How a US toy company increased its total revenue by 139% and earned $321.6K during BFCM
EZ Play Toys
Industry: Toys and Hobbies Platform: Shopify
About the Brand
EZPlay Toys is a shop dedicated to creating indoor playgrounds that combine safety, fun, convenience, and affordability.
Their handcrafted construction methods and unwavering attention to detail make sure that every EZPlay indoor playground is built to last.
The main USPs of the store include:
Premium Quality - Handmade from selected ash wood
Environmentally-friendly - no use of plastic
Made in Europe and ships from the US
Foldable for easy storage
- Come up with a comprehensive plan for the BFCM 2021 Sale with offers;
- Improve and build on their newly set up flows and update them to adopt the BFCM Strategy;
- Create a robust email campaign plan for the BFCM 2021 Sale using a variety of offers;
- Convert as many Email list subscribers as possible into paying customers during BFCM season.
What was holding them back
- The client had only one Retention Marketing channel live: Email Marketing.
- They lacked a clear marketing strategy for BFCM (Sends Cadence, List Cleansing, Sender Domain Warmup, Deliverability Check).
- They were not aware that they needed to update their Email & SMS automations and campaigns for BFCM.
- SMS marketing was also not optimized for BFCM.
Upon engaging our services with eCom Maniacs in Q2 of 2021, we saw a positive and upward trend in store and Klaviyo revenues.
These major wins include:
After eCom Maniacs
How We Helped
EZ Play Toys was in a good place prior to BFCM. From the time they signed up for our email marketing and retention strategy through the end of Q3 2021, their email revenue increased by 192%. (See Graph 4)
Q4 also started strong, with the client experiencing incremental increases in Email revenue percentage from around 20.03% in September to 21.01% in October. (See Graph 5)
These conditions allowed us to optimize their current setup and support our BFCM Strategy.
OUR BFCM PLAYBOOK
As part of our standard BFCM strategy, we focused on the following:
• Using advanced segmentation to improve engagement rates. Doing so ensured each segment received emails relevant to their historical on-site behavior.
• Sending engaging Campaigns as early as October to ensure high Open and Click Rates come BFCM.
• Determining the best-performing subject lines, preview lines, and CTAs, and sending them at the optimal time.
• Reaching out to a larger audience, particularly to lists with less engagement.
Black Friday pre-launch Campaigns began mid-November with a sitewide sale, so no discount codes were required. 12 Campaigns were sent in total.
In addition to the email Campaigns, we also rolled out 8 SMS Campaigns to complement our BFCM efforts.
A teaser Campaign featuring early VIP access was delivered on Monday (the beginning of BFCM week). Following the teaser, we ran our comprehensive BFCM campaigns from 22nd to 1st December.
We started by warming up the client's lists through a series of high-engagement Campaigns, such as the Win-Back Campaign, a Letter from the CEO, a Reply-To Campaign, and other brand-building emails.
Advanced Acquisition Strategy
We used the weeks before the holidays to increase excitement and acquire potential shoppers by using the marketing psychology formula of scarcity, urgency, and a valuable offer.
● Subscribe to Early Access - Targeted VIP customers or net new profiles and asked them to opt-in to receive BFCM discounts before the rest of the regular subscribers.
● Subscribe to SMS - “Join our SMS list and never miss a deal!” or “Join our SMS list for an exclusive BFCM offer!”
● Subscribe to Exclusive Content - For those looking to educate subscribers before the holidays, “Get our healthy holiday cookbook” or “Get our guide on how to save for the holidays.”
Instead of relying on a typical 50% off discount during Black Friday Campaigns, we provided a range of high-value offers that the client could choose from, in accordance with which option would suit their business best:
• Bundle Deals - This offer is best for businesses with multiple SKUs. A bundle is usually comprised of best sellers or a combination of flagship and new products sold as a single package at a collective rate.
• Long-Term Discounts - Instead of discounting products or services for one-off purchases, customers can be encouraged to sign up for a yearly or monthly subscription at a significantly lower price. This forms the basis for various VIP programs.
• BOGO (Buy One, Get One) - A classic, where the customer gets 2 products for the price of 1.
• Holiday Perks - These perks are often cyclical and seasonal in nature. The offers usually go live in time for major holiday events. Some examples include free shipping, free gift wrapping, and guaranteed delivery date.
• Loyalty Perks - Loyalty offers, such as cash-back and rewards points, provide customers with incentives and benefits and may help foster long-lasting B2C relationships. In fact, 78% of buyers are more likely to buy from a company that offers a loyalty program.
• Creative Offers - Offers that are typically customized to the business' production and inventory pipeline schedule. Some examples include "Kick-off the Season Sale," "Early Bird Sale," "VIP Access Sale," and so on.
Here are other types of offer structures you can use for BFCM:
➔ Flat % off
➔ Flat $ off
➔ Tiered % or $ off
➔ Gift With Purchase
➔ Free Shipping
➔ Buy 1 Get 1
➔ Price Change Offer
A Multi-Channel Strategy
eCom Maniacs recommends a multichannel approach to all our clients as it is the most effective way to engage with prospects and maintain top of mind with consumers through various platforms.
What we recommended:
- Warm-up cold traffic in October and early November before the Cost Per Impression (CPM) spikes as BFCM approaches
- Launch primer Campaigns 21 days prior to Black Friday
- Decide on, and roll out, discount Campaigns
- Host offers on a dedicated landing page
The Dedicated Landing Page
A BFCM-dedicated landing page was essential to converting traffic for this project for the following reasons:
- A clear and concise message allowed us to funnel the audience to a page solely focused on a single message/call to action.
