Don’t miss out on your biggest revenue opportunity of the year – avoid these 8 eCommerce pitfalls for a record-breaking Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
The biggest shopping days of the year, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, are just around the corner.
Much like their brick and mortar counterparts, online stores can expect a huge influx of customers and for their products to fly off the shelves. In fact, the demand is so high that the period between Black Friday and Christmas could represent 30% of an online store’s annual sales.
That’s nearly a third of your revenue made in a one month period. Needless to say, it’s a period you want to be prepared for.
But this isn’t like the seasonal changes brought on by any other holiday. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are in a league all their own. They’re an eCommerce perfect storm, and if you’re not prepared, they could sink your store.
With that in mind, here are a few things to avoid to ensure your online store not only survives this turbulent period but that it comes out the other end with an incredible conversion rate.
Black Friday is the biggest sales event of the year. Last year in the US, ecommerce Black Friday sales reached 1.5 billion USD. Those sort of sales isn’t generated by happenstance browsers making impulsive purchases.
That means you should already have a campaign in place. If you haven’t, then today is the day to start.
Don’t Assume Shoppers will Buy
Black Friday doesn’t guarantee an astronomical increase in sales.
Sure there are more people online looking for a great deal, but there’s also a huge increase in your competition. Every online retailer will roll out a campaign specific to Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
As it gets closer to the 27th your competition is going to ramp up their efforts, making it difficult for you to cut through the noise and get noticed. This is especially true if you’ve not yet taken heed of point one on this list.
Preparedness for Black Friday doesn’t begin and end with a fluid purchase journey. the most successful sites start their promotional campaigns weeks before the day itself hits.
You can’t guarantee users will buy from you, but you can increase the chances by building a little buzz. Start utilising some old-fashioned promotional tactics to get your prospects excited.
- Ensure your current and past customers know what deals you offer through a build up email campaign
- Use promo banners and Adword campaigns to build buzz and attract new customers
- Offer sneak peaks of the deals or products you’re offering
Start gaining momentum now. Success on Black Friday isn’t just about having a well optimised experience, it equally depends on your ability to stand out from the crowd. The competition at this time of year is fierce, start building desire now to give yourself the best chance.
Don’t Assume Your Site Can Handle the Strain
An assumption is the mother of all… Well, you know how the saying goes.
The traffic levels ecommerce sites experience over this period is huge. Every year in the week following Black Friday there’s a slew of articles outlining site outages caused by the increased strain on servers.
We’re not talking about small ecommerce stores here, we’re talking about Tesco, John Lewis and Argos.
Never assume that your site can handle the strain. The last thing you need is to create a killer promotional campaign and a perfectly optimised experience only to lose sales because your site has gone down.
The first step to saving yourself from a similar fate to Tesco is to perform comprehensive load testing of your site. This is where you simulate a very high number of concurrent users to test how it handles the strain. Be sure to test all device types and never underestimate the number of users you could receive.
However, sometimes even load testing can’t save you. You need to have a backup plan in place. Ensure that on the day you have 24/7 monitoring of your site and, for the worst case scenario a proper wait system established for users who can’t log on.
The above example from John Lewis is a good example of what not to do. It’s a simple apology. Nice, but useless to customers. Instead of only offering commiserations, take a leaf out of Currys book and let users know when they’ll be able to access the site.
It’s not a perfect solution, but letting users know how long they have to wait is more likely to keep them hanging on instead of bouncing.
Don’t Ignore Mobile
Mobile devices are fast becoming one of the primary devices your prospects will use to browse and buy.
If you examine the conversion rates of mCommerce over the last few years, the smart money says that mobile will play an even more important role in Black Friday this year.
When you’re rolling out your campaigns, don’t view mobile as a simple add-on or a useless addition. Take the time to properly optimise your mobile campaign, it could be the difference between a good Black Friday and a great one.
Don’t Overlook Existing Remarketing Efforts
In the grand scheme of things, Black Friday might only be a flash in the pan. And yes, that means there are a lot of specific actions and campaigns that need to be introduced for a relatively short period of time.
However, that doesn’t mean you should ignore your ongoing marketing efforts or that your Black Friday campaign shouldn’t feed into them.
We all know the problems with shopping cart abandonment. It’s a huge issue for ecommerce stores, and it doesn’t take the weekend off for Black Friday.
Over half of the people who thought they’d found the perfect deal ended up walking away. That equates to a lot of money.
We get that you’re going to be busy during this period, but you shouldn’t overlook the tried and tested methods for increasing conversions. Make sure that your Black Friday campaign includes a comprehensive abandonment plan. Without it, you could lose more than half the revenue you should have made.
Don’t Think it’s Just About Sales
Yes, Black Friday sales are in the billions. Yes, they make up an average of 30% of your annual revenue. But Black Friday is more than just making a few extra quid.
Black Friday is a great opportunity to create new business for yourself. And not just one time business. If you can offer a great service to the huge numbers of new customers, they’re going to come back.
Don’t focus all of your efforts on sales – also examine how you can provide a better customer service experience. Utilise on site chat boxes to answer user questions. Have someone on standby to answer any email queries as quickly as possible and be sure to offer and honour a good returns policy.
Your primary goal with Black Friday will be to increase sales, but there’s no reason you can’t also aim to gain some more repeat business by offering a well oiled, pleasant purchase experience for your customers.
Don’t Forget to Track Everything
The success of conversion optimisation campaigns relies on analysing behavioural data and test results.
The more data you have, the better decisions you’re able to make.
Black Friday is an absolute playground for the data junkie. Those huge levels of traffic you’re receiving will give you a better insight into how users interact with your site and what elements best resonate with your target audience.
Be certain to track absolutely everything on your site. The data you receive will be invaluable in optimising your website as a whole and getting the most out of future Black Friday campaigns.
Don’t Miss Out on A Great Opportunity!
Black Friday is a huge opportunity for ecommerce stores. It’s the start of a one month period where you could make 30% of your annual revenue.
However, that’s only achievable if you’ve taken the time to properly optimise your site.
The most important action you can take is to get started on your Black Friday campaign NOW. Don’t wait around until everything is perfect because you’ll have missed your window.
The biggest gains go to those who are ahead of the curve. Whilst you might be cutting it fine, there’s still plenty of time to get the most out of Black Friday.