Black Friday, one of the most important shopping events of the year, arrives in just a few days. For retailers, Black Friday is a great opportunity, but one that also presents a lot of room for error.
Almost every retailer knows how important Black Friday is for holiday shopping success, but not everyone knows all of the ways brands can optimize their stores and online presence to maximize sales and shopper engagement — even at the last minute.
Here are five last-minute tips that retailers — both online and brick-and-mortar — can use to have a successful Black Friday.
1 – Publicize Your Deals
Shoppers won’t just assume you’re running a Black Friday sale — and if you don’t tell them, they definitely won’t know what kinds of deals and promotions you’re offering.
If you aren’t already, you need to be advertising your Black Friday deals — both running up to the event and on the day itself. This is the best way to ensure your shoppers and customers know what you’re offering and the kind of money they can save.
Your competitors are almost certainly advertising their deals already. Make sure to publicize the kinds of discounts you’re offering, or risk your shoppers turning to other retailers.
Be sure to include incentives that you offer — like free shipping and gift wrapping services — in your site’s graphic design and advertising, as well as your store windows. These offerings don’t need to be front and center, but a little note can be huge in securing shoppers who are on the fence.
Free delivery is one of the most important incentives for online shoppers — if not the most important overall. Even small considerations like free or low-price shipping can make a huge difference — but only if they’re properly advertised.
2 – Organize Your Storefronts
Create a special Black Friday version of your website and put the best and biggest deals front and center. Large banner images on the front page can immediately draw the eye of browsers, while front-page gift guides can help keep shoppers from feeling overwhelmed by a large selection of deals and offers.
Ensure your overall website and storefront is organized with clear categories and offers search features that let users sort by price, reviews and features.
Brick-and-mortar retailers follow a similar strategy by putting up placards and posters that advertise the biggest price cuts and offers.
3 – Test Your Site’s Performance
On Black Friday, and Cyber Monday too, your website will likely be under more strain than at any other point in the year. Downtime can cost you in terms of lost sales and also in damaged reputation and customer trust. If customers don’t expect your website to be up when they need it, they’ll turn to competitors whose websites stayed online.
There are different tools that you can use to stress test your website and find out how much load it will be able to handle. If your website doesn’t look like it will be able to handle the number of customers you expect to visit on Black Friday, you may need to contact your site’s host or otherwise prepare for an elevated number of visitors.
4 – Prepare for Mobile Users
Now more than ever, the majority of online traffic is coming from mobile devices — not desktops. If your website isn’t optimized for mobile users, and is difficult or unpleasant to navigate on mobile devices, you could easily lose out on large numbers of potential customers.
The longer your page takes to load, the more likely customers are to bounce — especially when building for mobile devices, as mobile websites tend to take longer to load than their desktop counterparts.
Build your website to include responsive mobile design and make sure that it’s quick to load on mobile devices. Aim for a load time of three seconds or less.
You should also make sure the checkout process on mobile is as easy as on desktop.
5 – Keep Up the Momentum
Even after Black Friday has passed and your sales have wrapped up, there are still ways to keep securing conversions. Online, follow up on abandoned carts with emails and special offers. In-store and online, consider extending your promotions through the beginning of December and the rest of the holiday season if you want to try securing additional customers who might have missed your original sales.
Be sure to follow up with new customers — clever email marketing can easily turn a Black Friday shopper into a repeat customer.
Also, make sure you’re doing everything you can to fulfill Black Friday orders. If you handle all of your own packaging and shipping, prepare yourself for the logistics of serving more customers than at any other time of the year. Be sure you have the right packaging and shipping equipment to meet shipping and gift wrapping demand.
Strive as hard as you can to avoid late deliveries and missing packages — this is one of the worst times of the year to miss a delivery, just because of how close Black Friday is to Christmas. A delayed package could easily be a huge problem for some customers.
Getting the Most Out of Black Friday
Black Friday is a huge opportunity for retailers, which means it’s important that a brand’s brick-and-mortar and online stores are as optimized as possible to secure holiday sales. Ensuring your site and stores are optimized for mobile users and organized for the holiday can help secure your audience of shoppers and keep them from navigating away or getting overwhelmed.
About the writer: Kayla Matthews is a technology journalist and retail tech writer covering big data, AI and real-time monitoring in the retail industry. To read more posts from Kayla, visit her blog, Productivity Bytes. Follower her on Twitter @KaylaEMatthews.
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