Black Friday is often “the Day” in e-commerce businesses. Why? Because it is said that around 20-40% of the total annual sales for retailers is generated between November and December. Black Friday takes place on the last Friday in November. How to prepare your online store for this special day? You can read about it in the article below. Below you will also find a checklist that will help you prepare better for one of the most important days in e-commerce.
Black Friday – a day for boosting sales
Black Friday, similarly to the majority of the so-called “sales holidays” (e.g. Valentine’s Day) came to us from the USA. Black Friday officially kicks off the pre-Christmas shopping season.
In the United States, from the early hours in the morning, huge queues of people appear in front of the stores to buy products at great prices. Similar actions also take place on the Internet, where e-shops prepare promotions for their customers especially for this day.
Although Black Friday refers to the American tradition and culture, the custom was very quickly adopted in other countries. Practically speaking, on the last Friday of November, stores in many countries prepare special discounts to attract as many shoppers as possible. What’s more, many businesses are extending the action to the entire week (Black Week), thus gaining even more profits during sales peak.
Although a similiar holiday called Cyber Monday (following the Monday immediately after Black Friday) was created specifically for the e-commerce industry, the vast majority of online stores are active from the beginning of the weekend advertising their discounts and encouraging people to buy.
To make such an action successful and complete, it is worth knowing how to prepare for this extremely intense weekend. Therefore, we encourage you to read the rest of this article.
How to prepare the store for Black Friday?
Black Friday is an opportunity to increase online store sales. According to statistics, during Black Friday, traffic of a store’s website can increase by up to 110%, and in the United States alone, more than $8.3 billion in purchases were made during that day!
For this reason, when preparing for Black Friday, you need to do it according to a plan. Since we’ve been in the e-commerce business for many years, we’ve developed a number of procedures to ensure that your online store will work effectively even during the time of increased traffic. The checklist below is divided into sale and technical sections.
In the sale section we present a list of tasks you need to do to promote the products in your store, while in the technical section we take into account the key aspect for success – continuous working of the e-platform during increased traffic.
You can also download the checklist below in an abbreviated, ready-to-print version, which will give you a better control over the progress of your work.
Black Friday – sale checklist
- Plan which products you want to sell: by looking at sales statistics, it’s very easy to see which product groups (or specific products) are most frequently purchased around Christmas. These are the products you should base your Black Friday offer on,
- Develop discount strategy: based on the analysis of the product margin, you are able to assess what discounts to offer concerning specific products or even your entire offer. According to Finder, the most popular discounts last year were 50% (19% of respondents), followed by 90% (15% of respondents) and 70% (11% of respondents). The average discount level during last year’s Black Friday in the United States settled at 58%.
- Take care of product inventory: there is nothing worse than being sold out at the very beginning of sale. That’s why one of the first tasks you need to do once you’ve identified your promo products is to restock them. How to do this? The easiest way would be to analyze last year’s Black Friday sales and add a 10-20% markup.
- Prepare an advertising campaign: determine in which channels you want to announce your Black Friday offer, and then prepare information – both text and graphics. Prepare sliders and graphics for your store, and determine the budgets needed to run paid advertising campaigns (such as Google ADS).
- Prepare landing pages: sales effectiveness is calculated i.a. based on how quickly customers find the products they need in your store. Therefore, if not all products in your store participate in Black Friday, prepare a dedicated landing page where you will place all the items at discount. You should also link to this page in your advertising campaigns.
- Prepare to work harder: Black Friday in an online store means a lot of work not only before it starts, but also during it. Especially for those in charge of logistics and shipping of goods. Make sure they have all the products they need for their work, and be prepared for possible extra hours to ship all orders placed as quickly as possible.
Black Friday – technical checklist
- Identify the threats: Sun Tzu in his “Art of War” says: “if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles; if you do not know your enemies but do know yourself, you will win one and lose one; if you do not know your enemies nor yourself, you will be imperiled in every single battle.“ Black Friday is definitely a battlefield where your enemy is technology. Therefore, it is very important to know it and identify a full list of possible threats. Among the most common are:
- slowing down store performance,
- crashing of the store and inability to make purchases,
- desynchronization of information between systems plugged into the store (e.g. inventory desynchronization between the store and the ERP system),
- checkout errors that make it impossible to complete a transaction.
- Perform load testing of landing pages: together with the e-commerce agency you work with, prepare for increased traffic from customers. Based on last year’s data, see what kind of traffic you can expect, add this year’s target, and ask the agency to run tests. They should test whether the landing pages you want to direct traffic will handle the higher volume of users. If the tests come out negative, you will need to make changes in your server infrastructure to deal with the increased traffic.
- Perform stubbing (API stub tests), especially if your store also has a mobile app. The increased number of users during Black Friday (almost 43% of Black Friday orders are placed from mobile devices) can cause the store to become overloaded and suddenly, during the sales peak, stop working.
- Test automation systems: automation is a great thing for an online store. It saves a lot of time wasted by employees performing repetitive tasks. However, automation systems use server resources, so the increased number of processes can cause the store to run slower or even completely block placing orders. Therefore, it is very important to perform load tests of the above systems and, if problems are detected, decide to scale the infrastructure.
- Check enabled modules in the store – did you know that some modules (such as product recommendations) significantly slow down the loading of the online store? Before Black Friday, you need to make sure that your store runs quickly and smoothly, because the success of the entire business largely depends on that. For this reason, you should commission an audit of the modules and their performance on the entire site. This way you will know which of them should be temporarily disabled or (as in the case of the above mentioned recommendations), moved to the very end of the loading queue.
- Test the shopping process: check whether the entire shopping process works properly, even under heavy load. Are all payment options active? Do discount codes work?
- Provide your store with technological support during Black Friday: you can prepare for a million different situations, but you still can’t be sure that your store is protected against every possible error or major failure. That’s why a key element during Black Friday is to make sure it’s properly taken care of technologically. For this purpose, contact your e-commerce agency and see if it offers an additional on-call support during sales peaks. A good technology partner should provide such support when needed.
Why is it worth preparing for Black Friday?
Black Friday is an important day for both parties of the transaction – online stores and shoppers. For the former, it is an opportunity to significantly increase turnover, while for the latter it is a great chance to purchase the first Christmas gifts at attractive prices.
Statistics show that year by year the popularity of Black Friday promotions increases by about 19%. Therefore, this day is a chance for many E-commerce Managers to generate even better sales results in the hottest period for online stores – the pre-Christmas season.
However, in order to achieve this goal, it is advisable to prepare now for Black Friday and the time coming after it. With our checklist, you will be able to plan not only the promotion, but also pay attention to all the technical aspects crucial to the proper operation of your store. This will give you security and peace of mind, even as your store faces an increased number of users interested in your offer.
Looking for a proven technology partner to prepare your store for Black Friday and the pre-holiday season? Check what we can do for you – schedule a free consultation.
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