After 10X Holiday Ecommerce Growth, Blenders Eyes More This Black Friday

After 10X Holiday Ecommerce Growth, Blenders Eyes More This Black Friday
  • Last year, eyewear brand Blenders upped its Black Friday Cyber Monday sales by 10 times
  • It did so through email and social marketing, teasing a major sale that was, founder Chase Fisher says, “ballsy” enough to make its mark
  • Then, in the first quarter of 2018, the company continued to grow revenue 900% year-over-year
  • But now, with the 2018 holiday ecommerce season in his sights, Fisher wants to quadruple sales. How will Blenders get there?

He punctuates sentences with “Man!” Emails are signed off: “Dude.” Chase Fisher, it should be said, is a happy guy.

But once a year, Chase Fisher is also a killer. “We’re stocking up,” he says. “We’re going to be ballsy on our inventory. We’re going into it confident.”

Fisher, the founder of Blenders — an eyewear brand inspired by his coastal San Diego home — is talking about the holiday shopping season. It’s early July, the sun bright and warm in southern California, but Blenders is already gearing up.

“It’s like the Super Bowl,” Fisher says. “It all comes down to Black Friday and Cyber Monday.” He would know.

In 2017, Blenders grew its holiday sales by 10X. Here’s how the company did it, and how Fisher plans to quadruple that number in 2018.

Got questions for Blender’s founder?

Chase Fisher recently participating in an exclusive AMA. You can catch the whole event here …

Watch now

Ecommerce Holiday Growth Starts Early

There was a time, early in this company’s history, when Fisher would spend Black Friday Cyber Monday surfing in Mexico.

Yet as Blenders has continued its rise – 900% growth, year-over-year, in the first quarter of 2018 – there became simply too much at stake. No matter the waves awaiting his board, this business could no longer place itself at the mercy of an unreliable Wi-Fi connection.

By 2017, Fisher’s Black Friday Cyber Monday preparation crested in a comprehensive sales campaign that began long before the shopping holiday.

In Fisher’s mind, it all looked like this …

Holiday ecommerce growth roadmap (whiteboard)

Join Fisher for an exclusive AMA and submit your questions about holiday ecommerce here

Here’s how it played out.

On social media. Instagram posts started a buzz, priming the brand’s followers of what was to come.

Ten days from Black Friday ...

Then two days out …

At the same time, Blenders took to Facebook. On Nov. 11, the company promoted a contest for a $500 Black Friday shopping spree ...

Two days out, a reminder that something big was coming …

Its pre-holiday blitz was just the start. When Black Friday hit, Blenders utilized an oldie but a goodie.

Email marketing, a favorite of Fisher’s, began …

Email marketing is still a favorite of Blenders in its holiday ecommerce growth strategy

Three of Blenders' Black Friday Cyber Monday emails sent to kickoff and extend its event

Blenders sent Black Friday “extended” emails to segments of its lists who had opened previous emails but had not yet purchased

All told, Blenders sent seven holiday emails for Black Friday Cyber Monday. To do this effectively, the company used Shopify Plus Partners Klaviyo as its email service provider, and Email Aptitude for strategy.

“From the start,” says Forest Bronzan, EVP of Email, CRM & Creative at Elite SEM and Co-Founder of Email Aptitude, “working with Chase and the Blenders team has been an amazing experience. Their nimble and fast-growth mindset, combined with their innovative team and autonomy with strategic partners, allow for our teams to seamlessly work together in order to crush revenue results and help grow the Blenders brand and mission.”

Then it was time to ramp up social spending. From Thursday, Nov. 23 to Wednesday, Nov. 29, Blenders – in collaboration with paid social ad agency Sum Digital – poured an additional $343,200 into Facebook and Instagram. Knowing its target market …

  • 66% of spend was on 25-to-44-year-olds
  • 58% of spend was on females
  • 42% of spend was on males

From paid Facebook alone, visitors rushed in: 255,216, to be precise. Blenders' returning customer rate (28.78%) represented more than a quarter of its total shoppers, and its conversion rates hit an unheard 9.66%.

