How To Get Your Online Business Ready For Black Friday
Published on 25th October 2019
One of the most important events in the retail calendar is fast approaching, and if you’ve not yet thought about how your online business is going to make the most of Black Friday, it’s time to get planning.
Black Friday is said to be the busiest shopping period of the year, and brings with it plenty of opportunities for small businesses to boost sales in the lead up to Christmas.
Online shopping is particularly popular – in fact, online sales soared by 46% year on year during Black Friday 2018.
This global shopping event clearly brings with it plenty of favourable circumstances for the ecommerce industry, but if you really do want to take advantage of Black Friday and kickstart your festive sales, you have to make sure your business is ready.
Of course – it’s not just online retailers that can cash in on the Black Friday weekend. It’s also a great time for service-based businesses to get involved too.
Read on to learn more about this event and to discover our top tips for enjoying a successful and stress-free Black Friday for your business:
What is Black Friday?
First things first – what actually is Black Friday?
Well, this now frenzied worldwide spending phenomenon began in the US in the 1980s. Falling the day after Thanksgiving, Black Friday has traditionally always been a day for huge sale events.
This is because it’s officially regarded as the first day of the Christmas shopping season, with retailers competing for business by offering bigger and better deals.
A relatively new concept for UK retailers, Black Friday first emerged over here around 10 years ago, and has gathered momentum every year since.
Now an established event, Black Friday spending continues to rise, with more and more businesses getting in on the action with unmissable deals and discounts.
Far from just being limited to one day though, Black Friday is actually part of a much bigger seasonal shopping occasion.
The idea of Cyber Monday was introduced in the US in 2005, when it was observed that online sales were increasing on the Monday after Thanksgiving – possibly as Christmas shopping panic well and truly set in.
Just like Black Friday, Cyber Monday is now a UK phenomenon too, with the two included in what is known as Cyber Week. Typically, this starts in the run up to Black Friday, with retailers offering early deals in the days before the big event.
Offers continue over the weekend, culminating in Cyber Monday – if you’re thinking about getting involved in Black Friday, it’s worth going all in and extending your offers until Cyber Monday so that you can really make the most of this opportunity.
When is Black Friday?
This year, Black Friday will fall on 29th November.
Cyber Monday is on 2nd December.
What can you do to get your business Black Friday ready?
Preparation is key if you’re going to win big this Black Friday – we’d recommend getting started as soon as possible to help your business make the most of this popular sale season.
Here’s what you need to do:
1. Get planning
Devise a strategy – The sooner you start planning, the more you’ll thank yourself later. Before the rush sets in, take the time to plan out your Black Friday strategy – work out which products or services you’ll be promoting, develop a marketing plan, order all the necessary supplies, etc.
Figure out your messaging – Marketing is going to play a key role in your Black Friday success, so get ahead of the game and work out what it is you’re going to say well ahead of time. For example, are you going to give your sale event a name? Plan out all your website copy, social media captions, and email content now to avoid a last-minute panic.
Create your graphics – It’s not just your words you need to prepare in advance – take the time to get all your promotional imagery ready too. Ideally, you’ll have graphics on your website and your social media channels to build excitement for the deals you’re offering, so it’s worth creating these now. Don’t worry if you’re not a dab hand at design – free tools such as Canva can help you put together brilliant graphics no matter your skill level.
2. Be discount-savvy
Choose your products – Don’t be afraid to be selective about the products or services you promote. As a small business, it may not be possible for you to offer huge discounts on all your stock, so think carefully about which items you’ll be running deals on. Get organised and create a list of everything you’ll be discounting, including details such as the regular price and the Black Friday sale price.
Clear old stock – Black Friday is a great opportunity to get rid of older products – if you have stock that’s taking up space, consider discounting it all as part of your sale strategy.
Focus on your bestsellers – Alternatively, you could use Black Friday to ramp up demand for your bestselling products. Choose a selection of your most popular items, and create limited time offers that will inspire a sense of urgency in your customers throughout the Black Friday weekend.
Bundle your products – This is the ideal time to upsell your products, as people will be looking to spend money on great deals. One way to do this is to encourage your customers to buy relevant products that tie in with the items they’re already interested in. You can either do this by adding ‘related products’ to your product pages, or creating tempting bundles that allow customers to get more value for their money through useful product combinations.
Offer free gifts – Another way to encourage more sales during the Black Friday period is to provide freebies with certain orders. You may not need to discount your products or services if you opt for this kind of deal instead – simply encourage shoppers to spend X amount, or to buy X, Y, and Z, to receive a free gift with their order.
