Adapting to the Times: Three Unique Approaches to Black Friday Cyber Monday

Shopify Masters BFCM roundup founders agains yellow back

As businesses adjust and pivot to the ever changing effects of COVID-19, their strategies and campaigns are also changing. In this episode of Shopify Masters, we speak with three previous guests on how they are managing this year’s Black Friday Cyber Monday (BFCM) season. We check in with Bili Boboe-Balogun of Tribe Beauty Box, Jeremiah Curvers of Polysleep, and Patrice Mousseau of Satya Organic.

For the full transcript of this episode, click here. 

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Show notes: 

Offering value (and mystery!) without discounting 

Founded in 2018 by Bili Boboe-Balogun as a bi-monthly beauty subscription box, Tribe Beauty Box is a celebration of independent, female-owned beauty brands. Each box costs $34.99, while the products are worth over $125. “Customers can rest assured that they’re getting their money's worth while receiving products from awesome beauty business owners that are all female,” Bili says. For the beauty brands that work with Tribe Beauty Box, it’s a chance to get their products into the hands of potential new customers. The growth experienced by beauty brands working with Tribe Beauty Box has also helped Bili scale her business. “It became an ecosystem where if we work well with one business and they're very successful with our campaign they would refer us to others,” shares Baili. 

Shopify Masters: Bili Boboe-Balogun, the founder of Tribe Beauty Box wearing a red blazer, in front of a white and grey background
Bili Boboe-Balogun, the founder of Tribe Beauty Box, brings indie beauty products to beauty lovers through subscription boxes. Tribe Beauty Box 

When asked about this year’s BFCM, Bili keeps it frank, “I'd be lying if I told you that I had an idea of what can happen this year,” she says. But the sales season is still a special time for Bili. “I think that Black Friday Cyber Monday for subscription boxes is a very unique opportunity. It has a lot of room for creativity that a lot of people don't actually think about,” Bili says. For starters, Bili doesn’t offer any discounts, since the value proposition is already high with subscription boxes. “Rather than discounting the product, what we like to do is create mystery boxes, which we offer as a gift to customers when subscribing,” Bili says. The Tribe Beauty Box team pairs these mystery boxes with prepaid subscriptions to offer more value for customers who commit to a longer subscription. 

Shopify Masters: BFCM, A Tribe Beauty subscription Box products displayed against a pink background
Bundling mystery boxes with subscriptions allows Tribe Beauty Box to offer more value without lovering their subscription pricing. Tribe Beauty Box

The mystery box approach is also a creative way to liquidate excess inventory. Tribe Beauty Box offers additional products that users can purchase in addition to their subscriptions and those sale volumes are unpredictable. “Instead of panicking, we just leave all that to the side for the end of the year sale,” says Bili. 

In addition to moving the unsold products through mystery boxes, Bili will also experiment with bundling and liquidation sales by running email campaigns and popups (using Zipify) during checkout. Bili segments her email subscribers and sends different campaigns to those who haven’t purchased a box before versus returning customers to test how different groups react to offers. 

Incorporating exclusivity and scarcity 

Polysleep makes antimicrobial foam mattresses that offer support without compromising comfort. Born out of a personal need, founder Jeremiah Curvers became invested in mattresses when he was bedridden for months after a golfing injury. Jeremiah went on an intensive research journey and met with many producers to find the ideal manufacturing partner to bring his vision to life. 

Shopify Masters: BFCM roundup, Polysleep founder Jeremiah Curves lying on a bed with purple sheets and an open Polysleep box beside it, with windows in the background
Opportunity through misfortune, Jeremiah Curves found inspiration after a back injury to produce the ideal mattress. Polysleep

During BFCM, Jeremiah likes to inject a little fun into his campaigns while highlighting the scarcity and time limits of promotions. One element that I always come back to during that specific time of the year is the fear of missing out, which people have a unique opportunity to capitalize on,” says Jeremiah. In the past, the Polysleep team instilled an element of exclusivity when they purposely leaked BFCM discount codes to their email list three days in advance. This caused a ripple effect as recipients forwarded the email to friends and family. As a result, the team saw a massive uptick in sales. 

Shopify Masters: BFCM roundup, a couple sitting against the headboard of a Polysleep mattress
Leaking discount codes days before BFCM proved a fun and effective way for Polysleep to distribute their campaign. Polysleep

Personalization and attention to detail are seen through all of Polysleep’s operations. From customized ads and email to live chat and landing pages, Jeremiah tailors every touchpoint based on the visitor’s profile. Due to the nature of mattresses being a large expense, he likes to reassure customers they made the right choice through their personalized communication. “It makes a big difference on our return rate and cancellations,” says Jeremiah.

This year, Polysleep is deploying a personalized approach to their BFCM campaign. “A lot of people this year are working from home and focused on making their homes as cozy as possible,” says Jeremiah. To build on their relationships with existing customers, Polysleep will send personalized postcards containing discounts on complementary products to what each customer previously bought, as well as mattress discounts they can forward to friends and family. Just one of the many ways Polysleep showcases their appreciation and priority for existing customers. 

Creating social impact throughout the purchase process

Patrice Mousseau’s daughter Esme was just 8 months old when she suffered from a severe case of eczema. Wanting to find a natural alternative to steroid creams for her daughter, Patrice experimented with homemade remedies and made the first batch of her hallmark formula in her Crock-Pot. Since launching in 2013, Patrice’s company Satya has become a nationally-distributed organic skincare line that can be found in Whole Foods. 

Shopify Masters: BFCM roundup, Satya founder Patrice Mousseau taking a selfie with her daughter Esma
Patrice Mousseau created Satya as a natural organic solution to solve her daughter Esma’s eczema. Satya

In previous years, Satya offered percentage discounts during BFCM. This year the team is taking a different approach. “I think people are more in tune with their community and how important it is to help each other,” says Patrice. 

For this sales season, Satya will donate 20% of sales to Clan Mother’s Healing Village, an Indigenous-led organization in Canada offering medium- to long-term support for women who are victims of of multi-generational trauma, sexual violence, sexual exploitation, and human trafficking. 

Shopify Masters: a flatlay of Satya products against a rustic, automnal backdrop featuring leaves, a camera and a yellow sweater
Instead of offering a percentage discount, organic skincare line Satya will donate 20% of its proceeds to charity. Satya

When customers order products from Satya, they are also supporting stay-at-home moms. That’s because instead of using a fulfillment center, Patrice has hired stay-at-home moms in key cities to receive bulk shipments and fulfill orders locally. Though it creates more logistical planning on her end, Patrice is driven by a higher purpose. “It's our hope that if we can get them enough product before holiday orders start coming in, it'll be easier for people to get their parcels, because they'll actually be getting it locally instead of one fulfillment center,” she says.

In addition, Satya will also showcase other local and Indigenious businesses on its social channels to let their followers discover new brands to shop from. “I think it's wonderful that all of these great businesses are out there and people should know about them,” says Patrice.

Finding your own take this Black Friday Cyber Monday

As we approach the first BFCM in a post-COVID-19 era, we’re seeing founders write their own campaign rules by leaning into their uniqueness and values. We hope that hearing these three different approaches to Black Friday Cyber Monday will spark ideas for you! 

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