With the holiday season fast approaching many are counting down the weeks until it’s time to dig out the decorations and enjoy nights by the fire with their feet up, cradling a steaming cup of mulled wine. Those within the e-commerce industry however are gearing up for the first wave of the busiest period in the retail calendar!
Black Friday marks the day after the American holiday of Thanksgiving and has been considered the first day of the Christmas shopping season since the early 1950s. For the history buffs amongst you, the term is thought to have been first used to describe the hectic traffic on this day in the 1960s, but it is also considered to represent the point at which many retailers rely on the holiday season taking them from being “in the red” to “in the black” as they turn over a profit!
Having first gained its momentum in the US, Black Friday has gradually become an established marketing concept around the world. Despite being associated with an unmatched retail frenzy, (crowds of shoppers camping outside stores and scrapping with one another in pursuit of the best bargains), e-commerce retailers can thankfully enjoy the benefit of a great boom in sales without any tug-of-war incidents!
Great preparation in the run up to Black Friday is crucial if you are to maximise your potential and profits. With this in mind we are here to help you cover your bases with some useful pointers, helping you to prepare efficiently in the run up to Black Friday on November 23rd 2018.
Would your website cope with a surge in traffic?
When a website crashes or fails to load, shoppers can lose interest very quickly, resulting in abandoned carts and missed sales opportunities. Is the server your site is hosted on up to the job and able to handle the demand of simultaneous requests? Are your images optimised? Do you need to look at compressing some of your files?
Work with your website host to be certain that your website is ready for an increase in visitors and if necessary, additional tools such as caching plugins or content delivery networks can be utilised to lighten the load on your host’s server. Click here to run a free test to check the server load of your website.
Drive sales with a well planned marketing campaign
An increase in sales is ultimately the result of having your brand at the front of potential customer’s minds. Begin your online marketing campaign well in advance offering teasers or sneak peeks of what will be on offer and kick things up a gear by using a great tool like Mailchimp to coordinate your campaign. Tell a story, and use enticing images and varied, interesting content to avoid bombarding customers with the kind of repetition that could impact negatively and drive them to filter out your presence.
Send reminders of the upcoming event and consider offering your email or social network subscriber’s access to exclusive offers or contests. The goal here is to create a buzz!
Responsive Web Design
Test your website stands up across different formats. Approximately a quarter of all online purchases are now made on mobile devices and that number is growing. Making sure that your site is responsive, allowing users to navigate all areas seamlessly from whatever device they are using is essential.
Prepare for the unexpected
We all aspire to developing a strong base of customers who will return again and again. Being able to meet demand whilst maintaining the highest standards will result in happy customers this holiday season, and this important element of your customer service will help in building your reputation for the future and driving customer retention.
It is wise to consider your plan B for unexpected situations that can arise. What will you do if your usual shipping company is unable to keep up with your demand? Ensure you have adequate stock and materials in place and assess how quickly you will be able to restock if you sell out faster than you anticipated.
Reduce abandoned carts
Extensive choice online, coupled with busy lives away from screens means that online shoppers can be notoriously hesitant or indecisive. This is more common than ever during peak times such as Black Friday. Have you considered utilising targeted abandoned cart emails to help you to draw some of these customers back in? A compelling email to encourage a potential customer to return and complete their purchase could help you to secure a sale that might otherwise have slipped away.
Focus on your customer service
Fostering confidence in your brand is one of the most valuable strategies in your e-commerce toolbox. Delivering outstanding customer service will encourage return customers and help you to generate the kind of shining reviews that will entice others to your products and services. Set yourself up for success by making sure your website is easy to navigate and understand. Build easily digestible content for your information pages and FAQs and give careful consideration to how you will manage an increase in customer queries. You need to be prepared to respond quickly and demonstrate that you care about your customers. Even in the event that something should go wrong, your brilliant customer care can turn a potentially negative customer experience into a positive one. A responsive and friendly service will always set you apart from the competition!