Black Friday. It’s a concept that many of us are familiar with as our digital devices begin to buzz with bargain offers, but what do we really know about this day of discounts?
What are the origins of Black Friday?
Black Friday is the biggest shopping day of the year. Though largely associated with the US, it has also become a popular phenomenon in the UK since online retailer Amazon made their offers accessible to UK consumers in 2010.
In order to avoid the long queues and hectic store experiences, many shoppers turn to the online world of retail to secure their Black Friday deals. In consideration of the long-term changes in consumer behaviour that have been seen since COVID-19 restrictions caused store closures, a spike in online sales this year is almost guaranteed. In fact, UK shoppers are now expected to spend a massive £9.42bn over this Black Friday weekend, with a massive £5.74bn predicted to accumulate through online sales alone.
By offering exciting incentives for shoppers, those with e-commerce sites have the opportunity to grow their audiences and boost their profits overnight. However, this doesn’t come without its difficulties. In order to avoid digital disasters, it’s vital for online businesses to ensure that their sites are functioning as efficiently as possible. That’s where we come in. We’ve broken down some of the key things to consider, to ensure that your website continues to function efficiently at your busiest times.
Steps to take when preparing your website for a sale event
Complete a site audit
Even if you already have an established website, it’s important to review and evaluate how well it will be able to perform under pressure from increased traffic. Making just a few small adjustments could help to enhance your site and allow it to function more efficiently. Our expert team can provide professional support with this, offering recommendations or even implementing changes, should you wish.
Check site speed
There are various tools available to help you monitor the performance of your website. You can use online platforms like Google’s ‘Page Speed Insights’ to see how fast your page content loads. Once you know your current site speed, you can begin to monitor how it is impacted by any changes that you want to make. There are several ways to improve site speed, including resizing images and streamlining video content.
Using a content delivery network (CDN) will also improve site performance. A CDN is a group of servers spread out over a region or around the world. The servers in a CDN temporarily cache webpage content, and work together to speed up delivery for site users.
Make sure your content is optimised for search engines
Having a website that looks fantastic is useless if no one can find it. Our SEO experts can help you identify which keywords you should be targeting, and improve your ranking for those important search terms.
It’s not just about your on-page content, either. Ensuring your meta descriptions and alt text are keyword rich and concise will help to improve your site rankings.
Make sure that you complete a full run through of your site to ensure everything is operating correctly while there is still time to make necessary adjustments. If you wait until your site goes live before recognising an issue, you risk it failing at the most crucial moment, negatively impacting your site's reputability and customer engagement in an instant.
Improve your site's user experience (UX)
UX relates to the usability, accessibility, and efficiency of your website. Sites that are poorly laid out, visually unappealing, and difficult to navigate are likely to put users off, so good design is key. If your site looks great, provides all the information a user needs, and is easy to use, people are more likely to browse it for longer and, more importantly, complete their purchases.
Here are just a few tips to improve your site’s UX:
- Ensure that all information, such as product descriptions, on your website is accurate and concise.
- Ensure your website is accessible for a wide variety of users. For example, it’s important to remember that visually impaired users face certain barriers when accessing digital content. By making conscious design choices, you can improve their experience of your website. Font, layout and colour choices all have an impact on the accessibility of your website. You can learn more about digital accessibility here.
- It is important to ensure that your customers can move between the various pages of your site with ease, so they can see all you have to offer. A clear navigation bar will allow users to quickly find the page they are looking for. People’s time is precious and nobody wants to waste it rooting around a website when they could find an alternative elsewhere in seconds. It’s also important to consider what you include in your main navigation bar. For example, on Black Friday, a dedicated tab at the front and centre of your navigation bar might make sense.
- Be transparent from the start about the cost of delivery. Nothing is going to make a shopper abandon their cart quicker than a hefty delivery charge slapped on at checkout stage.
- Payment should be easy, secure and straightforward. Offering Apple/Google Pay, Paypal, and quick buy options will improve the buying experience for your customers.
- Your website should be responsive and optimised for mobile devices. Many people rely on their mobile devices to consume digital content and shop online, so it’s important to ensure that your customers always have a positive interaction with your site, regardless of how they access it.
Ask yourself: Are you maximising your opportunities?
Black Friday creates a great opportunity for your business to expand its audience and profits for the future, not just for a day. There are many things you can do in order to ensure that you are making the most out of the increased interest generated by your generous offers.
Once a user is on your site and interested in you, it’s the perfect time to remind them of everything that you can offer before they make their final purchase decision. Remember to offer upgrades and add-ons so that your customer can get acquainted with your premium products.
