Black Friday 2019 – Is your e-commerce store ready?
Black Friday is the most popular shopping day of Thanksgiving Weekend with about 14.8 million online sales processed that day. Consumers have many different ways to shop, both in-store and online, however, online sales have drastically increased over the past few years compared to in-store sales. It is predicted by BlackFriday.com that the 2019 Black Friday online sales will surpass $12 billion this year. With that said, are you ready for Black Friday?
Getting your site ready for Black Friday is crucial if you want to be profitable during this time. One of the biggest situations during this time, for large companies as well, is your website not being able to take on the spike in traffic during this day or your site speed significantly being decreased due to the increase in traffic. Messages like “we’re currently experiencing a very high volume of visitors to our website” or “sorry, we need a moment” is something no customer wants to read when trying to purchase something online. It’s crucial to have your website and server ready for the increase in traffic on Black Friday.
Black Friday Checklist: Prepare Your Store
Here are a few ways to ensure your site is ready for the increased traffic on Black Friday:
Step 1: Plan Early!
Why is it important to plan early? Because your customers are doing that! Customers know that by the end of the year, the last quarter is when the biggest and best deals are coming. Customers start researching as early as October for websites and products that they wish to purchase on Black Friday. You should be going into the holiday season with:
- An intuitive user experience
- Seamless checkout experience (with multiple payment methods)
- High level of mobile functionality
The last point, mobile functionality, is not just important for Black Friday but it’s important all year round. Statistically, there are more searches on mobile than desktop and just in 2018, 67% of online sales came from mobile devices.
You should also be ready to increase customer service for your e-commerce store, the last thing you want is to be flooded with questions and not have any time to reply back to them. Efficiency is key when trying to make the most profit during Black Friday.
Step 2: Website Speed
With the holiday season already being busy, the last thing you want is a customer leaving your website because it doesn’t load fast enough. Website speed is crucial during the holiday season, as it has been mentioned by some customers that they will never return to a slow website. Slow websites are considered unreliable and not secure and therefore you must ensure your website is running as fast as possible. BigCommerce has introduced Akamai to help optimize images across your site to ensure it is running fast. There is a 70% improvement in site load times with the help of Akamai.
Step 3: Always be up!
Downtime is the worst thing that you can do during Black Friday or even just during the holiday season. If your site is down for any reason you are losing customers and there is a high likelihood that those customers will never return to your website again. You can test your server load capacity of your store with tools like Loadimpact.com or Blitz.io.
Top Marketing Secrets for Maximum Sales
Get Started Early and Advertise
Black Friday Shopping doesn’t start on Black Friday, customers are starting early and looking for what is out on the market weeks before Black Friday. As a business, you should be promoting your products weeks before Black Friday in order to get in front of the eyes of consumers and get them excited about your sales coming up. Promote deals, giveaways, and discounts in the few weeks leading up to Black Friday as this will help them remember you and actually purchase from you.
Also, by advertising early you can get a list of followers that have visited your website, regardless if they have bought something or not. Then with Facebook advertising, you can retarget the customers that haven’t purchased anything and run ads to them promoting your latest discounts. This will have a high ROI because that customer is familiar with your website and therefore if they see your ad again they will be more likely to click it and actually purchase something from your store.
Shoppers are always trying to find the best and cheapest deals and because of this, they might visit multiple different online stores before actually purchasing a product. They are trying to find the best deal and this can be a problem unless you have something that creates urgency for them to purchase from your store immediately. Having a timer (saying this sales ends in x hours/minutes) will create the urgency needed for customers to purchase a product from your store immediately. You can use tools like Beeketing to create a countdown timer on your website to create that urgency feeling.
Data is the Key
Data is everything when you are trying to grow and get more sales, especially with digital marketing. Knowing how many people clicked your ad, how many people visited your store and how many purchases you got from a certain number of visitors is crucial data that you must keep track of in order to build your online store. Implementing tracking software like Google Analytics and heatmaps from sites like Hotjar, are crucial in order to understand and collect data about your customers and what products they like and what parts of your website are visited the most, etc.
If you already have these programs installed and implemented on your website, now it is the time to look over that data and see what can be improved. How can you optimize your website to get more sales? What are products that catch the attention of consumers? Collecting data is important, but analyzing the data and implementing changes to your website based on that information is the factor that is hard but the only thing that can create change and increase sales for your business.