It’s on its way – whether you’re planning a full week of activity or just a day of discounts, there’s no escaping the increasing influence of the Black weekend. So batten down the hatches and get ready; here’s a few tips to help you prepare your website and e-tailing.

Site Speed

As Black Friday has grown bigger over the years, so has the participation from e-tailers. With everyone getting in on the Black Friday action, it means the choice for consumers is endless. If you provide shoppers with any excuse to abandon and shop elsewhere, that’s what they’ll do. Speed is therefore paramount to proceedings – slow load times directly related to a higher bounce rate.

Images

Images are one of the key components in ensuring a website loads quickly and doesn’t hinder performance. Ensure all images are optimised and work seamlessly on both desktop & mobile. (Bear in mind mobile devices don’t have the same processing power). Searchengineland.com offers a review of 5 free image compression tools. Magento merchants can also search the Magento marketplace for image optimisation extensions. Cloudinary Image & Video Management is free to use and the company is a Magento Select Technology Partner.
Cloudinary for Magento

Minification

Minification is the process of minimising code and markup language such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript (JS) in your web pages. When coding developers use spacing & comments to make code readable for themselves and others who might work on the same code. It’s good practice but does impact on page speed as it creates additional network traffic without providing any functional benefit.

Minification removes comments and extra spaces and crunches variable names to reduce file size. Minification can reduce file size by more than 50%, providing the same functionality while reducing the bandwidth required, and therefore improving site speed by reducing load times.

For more visit the Google resource: https://developers.google.com/

minify resources

Curate Offers

Get creative

Just offering 10% off everything won’t necessarily cut the mustard. It might please regular shoppers if you don’t offer this type of discount at any other time of the year (offer codes in emails, for example) but most ecommerce businesses do, and it’s unlikely to capture your audience’s imagination, or (key) make you stand out. Black Friday is an opportunity to lower prices without it impacting on your brand, even if you’re selling high-end merchandise. Everyone’s expecting it so don’t be afraid to do it. And, get creative. Work out what your best selling products are, and those you’d like to shift, and include a mix of everything.

Deadlines

If you’ve got the resources (and patience), give all offers a deadline rather than keeping them running all day. That way customers will have no choice but to strike while the offer is still hot.

Black Friday email

Currys PC World, image: pinterest.co.uk/frelevance/black-friday-emails/

Personalised

Why not be personable with your best customers? Personalise offers and email your VIP customers with deals exclusive to them, based on products they like to buy. You may even decide to take a hit in order to keep these customers happy, with a larger than usual discount. Why? It sounds crazy but don’t underestimate how important returning customers are.

Other segments you could target for specific offers could include: recent email openers, email openers that haven’t purchased (engaged), email non-openers, & cart-abandoners. Come up with specific offers per segment. Cart-abandoners: a discount on the products that were abandoned. Email non-openers: try offering a free gift or free shipping.

Black Friday email

boohoo.com, image: pinterest.co.uk/frelevance/black-friday-emails/

Schedule Daily

Black Friday (and the entire week before, which has now become the norm for many retailers…) is all about hour by hour planning, and knowing what’s coming next is essential if you’re to keep on top of things and make the most of all those shoppers ready to spend.

Use a tool like Google Sheets so that a schedule can be shared by everyone involved, centrally. Include products that are being discounted, times they are being promoted, which channels you are posting to/have already posted to, ect – it will become your bible of the Black shopping season.

Don’t forget to include the all important social media & email reminders. Black Friday is all about timely offers; as the day moves on make sure you’re reminding everyone that certain offers are ending (if that’s how you are scheduling your offers) or at the very least tell customers how many hours they’ve got until the end of the day.

Smartsheet provide an array of free Google Sheet templates for daily & weekly planning. Copies can be saved to your own Google drive and edited as needed.

Google daily planner Black Friday

Black November

Black Friday and Cyber Monday grab the headlines, but according to Business Insider UK, online sales from November 1 through 22 2017 totaled almost $30.4 billion, accounting for nearly 18% year-over-year growth. ‘Black November’ is now well an truly upon us. Use the month of November to create product awareness before the biggest online shopping days. Try using video content on Facebook and YouTube, or even reaching out to influencers and bloggers.

Customise your Website

These days the significance of Black Friday (or even Black November) means customers expect a little fanfare on the day; they want to know you’re participating in events and they’ve come to right place. You don’t have to totally re-brand your website for just a few days, but implementing just few simple changes can make a significant difference to usability and people’s enjoyment.

Black Friday homepage feature

Whether it’s a banner or subsection on your homepage, include Black Friday and an email signup before the offers start so that people can be notified – this also helps to create a buzz in advance of the sale.

Black Friday category & product pages

Most merchants using ecommerce platforms such as Magento can easily create a new category specially for the day; it’s a great way of making sure everything is in one place and aids transparency. Add Black Friday branding to each product page featured in the sale to highlight its involvement, discount, and timeline for when the offer ends.

Image: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Black-Friday-Deals/

Remarketing & banners

Create a specific set of Black Friday banners for targeted remarketing. Make sure these banners accurately reflect the pages and products they are linking to, linking directly to the product/category they mention, and if possible feature the same images presented.

Don’t try to be Amazon…

Black Friday is not just for the giants of the ecommerce world. If you’re a smaller e-tailer it’s likely you won’t be able to compete on price with the big folk, for say, branded products. Look at the reasons why your regular, returning customers use your ecommerce expertise and focus on that, rather than try and match the prices of an ecommerce superstore that have economies of scale beyond your reach.

If you’re smaller site you’re more likely to be able to focus more individually on customers than larger retailers. If you provide a more niche range of expert products, more dedicated customer service, after-sale service, excellent delivery options or payment options, make the most of those assets, promoting where possible and offering extra help and support on your site during the day. A tailored Black Friday and Cyber Monday that does what you do best, but with extra incentives, is bound to please both regular and new customers.