Black Friday and Cyber Monday are historically two huge days in the ecommerce calendar, and in 2020 customers spent a staggering $34.4 billion during Cyber Week, signalling a 20.7% increase on 2019.
With the ongoing uncertainty and difficulty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s understandable for small businesses to question how much stock (literally) to put into cyber week this year.
Shopify even held an ecommerce webinar titled ‘Is Black Friday Dead?’. Having attended the webinar, and listened to merchants, and the Head of Ads Research and Insights at Google, it’s safe to say the answer was a resounding no.
Far from being dead, they predicted Black Friday to be even bigger this year:
- 44% more consumers shopped only online in 2020 compared to 2019
- Ecommerce holiday sales increased by 32% in the last two years, with 2020 seeing two year’s worth of growth
- Over the 2020 holiday season, revenue per website visit increased 10%
We’re going to show you how to prep your online store for what could and should be its biggest day yet.
Not built your online store yet? Don’t worry, it’s not too late!
You might not even have built your online store, and are wondering ‘is it too late to get ready and start selling in time for Black Friday and Cyber Monday’?
Thanks to drag and drop website builder tools like Shopify, creating a unique ecommerce store can take hours.
You’ve still got plenty of time to get your store off the ground and grab a slice of Black Friday and Cyber Monday revenue. Here are the two guides you need to get up and running:
How to Build an Online Store | Top 5 Tools To Get You Started – everything you need to get out of the blocks.
Online Store Builders Comparison Chart – our comparison chart will help you find the perfect online store builder for you.
– Laura Fuentes, Infinity Dish
The biggest nightmare for any site owner is your website breaking down just as you get a surge in customers looking to buy.
It’s enough to make you wake up in the middle of the night in cold sweats. Downtime on a website is like putting up a sign on your front door inviting your customers to head over to the competition.
Traffic to retailers rockets over Black Friday and Cyber Monday and you might worry that your store isn’t properly equipped to handle it. The important thing is not to panic: crashing a website usually takes A LOT of traffic. Even so, it’s still worth giving your site a stress test before the big weekend.
“Think of it as giving your car an MOT before you compete in a Nascar rally event.
What can you do to make sure your store is fighting fit?
- Test the load capacity (the amount of activity your store can take before it packs it in) using tools such as LoadImpact.com. If your store is self-hosted, you may want to consider upgrading the service or your hosting plan to unlimited bandwidth.
- Test email marketing in advance – if you’re sending any automated emails over the period, test, test and test again that they are delivering properly and that the copy is clear. Sending the wrong email to the wrong customer could affect sales and really damage your brand in the long run by making you look amateur.
- Test your site across different browsers (Google, Firefox, Internet Explorer) and across different devices (mobile, tablet, desktop) to make sure it’s working smoothly on all of them. Your shoppers will use all manner of browsers on a number of devices, so it’s important to spread your net as wide as you can to avoid missing out on sales.
Touch wood, you’ll be receiving more orders than usual across Black Friday and Cyber Monday. A lot more orders, hopefully.
It’s crucial to make sure your shipping process can cope and you’re not going to fail to deliver orders if they’re coming through thick and fast, or that you won’t sell out too quickly and end up failing to meet demand. Contact your supplier and make sure they know what’s happening.
Test your order fulfilment process, whether you’re using a dropshipper, a manual system or a fulfilment app like ShipStation.
When making sure your store is ready for the busiest shopping days of the year, it’s easy to forget how important it is to make sure all the changes we’ve suggested work as well on mobile as they do on desktop.
We’re reminding you now so you have no excuse.
A staggering $3.6 billion was spent on mobiles on Black Friday last year, and mobile usage is only getting more popular. Last year mobile purchases made up 36% of Black Friday sales and 37% of Cyber Monday sales.
Don’t forget to look at navigation on a mobile, mobile responsiveness and the buying process.
– Tory Gray, The Gray Dot Company
There are no hard-and-fast rules, just use your common sense.
Many retailers get caught up in the competitiveness of Black Friday and Cyber Monday and risk damaging their brand with unethical practices. Here are a few rules of thumb to bear in mind:
- DON’T spam customers with relentless emails. Just because they’ve bought from you or signed up to your newsletter doesn’t give you right to abuse their inbox.
- DO always have an unsubscribe button on any emails.
- DON’T offer promotions or products in paid advertising that you aren’t offering on the site. Customers must get what they were promised when they click on a paid advert.
- DO offer genuine discounts. Don’t raise the price a week before and then drop it back down to its original price but advertise it as a discount. You’ll be caught out and shoppers will punish you in the long run.
- DON’T be rude to customers requesting refunds or making inquiries. Black Friday and Cyber Monday can be stressful, but you should always remain professional and courteous.
- DO make sure any pop-ups you add to your website are as unobtrusive and relevant as possible. We’d suggest they only appear after a visitor has been on your page for 10 seconds. There is nothing more offputting than arriving on a webpage only to be attacked by a pop-up immediately.
There are no hard-and-fast rules, just use your common sense.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the biggest shopping dates in the calendar and so are super competitive. Standing out in the crowd can feel impossible if you’re a small online store with limited resource.
But if you ask yourself the right questions, and take the right steps, you can ride the Black Friday and Cyber Monday wave and get in on the action.
Hopefully this guide has shown you some easy DIY methods to get your ecommerce store ready for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, without needing to hire an expensive developer or a designer, and pointed you in the direction of some really helpful tools available from top ecommerce website builders.
If you haven’t even built your ecommerce store yet, it’s never too late to get up and running.
Explore The Best Ecommerce Software to Help You Sell Online, which shows you how quickly and easily you can build an online store and start selling, without needing any technical knowledge whatsoever.
If you’re running an ecommerce store already, and want more information on the topics covered in this guide, we suggest you read the guides listed below to really take your site to the next level:
How to Design a Customer-Winning Product Page for Your eCommerce Store: Part 1 – for the 8 pieces of content your ecommerce product page must have if you want to supercharge your online store.
How To Sell Online | 4 Superb eCommerce Solutions To Help You Succeed – your one-stop guide to selling online successfully, covering everything from building a brand to technology that helps you sell.
Let’s hear it for a successful Black Friday and Cyber Monday!
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