:38):
So that's a really long way to say, we did an intro to SEO episode a few weeks ago. I recommend listening to that. Then we're also going to have a video posted on YouTube, which will be our second video about SEO, if you're in need of some SEO [inaudible 00:30:55] up right now, I would recommend checking those out. I just gave absolutely no takeaways there.

Kelly (31:02):
No, you did.

Rhian (31:03):
I gave an assignment, I was like-

Kelly (31:04):
Oh yeah, [crosstalk 00:31:05].

Rhian (31:05):
... here's five hours of content to listen to instead of me actually answering the question.

Kelly (31:09):
Yeah, okay. Here's a quick hit list. Review your titles and meta descriptions, add all text to your images, and write some blog posts.

Rhian (31:16):
Yeah, oh, and make sure your site map is submitted.

Kelly (31:19):
That too.

Rhian (31:20):
That is the lowest hanging fruit. It's free, it's easy, and if you're like, what's site map? Just literally Google how to submit my Shopify store site map to Google, and there is a whole document from Shopify on that subject. We will link it in the show notes.

Kelly (31:38):
I am doing that right now. How about some hot takes?

Rhian (31:43):
I love hot takes.

Kelly (31:45):
All right.

Rhian (31:45):
So we call them the spicy takes.

Kelly (31:47):
Let's call them spicy takes.

Rhian (31:49):
Okay, and I want to write them in peppers.

Kelly (31:53):
How many peppers out of five are our spicy takes?

Rhian (31:58):
Okay, and five is the hottest, like oh my god, that's so spicy. Right?

Kelly (32:03):
Yeah.

Rhian (32:03):
Just so we're on the same page as to... because what if I'm thinking five is not spicy? Just so we're just setting expectations from a statistical analysis perspective.

Kelly (32:15):
Is it going to be statistically significant?

Rhian (32:17):
Yeah, I worry-

Kelly (32:18):
Is the [crosstalk 00:32:18] less than 0.05?

Rhian (32:19):
Well, I'm concerned all of a sudden. I'm like, hold on, let's just make sure we're level setting expectations about our spicy chart.

Kelly (32:26):
All right.

Rhian (32:27):
Based on peppers.

Kelly (32:28):
You go first, give me a spicy take on BFCM.

Rhian (32:32):
My spicy take on BFCM is that it will start whenever Prime Day starts and just keep going. It's going to be a cacophony of sales. I would caution everybody in this sales madness rush, because you're trying to keep up with Amazon and Walmart, these major players, Nike, whoever. Just to make sure that you don't accidentally niche yourself down as the discount brand. So that's my spicy take, is it's just going to be a swell all the way through the holidays. I don't think it's going to stop until after the New Year.

Kelly (33:14):
I would rate that three peppers.

Rhian (33:17):
Okay, medium spicy?

Kelly (33:18):
I say medium spicy. I think it's reasonable.

Rhian (33:21):
It's reasonable. I think though in this year, basically anything is reasonable.

Kelly (33:28):
True.

Rhian (33:30):
Last year, that would not have been a reasonable take at all.

Kelly (33:34):
I have a spicy take.

Rhian (33:35):
Okay, Kelly, what's your spicy take?

Kelly (33:37):
I don't think the deals are going to be that great this year.

Rhian (33:42):
Why?

Kelly (33:42):
Because budgets are already tight and margins are already tighter and shipping costs are going up and fulfillment costs are going up. I think there's going to be less of a margin for businesses to work with to be able to offer a steeper discount than what they're used to doing. I think it's going to be most of the things that have those deep discounts are going to be the Prime Day-esque junk that's trying to move out of their warehouse.

Rhian (34:09):
I rate that three peppers as well. I agree with you, I agree with you.

Kelly (34:15):
Kind of bummed.

Rhian (34:16):
What kind of discounts do you think we're going to see?

Kelly (34:18):
30% off site-wide.

Rhian (34:20):
Okay, so 10%.

Kelly (34:21):
No.

Rhian (34:22):
Like sales tax?

Kelly (34:24):
Free shipping. Hey, I mean it works. You know what? I think we're going to see a lot more free gift with order deals this year because again, it's that lower budget, higher margin item that they could just throw with an order. It's not going to impact their bottom line very much, and if it's going to boost sales, especially if like it's free gift with purchases over $50 and your AOV is 30 or 35. You're suddenly contributing to boosting your average order value as well.

