3 VTEX ingredients for Black Friday success
Throughout our history as an ecommerce platform-provider, the annual Black Friday and Cyber Monday events have been the ultimate test for our technological capabilities and customer support — shoppers are plentier, operations are trickier, stakes are higher. Of course, everything during BFCM needs to be perfect for our customers and theirs as well, but there are three elements in particular that can make or break Black Friday success and that VTEX has proudly and consistently delivered over time.
Below, we dissect them one by one, also bringing real life examples.
Regardless if an ecommerce operation undergoes a full migration to a new ecommerce platform or is simply tweaking its existing technology stack, all big and small changes need to be done and dusted by the time of the big retail season. Not only retailers and brands cannot afford to sit out their most profitable events, but they cannot afford bugs or glitches either. Therefore, any implementation of a new technology, feature or functionality must often be finished against the clock, ideally with enough time for testing.
Thankfully, VTEX is aware of what businesses need, especially during these events, and has always excelled at providing fast time-to-market, as the stories below showcase.
Back in 2015, Sony desired to go live with its new online stores as quickly as possible to offer its customers a superior and optimized shopping experience. Yet on top of this reason, the consumer electronics giant also wanted to take full advantage of its new commerce capabilities during the Black Friday weekend and the holiday shopping season, imposing a clear deadline on the migration project — which VTEX successfully met.
VTEX migrated five Sony websites in just 90 days and, in another 40 days, built two new websites from scratch. Consequently, in just four months after signing a deal to migrate to VTEX, Sony’s first replatformed ecommerce store in Latin America was launched. Afterwards, the remaining six countries in the region received their websites with rollouts every two to three weeks, a record time-to-market.
When Pague Menos, a giant Brazilian drugstore chain, handpicked VTEX to power its new ecommerce operations, the clock was already ticking. Given Black Friday 2018 was only three months away, Pague Menos’s migration to VTEX became a priority, with all hands on deck making it happen before the big moment.
What followed was a successful migration, with no negative impact upon the ecommerce channel. Thanks to agile promotions and an impactful UX gained post-migration, the company saw a three-digit YoY growth in digital sales.
In 2020, Under Armour initiated a regional ecommerce standardization to the VTEX Commerce Platform across its Latin American operations, starting with Brazil. The migration had to happen in 90 days so that Under Armour could participate in Black Friday 2020 at full speed, a crucial aspect in the pandemic scenario where online shopping was key.
With the full commitment of its own team and that of VTEX’s, Under Armour accomplished its mission and, just by changing technology alone, with no UX/UI adjustments, it saw a 35% YoY increase in Black Friday conversion rate compared to the previous edition. Indeed, sprinting to the finish line does have its benefits.
A perfect mix of scalability and stability
Scalability means a technological system can easily and quickly adjust itself to increasing or decreasing demand, which is crucial for any sort of business. For VTEX and implicitly for our customers, scalability stems from the cloud-native architecture of our multi-tenant platform, powered to life with the help of Amazon Web Services (AWS). These properties allow scaling with little to no downtime, therefore seamlessly upholding expansions or contractions of traffic without disturbing an operation.
Long story short, scalability done well also offers stability. Shoppers don’t need to wait in a virtual queue to access an online store during BFCM; they can all enter at midnight if they so wish, without the website crashing and being out for a few hours.
And what do scalability and stability offer together? Judging by our customers, the combination offers business growth.
During last year’s tax-free days in Colombia, the so-called Dia sin IVA, Grupo Éxito, a major Latin American retailer, was able to attain more than half a million orders across the span of just 48 hours – without any disturbance. A similarly astonishing metric is Grupo Éxito’s maximum number of orders per minute, which exceeded 1,000.
A year before, the retailer saw a 45% growth during the actual Black Friday, with 0 DNS attacks. This constant mix of scalability and stability provided by VTEX enabled Grupo Éxito to focus on sales strategies instead of infrastructure.
