The countdown to Black Friday 2019 has officially started. So, mark your calendar – the date is November 29. Cyber Monday follows on December 2. Whether you’re a global retailer or a small business, you need to prepare your e-commerce business for the holiday shopping season success. This comprehensive guide covers most of what you need to do.
BlackFriday.com predicts that #BlackFriday2019 online spending will surpass $12 billion this year. Of the shoppers they surveyed, 61% plan to do most of their holiday shopping online Click To Tweet
What is Black Friday?
Since 2003, the day after Thanksgiving Day has become the biggest shopping event of the year in the United States.
Black Friday is always the day after Thanksgiving Day. Since 2003, it became (and still is) the biggest shopping event of the year in the United States. The Nordics don’t fall far behind, either.
Black Friday is also the official start of the holiday shopping season, where many of online retailers earn up to 40 percent of their yearly revenue.
And this shouldn’t be a surprise as Black Friday is no longer a one-day event. A new survey conducted by RetailMeNot, in partnership with Kelton Global, reports that 45% respondents plan to start shopping before November 1. So, it’s fair to say that Black Friday has changed into Black November with best deals, sell-out and free delivery offers waiting for customers from the end of October.
Also, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Christmas are merging into one, global, monstrous two-month-long shopping madness. Oh, and then you have the January sell-outs.
How to prepare for Black Friday?
Black Friday is the greatest opportunity to make good sales. However, to maximize revenue potential and properly serve customers this holiday season, you need to ensure that your business as well as your website are primed and ready. So, here’s what you need to do.
Plan your Black Friday strategy ahead of time
If you’re just planning to lower the prices of several of your products on November 29 and call it a day, don’t expect huge sales growth.
Successful Black Friday 2019 requires a good plan:
- Think about your discounting strategy. Decide ahead of time how big discounts you can offer on which products. Be selective and keep an eye on profit margins.
- Consider alternative discounting tactics i.e. ‘$10 off vouchers’ for returning customers.
- You’re not the only one with ambitious sales plans around this weekend. Invest in advertising and launch paid campaigns 2-3 weeks prior to Black Friday.
- Promote your Black Friday sale on social media. Prepare some cathy updates and show your followers how much they’ll be able to save.
- Introduce a simple countdown widget on your website to build anticipation and hype.
- Don’t forget about Cyber Monday. On this day, customers expect free delivery, so take this into consideration.
Make mobile devices shopping a priority
According to Forbes, mobile devices accounted for 67% of all digital traffic on Black Friday 2018, up from 61% the previous year. That’s a huge jump.
Mobile is as important as desktop and thus, retailers who don’t take a mobile-first approach will be left behind. Therefore, you must optimise your site for mobile.
For instance, remove all decorative elements that slow down the page loading time and improve the navigation bar by limiting the number of menu items.
Also, use a simple Mobile-Friendly Test to get a free usability report and make all necessary changes.
And if you’re a major online retailer running a huge web shop with complex structure, consider creating a dedicated app. It’s much better than investing time, continuous effort and a lot of money in improving responsive design.
Be ready for increased traffic
It’s possible that over the BFCM weekend your website’s traffic will go up by 100 times or even more. On one hand, that’s great – you want as many visitors on your website as possible. But on the other hand, sudden massive spike can also cause problems, especially if you didn’t have the time or mind to properly prepare your web shop for that. Needless to say, unexpected downtime during the these few days would be a disaster. So, make sure your e-commerce platform can handle that.
Here are some tips & tricks for you:
- Start with optimising all pictures and your design theme for better performance. You can also use dedicated tools for that. One of them is Akamai, which automatically optimizes graphic components, no matter the browser’s origin.
- If your website is running on WordPress, install a page caching plugin, for example WP Super Cache. This free plugin improves the overall performance of a website by creating a temporary static HTML version of your page. As a result, your server needs to do less “work” to load each page.
- Finally, consider switching to a faster and more reliable hosting server. Ideally one which automatically scales up and down depending on your website current needs. SiteGround is a good example of such a web hosting platform for e-commerce.
Offer simple checkout experience
Back in 2000, Amazon introduced one-click buying to circumvent the typical shopping cart form (name, address and credit card information) and allow people to make purchases with just one click. That was a game changer.
That’s why the golden rule of online sales says: ‘the fewer clicks the better’. Just look at the numbers, if you don’t believe: according to Splitit, 87% of customers will abandon their online carts if the checkout process is too difficult.
Today, you can increase your sales by reducing the amount of effort it takes to buy something:
- Reduce the number of checkout steps to max 4
- Remove everything that may disrupt the process
- Include a clear progress indicator
- Hide the main navigation bar to create a self-contained checkout page
- Eliminate the need to set up an account (it’s a deal-breaker)
Also, ask your payment services provider whether one-click purchases functionality is already available for your business.
Improve your product pages
Practice shows that on Black Friday online shoppers act quickly, as they know that discounted products can sell almost immediately.
This is where a good product page comes in handy – shoppers need to be able to find what they want fast, including product information, technical specification, main product advantages, as well as details on delivery and returns.
Don’t forget to sharpen up the pictures and product descriptions. If you want to get higher conversion, all product-related content (descriptions, product media, attributes, product relations) needs to be flawless.
Here are some tips & tricks based on latest trends:
- put the price in a prominent place
- use titles to specifically describe the product
- create unique and complete product descriptions
- provide detailed specification
- add few high-quality product images on a white background
- don’t forget about meta information for images
- present shipping information & return conditions
If the product page is your struggle, here you can read more about how to improve it.
Have a great Black Friday 2019!
Preparation, planning in advance and starting earlier rather than later, are all keys to a successful Black Friday 2019 and the entire holiday season. We believe these guides should cover most of what you need to know for this year’s upcoming sales madness. Have a great Black Friday!
Interested in product information management, but not sure where to start? Contact us to learn how a PIM solution can boost your e-commerce strategy.