If a shopper is interested in one of your products or services, the chances are that you have much more to offer that will be of just as much interest to them. Remember to include other items that are frequently brought together and ensure that these accessories or accompanying products are easy to add on to the order. This will maximise your revenue potential while fulfilling the customer’s needs in just a few simple clicks.
Abandoned cart emails
One of the things all businesses will want to avoid, especially during sale events like Black Friday, is losing people at the checkout. Once a customer has gone through the process of discovering your site, selecting their items, and adding them to their basket, there should be little reason for them to defer their purchase. After all, you wouldn’t just leave your full trolley in the middle of a store - yet this is often the frustrating reality for many online retailers. One of the biggest reasons for this is a lack of transparency from the get go.
Nobody wants to go through the process of selecting their items only to be met by a hefty delivery fee or hidden terms and conditions. Although you might think it’s clever to entice your customers to this final stage, it’s more likely to generate distrust for your business than boost sales. That’s why being upfront about additional costs like delivery fees is considered best practice.
Of course, sometimes people will still abandon their cart right before purchase despite your best efforts. That’s why it is also a good idea to create an automated ‘abandoned cart’ email for those that began to place items in their baskets. This can be sent out to remind potential customers to return to your site and complete their purchase at a more convenient time. The chance to pick up where they left off is also bound to improve their shopping experience.
We’ve all seen remarketing campaigns – those ads that follow you around the internet once you’ve visited a website. If someone has been on your website but not made a purchase, a remarketing campaign is a great way to draw them back to your site while making them aware of any savings they could be enjoying.
How can your marketing activity drive visitors to your site on Black Friday?
A strong marketing strategy is essential to engaging the right audience for your business and turning prospective consumers into satisfied customers. Having carefully established an excellent image for your brand, you’ll want to ensure that the right people are going to see it!
Nowadays, there are various digital marketing techniques that can help you to make your business and products visible to a wide audience in an instant. However, in an increasingly competitive online market, the difficulty comes from ensuring your business is seen and remembered by the right people. To achieve this, you’ll need to be clever and consistent with your marketing strategy.
Social media marketing
Social media is one of the most popular forms of communication and a great online space for you to showcase your business and the products or services you provide. Every business has something they feel they can offer.
With various different social media platforms now available, it is important to invest your time and energy in the ones that are right for your business and will achieve the best results.
For example, if you wish to sell anti-aging cream to those over the age of 30, it could be ineffective to invest all of your time in publicising this on TikTok, where 60% of users are between the ages of 16-24.
Email marketing is a brilliant way for you to have more substantial contact with those that are already engaged with your business. Perhaps your email database is already made up of previous customers or those who have signed up to receive your newsletter. What better way to say thank you or entice them back, than by letting them know directly about your Black Friday offers?
Remember that people often receive multiple emails with similar content in the days leading up to Black Friday, so think about how you can alter the design and content of your eshot to make it stand out from the crowd and capture the reader’s attention.
Having a blog or news section on your website is a great way to share your business insights and updates. By creating an interesting Black Friday post, you could set your business apart from the rest and encourage more traffic to your website. Content like a seasonal gift guide, for example, is highly shareable and offers the chance to showcase your discounted products in a more organic way.
Once on your site, visitors are more likely to explore what else you offer and will be discovering your Black Friday deals before they know it. Don’t forget, you can also repurpose your blog posts to use as content for social media, allowing you to engage with a wider audience without the increased workload.
Make sure you don’t abandon your brand identity in the design process of your Black Friday banners and graphics. While editing the content on your website and socials is a brilliant way to demonstrate that your business is taking part in Black Friday, be careful to ensure that your new designs still encapsulate your business identity. While sale events are a good opportunity for a change of image, you still want your brand to remain recognisable.
How can working with a digital agency maximise your Black Friday opportunities?
Our e-commerce experts can audit your site and make recommendations on key areas to improve. We can also implement these changes for you. As well as being trained Magento developers, we are also equipped to work with Shopify, WooCommerce, or can even build a fully custom e-commerce platform. If your current site is running Magento 1, we can update this to Magento 2 (worth doing, as support for Magento 1 has ended).
As well as streamlining your site and making recommendations designed to increase your conversion rate, we can also provide support with the design and aesthetic elements of your website, as well as SEO to get your site ranking well on Google. Once your site is fully optimised and looking as good as it possibly can, our experienced marketers are perfectly placed to assist with social media marketing, PR, and even offline marketing and other promotional materials.
To find out more about our web development and marketing services, please don't hesitate to get in touch with a member of our friendly team today on 01202 684400. Let us help you maximise future sale opportunities and make Black Friday 2022 your best one yet!