Discount your delivery – One of the easiest ways to lose a potential customer is through your delivery charges. Consider offering free delivery as part of your Black Friday promotions – this could either be an offer you run for a limited time, or only apply once a shopper has spent over a certain amount. Don’t forget to also keep your delivery times updated so that customers can make sure their orders will arrive before the holidays.
3. Hone your marketing
Build a buzz – Generating awareness of your Black Fridays deals well in advance is crucial if you want to increase your sales. You can easily build suspense ahead of the event by utilising social media – stick with the platforms that work best for your brand, and tease sneak peeks of the products you’ll be discounting and the deals you’ll be running over the weekend. You can also post a daily countdown to heighten excitement for the sale. If you already have an engaged mailing list, email marketing is also a great way to promote your upcoming sale.
Encourage wishlisting – If your ecommerce store has a wishlist feature, this is the perfect time to shout about it. Remind your customers to add items to their wishlists in the weeks leading up to Black Friday so that they’ll be prepared for the sales. This will help to create anticipation early on, and should encourage more people to make a purchase when they see their saved items being discounted.
Write gift guides – With a blog on your website, you’ve got the opportunity to create plenty of content that will help promote your business this Black Friday. An ideal place to start is by writing gift guides. Sometimes, people need a little inspiration to help them shop, and if your store offers a range of products that are ideal for a specific type of person, you’ve got everything you need to put together a present buying guide. As well as covering different family members, consider writing gift guides for teachers, bosses, colleagues, neighbours and more – don’t forget to share these on social media and via email to reach a wider audience.
Grow your mailing list – You may already have an impressive mailing list, but Black Friday and the anticipation surrounding it creates a unique opportunity to grow this list even further. In the run up to the sale, encourage people to sign up to your newsletter to receive more information about your upcoming promotions, and even exclusive discounts. Just remember to keep your sign-up forms GDPR-compliant!
Update your product descriptions – It’s key that your SEO efforts are up to scratch for the festive season if you want to stand out online. Before the Black Friday weekend approaches, revise your product descriptions to give these pages a boost. The longer the description, and the more relevant, up-to-date keywords it contains, the better.
Add more keywords – Including more Black Friday specific keywords on your website will also help with search engine optimisation. Perhaps create a dedicated landing page that directs customers to all the latest Black Friday deals, and make sure this contains high quality content with several keyword variations for the event.
Track the results – If you haven’t yet integrated Google Analytics with your website, now is the time. It’s important that you can collect plenty of data and monitor your website’s performance over the Black Friday weekend so that you’re even more prepared for next year.
4. Prep your website
Make use of FOMO – Fear is a great motivator, and the 'fear of missing out' is particularly relevant when it comes to shopping the Black Friday deals. Create a sense of urgency in your customers by displaying stock warnings on all your product pages to encourage people to make a purchase before it’s too late.
Keep your customers safe – You should already have an SSL certificate on your website, but if you don’t, now is the time to get one. Shoppers can be wary of unfamiliar businesses during the sale season, so you want to reassure potential customers that your site is secure. Social proof is another way to show customers that you’re trustworthy, so if you have any recent glowing reviews, you should make sure these are displayed prominently on your site too.
Test your checkout process – It’s imperative that your customers enjoy a great shopping experience when visiting your online store during the Black Friday weekend. Make sure your checkout process is running as smoothly as possible – put a test order through and make notes of any improvements you can make along the way. It’s also worth looking at your delivery and returns policies to check that they’re up-to-date and easy to understand.
So there you have it – everything you need to do to get your online business ready for retail’s busiest weekend. Remember, it’s never too early to start prepping for Black Friday, so get a head start now and you’ll be able to sit back and enjoy a successful selling period in the run up to Christmas.
Of course, to really succeed at Black Friday as an online business, it all comes down to your website. If your existing site is no longer doing credit to your business, we’d love to help you win more sales online with a beautifully designed and performance-driven ecommerce store that’s created exclusively for you.
All of our online shops include a wide range of built-in tools and features that are designed to set you up for success – particularly during busy times such as Black Friday. From stock notifications and wishlist features to an easy to use blogging platform and simple integration with third-party tools such as Google Analytics and MailChimp, your store will include everything you need to make the most of the festive season and beyond.
And because we take online security very seriously here at it’seeze, your shop will also come with a free SSL certificate, ensuring your customers can enjoy a safe and secure shopping experience as well as a seamless checkout process.
Looking to sell services over the Black Friday weekend instead of products? We also specialise in one of a kind marketing websites that are designed to reach more customers and generate more enquiries, and can be easily integrated with PayPal for simple, one-off payments.
If you’d like to find out more about how our website design services could help your business, we’d love to hear from you – just get in touch with your local consultant to get started.
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