Black Friday and Cyber Monday are coming rapidly - two of the most important ecommerce shopping days in any retailer's calendar, and two days you need to be prepared for
According to research by PWC - some retailers have historically resisted discounting on Black Friday for fear that it might jeopordise their full price Christmas shopping purchases that are traditionally made in early December, however 74% of high street stores and 79% of online retailers offered some kind of sale or promotion over the 2018 Black Friday weekend.
And while only 20% of consumers say they will do most of their Christmas shopping over the Black Friday weekend, over half say they're not interested in Black Friday at all, but interestingly, many more consumers, and particularly for higher spending men, it’s just an excuse to buy something for themselves! Almost two thirds of men and over three quarters of under 25s plan to buy something for themselves.
With exceptional deals available, ecommerce businesses can experience traffic on these two days often eclipsing anything they've been used to through the rest of the year, so if you haven't already, now's the time to prepare.
So what can online shops do, to prepare for the eCommerce challenges of Black Friday and Cyber Monday?
We have outlined 7 steps to help :-
Step 1 - Identify your promotions
Black Friday and Cyber Monday attract shoppers due to the extensive deals they can get on a range of items. This money saved can encourage shoppers to splurge on impulse buys, they otherwise, might not have bought. This means, as an online retailer, you need to think strategically about what you're going to promote, and the types of deals you'll have.
As a small business, there's only so much money you can cut from items without it eating into your bottom line. It's a fine balance to combine a discount against volume of sales so that customers can save money, but you can still make money. This means you might want to think about being more creative - eg, focusing your deals on special-run or limited-time products you may have. Other ideas maybe a bundling of products, or a loss-leader with the idea that the consumer will add other items into their basket, pushing up their basket total.
Step 2 - The promotion and marketing of your deals
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are well known for their discounts, but you still need to promote your specific deals in order to attract the attention of the widest pool of customers possible. This means you're going to need a cross-channel marketing solution that appeals to the broadest spectrum of potential customers.
Use each marketing channel - where your customers are - to its full potential. Run email marketing campaigns and promotions on your social media accounts.
Once landed on your website, include promotional banners in key areas, highlighting your special Black Friday weekend deals and bundle packages that you've put together.
Think about your blog and content, write articles about specific products and gift ideas, or put together a Gift Guide and publish in your blog or give your customers the option to download it.
This content will not only help the customer to decide on the right products from your range, but the additional content will also help to gain you, those important search engine rankings.
Also, bear in mind, that businesses are beginning their Black Friday and Cyber Monday promotions earlier and earlier every year. Black Friday is November 29th this year so it's a good idea to start promoting now or very soon.
Step 3 - Optimise your products
You may want to create distinct Black Friday and Cyber Monday product pages, with related products for those important cross sells and upsells that your customers may wish to take advantage of.
Also remember to write killer product descriptions, ones that will not only stand-out to your customers, but are written with search engines in mind.
Step 4 - Check your ecommerce website speed
If your ecommerce website is not used to volume sales, speak to us about your server capacity to make sure your website doesn't crash under the expected demand of Black Friday and Cyber Monday traffic.
It’s pointless promoting great deals and showcasing amazing products if your customers have to wait many minutes to buy them. If they do have to wait, they will probably go elsewhere, and to another ecommerce store that's faster to use.
Step 5 - Is your checkout ready?
Consumers want to be able to check out easily and quickly. If the process takes too long they can go elsewhere.
Walk through your ecommerce website checkout, put yourself in your customers shoes, are there elements that could be improved? Is there a postcode look up function which means faster address completion for your customers and lower errors for you? How does it work on mobile and crucially, is it responsive?
Step 6 - Handling the logistics
Remember that all your sales need to be processed and fulfilled, as efficiently as possible. Make sure you highlight your delivery times clearly on your website during this busy period.
Invest in enough stock to fulfil the kind of demand you can reasonably expect to experience, and be sure you have the materials required to ship packages rapidly. Customers will expect their goods to be paid for, shipped, and delivered in a timely manner.
Any investment you make in stock and your ability to handle volume sales through your eCommerce platform is going to stand you in good stead.
Step 7 - Think beyond Black Friday
The Black Friday weekend is just that, it's one weekend in the year, so it's important to consider all the other days in the year and what you can take away from this weekend.
Look at what's gone well and not so well and pick out the elements that you want to improve on for next year, such as consider putting a loyalty programme in place for those first-time shoppers and turn them into loyal customers that keep coming back.
Build on the traction you've received from this Black Friday weekend with continued, regular email marketing and social media posts. Also consider a re-targeting campaign and sending abandoned cart notifications.
So if you haven't already, now's the time to get your ecommerce website ready for the Black Friday weekend and take advantage of the increased sales at this time of year.
If you would like help with any aspect contact us at Electric Media - we're here to help!