Black Friday eCommerce Strategy
How to Prepare Your eCommerce Store for Black Friday 2023
Black Friday has quickly become the biggest single online retail event in the eCommerce calendar. Consequently, you need to plan months in advance to capitalise on the increase in traffic.
With Black Friday 2023 (November 24) rapidly approaching, we believe it’s important to provide our readers with all the information they need to know about this event. That’s why this blog is dedicated to helping you prepare your online store for Black Week.
How Did We Get Here?
Black Friday is an event that initially took off in the US. Traditionally, the day after Thanksgiving, stores would open up and clear their stocks providing unmissable discounts for customers. It quickly became an event where people queued outside stores and, in some cases, mini-riots took place amongst shoppers trying to get the best deal.
Now, Black Friday has crossed the globe with sales events taking place in most countries and online.
How Should You Technically Prepare Your Website for Black Friday?
If you run an online store, the most important thing to remember about Black Friday is the severe and sharp increase in traffic that eCommerce stores experience across Black Week. In order to capitalise on this spike in traffic, however, you must adequately prepare your website. We will explain how.
A sudden increase in traffic is dangerous for unprepared websites. It can lead to a server overload that can knock your site out for the whole weekend. Given the year-on-year increase for online Black Friday Sales, you should expect a higher volume of visitors than previous years.
The advantage of using a platform like Shopify is that your hosting is included in the monthly fee. They are specifically designed for eCommerce stores, and so they are experienced at dealing with Black Friday spikes.
If you are using a different platform, then speak to your hosting provider and make sure they are ready for any unpredictable spikes in traffic. A server malfunction on the Black Friday weekend could cost you hundreds, if not thousands.
Test Everything – Especially Your Site’s User Experience!
Once you are certain that your website will not completely break from the traffic, what about its functionality?
Everything on your online store needs to work as intended. That means, no broken CTA buttons, unresponsive navigational elements, or poor load speeds. From your homepage through to your checkout, your site needs to effortlessly guide the user on their journey to making a purchase. Otherwise, you will simply be throwing money away.
Whilst you can read about how to improve your site’s user experience, we recommend that you ask a digital agency to perform a UX audit before Black Friday. As UX specialists, Trafiki Ecommerce will discover any pages that might be losing customers. In turn, we will ensure your customers have a smooth journey from discovery to purchase.
What is the Best eCommerce Strategy for Black Friday?
Black Friday is an event where shoppers now expect to find some good deals.
Due to the current financial climate in 2023, customers might be waiting out for Black Week, in the hope their desired product(s) will be discounted. So, your eCommerce strategy for Black Friday needs to work to bring those customers in.
Every Black Friday strategy will be unique to your business and customers. However, there are a number of strategies to improve average order value and conversion rate that will work for every business, including:
- Email marketing
- Text messaging
- Mixing up promotions
- Optimised Google Business Profiles
Email will be your best friend throughout the Black Week event.
First, you should send an email to your subscribers reminding them of the event and what their potential savings will be. You should do so one week before Black Friday at the latest. A couple of days later, send another email. Then send one on Black Friday morning and another when the day is almost over.
A creative title and content will draw old and new customers to your site. But try to avoid overcomplicating it – simplicity is sometimes the best policy.
Simply telling a customer “Up to 60% off our Black Friday event” will likely get their attention. Conversely, an email like this can get missed in the hundreds of emails hitting an inbox on Black Friday. So, you need to ensure your message is clear and concise, but also stands out. Moreover, ensure your emails either have your company name in the title or mention a specific product.
One effective email marketing strategy is to offer better discounts to the customers on your email list. Then, not only are you fostering goodwill for your business with existing customers, but you are also giving new customers a reason to sign up for next year!
After emails, your website will be your biggest asset. For most websites, the homepage will be by far the highest traffic page and – when a customer visits the homepage – they will be greeted by the hero section.
The hero section of your homepage is the part that takes up most of the screen. In turn, it has the biggest impact on your users. Although it is a myth that people don’t scroll, it is true that only 22% will reach the bottom of your page. The hero section is by far the most important section of your homepage, so the best place to inform customers about sales events like Black Friday.
In the lead-up to the event, you can tease savings. For instance, have a countdown clock or encourage customers to sign up for an email that tells them exactly when the Black Friday sales start. Subsequently, make sure that all your brand assets are consistent. An inconsistent marketing campaign sends bad signals to customers and can impact your overall brand.
The other thing to note on banners is that when the Black Friday sale is live, you should have a banner on every page of your website. This should be located just under the menu and link to your sales page. This means that wherever your customers go, they will have easy access to your fantastic deals.
Text messages are an often forgotten part of marketing your eCommerce business during Black Friday.
If you have the data, then use it! A text or WhatsApp message is a direct link to your customer. Use it to tell them of the incredible savings and when the savings end to create urgency. SMS messaging has a higher open rate, higher conversion rate, and higher returns than email marketing. However, before you send the first message, avoid issues with data protection and get your customer to opt-in.
Mix Up Your Promotions
Black Friday is not just one day. Some eCommerce stores have an entire Black Week! Consequently, sending the same email every day offering 60% off may be frustrating and even annoying for customers.
Mix up your promotions. One day you can offer 60% off a particular product line, and another day you can offer buy one get one free on different line. Equally, you could choose to offer a small free gift with every purchase.
Some promotions are more likely to capture the attention of customers than others. The brilliant thing about running different promotions is that you can use that data all year long for Christmas, Valentine’s or Easter promotions. This way you learn a lot about your customers and they benefit from some fantastic deals.
Google Business Profile
A Google Business Profile is primarily a tool for local businesses. However, if you run an online store, it takes very little effort to create a Business Profile (if you do not already have one), add any offers, and write short updates on your Black Friday sales.
As a business, you need to use as many tools as possible to get maximum exposure for your brand. The added benefit of updating your Google Business Profile is that regular updates can help with your local rankings. If you get to the top of organic search during Black Week, you can get significantly higher sales than expected.
Should you Extend your Black Friday Offers?
Extending the Black Friday event is dependent on your online store and your customers. Although sales events are an excellent way to draw in new and existing customers, running them constantly can dilute your offering. Customers will simply wait for the next event if you run them too often, and the same could be said about extending your Black Friday deals.
One way to extend your Black Friday offers – without diluting your offering – is to give customers that sign up to marketing early access or post-Black Friday deals. This way, the customers who opted in to email or text marketing are made to feel like they are getting exclusive offers.
Contact UX Experts
Trafki Ecommerce Marketing has over 15 years of experience in digital marketing. As UX experts we can examine your store and prepare it for Black Friday. Book a free 30-minute UX discovery call today and find out how we can help you make the most of any sales event.