Rhian (34:57):
I was about to ask Kelly what AOV meant, but she defined it afterwards.

Kelly (35:01):
Classic.

Rhian (35:02):
Classic.

Kelly (35:03):
It's another three letter acronym.

Rhian (35:06):
I think we should just make a list on Commerce Tea and it should be Commerce Tea/acronyms.

Kelly (35:13):
Acronyms. That's a good idea, actually. That's a good idea. Okay, maybe we'll do that.

Rhian (35:21):
It's like a glossary of our lives.

Kelly (35:22):
I'm not committing to it yet, so I'm not putting into the show notes, but you can go to commercetea.com/acronyms and if it doesn't exist, you're allowed to yell at us.

Rhian (35:33):
Quietly, though.

Kelly (35:34):
Please, quietly. I can only take so much.

Rhian (35:37):
Okay, so let's do some store shout outs of the week. Kelly, what is your store?

Kelly (35:43):
So my store is Otherland. They're these beautiful candles and they smell amazing. I got a three-pack for a gift. Again, samples. I bought a three-pack for... or, I didn't buy it. I was given this as a gift and I love these candles. So I will probably be returning the favor and giving them to two other people this year.

Rhian (36:10):
That sounds phenomenal and I want to sniff them.

Kelly (36:12):
They have a beautiful website.

Rhian (36:14):
I'd like to sniff those candles.

Kelly (36:16):
It's so much fun, if you hover over the core collection, there's this cool graphic and it's different for each one of them because they're different colors and different shapes.

Rhian (36:28):
That sounds epic.

Kelly (36:28):
Just little things. I'm a fan of this website. You would also like their pop-up because it's not a pop-up. It slides in from the bottom of the website and you have to scroll down a fair bit of the page before you even see it.

Rhian (36:45):
Those are my favorite type of [inaudible 00:36:49]. That's my dream. So my store of the week is Oui the People. We like O-U-I, the People. It's a razor company. The reason it's my store of the week is because I want one and it's on pre-order. So it's a rose gold sensitive skin razor. It's beautiful, it's been back ordered forever. I love the branding, I love the reviews on it are through the roof, it's easy to navigate, it's performant, I like their story. Instead of FAQ, they have Q&A, same thing, just name something different. I'm just really into it and I recommend everybody to check it out.

Kelly (37:33):
Oh, I love a good... this is a good example of an FAQ page. I'm looking at Otherland still, I haven't closed it yet. This is a very good example of an FAQ page. They have categories for each of their things. They have-

Rhian (37:47):
You love a category.

Kelly (37:48):
I love a good category. I can scroll down to returns and exchanges, show me those. There's a bit of a user experience issue with it that I'm not going to discuss, but outside of that it's a very beautiful FAQ page.

Rhian (38:06):
One of the challenges with what we do for a living is you go to a store and you can't just enjoy it for what it is. It's like immediately you start analyzing it. I want to go in with fresh eyes, like I don't know anything. This is just how things are, instead of saying oh-

Kelly (38:24):
I completely agree. I over analyze everything because I can't help it.

Rhian (38:28):
Yeah, yeah, it's just ingrained, it's just in the back of your heart, back of your brain, all of the time.

Rhian (38:36):
So if we had guests, we would say, where can you find us on the internet, but you all know where to find us on the internet because you're here listening to us.

Kelly (38:44):
Twitter.com.

Rhian (38:46):
I'm on Twitter. Kelly is Cavelli.

Kelly (38:52):
Rhi and Katie. So with that, you made it through yet another Black Friday, Cyber Monday podcast episode. So, thanks so much for tuning in and thanks again to our sponsors for supporting this episode. We have a YouTube Channel now, so please visit us at YouTube.com/commercetea. We're posting tear downs or friendly website tear downs. We're still landing on what we are actually going to be calling them. So if you have any suggestions, please let us know.

Kelly (39:22):
Also, if you love this episode or any of our podcasts in general, please leave us a review. These reviews make us very happy people, especially when they're positive reviews. You can subscribe to Commerce Tea on your favorite podcasting service. We post new episodes every Tuesday, so grab your mug and join us. We'll see you next week.

Rhian (39:40):
Bye-bye.

Rhian (39:45):
Clocked In is a time clock for Shopify. With Clocked In, your team members can easily clock in and out of their shifts from anywhere. You can manage your team's hours as they work remotely, with an intuitive interface that can be used from desktop, tablet, or mobile. Check it out at clockedin.io, or in the Shopify app store.

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