How to Prepare your Online Store for Black Friday to Be Ahead of the Game

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According to the Adobe Analytics report, in 2019, Black Friday online sales made $7.5 billion spent. At first glance, it may seem that all you need to do as an ecommerce merchant to prepare for the Black Friday fever is to provide low prices and high product availability, but it’s not enough. To make things go smoothly, we highly recommend laying out a plan to meet a situation head-on. And if an issue of preparation is still up in the air for you, just run through our article and check if you’re ready.

Black Friday Meaning & Its Significance to Ecommerce

The first Friday after Thanksgiving Day traditionally signifies the beginning of the Christmas sales season. Appeared in the early 60s, it was initially used in the US. Nowadays, it’s spread worldwide and became a marvelous opportunity for stores to sell products and for buyers to buy gifts with discounts right before Christmas. 

What is more important for ecommerce merchants is that Black Friday online sales are exponentially growing every year. It’s better not to miss out on it and take full advantage of its benefits for business. Just have a look at the graph showing the growth of online sales in the US from 2013 to 2019:

Source: SaleCycle

Shipping & Fulfillment Tips while Preparing for Black Friday

1. Prepare outgoing stock in advance 

Provide your warehouse team with instructions and checklists to make them work smoothly as quickly as possible. Also, make sure that space is ergonomically organized, and the team is well aware of where items are and how to pack them properly.

If you’re not sure about a load of your warehouse, ask your sales or marketing team to make approximate traffic forecasts based on the planned advertising campaigns. With the expected number of website visitors, you can easily calculate the approximate conversion in purchases and develop the warehouse workflow.

2. Check with partners 

Agree in advance with all your contractors and suppliers on their maximum capabilities, also discuss possible challenges that could happen and actions to prevent them. 

For instance, the clothing & accessories brand offers an extensive range of categories with discounts available for customers, which infers they are well-prepared for any incidents.

Source: Uniqlo

3. Offer free or fast shipping

If you hold cards, give your customers an option to get their parcel delivered free of charge or at least quick enough. It will work as a catch for some of them in doubt and prevent them from switching to your competitors. As reported by the Walker Sands report, 79% of US online shoppers are more likely to make a purchase if they’re offered free shipping.

4. Be transparent about shipping & return policy

By the way, if you can’t offer free shipping, be honest with your clients and explain in detail how fast they will receive their items. There is nothing worse than promising a customer more than you could do.

Operations & Customer Service Tips while Preparing for Black Friday

1. Communicate with your team 

When preparing, it’s crucial to synchronize different teams with each other. To keep everything in order, integrate your online business with the advanced CRM system, which could significantly automate and simplify many processes.

2. Reduce response time

As stated in the Toister Performance Solutions, 88% of users expect a response from brands within 60 minutes. Especially in the season of discounts, when the customer service team is overloaded, pay attention to additional tools for the quick exchange of information with customers, for example, autoresponder.

We also recommend creating a webpage with frequently asked questions, where customers can find up-to-date information on delivery times and other details.

3. Consider offering live chat & omnichannel support 

Don’t underestimate the power of this tool, as more than 41% of people expect online stores to provide live chat, according to the CrazyEgg article. Have a look at how the supplements brand provides users with an option to chat with the customer service team right after entering the website.  

Source: Campus Protein

Don’t limit yourself to the single channel of communicating with customers, instead, diversify the channels and allow users to choose the most convenient way for them. The main thing here is to provide an omnichannel experience and increase a retention rate. 

Marketing & Design Tips while Preparing for Black Friday

1. Email marketing campaigns 

Apart from taking essential email marketing tips, keep in mind that you need to think out of the box and come up with unique email subjects and interesting content inside your newsletter, or add a bit of personalization. As customers’ inbox will be packed and loaded with promo campaigns, find ways to stay ahead of the pack. Check out how the designer apparel, shoes & accessories brand announces their Pre-Black Friday activities in their email newsletter.

Source: Revolve

2. Pop-ups & notifications 

Use this tool to inform your customers about shipping dates or bring particular products or categories into focus on entering the website or checkout page. 

3. Discounts, cross-sell & up-sell tricks 

One of the most common and effective techniques to drive more sales on Black Friday is offering gift guides. Give your customers some inspiration for their shopping list and gather products into a single selection to create a targeted guide, which you could promote on the website and email marketing campaigns. For instance, Amazon created a holiday smart home guide and placed it on the homepage.

Source: Amazon

4. Social media activities 

One of the main tricks here is to create a sense of urgency for promoting your deals and persuade customers to feel that an offer is available for a limited time. For example, you could put a rocket under customers in the social media post, as the body care & home fragrances brand did it on Facebook.

Source: Body & Bath Works

Getting Traffic to your Online Store on Black Friday

1. Make your website mobile-friendly 

Even though it’s become a vital must-have for online business, there’s still a wide variety of online stores that ignore this increasing tendency. To provide a compelling argument, there are reliable statistics prepared by Adobe Analytics that show dollars spent per minute of smartphone browsing in the US.

Source: Adobe Analytics

2. Enhance your search engine optimization 

Another necessary thing is to optimize your online store content for search engines. Make sure that you follow all the crucial SEO practices, and then you’ll be ready to move further and launch Google Ads campaigns as an example.

3. Prepare your store for increased demand

Check if your store infrastructure is ready to handle the user load during Black Friday. If it’s not powerful enough to carry the load of traffic you expect from your marketing activities, take care of improving it and introduce the necessary services to maintain a balance between building a highly loaded infrastructure and performing a high website performance and quick content loading time.

General Tips on Preparing for Black Friday

Tip #1: Start Preparing as Far in Advance as Possible

As stated in the eMarketer report, a lot of customers start shopping for winter holidays and researching brands in October. Develop a game plan with steps in advance or create a mindmap with different departments and their actions to organize processes that will work simultaneously and control them completely.

Tip #2: Develop an Omni-Channel Approach 

If you have an offline store as well, ensure that you deliver a smooth experience through both channels. By the way, you could place products on marketplaces that participate in Black Friday, such as Amazon, eBay, Walmart, etc.

Tip #3: Gather Insights to Improve Processes Next Year

Keep your eyes open to what will happen on this crucial day. When finished, make a retrospective with your team to gather and explore data. The fact is that each business and target audience is a unique case, so you also need to find some insights yourself to improve your business processes in the future. 

Conclusion

Black Friday is considered as a perfect opportunity for ecommerce businesses to celebrate the holiday shopping season and attract as much traffic as possible. You’re given carte blanche to get your business ready for Black Friday in the way you prefer. 

Author Bio

Magecom is a global ecommerce partner for online merchants around the world. They provide comprehensive web development and business solutions that help achieve goals and boost sales.

About the author

Karthik Ramachandiran

Google Ads Expert From Bengaluru. Share his Expertise Here