You might think that the economic climate would have put consumers off shopping this Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Yet, as Shopify found in its annual Black Friday Cyber Monday report, 62% of consumers said they still planned to spend, while 15% of U.S. shoppers said they even planned to spend more.
It could be that instead of using the weekend as an excuse to open the spending floodgates, BFCM is now seen as a way of saving money by holding out for the best deals. Regardless, it’s clear that this is one holiday where online has outpaced in-person—with Mastercard’s SpendingPulse showing that e-commerce sales increased 14%, compared to in-store sales increasing 12%.
This increased online presence means that businesses need to check in with how they plan to staff this event weekend and whether their sales and customer support teams are empowered to cope. For businesses, BFCM can be a huge opportunity to drive revenue—so they need to avoid wasting it and instead deliver the best customer experience possible.
Factors That Will Affect Black Friday and Cyber Monday Sales
After a turbulent few years, it’s difficult to make exact predictions about what BFCM 2023 will hold, but forecasts are indicating a rise in holiday sales. With the past two years showing U.S. Black Friday sales of $8.92 billion and $9.12 billion, this upward trend could even see 2023’s total break the $10 billion mark. But what are the consumer habits that make up this total?
4 trends for businesses to remember this holiday season
Given that the most in-demand toys this holiday season include Barbie dolls and the Furby, you might be forgiven for thinking shopping habits haven’t changed much. But, as we uncover below, there are a range of new factors that businesses should consider when preparing themselves for BFCM 2023.
Cyber Monday will dominate online shopping
According to research from Adobe, $11.3 billion was spent on Cyber Monday in the U.S. in 2022—rising from $10.7 billion the year before—making it even bigger than Black Friday. This has led to a lot of businesses planning their best discounts on the day and—you guessed it—making sure they don’t pour all their staffing resources into Black Friday only to be ill-equipped for a second wave of sales and customer interactions two days later.
Happy (omnichannel) holidays
E-commerce went to new strengths in BFCM 2022, and Shopify research shows that 73% of sales were made on mobile devices. This could be down to the fact that people are traditionally away from home and with their extended families.
Therefore, whether it’s to avoid answering if the turkey is too dry or because football isn’t your thing, people are spending more time on their phones. Businesses should therefore plan ahead and make sure they’ve set up omnichannel points of contact within their sales and customer support teams.
Discounts will run this holiday season
The economic crisis might have relented slightly, but that doesn’t mean people don’t want their discounts.
According to Shopify, at this point last year, 52% of U.S. consumers were already putting money aside to spend this holiday season. While for Gen Z, 63% of shoppers were looking to spend more over BFCM in anticipation of more price hikes to come.
Businesses should give their teams guidelines on how much they can discount and make sure they’re aligned to provide a consistent customer experience.
Product knowledge will make a difference
We’ve all been there—you unwrap your gifts and your parents have got it wrong—big time. You crack a smile, shelve the gift, and move on. This season, there’ll be countless parents and grandparents looking for the right product to buy their loved ones.
With toys, electronics, and computers typically the best-selling categories, it’s a great idea to ensure your sales and customer support teams have brushed up on their product knowledge and can help answer customer questions quickly and effectively.
Next, let’s dive into why customer experience is so important this holiday season.
The Importance of the Customer Experience
According to Shopify, the average consumer spent $102.10 per order in 2022. This underlines how much there is to play for this holiday season–and the role great customer service has to play in making consumers happy, informed, and willing to spend more.
With every retailer under the sun planning big discounts this BFCM, companies should be keenly aware that giving the customer something different could hinge on customer experience. Consumers will be less inclined to shop around when they know they can count on a particular retailer that has a reputation for routinely delivering a great experience or one that is quick to help and offers more than pointing them in the direction of the checkout.
To this end, let’s explore how you can prepare your customer-facing teams for BFCM 2023.
Preparing Your Customer-Facing Teams for Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2023
Every year, ahead of Thanksgiving weekend, experienced eaters will ready their elasticated waistbands and come up with a game plan for tackling the table of food they’re about to be confronted with. Similarly, business leaders have an opportunity to prepare their customer-facing teams so they can gobble up as many sales and customers as possible.
Below, we’ve compiled a checklist for you to cover before the yams are uncanned so that you make the most of this holiday season and even build practices to benefit you all year.
Training and coaching
Training is not easy in today’s business climate. According to Aircall’s AI Index, 77% of SMB employees cite it as important to getting the most value from phone calls, yet 43% say they suffer from poor quality materials or even a lack of them.
This holiday season is a perfect opportunity to get your training and coaching program off the ground and ensure your sales and customer support teams are informed about your products, upsell opportunities, best-case scenarios, and how to handle difficult customer interactions.
Aircall features such as AI transcription can be vital in easily sharing good and bad calls, having transcribed 44 million of them already. Further, Aircall’s Conversation Center is a one-stop shop for performance insights that can turn an okay call into a sale. This is the Superbowl of sales and customer support teams, so don’t send yours in without a preseason.
Scaling your sales and customer support team
You don’t want to hire for the sake of one weekend, but that doesn’t mean BFCM can’t be a good moment to check in with your team and how they’re handling incoming calls and customer tickets.
Look out for the signs that tell you it’s time to scale, whether that’s having sales and customer support goals that are too attainable, you’re taking enough risks, or your reps are overloaded.
If you believe you need to scale your teams, then there’s no better time to do it than ahead of Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2023. Having more team members in place will bring in an inflated amount of revenue over the course of the weekend.
Whether that’s done by implementing time-saving AI features to help your team become more productive or using features such as Call Whispering and Warm Transfer to streamline onboarding and drive quality assurance.
Prioritize data-driven intelligence
Data is increasingly becoming the weapon of choice for sales and customer support teams to learn from customer interactions, drive performance, and drive business success. This Black Friday and Cyber Monday represent a huge window of increased customer interactions, and businesses should have the right tools in place to gather the associated data and insights.
Don’t worry—Aircall hasn’t forgotten about its sales and customer support teams this holiday season. Wrapped up in a box with a big red bow are some exciting new features that will drive data-driven intelligence for businesses everywhere.
As well as a new batch of AI-powered features, we also have some exciting updates coming to our analytics offering. New dashboards will make it easier for teams to track unanswered calls, user activity, and inbound and outbound activity. Including features such as heatmaps of unanswered calls to help you more efficiently identify busy times, our analytics features will enable teams to respond quickly and appropriately and continually push the bounds of great customer service.
A Weekend to Be Thankful For
Black Friday and Cyber Monday represent an exciting time for consumers, with longed-for products finally purchased and potentially hundreds of dollars saved. Equally, it should be an exciting time for businesses too—bringing a massive injection of revenue, at a time when business income is still a little rockier than most people would like.
To take full advantage, businesses need to prepare themselves ahead of time, getting to grips with the trends that will impact customer sales, and employing the practices, tools, and features that can ensure they come out of the weekend with plenty of profit. Now that’s something we can all be thankful for.
To dive into this topic further, on September 26 at 1 p.m. ET, Aircall will be hosting a Black Friday Cyber Monday 2023 webinar. Register now for your free spot!
Published on January 2, 2024.