Is your website ready for Black Friday?
Are you prepared for Black Friday on 27th November? If not, you should be.
This is a chance for your eCommerce website to capitalise on one of the busiest shopping weekends in the year – from Black Friday through to Cyber Monday – and ditch any unwanted stock you have in the run-up to Christmas.
And with the holiday season in full flow, it’s an ideal opportunity to reach out to new audiences AND benefit from a shift in buyer attitude.
But if your site is not ready, your sales won’t benefit.
To make the most of Black Friday, you’ll need to start planning now and get started right away. We’ve put together a few tips to help you:
Prepare Your Site
Black Friday is not a public holiday here like it is in the US. That means lots of potential buyers will be looking for bargains on their phones when commuting to work.
In 2014 Google estimated that over half of 25-34 year olds used a mobile to look for special offers during Black Friday.
Is your website optimised for mobile, including the check-out process? The perceived frenzy of the limited-time sale means many customers may not wait and buy later on a desktop – they’re ready to buy right then and there.
Do some user testing beforehand to make sure your site is easily accessible via a mobile device. It will save you from a lot of problems and potentially wasted advertising.
Don’t underestimate the potential increase in traffic for your website over this period. Many big brands did just that last year and their sites either crashed completely or had long wait times. Curry’s had a 30 minute queuing system in place, whilst Tesco’s site just constantly reloaded.
It’s always better to be over-prepared.
Research from The Aberdeen Group showed customer satisfaction decreased by 16% for every 1 second delay in page load time, whilst conversion rates dropped 7%! Similarly, research by Akamai found over 40% of users abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load.
Test your site speed and the amount of traffic it can handle before the big weekend. A scale-out database could help you prepare in advance for a surge in traffic, whilst investing in a content delivery network (CDN) can split the load of content across multiple servers, easing the strain on your primary server during busy times.
You might also want to cache static content to boost load speed and review third party scripts and plugins – updating where required or removing if no longer necessary – to prevent page load problems.
Streamline and Optimise Your Checkout Process
Customer attitudes during the Black Friday weekend are different to normal shopping times. They have a “get in, get out quick” mind set, so your checkout process should reflect this.
This isn’t the time for a long, drawn-out checkout process where you try and capture as much information as possible about potential customers – that’s likely to do more harm than good.
A number of successful eCommerce sites often remove the need to register during this period to speed up the checkout process and provide a faster experience for users.
Consider user experience and CRO (conversion rate optimisation) testing during the run up to Black Friday to identify areas of the checkout process which could be removed, streamlined or optimised in order to boost sales.
Plan Your Homepage
Now is also the time to start thinking about how you want your homepage to look during the Black Friday weekend. How will you draw attention to the sale, and how will users navigate their way to sale products?
Consider appropriate banners and calls to action on the homepage to promote this limited-time sale effectively. You may also need a temporary top navigation so users can navigate to specific sale items if the promotion is not site wide.
A countdown clock or timer can also be a useful addition to a homepage. Use a countdown to generate interest and excitement ahead of the sale, building anticipation as the clock ticks down. During the weekend itself, a timer is an effective way of promoting urgency, indicating just how long is left in the sale.
Set Up A Black Friday Landing Page
Some eCommerce websites have had landing pages up for Black Friday since April. Put one live as soon as possible and you can start inviting customers to register, capturing data and generating interest well ahead of the sale weekend.
Customers will get the benefit of knowing about your sale and potentially review items in advance, whilst you’ll get title tags and H1 tags done and out of the way early enough for Google to start indexing them.
Building pages in advance will also help you show the regular prices of items, establishing trust that the sale price shows a clear discount. You’ll also have time to add items to a Google Products feed, and ensure landing pages are effectively optimised with:
- Strong calls to action
- Clear, concise information
- Easy navigation and user experience
Create Your Offers
Messaging should be clear and consistent across your website during the sale period, and all special offers should be well explained.
Decide in advance what promotions you will offer and ensure all your messaging is geared towards this. Design bold images and banners that explicitly state the sale offers, and take the time to explain shipping and returns. During the buying frenzy, customers can easily miss this information and may be left disappointed and dissatisfied.
Consider the opportunity of cross-selling and up-selling products at this point, and how your messaging and banners can do this effectively. This is where you stand to make the most profit. But remember, don’t request too much information from users – especially during the checkout process. This should be kept as simple as possible.
Amend Your Paid Search
Your paid search campaigns will likely need adjusting during the Black Friday period. Be prepared to bid more aggressively if you want to promote your items, as competition will be fierce.
Update your ad copy to reference Black Friday deals, and include strong calls to action to target users specifically searching for deals.
You could also implement ad extensions underneath generic brand adverts, creating a specific link to draw attention to your Black Friday offers.
Remarket At Every Opportunity
If you don’t already have a Google remarketing code, a Facebook remarketing pixel and a Twitter remarketing tag in place, now is the time to do this. You’ll want to use every tool at your disposal to reach out to potential buyers during this period.
Get in front of users who have already visited your site and looked at specific products, employing remarketing banners to indicate a reduction in price and a fantastic offer that’s only available for Black Friday.
You should also make use of abandoned basket campaigns. Users are likely to shop around for the best deals during this period, so follow them around the web and remind them that you’re offering the best products at the best prices.
Check out our guide to improving your remarketing banners for some extra help and advice!
Email Your Database
Your email database is a valuable tool as well, so be sure to remarket here and make the most of customers who have already interacted with your brand.
Leverage your existing list to get your Black Friday message out and ensure your customers hear about the best deals. An email marketing campaign could potentially be your best source of ROI during this period.
Be sure to:
- Send emails well in advance of the start of Black Friday – people want to know what deals they can expect
- Provide personalised offers where possible that interact with the customer on a one-to-one level
- Design eye-catching emails that attract clicks
- Proofread copy and ensure it’s at the right emotive level
- Check that all links work correctly
- Schedule frequent emails – some are likely to get lost in inboxes with the barrage of promotions, so email before Black Friday AND during
Ramp Up Your Social
As well as social remarketing and paid search campaigns during Black Friday, you should utilise these channels to promote awareness of your products and deals as soon as possible.
Consider: amending header images on Facebook and Twitter to increase awareness of the upcoming sale; creating an event for Black Friday and inviting your page audience; and changing the call to action button on Facebook specifically for the weekend.
One great way of getting in front of prospective buyers is video advertising, as Facebook currently places higher priority on these in users’ News Feeds. Short video “how-to’s” and guides to products are great for content marketing and ideal for promoting sale items ahead of Black Friday.
The Black Friday Weekend
With your paid search, remarketing, social and email campaigns set up ahead of Black Friday, you’re in the best position to capitalise on sales.
Now you have the time to focus on social media monitoring and engagement. Customer service is paramount during this period and your whole team should be on standby to mediate any problems as and when they arise.
If technical issues develop, customers have questions about products or stock sells out, you want to be able to respond immediately on social networks to reassure customers that you’re on hand to help out, maintaining trust throughout the weekend.
The key for Black Friday is putting your plans in place now and preparing well ahead of the event. Follow these tips, and you’ll reap the rewards when it’s over.
But with Christmas just around the corner, you can’t sit back. You should have captured a lot of data during Black Friday, so be sure to put that to use in December.
Do you have additional tips on how to prepare for Black Friday? Let us know in the comments box below. Need help with a Black Friday campaign? Get in touch to see how we can ready your site.