Companies are getting more strategic every year with Black Friday rollouts. Here are a few key lessons learned from this year's Black Friday offers.

Staff Writer

Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM) is the wild west. Gone are the days of everyone secretly holding back offers and launching them at 6am on Black Friday. Companies are getting earlier head starts on the offers and many are even running their sales well past Cyber Monday.

This Black Friday saw an increase in spending of 17 percent online, along with a decrease of 2% percent in foot traffic according to analytics by Adobe. The flexibility of online offers and ease of shopping from home will continue to shift spending away from brick and mortar stores.

Here are a few lessons I can pass on to other startups after running my own online Black Friday campaign this year.

Get an early start without tanking sales.

Most startups that can make great BFCM offers are too nervous to launch early. The thinking goes that if everyone knew you were launching a Black Friday offer, then no one would buy until then (tanking early November sales).

However, there’s a nice way around this by starting with your email and retargeting lists. If someone is in your email list and hasn’t purchased, then clearly they are already waiting for the right trigger to buy. A direct email campaign with links to hidden offers is a great way to launch your BFCM campaign under the radar. The offer can simply be a notification of the upcoming BFCM deal, or even an early rollout where they can purchase (more on this below).

Adding these links to your retargeting campaigns is also a great way to let people know about the offers. If the average person buys your product after five days of retargeting, then wait to mention the upcoming BFCM sale until day six. Then you haven’t tanked your potential to sell at standard pricing, and you’re able to notify someone early that is clearly waiting for a deal.

Use custom product landing pages for an early rollout.

Don’t wait until Black Friday to allow people to purchase at the discount. Everyone is launching early — from mall retail to ecommerce stores.

Launch a few days early and use an unlisted product page as a landing page for the offer. This way, you don’t need to require someone to enter in a coupon code. Codes can be confusing and are yet another layer of friction that you don’t need in the checkout process.

Test different offers.

Use the early rollout to test different offers for the public launch day. Maybe an extra accessory might sell better than a small discount. You never know until you test, and you don’t want to be testing on Black Friday.

Split audiences in your email marketing and re-targeting to test different offers. This is super easy and is already built into these platforms, so anyone can do it.

Put your best foot forward.

Don’t hold back — Black Friday/Cyber Monday is the most competitive time of the year in consumer product sales and you don’t want to miss out on your share of the wallet by making a watered down offer. There are plenty of weak offers out there, so get creative to make your BFCM deal seem like a steal and you’ll definitely stand out.

Also don’t forget to stay aware on website chat and support throughout the offer period. Most website support and chat systems have apps for your phone. Being an entrepreneur means you’re always on, even if you have to step away for a moment to help close a BFCM deal.

It’s not too early to take advantage of this head start and make this Black Friday a success for your startup.