Cumulatively, this meant a return on ad spend (ROAS) of …

  • 1.8X from Instagram
  • 2.1X from Facebook

“We were able to spend 7-9X our typical week on Facebook and Instagram at a better cost per acquisition and ROAS,” says Fisher. “New audiences accounted for 82% of spend. And in just seven days, our customer base grew by 13%.”

Part of that success was due to Blenders’ approach to abandoned carts, which are notoriously high during the ultra-competitive holiday season.

Using ShopMessage’s automated Facebook Messenger tool, the company captured $30,000 of otherwise lost sales on Black Friday and another $10,000 on Cyber Monday.

Ecommerce Automation: The Secret Weapon

All those social media hits were posted, all those emails went out, all that money was invested ... but what would be the results?

Blenders knew it was ready, that its strategy was strong. Yet at the moment of truth, the experience Fisher planned in his head had to match the experience customers would find when it came time to shop.

The company had a secret weapon. On its backend, ecommerce automation was rolled out as a key strategic ace toward optimizing a smooth weekend of sales.

Blenders used Launchpad to execute two separate site designs – one for a Black Friday sale, another for a new promotion on Cyber Monday. Fisher scheduled both to hit the web at precise times.

“When things go live at midnight, you don’t want to have to stay up till midnight to do all these changes,” Fisher says. “We had our offers switched to go out through Launchpad. We had our themes switched to go out through Launchpad. They pushed everything through successfully.”

On Black Friday, Blenders’ debuted a 55% off sale on all sunglasses. Then, on Cyber Monday, 55% off all sunglasses, plus 40% off all its snow goggles.

Launchpad enabled Blenders to create, pre-schedule, and then automatically publish two entirely different onsite experiences for Black Friday (left) and Cyber Monday (right). This included changing the imagery and messaging as well as sitewide discounts to eliminate friction and the need for coupon codes during its holiday events
These were no genteel promotions. They were big and bold. They were meant for Blenders to make a splash.

“You can’t go into Black Friday and put 15% off, 20% off and expect to do well,” Fisher says. “Everything comes down to your offer – it’s the one time out of the year you can lower your prices without feeling like you’re losing brand integrity. Make sure your offer’s compelling, no matter what.”

Indeed, the offer turned heads. Blenders’ Black Friday Cyber Monday sales, compared to a year earlier, surged by a multiple of ten.

Blenders wants to quadruple its Black Friday Cyber Monday sales in 2018

The Guts This Brand Has

When he is fueled by adrenaline, Fisher steers his board into waves that might swallow him whole. In surfing, there is no room for the meek.

Ecommerce may not be far off, so who might expect Fisher to rest on his 2017 breakthrough?

The 2018 holiday ecommerce shopping season is nearing, but Fisher has been considering this year’s Black Friday Cyber Monday almost precisely from the moment last year’s finished.

As November approaches, Blenders has two strategies at the forefront of its marketing mind:

One, a customer segmentation approach that has revolutionized the business; better targeting shoppers by gender and demographic that has helped secure conversion rate increases 2.5x the industry average.

Two, the knowledge that returning customers are his most valuable; average order value for repeat shoppers, the very kind that are likely to come back this Black Friday Cyber Monday, are 12% higher than other Blenders shoppers.

Another ecommerce automation advantage, Blenders uses Shopify Flow to automatically segment customers by total amount spent; download a template like this — and 13 other workflows — here

What’s left are the specifics of the sale. Fisher knows the stakes of this shopping weekend, that no timid companies should expect to do real business. What promotion Blenders chooses to roll out this year will say a lot about the guts this brand has.

“It’s stress,” Fisher says. “It’s something you lose sleep over, just trying to figure out which way to go.”

What’s sure is that Blenders’ offer will be … compelling. Fisher might say so himself: you can’t go into Black Friday Cyber Monday armed with anything less.

Still have questions?

Perfect, because Chase Fisher recently participating in an exclusive AMA. You can catch the whole event here …

Watch now

About the Author

Jason Buckland is a content marketer at Shopify Plus. His feature writing has appeared in the New York Times, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, Playboy, Time, the Toronto Star and elsewhere.