How to Prepare Your eCommerce Store for Black Friday

Author: Myk Baxter

Couple buying things online on black friday cyber monday

This year, Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM) will look a little different. With shops across the world most likely still engaging in social distancing, the massive hoards of people fighting over physical products are going to be absent. 

Some would see this as a nightmare for retail businesses, but for those who are ready to sell online through a dedicated eCommerce store – this COVID-19 style Black Friday is going to be one amazing opportunity to sell hard and sell well.

However, as more shoppers rush online to make their purchases, website traffic, inventory and shipping constraints will present challenges for digital retailers of all sizes. To make the most of the year’s biggest shopping event, eCommerce websites need to be at peak performance. Here are some tips we have to get BFCM ready. 

Plan Now!

Although over a month away – this year landing on November 27th and November 30th – online retailers must be well prepared for the surge in sales. With a toned-down Black Friday, it most likely means a ramped-up Cyber Monday, so stock up and then overstock just in case. 

Once stocked up, you need to invest in strategic and well-placed communication efforts through digital marketing planning. Marketing experts such as Myk Baxter Marketing do a great job at arranging the eCommerce marketing efforts of stores worldwide and at home in North East UK – bringing better conversions and improving brand awareness every step of the way. 

Be Surge Protected

Surges in web traffic can often result in a website crashing. If your eCommerce website crashes on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, you will be missing out on hundreds, if not thousands, of potential sales – while also ruining your day as you frantically try and fix the problem with an IT support line busy with equally frustrated online retailers with the same problem. 

Better to prepare your site for the onslaught but investing in extra hosting for the duration or simply employing digital website development experts, like the pros at Myk Baxter Marketing, to test the server load capacity of your store and fine-tune your website’s responsiveness. Even when it’s busy, customers rarely hang around for more than a few seconds before they become impatient and try another online store, losing you a conversion. 

Hit Social Media Hard

As you can see in our last article about the importance of social media marketing for eCommerce stores, fewer and fewer people are relying on traditional websites and search engines to find things they want. Instead, they turn to social media. 

During BFCM, make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck on social media, and you’re reaching as much of your target market as possible (without annoying them in the process). 

Another tip is to keep an eye on your competition and adjust your digital marketing to compete effectively. After all, the hoards of shoppers in-store may look hectic, fighting over the last TV, but the world of digital marketing is a lot more cut-throat. If you don’t keep up, you’re bound to miss out. 

Offer Real Value With Your Promotions

Although the pandemic will keep most people away from brick-and-mortar stores, the overall spending during BFCM weekend is still predicted to increase this year.

However, it doesn‘t mean that people will blindly follow and take advantage of every offer and promotion they see – quite the opposite. As many of them are still dealing with the uncertainty of the future, shoppers are expected to put some more thought into their shopping decisions and look for the deals that provide them with real value.

If you want to drive sales, and of course you do, this is exactly where you need to put all your creativity to work this BFCM. The competition is fierce so you have to make sure to stand out from the crowd with your promotion ideas. Think of offering free shipping (everybody loves that!), surprising your customers with a special gift, or creating unique product bundles.

So if you want to benefit from the biggest shopping event of the year, give something valuable in return. You’ll see, it‘s a win-win situation!

Plan for the Worst

When all else fails, try to have a backup plan you can implement at a moment’s notice. Make sure all your site backups are up-to-date and have alternatives for problems out of your control too, such as a shipping company becoming overloaded with deliveries, or a product vendor unable to fulfil the mass of orders.

Preparing for delays and mess-ups is essential for any eCommerce company, even when it’s not Black Friday. By creating contingency plans, it becomes much easier to handle and can save your company’s reputation in the process. 

A good way to test the waters for Black Friday and Cyber Monday is to test your site and your capabilities by offering some seriously good deals on October 10th – a brand new shopping holiday dubbed “10.10” takes over the digital eCommerce sphere for some pre-festive season deals.