BFCM Tips You Need to Implement Now

BFCM Starts Now!

The TL;DR:

  • Let’s Chat D2C: Shopify’s BFCM 2022 Guide and what you must pay attention to in advance of this holiday season.
  • What I’m Thinking about this Week: Working remotely, in the office, or maybe not all?
  • The D2Z Podcast: Customer Data and What to do with it - listen to my sit down with the CEO of Fairing (formerly Enquire Labs).
  • App Highlight - ?!: What are you using that I should be aware of? Just reply to this email with your recommended app(s), and I’ll highlight it in a future newsletter!
  • NEW! Book of the Week: This week's book is Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works. There are quite a few takeaways that I’m excited to try and implement at Electriq/DRINKS.
Random tip: When selling in retail, your brand has two customers, the retailer, and the end consumer. You have to work to address the needs of both to have a successful retail presence.

Let's Chat D2C - BFCM 2022 Guide

Shopify released its 2022 BFCM Partner Guide covering 2022 BFCM trends and industry statistics, promotional strategies, product highlights, BFCM code freeze, and BFCM support. I put together the following analysis of each section, what I think is most important, and why you should care! 

2022 BFCM Trends and Industry Statistics

Fact: Just like last year, the peak season for holiday shopping begins earlier and lasts longer than ever.

Why does this matter? To have a successful BFCM, you must plan extensively and much further in advance than you are used to (start planning yesterday). Almost with 100% certainty, I can say your competitors will be releasing their BFCM deals BEFORE the actual BFCM dates.

Fact: In 2021, the share of online orders placed via credit card declined for the first time ever. Instead, customers opted to use tools like buy now, pay later (BNPL). BNPL purchases increased 29% YOY.

Why does this matter? 

Leverage Shop Pay Installments to help reduce abandoned carts and give your customers more payment flexibility (something that will be top of mind with inflation and a looming depression). 

Promotional Strategies for Merchants

Fact: Shopify Checkout UI extensions are available to all merchants.

Why does this matter? All Shopify stores can now embed in-checkout and post-purchase offers. This is a substantial AOV driver you must have in place this holiday season. My recommendation? Rebuy

Fact: Pure % discount offers are becoming less and less popular.

Why does this matter? You must brainstorm alternative discounting strategies that cut less into the margin, help increase AOV, and encourage product discovery. Here are a few examples to get you started:

  • Daily Offers: Keep your customers returning by dropping a new offer daily.
  • Buy X, Get Y
  • Gift with Purchase (GWP): Even better, gate the gift behind a $ threshold to encourage higher order values. If you want to get crazy, have 1 or 2 gifts of increasing value that unlock at higher spend thresholds (i.e., you get this if you spend $50, but if you spend $100, you get this which is even better).
  • Bundles: Leverage a tool like Simple Bundles to increase your merchandising options without any new inventory or backend work.
  • Tiered Discounting: Even if it’s a traditional % off, this encourages customers to spend more (i.e., Spend $100 and get 20% off, Spend $150 and get 25% off).
  • Limited Quantity Exclusives
  • Ethical Promotions: Donate a % of all sales to a cause or allow customers to choose whether they take advantage of your discount or donate to a charity.

One of my most successful tactics from the last BFCM was building the SMS list 4-6 weeks in advance by promising early access to BFCM deals. We sold out of some products just through the early access drop we gave to these VIP SMS subscribers.

YOUR PROMOTION DOESN’T STOP AT CHECKOUT. You want to make sure you are retaining these customers well beyond the holiday season, so use this as an opportunity to surprise and delight your customers with:

  • A gift (either product or a gift card)
  • Handwritten thank you cards
  • Gift wrapping
  • And more!

Shopify Product Highlights

There were a bunch of Shopify-specific product highlights you can leverage during the holiday seasons, but these are the key ones I would pay attention to:

  • Shopify Flow can help you automate routine business activities
  • Leverage creators to push your holiday offers
  • Shopify Markets can help you reach a global audience
  • Do you have a retail store? Set up Google local inventory sync to help your last-minute shoppers discover products available in their area.
  • Merchants get 11% higher conversion with Shop Pay. I’d be hard-pressed to find a brand that wouldn’t benefit from having this active during the holidays.
  • With combined discount functionality, you can now bundle promotional ideas together, such as Buy X, get Y amount off + free shipping.

Shopify Code Freeze

Shopify’s R&D Engineer team will not ship any new platform changes to production starting November 18 at 5 PM ET and ending November 19 at 9 AM ET.

BFCM Support

Shopify support is on standby for all your BFCM needs, don’t hesitate to reach out if you’re experiencing any issues!

