How to Prepare Your E-Commerce Site for Black Friday Season
For many of us, 2022 has whizzed by faster than a toupee in a tornado. With the holiday season just around the corner, many e-commerce businesses are already planning away (or at least should be) to take advantage of the busiest shopping time of year.
With 2021 Black Friday online sales reaching $8.9 billion, it’s safe to say that many retailers depend on this time of year for their overall annual revenue. For e-commerce stores, finding ways to stand out amongst the digital shopping crowd is more important than ever. US online sales are predicted to grow by over 15%, with millions of shoppers hitting the internet to find the best Black Friday promotions they can. The reality is, however, that it’s going to take more than enticing discounts to keep consumers from browsing—and ultimately buying—elsewhere.
So, how can you prepare your e-commerce site this peak season to attain the highest revenue possible? Here are 10 strategies to get your site ready for Black Friday shopping and the holiday season.
Your Peak Season E-Commerce Preparation Checklist
1. Start planning ASAP.
When it comes to business, every opportunity counts. Black Friday kicks off immediately after Thanksgiving and is one of many shopping days to reel in revenue. The key is to plan early.
For retailers, it’s never too early to start planning for Cyber Week. This includes everything from deciding what deals to offer, getting your advertising in order, confirming your inventory is stocked and ready, and making sure your site provides a seamless shopping experience (more tips on that later).
You’ll also want to start getting the word out to your customers. This can be achieved in a few ways (again, more on that later in the checklist), including adding teaser copy to your e-commerce site’s home page to build anticipation for eager shoppers.
Related: Performance Review: Peak Season 2021
2. Improve your site’s performance.
Black Friday is all about the excitement of scoring a great deal, and nothing kills that buzz faster than a slow-functioning website.
Online shoppers aren’t exactly known for their patience. In fact, 53% will leave a site if it takes longer than three seconds for a page to load. For every extra second it takes for a page to load, the more website traffic will bounce, which will affect your overall number of conversions. The faster your website speed, the higher the sales, so analyze the page load times for every section on your site. This can be done through simple-to-use tools like Google Lighthouse or Google Page Speed Insights that perform load testing to determine visit numbers and traffic patterns.
Tip: Optimize the pages that get the most visitors first, so they’re ready to go, in case you run short on time.
3. Simplify your website’s navigation.
While having a speedy site is paramount to keeping Black Friday shoppers happy, it also needs to be easy to steer through.
If shoppers feel like they need to dig 12 pages deep to find what they're looking for, they’re not going to stick around. Your best bet? Highlight Black Friday/Cyber Monday promotions on your home page, with links to various pages, depending on the product category or offer. This will eliminate the need to search for deals, and appeal to the 88% of shoppers who won’t return to a site after a bad user experience.
4. Optimize your site for mobile users.
It can be easy to forget that nearly 73% of e-commerce shoppers use their phones for online purchases, but with numbers that high, ensuring your website performs well for mobile shoppers is crucial for making all those peak-season sales.
When using website optimization tools to test your site for mobile friendliness, focus on:
- Ensuring your page load speed is as fast as possible
- Implementing a responsive design
- Laying out content in a way that is easy to navigate
- Minimizing pop-ups that disrupt the shopper experience
- Utilizing tap-friendly buttons
- Simplifying the checkout process
If it makes sense for your online store, consider creating an app, which lays out content specifically for mobile users.
5. Enhance your product pages.
Product pages are crucial to getting shoppers to want what you have to sell. And during a busy time like Black Friday, when everyone is competing for shoppers’ attention, making sure your pages tell a story your customers want a role in, is essential in getting those sales.
To attract peak season shoppers, include the following on each product page:
- Product details that accurately describe each item
- SEO keywords that raise your search ranks
- Quality images and other multimedia that showcase each item
- Urgency messaging that compels shoppers to buy
- Social proof, like product ratings or reviews for added credibility
Tip: Let shoppers know when an item is low in stock to give them the extra push they may need in order to make the purchase before the item sells out.
