Black Friday- also known worldwide as one of the biggest shopping days of the year. Not only in store, but now this craze has entered eCommerce to form a whole weekend of sales ending on Cyber Monday. Last year, the UK saw a total £1.23bn come from sales on Black Friday alone. That’s the highest we’ve ever seen, and it’s projected for continual growth.
Looking at our own insights over the years, we’ve gathered some considerable data that’s helped prepare us for the influx of shoppers coming to the platform. Here are a few of the things we’ve learnt, and some tips to help you prepare your online shop for the big weekend.
Gathering your past data
Use data from previous Black Fridays to get a good understanding into what you can expect. By comparing traffic and revenue from previous years, you can spot trends and set predictions. It’s never too soon to start preparing your frontend site and backend management.
At blubolt, we’ve seen a year-on-year increase in traffic across our platform, a rise that we predict will continue this year. From this information, we know we must ensure greater redundancy in our infrastructure in preparation for the high volume of traffic.
Individual retailers can also adjust their sites and potentially increase revenue by using past data. For example, they might increase reductions from 15% for 2 days to 25% for 3 days, safely knowing the can handle more traffic and sales.
Make sure your site can handle it
Now you know how much traffic you can expect, make sure your site speed is performing at it’s peak this weekend. A slow site or one that encounters downtime, is among the top 10 reasons customers abandon their shopping cart, which can seriously affect your sales.
Make sure you test your servers load capacity frequently before the weekend, checking site speed ready for the hit in traffic. For some retailers, it’s the job of your service provider to ensure you have enough capacity, which is exactly what we do for our customers at blubolt.
By monitoring and testing our platform, bluCommerce, we’ve ensured zero downtime for the last 3 peak Christmas periods. We’ve also introduced Dashboards throughout our office to make monitoring and statistics more visible and engaging for our wider team!
Spread the word
In the weeks leading up to Black Friday, start driving interest through as many channels as possible. Use email and social media campaigns to emphasis the “amazing offers” you’ll have that weekend. This is a great way to connect with your existing customers as well as spark interest from new ones.
When customers do enter your site ready for the sales, make sure you’ve created a dedicated landing page devoted entirely to your Black Friday deals. A page they can easily reach through clear instructions or a banner on the homepage.
Pay attention to service
An increase in customer queries is to be expected around this time, so it’s vital you have a plan in place to ensure a flawless customer experience, even during this busy time.
Prepare for an influx of calls and emails during this weekend and adjust your customer service capacity accordingly. If you have the resources, consider implementing Live Chat onto your site for faster responses.
Or reduce the need to for interaction all together by providing customers with the answers before they inquire. For example, make holiday shipping details clearly defined at checkout, as well as on transactional emails, in case there are any changes around this time.
Delivery and returns
Surging web orders around this time are going to put a strain on retailers fulfilment and added pressure on shipping companies. If this results in any increases to price or delivery time, make sure you’re transparent with your customers. If you’re keeping them the same or offering quicker, cheaper delivery, make sure you’ve got enough staff in your warehouses and that your dispatch systems can cope with the rise in orders.
The same idea goes for returns. People will be spending more frivolously during this weekend, so be prepared for a potential spike in returns.
Prepare for the hit BEFORE Friday
You’ll be advertising this sales for weeks leading up to it. So although you’re likely to see the majority of your sessions occur during the weekend, you should be prepare for the influx of traffic to begin even earlier.
Looking at data from our platform, in 2016 we saw a 52% increase in revenue the Thursday before Black Friday, compared to previous years. In fact, that year the spike in sales was higher than Black Friday and Cyber Monday. One blubolt retailer saw an incredible 393% increase on that Thursday alone.
You should be setting up discounts and other page content before the Black Friday weekend. That way you can time them be available, but only during the sale period. Having this prepared, along with everything else mentioned, will get you ready for eager shoppers entering your site.
If you’d like to hear more about our platform, how we’re preparing for this year’s Black Friday and what we can do for your online shop, get in contact with us today.