Black Friday is a staple shopping day for customers worldwide, and the day kicks off the holiday season. For many years, Black Friday was an in-person event with videos of excited mobs rushing into stores to grab the best deals on limited stock, but those days might be behind us now. Customers are waking up to refresh web pages rather than camp out in front of stores. The shopping experience has mostly gone digital, and Black Friday is no exception.
To prepare for Black Friday, you should be prepping your website and online capacity rather than your store layout. Preparing for Black Friday this year might be different from years past, so here is a strategy guide to get your eCommerce store ready for the rush of customers this Black Friday.
Before you can go about preparing your website, you must fully understand where your site currently stands. Now is the best time to conduct a full website audit to find any weak points or forgotten issues before you stack Black Friday improvement on top. Creating a solid foundation is critical to building an online store that can withstand substantial traffic rushes. Use website data to identify specific pages that could be causing issues for customers and find ways to troubleshoot those problems. Broken links, external errors, load times, and more should be tested and fixed before you start adding new features. A website audit should also include an inventory count to make sure you have stock before you begin offering attractive discounts. All discount codes should also be individually tested to ensure customers do not encounter issues at checkout.
Once your website is stable and errors have been worked out, you should go through your website again but look at it through a customer’s eyes. See if there are confusing pages that could be clearer to customers, so they are more appropriately guided to their intended destination. Adding a chatbot is a popular idea that customers enjoy and is easy to implement. Chatbots let your website help customers for you, so your support staff can focus on more complex customer service issues.
Be sure to have email and phone support available for customers; Black Friday brings more sales than usual, but with more sales comes more support issues. Do not assume everything will go perfectly and have a plan for customer issues before they arrive.
People eat with the eyes first, and the same rule applies to shopping. Use the best deals you can muster to attract customers and then wow them with your beautiful website. Use direct response marketing, social media promotion, email blasts, and even traditional mailers to get the word out about your fantastic deals, but be prepared to live up to your offers and reputation when Black Friday starts. Do not ever offer a deal you cannot fulfill with 100% certainty. Offering a deal that it turns out customers cannot take advantage of will cause far more damage than providing a slightly lower deal every could. You do not need to offer the lowest prices; offer the specials and discounts that your unique business can afford.
However, offering the best deals is not always enough, and customers have come to expect more. Web design standards have come a long way, and outdated site design can be a warning flag for customers. If you don’t care enough to keep your website modern, why should customers trust you with their money. You can even incorporate your stellar deals into your web design by instantly showing or highlighting deals when a customer arrives at your home page.
Checkout is the final stage before a purchase is confirmed, but a decent percentage of customers walk away at checkout for various reasons. Unexpected shipping costs are one of the most common reasons customers walk away; it is worth offering free shipping just to ensure more sales finalize during the Black Friday rush as you don’t want to lose out on a big order because a customer didn’t want to pay exorbitant shipping fees. Customers also do not want to stop and create an account mid checkout. The customer data might be nice to collect, but it is not more valuable than a conversion. Take out as many steps as possible to make checkout the most uncomplicated process you can.
Black Friday is a massive day for the shopping world. Online retailers must prepare for the influx of traffic that kicks off the holiday shopping season. Ensure your website is sturdy and up to the task before you add new features. Go through your website with a customer’s eyes to make the shopping experience as pleasant and smooth as possible. Use attractive deals and web design to pull customers in, but put your money where your mouth is and follow through on your promises. Make checkout as streamlined as possible, so customers have no reason to walk away at the last second. With all these suggestions, your website will be ready for Black Friday and beyond.