- A straightforward UX design helped visitors stay focused on the goal rather than distracted by numerous links leading them away from the page.
- A focused landing page allowed for quick loading time. The average person takes only 3 seconds to decide whether they will remain on a web page and explore its content.
- The targeted focus on the unique selling points helped highlight the offer's key benefits.
- A countdown timer encouraged a sense of urgency and created FOMO (fear of missing out). This tool grabs users' attention and functions as a highly-effective scroll stopper.
- Black Friday weekend is one of the busiest shopping periods. So, capture customers' attention with bold banners showing off your giveaways, offers, and exclusive deals.
The Email Flows
Otherwise known as the bread and butter of the eCom Maniacs BFCM strategy. Our email Flows are designed to deliver persuasive messaging that helps increase audience engagement.
Here's our simple but effective formula:
- A header that highlights seasonal deals
- A template that you can swap out in high volume/high engagement Flows (Welcome, Abandoned Cart, Browse Abandonment, etc.)
- Decreased time delays for Abandonment Flows (from 2 hours → 30 minutes)
- Updated subject lines to call out deals, add urgency, and highlight scarcity
- Countdown timers
- If someone viewed many pages, appeal to their indecision — if you offer gift cards, consider this option for a Browse Abandonment email: “How about a last-minute gift card?”
The eCom Maniacs 6-Step BFCM Sequence
Based on our market research and data insights, we predict that BFCM shopping will kick off earlier and last longer each coming year.
With almost half of all consumers purchasing early, we predict that more and more deals will appear earlier and extend well beyond December 24th.
A quick Google search for “Black Friday 2021” serves up plenty of content offering “early” deals to shoppers, many of whom are eager to get their hands on items that were in short supply in 2021 due to the market disruptions of 2020.
In this regard, we strategized and created a 6-Step BFCM Email Sequence:
The Hype Builder
We started with a timed launch of “Warm-Up Campaigns."
In EZ Play Toys' case, we opened with an announcement of a sitewide sale. We positioned the sale as a "Thank You" for customers' loyalty and support.
We also highlighted the benefits of shopping for Thanksgiving gifts earlier than usual. Additionally, we recommended that the client forgo the use of discount codes for the sitewide sale. This helps create a more seamless purchase experience.
We did, however, use scarcity to inspire a sense of urgency.
We also included customer reviews in these emails. Testimonials are a form of social proof that provide assurance to customers that are on the fence. Social proof is powerful due to the motivating force known as the bandwagon effect, a social-psychological concept that states that people are more likely to engage in action if others are already doing it.
The main objective of these Campaigns was to notify subscribers of the upcoming Black Friday sale.
The BFCM teasers were complemented by an Early Access Popup lead magnet that launched before the Black Friday sale.
This was scheduled to go out five days before the main event. For this sequence, opt-ins are strongly encouraged.
In EZ Play's case, we offered early access to the BFCM sale.
This strategic decision relied on FOMO (fear of missing out), as the Early Access opt-in allowed exclusive access to those who signed up a full 24 hours before the main Black Friday sale.
On the back end, eCom Maniacs updated the existing Popup and Abandoned Cart Flows by removing all ongoing discounts.
We did this to make sure of two things:
- That we were still collecting email subscribers with an attractive BFCM offer;
- That we were protecting the client's revenue health by ensuring we weren’t offering unsustainable discounts, given the incoming BFCM deals.
This sequence was scheduled to go out a day before the general launch with messaging that reminded the customer of their wise decision to sign up and thanked them for doing so.
More importantly, this sequence highlights the reward of a VIP-only discount to emphasize that this exclusive perk is only available to a select few.
To cap things off, we included an expiration date for the VIP discount to inspire immediate action from the customer.
The main launch was released on the sale day.
We segmented the client's list according to interest, price sensitivity, customer value, and level of engagement. We prioritized the client's most engaged segments since they would likely bring the best results.
The email highlights the sales offer and the duration of the sale. For this sequence, we highly recommend showcasing best-selling products.
This email's purpose is to remind the customers that the sale is ending.
At this stage, we continued to utilize urgency by including a countdown timer. This would provide an extra push that would encourage the customer to take action and participate in the sale if they hadn't yet.
One notable feature of this email sequence is that it also highlights social proof — through testimonials or the power of numbers (or, in this case, how many customers had purchased throughout the sale).
Think of this sequence as a "last call." This final email highlights the sense of urgency on the last day of the sale.
Here, we re-emphasize the discounts, indicate product scarcity, and include positive customer reviews.
Average Open and Click Rates across email Campaigns were impressive, sitting at 43.96% and 3.56%, respectively.
Deliverability was strong, with Bounce Rates as low as 0.14%. The Unsubscribe Rate rose to 0.94%, but this is to be expected when sending Campaigns to a large audience.
However, the Click Through Rate was also high at 8.13%.
The combined revenue from SMS Flows and Campaigns was $48,294.
In addition, 680 new subscribers were acquired through the SMS strategy.
The client took advantage of the BFCM season and increased sales revenue from $134.5K to $321.6K.
$68.8K of total email revenue came from email marketing.
Of that, $28.4K came from Email Campaigns set up during the sale season.
Email Flows generated $40K.
An additional $48.2K was generated through SMS Campaigns and Flows compared to the previous month. This was a 13.8% increase from October 2021.
In total, our BFCM Strategy brought in a total of $369.8K revenue, from multiple channels, during the biggest sale of the year.
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