Is Your eCommerce Store Ready for One Of the Years Biggest Shopping Days?
Over the last few years, Black Friday has become a controversial topic. With stores opening earlier and earlier, many workers and consumers aren’t happy about the intrusion into a family-centric holiday. But one mode of shopping isn’t suffering one bit because of that backlash: eCommerce and online shopping.
With the growth of online shopping, consumers are able to do their holiday shopping from the comfort of their own homes – even while Thanksgiving festivities are still happening.
In the 2018 holiday season, eCommerce sales were up 16.7% over 2017, as opposed to brick-and-mortar sales dropping 9% over the same time period. Additionally, the 2018 Cyber Monday resulted in $7.87 billion in online spending, Black Friday that year resulted in $6.22 billion in spending – and that is expected to grow in 2019. That’s a big market you can take advantage of.
What is Black Friday Anyway?
When the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was established in 1924, it was meant to promote Macy’s for holiday shopping – and it worked. Holiday shopping surged the following day. Later, in the 1950s, workers started calling in sick the day after Thanksgiving to give themselves a four-day holiday weekend. They also ended up using this extra day to get a jump start on their holiday shopping.
Even so, the name Black Friday didn’t appear in print until 1966, when it was used to describe the traffic jams and crowds around stores in downtown Philadelphia.
In 2005, Cyber Monday came onto the scene was officially given its name by the marketing team at Shop.org in order to help boost their own online deals. They also intended to promote online shopping as a viable alternative to traditional in-store sales and shopping. And it worked.
So is your eCommerce store ready to take advantage of Black Friday….
How Can You Get Your eCommerce Site Ready?
It’s important to get a head start on your eCommerce site instead of waiting until the last minute. There are several key aspects of eCommerce development to look at with your preparations.
Make Sure Your Site Won’t Crash
You don’t want shoppers to get the dreaded “we’re sorry, our site is currently down” message when they’re doing their holiday shopping. If there’s one way to lose customers, that is key. Make sure your server can handle the extra traffic from shoppers on Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the rest of the holiday season.
Also pay attention to any extra apps you may be using for functionality on your website. Some of them can actually slow down page loading times and cause other problems. Take time to double check how everything is working far enough in advance that you can fix any problems you find.
Start Planning Early
Many shoppers will get a head start planning their holiday shopping as early as October – and you should be right there with them. Think ahead with any technical preparations so that you have time to fix them but also take extra time to create a solid marketing strategy and start implementing it sooner rather than later.
Be sure to review your eCommerce site thoroughly to catch any issues your customers may encounter. Do this early on in your preparations so that there’s plenty of time to correct the issues and re-test to ensure the site is running optimally.
You should also consider mobile functionality. Online consumers are increasingly shopping on their phones rather than computers or laptops. Pay attention to how your eCommerce store looks and functions on mobile devices to ensure those consumers will have a good experience.
Think About Analytics
Get ready to collect data about your shoppers. You can start this early to gain better insight into which products to promote and how – and you can also use the data collected on Black Friday and Cyber Monday for use in remarketing strategies and in preparations for next year. Whether or not they make a purchase, you can gain a lot of insight about your products and the function of your site.
This also means analyzing previous years and sales. Look at what you’ve done in the past, pay attention to what worked and what didn’t, and utilize that information to improve your marketing and site’s function for this year’s sales.
Related Article: Defining Your Target Audience
Get Busy with Marketing
Arguably the most important part of your preparations will be building a solid marketing strategy and implementing it early. Consumers plan ahead for their holiday shopping and so should you with your eCommerce marketing and sales for the holiday season. Figure out your most popular products and focus on them.
Pay attention to customers who already know you and have shopped with you in the past. They already have interest in what you provide and that’s half the battle with marketing. If you already have some idea of what a customer is interested in, use that information through emails or site functions to get them to make the purchase. Many online shoppers now expect to see a shopping history or recommendations based on their previous browsing.
When strategizing your sales, consider offering limited time deals. Consumers are more likely to carry through with a purchase when they don’t have time to research and find the best deal. If yours looks great and they only have a few minutes to make the purchase, they’re likely to do it.
Related Article: Creating an Urgency to Buy
Have a Solid Email Campaign Strategy
Start thinking about your strategy early and get a leg-up with consumers already in your database by sending email campaigns promoting your holiday deals. A solid email campaign can have a huge impact on sales – even more so if you’re able to break down your customers into categories and send more specialized content in emails.
Studies show that 25% of sales on Black Friday and Cyber Monday start from email marketing. This can include anything from sales promotions to cart recovery emails and even welcome emails including an introductory offer. Think about what will work best for your customers. Over the 2018 Black Friday weekend, 2.13% of opened cart recovery emails resulted in a purchase. That’s a decent portion of your consumer base and can mean a solid jump in sales for your holiday shopping season.
Related Article: Your Guide to Holiday Email Marketing
Don’t Forget About the Rest of the Holiday Season
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are huge shopping days but consumers are out making extra purchases throughout the whole holiday season. While you should focus extra attention on those two days, don’t leave out the rest of the season entirely. Be sure to build a strategy with sales and marketing that will encompass the entire holiday season because shoppers are still out in droves.
Need Help Preparing? Customer Paradigm Can Help
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all the preparation required leading up to Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the rest of the holiday season, Customer Paradigm can help you out. Ecommerce development can seem like a huge task – and eCommerce marketing can sometimes be done best with help from a third party. At Customer Paradigm, we work with Magento and Shopify to provide the best eCommerce experience. Plus assistance with SEO, marketing strategy, and implementation of marketing. Contact us with any questions you have!
About Kelly Mason
Kelly is a Marketing Assistant at Customer Paradigm. She loves creating engaging and educational content and connecting with the community through social media. Outside of the office, she can be found eating her way through Colorado one brunch at a time and hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park.