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Preparing your eCommerce website for Black Friday

Guide
by Stacy Parr Agency Finance Manager

Despite originating as an American sale that worked similarly to the UK’s Boxing Day sales, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are now widely recognised by retailers in the UK.

Black Friday is a heavy time for any eCommerce business, with web traffic increasing by 200% on this day.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday can be great opportunities to sell off old stock, acquire new customers, or gain loyalty from existing ones. There are benefits to taking part in Black Friday, but it can be hectic and problems can arise if you aren’t fully prepared.

So, if you are keen to capitalise on one of the biggest shopping days of the year, we have some tips on how you can prepare…

1. Test whether your site can handle the surge in traffic

Website crashes can be extremely frustrating for users, encouraging them to abandon the site, leave bad reviews, and potentially negatively affect whether they shop with you again in the future. It is vital to make sure that your website can cope with the sharp increase in traffic to keep your customers happy and maximise your conversion potential.

Check out some more tips on how you can handle large amounts of web traffic here.

2. Address loading speeds

Frustrated customers will be less patient when they are purchasing in a rush/with a sense of urgency, as they do in sales, and will not hang around if your site is slow.

Page loading speed is crucial for ensuring a successful online sale and you can keep loading time low by doing some of the following:

  • Optimise images
  • Get rid of outdated plugins
  • Minify resources
  • Make the most of caching

3. Streamline your buyer journey

Get rid of any unnecessary steps or fields during the checkout process that may slow it down or lead to cart abandonment. Consider enabling guest checkout as an option if you haven’t already. Minimising the number of clicks it takes the buyer to go from landing on your site to purchase confirmation will speed up your sales and reduce the likelihood of customers leaving out of frustration.

4. Build suspense

By teasing deals to your customers via email, social, and banner marketing, you can plant you brand in their minds early to ensure they know about your sale when the big day arrives. Email was the most successful channel in terms of generating revenue over last year’s Black Friday sales so should certainly make up part of your strategy. Consider using a series of touchpoints as part of a cross-channel connected campaign, and maybe exclusive discount or extra sale for email subscribers.

5. Grab attention

If you decide to participate in Black Friday or Cyber Monday, you should take advantage of it with attention-grabbing marketing. Make it easy for website visitors to navigate to the sale to maximise conversion such as through a sale banner on the home page.

Highlight that the offers are for a limited time only to encourage shoppers that are motivated by potentially missing out on an opportunity. Promote urgency via a timer or countdown to signal when the sale will end, or indications of when stock is low such as “Be quick! Only 3 left in stock.”

6. Make sure you are mobile-friendly

With shopping becoming an increasingly mobile activity, it is vital to ensure that your website is fully responsive and able to handle large amounts of traffic on multiple devices. Those shopping on the go are also more likely to have other considerations such as internet connection, or the amount of time that they have (perhaps they are travelling).

7. Review your site security

Shopping safety is important to consumers, and more than 90% are concerned when shopping with a new or unfamiliar site. To ensure that new customers feel safe enough to shop with you (and to return), you need to let them know that their safety is a priority. You can do this by displaying security information prominently on the checkout pages to prove legitimacy. Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encrypts the connection between your website and your visitor’s browser.

 

Want to find out how we can support in web and email development? Get in touch.