Only a few days remain until the Black Friday sales of 2023. It’s a crucial time for companies; for some the event is an opportunity to grow and expand, while for others the influx of sales will help them stay afloat. And, as every year, this gives rise to questions about how best to attract customers, as well as whether businesses are prepared to meet increased demand.
There are actions you can take to prepare your online store for Black Friday. These will guarantee that once traffic increases and orders start coming in, your website has the capacity to handle them. Not only will these steps help you manage higher demand, but they will help you offer a great user experience that keeps customers coming back once the sale period is over.
Here are the seven most important Black Friday eCommerce tips for making the most of the day and setting yourself up for success.
1. Plan your Black Friday campaigns, deals, and discounts early
While Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM) are best known for their discounts, the earlier you start planning and executing your campaigns and offering deals, the more hype you can build up to the day.
“Leaking” deals early, providing sneak peeks on sales that you will be offering, creating excitement with countdowns, all of this will help you make the most of it. According to a 2021 study, 65% of US consumers make their purchases prior to the day, rather than on the day itself.
2. Check your website's functionality
Issues with website functionality can seriously affect customers’ desire to shop with you. Such issues include website load speed, and your store’s capacity to cope with surges in traffic and an increase in orders.
Broken links, 404 error pages, missing security patches, and extensions that are not updated – all of this can disrupt the functionality of your website and the user experience. Broken coupon codes also fall within this category and can create frustration for customers.
To overcome these problems, conduct proper performance stress tests early on to leave yourself enough time to fix issues.
3. Optimize for mobile
In 2021, 43% of Black Friday sales in the US came via mobile, and overall more than 60% of global website traffic comes from mobile devices. Moreover, Google has long been favoring websites that are mobile-optimized (i.e. responsive), so prioritizing mobile experience also increases your chances of ranking better, and making more sales.
To be truly mobile-first, your website needs to respond to users’ devices, your navigation needs to be within reach, and you need to keep elements in the center of the screen (i.e. the hot spot). Pop-ups, sidebars, and other distracting elements need to be removed, while your call to action (CTA) buttons need to be clear and easy-to-use, and ordered by importance.
4. Focus on user experience
Poor customer experience is one of the main causes of online store abandonment. You wouldn’t want this to happen at any time, but especially not on Black Friday. Apart from frictionless navigation, focus on providing good product filtering and product search functionality.
The former is improved through product categorization and the inclusion of unique attributes that help users easily narrow their search down, while the latter is improved through a predictive search tool that offers immediate and accurate results.
From a broader perspective, user experience is also strongly impacted by the customer journey. Review how you take customers through the different stages of the buying journey, and whether there’s room for optimization.
5. Set up your checkout for success
The checkout and payment process are the most important factors contributing to user experience. To reduce cart abandonment at the last moment, your checkout needs to be simple and clean.
Distractions such as pop-up windows, sidebars, headers, footers, and any other elements that pull users’ attention away from what they’re looking for all have an impact on checkout rates.
Be wary of lengthy user registration forms requesting lots of personal details; this will negatively impact conversions.
The best checkout practices include having a single-page checkout that contains the most essential product information, with a checkout button that stands out. And for those users that don’t want to register, make sure to offer a guest checkout or social sign-in option – they can always register next time around.
6. Offer hassle-free returns and free shipping
Free shipping can have a significant impact on customers. 49% of Black Friday customers said that free shipping was the biggest reason for them to make a purchase if they were hesitant. This may make absorbing the shipping costs well worth it.
To make the most of this, communicate your shipping and return policies early on. This will provide customers with an incentive to shop with you and may even encourage them to buy more.
7. Provide alternative payment methods
Open banking solutions have changed the payment market, allowing eCommerce merchants to offer a host of different payment methods to their customers. Enabling customers to pay via bank, credit or debit card, using local currency, with a digital wallet, or through other means is sure to boost your Black Friday sales in 2023.
The Skrill payment gateway lets you accept payments in over 40 different currencies, and offer 100+ local payment options – all from just one account, with one contract and one integration.