The complete survival guide for Black Friday

10/07/2016 - Beatriz Rojo

Black Friday has established itself amazingly and is already an important date. But before this great flood of shopping, stores need to check one, two, and even three times to ensure that nothing will go wrong. Is your e-commerce prepared to face the madness and survive?

Black Friday is a huge opportunity for any online store but to be victorious, you have to start preparing weeks before. Weeks? Yes, quite a few actually if you’re not ready for the best Friday of the year. In 2015 Americans spent more than 2 billion dollars on online purchases only and the percentage of users that preferred to do their shopping from home rose to 45%. However, in Spain, Amazon broke the record by selling more than 370,000 items in only 18 hours.

Do you know everything you have to keep in mind? Not everything will be taking inventory, checking the stock and going crazy marking all your products down by 80%, so listen up!

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Planning

  1. Check that your e-commerce is working

Make sure your webpage is able to welcome all your customers with open arms. The e-commerce giants usually shut down their sites for stress tests to verify that everything will go well when traffic increases.

Maybe your online store can’t be called a giant but you at least need to verify the capacity of data transfer that your hosting site has to avoid disappointment and check that the whole purchasing process is working correctly so no mistakes have your customers going around in circles. Don’t forget to check the loading speed so the user can browse easily.


  1. Pay attention to stock and shipments

The rush of sales represents an increase in income but also in shipments. Check the stock you have available and make sure your shipping company can withstand the ‘overdose’ of customers. The best option to take good inventory is to have a look at the previous year and learn from your mistakes.

Look at reports, receipts, and Google Analytics to prepare your inventory and anticipate any problem that could happen again. Pay attention to which products sell more, where you can cross-sell, and what the client’s behavior is.

  1. Pump up the SEO

You’re not alone in celebrating Black Friday, the competition increases too. It’s important to improve your visibility and positioning using keywords in the content of your website using descriptions, tags, and URLs. Everything that you’re able to improve will be worth it from now on! Of course, you can also see what the competition is doing to see how you can stand out.

  1. Responsive design

75.1% of US internet users access the Internet via mobile and 4 out of 5 consumers use a smartphone to shop. Furthermore, 51% of UK online retail sales took place using smartphones and tablets.

It’s important that your e-commerce is responsive so that clients can view it comfortably from any device instead of running away. The abandonment rate for mobile shopping cart is higher (at 97%) than that of desktop shopping carts (at 70 – 75%).

  1. Start now!

You have to prepare your store, stand out from the competition, and start with advertising. What are you waiting for? Set your goals, think hard about your sales, and outline a plan of action.

Campaign


  1. Inform your customers about EVERYTHING

It’s twice as easy to sell to someone that already knows our brand than to a customer that doesn’t know who we are and even harder to sell to those who are usually paying attention to sales. Therefore, the days leading up to Black Friday are perfect for quality email marketing!

Inform your customers of all the details of the sales, both the type of products included in major discounts and the delivery and return processes. They are questions that will come up during the sales process and the faster you answer them, the better.

As the date gets closer, send a newsletter to remind your regular clients when the sales start and how long they’ll last. The best option is to personalize the emails with exclusive offers depending on each client’s profile.

Take advantage of the data you have regarding previous purchases and focus your discounts on the items that you know they’ll be interested in.

If you combine this with a longer return period, you’ll have the magic formula to increase sales and your customers’ interest.

  1. Make noise on social networks

Work on it. Social networks are the perfect channel to get to know all the products—especially the expensive ones—that will have important discounts. If you create attractive and personalized content on the networks adapting the publics’ interests for each promotion, you’ll see new faces. Don’t be shy, use images, videos, and GIFs. You have to celebrate your sales!

Another good way to reach more people organically is to incentivize the exchange. If you give an extra 10% discount to customers that share your Black Friday post on their walls, you’ll reach more people without spending much money on advertising.

Yes, social networks help you sell, but they also work as a customer service channel. There must be a person in charge of keeping track of special promotions for your networks, but also someone to answer all questions, complaints and users’ problems.

customerservice

Attention

  1. Strengthening customer service

Not only should you answer customer questions on Facebook as quickly as possible, you also need to speed up your email response time and reinforce phone support (if you have it). The disadvantage of this last channel is that the response isn’t immediate. The phone line may be saturated with calls if you have a large business or, if you have a small business, you might not be able to answer more than once at a time.

If you know beforehand that you’ll get an avalanche of emails and calls, why not speed up the process? If users who contact you using various networks have an almost immediate response, don’t make the rest of your customers wait. Activate a livechat to attend them and strengthen the purchasing process.

  1. Form your team

Your immediate responses don’t mean anything if they don’t solve the problem. The people in charge of attending the customers will have to fight with many types of people, problems, and questions, meaning it will be necessary for them to know your store’s products and understand each person’s needs.

Undecided shoppers and angry ones exist and you have to know how to manage these types of situations so that conversion and loyalty increase, thanks to a positive experience. Not even one unsatisfied customer!

Discounts

Assuming you have to control your profit margin, you have to think hard about how to attract new customers or how to ensure that returning ones buy more. They are different strategies and you have no choice but to lower prices as much as you can to reach more people and stand out from the competition.

  1. Limited time bargains

Set a timer and you’ll encourage impulse purchases. They are a very effective call to action and if you apply them to shipping costs as well, you can create a sense of urgency so that customers won’t think twice.

  1. Attractive discounts

Obviously you don’t have much margin; you can’t mark down all your products by half price. The balance is in combining Black Friday’s general 20% discount with special promotions in products that you can mark down and will incidentally serve as a decoy with a 50% discount marked on the ticket.

  1. Cross-selling

Take advantage of the increase in visits to recommend necessary accessories with every purchase. The cart isn’t the same with one on-sale item versus four. Remember your shipping policy for this day without costs or in 24 hours to plant the idea in their head of taking advantage of the shipping costs for one order to be for several orders with products they might want to buy later.

4. Extend Black Friday

Traditions, yes, but on our own terms. Many e-commerce stores usually extend Black Friday through the weekend or even the entire week. As such, customers have more days to visit your store and take their time with compulsive purchases.

  1. Don’t even think about it!

Some businesses play with fire by increasing the prices a couple of weeks before so the sale price ends up being the same. Customers realize this. If they’re regulars, they might be waiting for Black Friday to make their purchase and they’ve had their eye on the product for months. The consequences of being blacklisted aren’t worth it, so don’t even think about playing tricks.

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