What I’m Thinking About This Week - How Much Longer Does Remote Work Last?

Remote work took the entire world by storm during the pandemic, and it’s clear that it’s here to stay. But, opinions vary wildly across industries and disciplines on whether or not this is (a) something their business will continue to support and (b) a better way of working than traditional in-office work.

I’ve laid out the pros and cons as I see them below.

The Pros

  • Larger (and better) talent pool to hire from.
  • Better work-life balance and a healthier lifestyle for team members.
  • Saves time and money (i.e., no commute and smaller or no office).
  • Increased flexibility for working parents.
  • Higher productivity (maybe).

The Cons

  • Communication gaps. 
  • Collaboration is not as easy nor as effective.
  • Reduced social interaction, both professionally and personally, amongst team members.
  • Increased need for autonomous team members that are driven and don’t need to be micro-managed.
  • No physical separation between work and leisure time.

What do you think?

What are your thoughts on remote working and the future of how your business will operate? I’d love to know where you think things are headed and their pros and cons.

I believe a hybrid environment is the best path forward, though it will vary depending on the industry, company type, and job role. I could never part with the autonomy and freedom that remote work provides, but being in-person with your team is fun and highly productive for collaboration and brainstorming strategic decisions.

This Week's The D2Z Podcast

#29 - Defining Useful Customer Data and What to do with it

🎧 Listen Now 🎧

In this week’s episode, I sat down with Matt Bahr, CEO of Fairing (formerly Enquire Labs), about the potential of technology and consumer data, the shift to focusing on retention, and using data to build a competitive advantage. Specifically, we explored:

💰 Identifying what data to analyze, where to capture it, and what to do with it

📲 How to create effective segments

😎 Building a customer profile and the importance of understanding your customer

🚀 Leveraging all of this to improve retention and increase LTV

App Highlight - ?!

This week I want to ask YOU what your favorite app is in your tech stack! Reply to this email with an app you think I should be paying more attention to, and I’ll feature it in an upcoming newsletter.

Book of the Week - Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works

I found this book fascinating as it’s told primarily through the lens of a Fortune 500 company, specifically P&G, something I have very little familiarity with, being in startups for my entire professional career. Despite this, the concepts laid out in this book around developing strategy and why it is so critically important are broadly applicable to any industry and business, regardless of size. Here are some key takeaways that I jotted down and am looking forward to testing into my every day at DRINKS/Electriq.

Key Takeaways

  • Understand your business's core capabilities.
  • An objectives, goals, strategy, and measures (OGSM) statement document provides a foundation for all new business undertakings.
  • Human nature causes us to rationalize any outcome as more or less what was expected. To combat this, it is crucial to indicate in advance what the expected outcomes are, in writing, of any new strategy or business initiative. The purpose of this is NOT to prove that someone did a great or poor job. Rather, having an expected outcome allows the entire to reflect on why it was or wasn’t achieved.
  • When choosing where to play and how to win industry, customers, relative position, and competition are crucially important, and the strategy logic flow allows you to answer these key questions:
    • What is the structure of your industry and the attractiveness of its segments?
    • What do your channel and end customers value?
    • How does your company fare, and how could it fare relative to the competition?
    • What will your competition do in reaction to your chosen course of action? 
  • When brainstorming with your team, reverse-engineer your strategic options:
    • Frame the choice: Convert issues into at least two mutually independent options that might resolve the problem.
    • Generate strategic possibilities: Broaden the list to ensure consideration of an inclusive list of possibilities.
    • Specify conditions: For each possibility, specify which conditions must hold true for it to be strategically sound.
    • Identify barriers to choice: Determine which conditions you feel least confident are true.
    • Design valid tests: For each key barrier, design a valid test sufficient for generating commitment (usually, the most pessimistic of the group is best for this)
    • Conduct tests: Conduct hypothesis-driven analysis, testing the conditions with the lowest confidence first.
    • Choose: This is simple, compare the test results to key conditions, and whichever checks all the boxes is the choice. 

One of the more interesting concepts I learned about is leveraging “assertive inquiry” in your strategy ideation, where you blend the explicit expression of your own thinking (advocacy) with a sincere exploration of the thinking of others (inquiry). P&G followed a 3-step process to make sure this type of communication was practiced:

  1. Advocate your own position and invite responses.
  2. Paraphrase what you believe to be the other person’s view and inquire whether or not your interpretation is correct.
  3. Explaining a gap in your understanding of the other person’s views and asking for more information.


Upcoming Events

I’m in Chicago this week for a founder get-together organized by a fund I recently invested in, so let me know if you’re around and want to connect!

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