6. Add a personal touch.
Everyone likes to feel special, and the same can definitely be said for online shoppers. A 2021 study found that 66% of customers expect companies to understand their needs and expectations. For e-commerce stores, this means upping your personalization game to boost Black Friday sales.
Personalization can come in many forms, so figure out what works best for you, and then build your strategy around those tactics. For instance, you may want to offer various deals to various customers, based on their buying behaviors. This information can come from machine learning technology (like Granify) that collects hundreds of behavioral data points each second, per shopper. This can result in a much higher conversion rate and a significantly lower cart abandonment rate because your messaging will be customized to each shopper’s unique wants and needs.
Tip: Cross-sell with personalized product recommendations that are based on what other customers bought in addition to the product the shopper is viewing.
7. Streamline your checkout process.
Your online shoppers have filled their carts with lots of popular Black Friday deals and are ready to pay – only to be bogged down by the world’s longest checkout ever.
27% of shoppers will ditch their cart items if the checkout process is too complicated. This translates to lost sales and customers, who have now turned to your competition. On days like Black Friday, it’s imperative to keep your checkout process as efficient as possible. What does this mean exactly?
- Consolidating your checkout info to just one page
- Allowing guest checkout
- Including shipping and delivery details
- Offering multiple payment options
- Enabling multi-recipient capabilities
- Eliminating the need for repeat information
Related: 11 Common Reasons for Shopping Cart Abandonment
8. Create an email marketing strategy.
Nowadays, consumers don’t mind getting reminders about upcoming sales or deals. A recent study found that 59% of people say marketing emails influence their purchases. Not only does this open the door to engaging with your customers more, but it also greatly increases the likelihood of website visitors completing your desired actions.
The best ways to use email and SMS campaigns for the Black Friday peak season?
- Email or text existing subscribers early Black Friday teasers that pique curiosity.
- To generate a sense of urgency, send updates about current deals that are selling out fast.
- Set up an abandoned cart email that goes out to anyone who left items in their shopping cart.
Tip: Make sure your web pages include a call-to-action inviting shoppers to sign up for your newsletter for exclusive offers and early invitations to sales and other appealing incentives.
9. Take advantage of social media.
Social media is a wonderful way to engage with your audience and entice them to buy. According to Sprout Social, Black Friday posts see a 988.5% increase in total engagement and a 1301.7% increase in comments in November. And it doesn’t look like anything will be different this year.
This Black Friday, use your social media to let potential shoppers know about your upcoming deals. Whether it’s through paid ads, organic posts, or a combination of both, make sure to include appealing images and a link that drives them back to a Black Friday landing page. You can even post teasers of what’s to come or a countdown clock so they know exactly when your sales start.
10. Appeal to cart abandoners.
There are a lot of reasons why people decide to ditch their carts – from slow page load times to frustrating checkouts, to simply being indecisive. Whatever the reason, your job is to give back Friday shoppers a reason to buy.
What’s the best way to change their minds? Get them while they’re still on your site. Use non-invasive pop-ups that appear whenever a shopper with cart items tries to leave without making a purchase. Include an incentive to buy, such as urgency messaging or even a slightly higher, limited-time Black Friday discount code.
If a shopper has already left your site, send them an email as we suggested in Tip #8. Studies show that 50% of users who clicked on emails ended up completing their purchase.
That’s a Wrap
You’ve seen the stats, you’ve reviewed the strategies, and now it’s time to get started! Black Friday is a huge opportunity to gain more customers and a lot more revenue. By preparing early, you’ll be setting yourself up for a smoother execution when the clock strikes SALE.
Use this checklist to start planning now, and remember, Black Friday is about more than great deals. Having a high-functioning site with engaging content, well-thought-out product pages, personalized offers, a simplified checkout, and a cart abandonment strategy, are all necessary to maximize your revenue this peak season—and beyond.
Get Your Site Ready for Peak Season
Granify’s experts know a thing or two about revenue and conversion optimization for e-commerce sites—not just for Black Friday, but all year round. Book your free consultation today to learn how you can start improving your conversion funnel.
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