04 Nov Black Friday and Cyber Monday – 3 things to get you on track for 2019 and beyond
Approximately 4-6 minute read
- Prepare your website for the high-volume traffic, and make sure your pages are mobile friendly as 38% of purchases in 2018 were via mobile.
- Plan ahead of the holiday season as much as you can. Think outside the box to beat your competitors or to keep up with the competitive landscape.
- Reflect on previous Black Friday and Cyber Monday performance and see where you can improve. As consumer trends are changing every year you’ll need to figure out how to stay ahead of them.
As any e-commerce company knows, you never want to get caught off guard when Black Friday and Cyber Money roll around. These shopping events are gaining more and more momentum every year, even as traditional brick-and-mortar stores may report a decline in customers.
When e-commerce offers the same great deals with the advantage of convenient shipping and being able to shop from home and skip the lines, you can’t blame customers for flocking to e-commerce on these shopping holidays. When your brand is prepared for your customers, Black Friday and Cyber Monday can be a huge boost for your company, rather than a source of stress. Here’s three things to consider that will reduce headaches and lead you into a successful holiday season.
Secure your storefront
What most commerce brands forget as they prepare holiday campaigns and promotions is their website. In one survey on consumer habits during the holidays, over sixty percent of people said that they planned to shop online for Black Friday. Is your website ready for that kind of increase in traffic? Do everything you can to make sure your site will be able to handle the increased traffic flow of the holidays. Depending on your site, those steps might include the following:
- Making sure your site isn’t loading slowly due to too many graphic components or any other obvious reasons. Slow sites are deadly to sales.
- Ensuring that your third party website components and apps can won’t get overloaded.
- Double checking that your API isn’t working too hard.
- Giving your customers a useful error page, so that even if it appears it won’t result in an overly irritated viewer.
- Make sure your site is ready for mobile traffic. One of the biggest consumer annoyances of mobile shopping is website functionally, especially during the checkout process.
Test your website to make sure potential customers will have a seamless, convenient experience in your online store. Double check that all your pages look good on mobile, a task which is often overlooked considering how important it is.
Have a battle plan and think differently
The farther ahead you’re able to plan for these high-traffic shopping days, the better. Ideally, you should sit down months before the big days arrive and decide what your company is going to do to get ready.
Related content: Foodstirs + ReSci’s webinar replay Conquering the Holiday Rush – proven strategies to help you dominate your holiday ROI in three phases.
If you’re going to have sales or want to promote certain events, it’s important to still put the work in. Customers will be more active on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but they won’t be drawn to your site unless they have a reason to. Competition will be high during the holidays, as consumers are exposed to tons of promotional emails and ads, so it’s essential to think outside the box to capture their attention. Try using gifts or promotions to incentivize customers, or even jump ahead of the competition by offering sales before the traditional sales days—forty-five percent of customers start their shopping before Black Friday, so why not be ready for them?
The most successful companies on Black Friday and Cyber Monday have sales plans that make them stand out from the competition. Amazon did this by opening their highly popular free shipping to non-Prime members over the holidays. In fact, Amazon put such an emphasis on their fast, free shipping that it indirectly forced companies like Wal-Mart and Target to improve their own shipping policies just to keep up.
If you have a loyalty program like Kohl’s Cash, it can serve as another great stepping stone to high sales and happy customers. Kohls offered additional loyalty rewards and increased the benefits of Kohl’s Cash over the holidays, and that contributed heavily to the store’s record online sales. Even seemingly small-scale efforts like Old Navy’s $1 cozy holiday socks can have dramatic effects when marketed correctly.
The times they are a changin’
Every year, people shop a little differently on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Looking at these changes over time can give your business a glimpse into how shopping trends are changing, and will give you that much more of an edge during your own preparations. Here’s a few examples below.
Mobile shopping is becoming more important every year. On Cyber Monday 2018, 38% of customers made purchases with their smartphones. With over a third of potential customers shopping with their phones, it’s clear that having a mobile-friendly website is crucial for the upcoming holidays.
What’s also changing are consumer expectations. They’re now expecting a personalized experience from brands. Find out more about how data-driven marketing provides a personalized experience that can drive open and click rates up by 10-14%.
Shipping is also becoming an increasingly important factor. Businesses that previously struggled with difficult shipping, like food and furniture companies, are making decisive efforts to improve their shipping. This often means offering local delivery services or last-mile delivery. If your shipping offers can’t compete with other websites, consider following suit and thinking outside the box; quick shipping can be the difference between a sale and a customer who’s lost interest.
Unsurprisingly, Black Friday is still the busiest in-store shopping day, although the number of customers visiting physical stores is declining. Between 2017 and 2018, the number of in-store shoppers dropped by 9%. Your physical store is still important, but be aware that your online traffic will likely keep growing year by year as physical customers decrease. People are also spending more every year, with the exception of a dip in purchasing in 2008. In 2018, customers spent an average of 4.3% more than they had the year before, up to around $1,000 per customer. With these shopping trends in mind, you can plan ahead for not only this year, but many more.
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