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    How To Prepare Your Ecommerce Store for Black Friday 2020

    Prepare Your Ecommerce Store for Black Friday

    2020 is a year that’ll be remembered for ages. The COVID-19 situation has undoubtedly caused a shift in consumer behavior. The current day situation has made ecommerce retailers rethink their Black Friday marketing strategies. With social distancing being implemented and practiced, having a robust business plan and a user-friendly ecommerce platform is both necessary and essential for retailers.

    The following blog post will guide you through strategizing and strengthening your ecommerce platform. This will automatically give you an edge over your direct competitors and help you stay ahead of the latest trends. 

    Set Up Your Black Friday Ecommerce Strategy

    First things first, you’ll have to pick an ecommerce platform that meets your business needs. After selecting the online solution, you can figure out the layout and improve the overall user experience. Make sure your users can easily navigate through your product pages and that your links work. Above all, ensure that you do the website’s load testing to prevent crashing due to traffic and avoid common mistakes in ecommerce SEO.

    Next, you’ll need to divert your attention to the other aspects of building a robust Black Friday ecommerce strategy. 

    Optimize Your Ecommerce Website

    The very first thing that you need to do is optimize your website for an enhanced user experience. You need to run multiple tests to ensure that your online store loads quickly and that all the navigation elements are responsive and can easily adapt to all devices, be it mobile phones, desktops, or tablets.

    Here are the areas that you need to optimize:

    1. Check the shopping funnel. Choose an ecommerce platform that allows you to edit and customize the shopping funnel easily. A buyer goes through multiple points before ordering. Therefore, you should optimize all the pages leading to the shopping funnel by keeping the user behavior in mind

     Users should be able to navigate through your product pages with ease and find their way around the platform without any hassles. Make sure to test and adhere to multiple interactive elements and test all links. Perform multiple load tests for your website to test its traffic threshold 

    1. Backup all data. Having a backup of all the data and the entire ecommerce platform is necessary and essential. Your site can go down at any possible time due to multiple visits from users. Your website can go past its traffic threshold and potentially go down, losing all data; thus, it’s good to back up all the data and even allocate a few backup businesses accounts in case of any failure

    It could potentially take a few days to get your original account back, and you can't afford to waste any time during Black Friday. So, keeping backup business accounts will help you out in the long run

    1. Optimize page speed. Optimization of your website’s pages’ speed and fluidity is essential to run a user-friendly ecommerce website. Various multiple elements can potentially affect the site's pace, and they need to be optimized to help with the load time of the page. Some of the features are bandwidth, multimedia elements, and hosting

    Replacing your web host can easily consume too much time. Therefore, you’ll need to get yourself a head start on finding out and figuring out the areas and elements where your website potentially needs support and extra attention before Black Friday

    1. Review payment gateways. Be sure to implement the most-used and standard payment methods and check their working capacity. Add e-wallets that people are most comfortable with. This allows customers to quickly set up their payment methods by linking their wallets and making their purchases without a hassle

    Financing payment methods can also rope in some customers, increasing overall sales. When buyers feel comfortable with the payment process and the checkout process, they’re more likely to come back and purchase more. This paves the path for extended brand loyalty

    1. Optimize shipping. Offering free of cost shipping is a tried-and-tested way to garner more traffic and earn return back users. However, if you project your initial shipping period to extend due to a large number of orders, kindly bring it to the users' notice to avoid any form of disappointment

    Do consider the possibility of including a promotion to bring down the cost of shipping during this phase as it can be a deal-breaker for the users. As a retailer, you don’t want to miss golden deals and repeat customers due to marginal shipping charges

    1. Make sure to be mobile-friendly. Mobile-friendly ecommerce is booming more than ever. With more and more users opting for purchases via mobile apps, it has become extremely important for retailers to ensure that their website is responsive and adaptive to all sizes of mobile devices. Another good way to engage the mobile-centric audience is by creating an app for your online store

    For instance, retailers on Shopify can easily create an app to promote their Shopify Black Friday deals. Above all, you need to test the load times of your mobile-friendly website as there have been studies proving that a longer loading time forces users to halt their shopping and abandon the mobile site

    Optimize Your Offer

    Once you’ve optimized the technical and visual aspects, it’s time to start focusing on the offers you’d like to promote. Keep in mind that you aren’t the only retailer trying to promote Black Friday deals; hence, you need to come up with optimized offers meant for your customers. Personalization and recommendations go hand-in-hand, so you need to invest time to research and learn what your customers are attracted to.

    Listed below are the areas that you need to optimize for better results:

    1. Optimize images and descriptions of your products. Optimize the product image and descriptions of the products on your ecommerce platform, not just to captivate users but to get an extra push on your SEO effort. Optimized images will lower the website’s load time, which in turn will put a brake on the bounce rates. Likewise, well-written and search engine optimized product descriptions will help your products rank better on search results

    It’s a good idea to add frequently used keywords in your product description to drive more traffic. Highlight the product descriptions clearly on your website. Your users need to know what the products are about and should be able to find them with ease. Make sure the visual images are engaging and captivating. This will bring in users and allow them to explore your pages and push them further into your sales funnel

    1. Align availability with expected demand. Black Friday ecommerce campaigns create the perfect opportunity for retailers to make extra sales than usual due to the significant surge in user targeted traffic. To meet the increase of orders, you need to make sure that your inventory is well-stocked for the demand

    If some items are out of stock, you should mention it on your website. To make the most of your sales campaigns, you need to maintain the right balance between availability and demand