Bodegas Alianza has been on the Mexican market as a wine retailer for more than 60 years. Six years ago, it embraced digital transformation with VTEX and launched an ecommerce to call its own. Ever since, year after year, the company’s most important online sales event has been Hot Sale, a sister event of BFCM happening in certain LATAM countries.
Traffic during Hot Sale is so out of the ordinary and volatile, that you never know what to expect. As a matter of fact, the first Hot Sale of Bodegas Alianza had the ecommerce management team quadruple the sales goal for the event within hours of the starting whistle. Throughout all editions, the retailer had peace of mind that its web store would not crash, as VTEX is highly scalable. For Hot Sale 2020, it achieved a 82% YoY growth in profit.
In Argentina, Logitech managed to keep up with sales during Hot Sale 2021 with certain tricks up its sleeves to ensure operational scalability. Firstly, VTEX insights on top-selling products offer the brand important information to define and control product availability throughout this type of high-demand events.
Additionally, Logitech Argentina is able to make good use of VTEX’s pre-order feature whenever a product is in great demand, both during and outside of big retail events. This tool allows for accurate inventory management, lower odds of losing a sale due to stockout and clear customer communication that fulfillment will take longer than usual.
A robust promotions engine
The charm of Black Friday and Cyber Monday is closely connected to the rush of scoring a good deal, promotion, discount and other synonyms. Technologically speaking, brands and retailers need a powerful promotions engine to underpin the intricate promotional campaigns happening on Black Friday — and alongside VTEX, they have it all.
AL’s Sporting Goods
For promotions, especially during high-traffic retail events the likes of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, UI and content is like air. Pages and banners need to be updated quickly, while the website needs to retain its branding and look professional despite real-time changes to the front-end.
AL’s managed to obtain that speed and ease of use courtesy of VTEX IO’s content management system. With click-and-drag options, the sporting goods retailer decreased a modification’s loading time from 20 minutes to barely one. All changes could also be scheduled well in advance, allowing promotions to start automatically without having the team on stand-by. Unsurprisingly, with these weapons in its arsenal, AL’s revenue during Black Friday in 2019 grew by 97% YoY.
The Brazilian fashion conglomerate Grupo Soma approaches promotions in a unique way. Over 80% of its employees from physical stores often engage in social selling using personalized discount codes to buy online. The ERP then translates these to commissions, providing clear monetary incentives for sales associates which essentially become “mini-influencers” and constantly promote Grupo Soma brands on their social media platforms, leading to incredible sales.
For example, one employee single-handedly earned over R$1M BRL ($180k USD) from Black Friday 2019 commissions. With this strategy, coupled with traditional promotional campaigns, the shopping event continues to break records for Grupo Soma every year.
Samsung never misses a big retail event, providing online discounts of up to 30% for its first-class electronic products. Configuring those promotions for end-customers on VTEX IO is incredibly easy and, what’s more, there are additional opportunities for promotional campaigns with employees, marketplace sellers and also partners.
Samsung has Employee Product Promotion portals dedicated to discounts for brand partners and suppliers. The consumer electronics giant offers its employees, sellers, and partners special conditions to buy or commercialize its products, with each having customized terms and conditions. Despite their management seemingly being a complex affair, all of these discounts are centralized in one place where commercial rules can be adjusted according to region, type of buyer and time frame. For its performance during Cyber Day Chile 2020, Samsung was awarded the second prize for most orders amongst VTEX customers.
While shoppers are caught in the frenzy of Black Friday promotions, armies of managers, developers, engineers and marketers are working behind the scenes to maintain a flawless experience. These are the same people that can (and will undoubtedly) vouch for the importance of the three elements above towards true Black Friday success.
Ultimately, results speak for themselves. Besides the aforementioned customers, other brands and retailers like Coca-Cola Andina, Tekmovil, Victoria’s Secret and Oster have witnessed great success thanks to the combined power of record time-to-market, scalability without trading off stability and great promotional modules. If your business is interested in experiencing the same, get in touch.