It’s almost that time of year. You know, when the stores are jammed pack and almost every company is offering a discount on their products. Black Friday is one of the biggest shopping days out of the year. However, to avoid the overcrowded stores and long wait times, more and more consumers have turned to shop online. With the convenience of features like Amazon prime, many consumers are turning to eCommerce as their preferred method for shopping. As a result, brands should really take advantage of this time of year in order to maximize their sales. Below are eight eCommerce tips for Black Friday that every company can implement in time for the shopping holiday.
Prepare a sales and marketing strategy prior to Black Friday
Create a sales and marketing plan weeks before Black Friday. Start your promotions weeks prior to the holiday and begin offering deals as part of your pre-holiday advertising campaign. Maximize your email marketing list and social media to increase awareness of products that are on sale and to drive the anticipation of Black Friday. For example, focus on an email marketing strategy to target potential customers that can turn into leads. Find creative ways to market to them in their email after they have subscribed. Plan a sales strategy within the budget and that compliments your brand, such as “buy 2 get a free item.”
Use a Black Friday countdown widget
In the weeks leading up to Black Friday, create a countdown on your website and social media pages. Countdowns help builds the buzz around your campaign. It gets customers to speed up their buying decisions and influence a quick purchase for on sale items so they won’t miss out on the deal.
Develop an influencer strategy
Being able to partner with a few influencers can have a positive impact on your sales. According to the Digital Marketing Institute, “not only do 49% of consumers depend on influencer recommendations but 40% had purchased something after seeing it on Twitter, YouTube or Instagram.” First, before picking influencers to represent your brand, evaluate that their following audience is aligned with your brand. Have influencers create user-generated videos and photos using your products and post to their social media sites. Instagram and Facebook are great platforms to feature influencer promotional stories. Make sure the content is of great quality. To increase brand engagement, have influencers add swipe-ups to their page stories so consumers can receive quick access to your website.
Create influencer coupon codes
To track the impact of the partnership, generate a unique discount code for each influencer. For example, when an influencer posts a promotional video or photo the consumer will see a special code to receive a discount.
Also, make sure you promote coupon codes on your website and social media channels. Coupon codes should be visible and located on each page so customers are not searching on third party sites for your company’s coupon code.
Increase the speed of your website’s performance
Improving your site’s performance and speed is one of the most crucial eCommerce tips for Black Friday. Having a slow or low performing website can increase your bounce rate especially around the Black Friday holiday. Remember, consumers like speed and convenience. They want access to your products as quickly as possible. If a page takes too long to load, they are more likely to click out of it and even worse go to a competitor’s website. There are many tools that can help measure your website’s speed such as Google Analytics “Site Speed Page timings” and tools to show how you can improve your site’s performance such as Google’s PageSpeed Insights.
Make sure your website is user-friendly
Making sure your website is user- and mobile-friendly is an ongoing process that should be evaluated long before Black Friday. However, if you want to make sure your site is looking and performing at its best for the big holiday, it’s not a bad idea to make some necessary improvements to optimize it. Make sure the site’s navigation is easy to use by making the navigation tool visible and on all pages. Also, make sure your products are easily searchable on your website—focus on your keyword search and filters and make sure it is performing at its best. Consumers want the purchasing journey to be simple and quick and this helps them to search and view products as easy as possible. You can test your site using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. If you anticipate an increase in web traffic during the holiday season consider upgrading your website hosting platform to handle the additional visitors.
Simplify your checkout process
Eliminate having too many steps starting from adding items into the cart and lastly confirming payment. Furthermore, many people are now using their cell phones to shop online. Therefore, it’s extremely important that your website is compatible with mobile devices and is easy to navigate throughout the site. This process decreases the bounce rate and creates a great shopping experience that is quick and convenient for the customer.
Create easy shipping, delivery and return experience
During the Black Friday sales, customers often buy items that may no longer fit their needs. Be prepared by have a shipping and return policy in place and make the return process simple. According to Invespcro, “92 percent of consumers will buy something again if returns are easy…” Start by being transparent with customers on specific items that are on final sale and their return policies.
Ideally, customers would like to have a free shipping and return process with no additional fees. However, this may not always be feasible for all companies. Therefore, it’s important to make the shipping experience easy. Companies such as Returnly can help retailers generate a return label and process refunds. Follow up with the customer through email when returned items have been received and when refunds will be processed.
Also, when shipping items to customers, keep them informed throughout the entire delivery process and offer text message delivery updates. This provides great customer service by keeping the customer up to date on their shipped items while using their mobile devices.
Optimize your customer service
During Black Friday, it’s possible to get a huge increase in your customer service calls, emails, or request. This is the time of year where you really need to optimize the customer service portion of your campaign. Aim to answer customer emails within 24 hours or less. Have available customer service reps that answer the phone during business hours. If your customers are global, take the different time zones into consideration. Consider using a live chatbox as well. Go the extra mile and offer a free or discounted product to an unsatisfied customer. Furthermore, continue monitoring your social media channels and engage with your customers by responding to their comments and questions.
Analyze last year’s Black Friday campaign and performance
Before creating your sales and marketing plan for this year, take a look at the campaign you did last year. Look at what you did, what went right and areas that you need improvement. Analyze the data including the campaign, website and social media performance. Ask questions such as: “Were web pages loading quickly with the increase of visitors to the site?” “What were the negative reviews in regards to shipping, delivery and returning items experience? “Were customers able to order easily from their mobile devices or were there a few constraints?” Also, “What were some of the new and interesting things our competitors did that we should implement as well?”
Looking at your last campaign to find areas to improve only puts you ahead of the curve. Follow these eCommerce tips for black Friday and you will be on your way to having a successful 2019 Black Friday!