    1. Consider preparing sets and packages. Make up your own sets of products. Combine multiple counts of a single product and offer discounts to sell more of that particular item. This can catch the eyes of the users. Making gift packages will also increase your overall order value as your customer will be more likely to buy more

    You can also try combining products that compliment or supplement each other in a single package and offer it at a lower price than what they’d originally cost. In simpler terms, Black Friday is the right opportunity to increase sales of slow-moving inventory by adequately planning your upselling and cross-selling tactics

    1. Set up a discount. Nothing cracks a deal better than bargains. If you’re running online campaigns to increase sales, you must display discounts and offers across all online channels. Create an individual discount landing page that’ll automatically link all the products that feature in the black Friday deals

    You can push notifications through a mobile application for users to get alerts on updated price ranges. You can also engage your customers to play simple games to win coupons and discounts. Additionally, you can create and share loyalty as well as referral discounts to existing users via email campaigns. The idea is to make sure that the customers are well aware of the discounts, giveaways, and offers

    1. Don’t forget to add some extras. Consider incentivizing your customers. This helps with creating long-term relationships and paves a path for repeat sales. Moreover, freebies attract everyone. Free stuff can attract the interest of customers, especially when it’s personalized and adds value. A good idea is to offer gifts that complement the main product 

    Build Your Black Friday Marketing Strategy

    There’s no doubt that Black Friday is one of the biggest opportunities for retailers to boost sales. This busiest shopping day of the year is always studded with many brands coming up with discounts and sales that are available only for the day. 

    If you follow certain strategies and plan the execution of the same in the best way possible, you can get your business booming in a single day. Here are some tried-and-tested techniques that you can try.

    Cross-Selling

    Cross-selling is one of the best strategies which has proved very effective over time. You can either suggest a secondary product or add-on that usually goes with the main product. To do so, you can either use existing inventory items (preferably the slow-moving stock) or tie-up with another retailer, thus making the buyer get both products simultaneously.

    This, in general, turns out to be a good deal for the customer as well as the seller. Using this tactic, you’ll be trying to sell existing customers products that complement or supplement their previous purchases. 

    While trying to adapt to this idea, you should be clear that you aren’t upselling. For instance, an electronic retailer suggesting the customer get a memory card alongside the digital camera is cross-selling. On the other hand, trying to get the customer to buy a higher-priced model of the previous purchase or current selection is upselling.

    Pop-Ups And Design

    Pop-ups are one of the best optimization tools you can use to guide visitors, increase sales, and get more prospective buyers. You need to match the pop-ups to your website’s theme while ensuring that they’re visually engaging. You can change all the pop-ups and ads that show up on the user's devices with the Black Friday sale label on it. 

    It’s a good idea to time the pop-ups according to user behavior. Place them on your website’s homepage, product pages, shopping carts, and other areas with a higher bounce rate. Apart from this, focus on launching new collections or switching up designs depending on the season.

    The clothing industry is the most profitable of all when it comes to launching seasonal and festive collections for marketing. The collection, due to its exclusivity, gets immediately sold out. Any line of business can adopt this strategy and be creative with it. 

    Email Marketing Campaigns

    Ecommerce email marketing is still one of the best ways to get in touch with customers. Regular mailing lists should be made more festive and focused on sales to spike interest in customers. To get your campaign more reach, you can start by personalizing your messages. If someone is addressed by their name, there’s more chance the user opens the mail. Use catchy subject lines, and keep the email’s body short and simple. 

    Most importantly, don’t send out e-messages without segmenting the recipients. Create separate lists of customers based on their buyer persona, habits, preferences, demographic. Additionally, run A/B tests and check if your emails are responsive and compatible with mobile devices. 

    Social Media

    There’s a lot you can do on social media. From running personalized hashtags, organizing events, visual CTAs, to paid ad campaigns, you can use one or more social media platforms to connect to a larger audience and promote your store’s Black Friday deals. If you have the budget, you can also include collaborations and influencers to increase your brand’s reach, generate higher click-through rates, and ultimately more sales.

    Push Notifications

    Push notifications are a great way of advertising. To do this, you have to start with what the user has viewed on your website. If the viewer went through your website for some time, it means they’ll value your notification when it pops up on their screen.

    Make sure you have customized what the buyer requires while sending him the notifications. You can find this by finding the buyer's journey, usually from the Google Analytics dashboard. Categorizing unique and custom buyer habits will help curate the best push notifications for your website’s visitors. Switch your push notifications to include information on order tracking, price drops, and more exclusive deals to engage more customers.

    Black Friday Checklist - Make Sure You’re Ready

    To get the most out of your efforts, make sure you’ve checked-off the below from your Black Friday checklist:

    • Review your store’s inventory
    • Segment your target audience
    • Plan your campaign
    • Project and calculate the discounts you’ll be offering
    • Sort the shipment and delivery channels
    • Create buzz and hype across online channels
    • Market and advertise your products
    • Optimize your website and sales channels
    • Run A/B tests and load tests before Black Friday
    • Create dedicated landing pages for your campaigns
    • Add CTAs and pop-ups to your website
    • Enhance the overall user experience (UX) of your website

    Bottom Line

    Black Friday is considered to be the beginning of the holiday shopping season. With the right preparations and well-planned campaigns, you’ll be able to take advantage of the season and build a loyal customer base as well as increase your overall ecommerce sales. 

    Use the tips listed here to create a friendly shopping experience and gain the trust of your customers. Plan ahead and be aware of the trends and demands to make the best out of the holiday season and the upcoming festivities.