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How to build customer satisfaction during Black Friday with email

For most ecommerce businesses, Black Friday strategies revolve around holiday marketing campaigns. But these seasonal promotional emails aren’t the only way you’ll be connecting with your customers during the holiday season. The stats are in – read on to see how email communications contribute to the customer experience and build customer satisfaction.



It’s here. That special time of year when web traffic fluxes, sales skyrocket, developers batton down the infrastructure hatches, and marketers dive into deep seas of data and campaign strategies.

The holiday season is a critical period for email senders, with promotional campaigns and transactional messages reaching peak volumes. The stakes are higher than ever during the weeks that lead up to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and ensuring emails are delivered to customers inboxes becomes more important than ever.

In the storm of the season, understanding consumer expectations is key. That’s why we conducted a global email engagement survey with questions on consumer preferences for Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM). Let’s dive into the results.

How email supported $9.12 billion in online Black Friday sales

Numbers don’t lie. In 2022, online shoppers spent over $9 billion on Black Friday, and Cyber Week (including Cyber Monday) drove $35.3 billion in sales. Black Friday is also a peak sending time for brands – Sinch’s global super network alone deployed over 400 million messages during this period in 2022.

But how do holiday shoppers want to hear from brands and what matters most to them? We conducted a consumer survey to find out. These are the main findings:

  • More than two-thirds of consumers (68.9%) prefer to get their Black Friday promotions via email.

  • Many consumers like getting brand communications through multiple channels. For example, 18% of respondents who selected Email also selected Text messaging.

Infographic of Mailgun’s survey around Black Friday messaging engagement and preferences. Statistics are referenced throughout the post.

There’s no doubt email continues to be the preferred channel to hear from brands about Black Friday deals and other holiday season deals. And while that’s good news for senders who value the low cost of sending email, it also increases the pressure to ensure the right messages reach the inbox at the right time.

And we’re not just talking about promotional emails. Email plays a key role during the holiday season as a transactional channel too, to deliver order confirmations, shipping updates, and other critical messages. A marketing campaign going to spam can have a big impact on ROI, the impact of a missing transactional message can be even worse.

Importance of transactional messaging during Black Friday

A combined 80% of those surveyed said transactional messages are important during the holiday shopping season.

It’s easy to assume that consumers appreciate visibility throughout their holiday journey from shopping to shipping. But what became clear from the survey responses is that these messages triggered by customer action, like confirmation emails, shipping notifications, and other informational update emails are non-negotiable when it comes to customer satisfaction, making the timely sending of these transactional automations incredibly important.

Transactional messages are critical during the holiday season. 38.1% of holiday shoppers said these notifications are somewhat important for them, while 42.3% stated that they are very important.

So, what happens if your automations fail, and transactional messages aren’t sent? Or if your messages are sent, but land in spam? Well, it isn’t hard to imagine the frustration holiday shoppers might feel and the direct impact on the overall customer experience.

Protecting transactional emails through careful preparation of your sending infrastructure and by following email deliverability best practices is even more important during the holiday season.

As a first step, senders should consider using subdomains to separate your marketing campaigns from your transactional emails. This way, transactional messages, which usually have a higher deliverability rate, won’t be impacted by any dings to your sender reputation caused by your marketing emails.

In some cases, the best protection for these critical notifications is to take an omnichannel approach to transactional messages. Customers already expect brands to reach out through a range of channels, so don’t limit yourself to a single path for important communications.

Learn more: One of the biggest challenges during Black Friday may be out of your control. In recent years, supply chain issues have wreaked havoc, delaying deliveries and creating a variety of transit obstacles. This has made email messages like shipping updates and delivery notifications even more important to the overall customer experience. Discover how to improve holiday supply chain communication with email.

Beyond email: Channel preferences during the holiday season

When we asked customers how they wanted to hear from brands during the holiday season, the results revealed that email is still the preferred channel – but it’s not the only one. While over two-thirds (69%) of respondents chose email as one of the channels to get these communications, there were multiple channels represented.

In fact, a combined 35.6% of holiday shoppers selected at least one mobile messaging option as a preferred channel for promotions (text message, social media messaging, and in-app notifications). That’s a pretty decent percentage.

Even with an email-first approach to your Black Friday communications strategy, it’s not a bad strategy to double down and introduce mobile messaging notifications with your most loyal customers or when sending these important transactional updates.

Connecting channels to customer satisfaction

Customer satisfaction is all about delivering an excellent experience for users, from the first time they interact with your brand or use your app to their post-purchase journey with you. And communications play a key role in that experience.

Getting promotional and transactional messages to your audience where they want them and when they need them, is fundamental to building a strong customer experience from start to finish. This means respecting customer preferences when it comes to channels, but it also means ensuring best-in-class deliverability for all these messages – especially purchase confirmations, shipping updates, and other time-sensitive information that shapes the customer experience.

Improving the customer experience is a growing desire among senders. In Sinch Mailgun’s recent State of email deliverability report, it was revealed that senders believe the biggest benefit of prioritizing email deliverability is customer satisfaction, even over driving more ROI.

Bar graph shows 0% of senders say improved customer satisfaction is the biggest benefit of deliverability.

So, strengthening your focus on email deliverability during the holiday season should be a first step as you prep your holiday strategy. But incorporating other channels, like SMS, as a failsafe to complement transactional messages is also an option worth exploring to protect your customer experience and brand reputation.

Get the deliverability support you need during the holiday season

We’re not the type to leave you stranded this season, which is why we’ve conducted this survey and have focused on creating great content to support you with your holiday email strategy.

Here’s our our collection of holiday content to get you through this season without going full Grinch.

And hey, we know our content is great, but if your sending concerns are deeper, we’ve got you covered. Check out Mailgun Optimize to discover the tools, the integrations, and the humans you need to optimize and protect your sending.

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