The countdown has begun, and by now you should have already started thinking about optimizing your Black Friday e-commerce strategy. If you have not, you should start now.
Black Friday has become known for steep discounts and businesses are gearing up to jump on the bandwagon and ride the Black Friday wave to boost sales and convert more customers.
What was once a one-day shopping galore has now extended into a month of offers which then extends into the holiday season.
This year, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are expected to break previous records in terms of traffic and sales - this will make November the busiest retail month online!
With online sales on the rise, you should begin to think about how to refine and optimize your e-commerce strategy to make the most of the shopping season. Here are 5 tips to help you get started.
There is a large increase in online traffic and browsing one or two weeks before Black Friday.
To make the best of this wave, you need to create a complete plan for Black November - not just Black Friday. Start advertising early and pace your promotions. You may choose to release deals, promo codes or other promotional material at different time periods throughout the month. Offering deals earlier gives you a chance to persuade your customers to buy early. Also, spreading the load over a longer period of time will prevent massive spikes in traffic on a single day as well as relieve extra pressure on customer service, warehouse staff and couriers.
Many retailers also start promoting their next campaign to make the most out of the holiday shopping season and begin to tease out Christmas deals when Black Friday ends. In this way, you can convert customers who didn't buy from you this time around.
Create an integrated marketing plan for Black Friday. Here are some tips you can use to ensure that your business is top of mind:
Build a buzz around Black Friday on your website by designing an aesthetically appealing landing page that includes a countdown. Recommend products that are on sale to encourage customers to start shopping from the sale. Highlight other offers you have, for example, a free shipping threshold or free shipping to members only.
Send out emails to your database highlighting special promotions. Give them a sneak peek of the deals and a first chance to shop the sale as a reward for being loyal customers. You should also consider segmenting your emails to target different customers to improve click rates and sales.
Coordinate your promotional strategy across all channels (website, email, social media) and build anticipation through social media. Post teasers in advance, use targeted ads on Facebook and Instagram to remind your customers of your page and encourage user-generated content with a bespoke hashtag for your brand.
Consider using macro and/or micro-influencers to boost word of mouth of special offers you might have.
Narrow your AdWords ads to high purchase intent keywords like “ best deal on (product name)”
Create a sense of urgency and exploit the FOMO. The fear of missing out (FOMO) can often drive people to make a purchase. Display words like “limited quantities available” or “selling out fast” on popular products. Many retailers also implement a free shipping countdown timer to push a sale.
While an integrated marketing campaign will push your customers through the sales funnel, remember not to bombard your customers with marketing content. The goal is to keep your business top of mind and remind them of the deals you are offering, not exhaust them with Black Friday ad messaging.
Conducting a virtual walk of your online store is crucial to help you spot any holes in your conversion funnel before the shopping season begins.
Ensure that the website is easy to navigate and remove any unnecessary distractions or pop-ups. To optimize your product page, check that product descriptions are accurate, descriptive, and reveal critical product information. This will improve your visibility on search engines as well as reduce abandonment. Some products might need to be listed under multiple names or descriptions to help users find them easily. Don’t forget to include high-quality images/ videos that will complement your copywriting.
You should also think about ways to simplify the checkout experience. Using a single page checkout saves your customers’ time and eliminates additional steps in the customer journey that might result in cart abandonment. To optimize impulse purchases, enable ‘one click’ buying with the customers’ payment information already stored in a secure mobile wallet. You can also offer these payment options on-site: Shopify Pay, PayPal, Apple Pay.
Lower prices and product selection is no longer enough in today’s retail market. Online retailers should focus on the customer experience if they want their business.
Optimize your website load speed to prevent abandonment. This includes the speed with which your landing page, product pages, category pages and shopping cartload. Holiday shoppers lack patience and every second that your website lags due to increased traffic will cost your business and push customers to your competitors. Poor site speed performance will not just negatively impact the customer experience but also hurt your organic search rankings. Retailers should get ahead of these issues and test load times ahead of the shopping season. Fortunately, tools like Google PageSpeed Insights can help you identify individual areas on your site that might be causing loading issues.
Think about what promotional deals you can offer. Customers are expecting steep discounts and great deals. How can you package the offers in a way that makes shoppers feel like they are getting value for the money while allowing you to still make a decent profit margin?
Take inspiration from brands like Estee Lauder who combine Black Friday deals with their loyalty program and give their customers 2 x more points for purchases made on this day. You can also offer a gift card that customers can use with purchases over a certain threshold. Both these strategies will help you invest in post-Black Friday loyalty.
Finally don't forget to check on your stock levels before you create your sales strategy. You should ensure that you have enough of your top-selling products so you can meet the sudden spike in demand and make a nice profit. Track your stock levels over the years to help you generate insights into the right number of products you expect to sell during this time of the year.
Ready or not, Black Friday is coming. Is your e-commerce strategy ready to ride this wave?