Is your website really ready for Black Friday?

Yep, it’s that time again, one of the busiest retail weekends of the year is fast approaching and with Adobe revealing that 2016’s Black Friday frenzy broke online sales records in the US, with a whopping $3.34bn being spent online, it’s never too late to make some crucial last minute changes to your website.

Hosting

This has to be the most important element of preparing your website in anticipation of an increased surge of visitors over the Black Friday period. Firstly, avoid underestimating the potential increase in traffic – it’s useful to note, when comparing Black Friday to a normal Friday, Qubit, which has analysed more than 50m visits from 120 UK and US retailers to discover how consumers reacted, found that traffic was up by 220%.

Despite this, many big brands did just that last year, and their sites either completely crashed or had off-puttingly long wait times.

In 2016 companies such as GAME failed to prepare and by offering 40% off Xbox One and PS4 games, enticed customers were left frustrated when the checkout system simply could not cope with such high volumes of orders.

How to prepare your hosting:

  • Test your site speed and the amount of traffic it can handle before the big weekend, using stress and user tests.
  • If you gauge that your hosting capacity is relatively low you can contact your hosting provider and pay to increase your package over this short time period.
  • You can also consider investing in a content delivery network (CDN) which splits the load of content across multiple servers.
  • Cache static content to boost load speed and review third party scripts and plugins – updating where required – to prevent potential loading problems.

Homepage Marketing

This doesn’t need to be over-complicated, it’s just a matter of making sure it’s prominent on your homepage that you are running a Black Friday promotion. A simple homepage banner that clicks through to your promotions does the trick. You could then go one step further by adding a smaller banner that stays on every page of the site that also clicks through to the promotions page.

Rename top headers where promotions are to ‘Black Friday’ over the black friday/cyber monday period, to ensure the desired landing pages are not missed!
Pop up banners remind the user of the promotion throughout their time on the website – ensure these aren’t too aggressive as it could have the opposite effect!
Consider advertising coupon codes to target specific products, these codes then get applied at the checkout.

Countdown timers

For a business, Black Friday itself is mainly about capitalising on the buyers urge to panic buy before the deal runs out! In a world where the average buyer usually takes their time to find and compare products – research for comparative pricing discovered that 94% of online shoppers take time in finding the cheapest product available, before committing to buy – what better way to push them to making that decision faster by adding a countdown timer. By having the live timer visibly ticking down, visitors will be even more tempted to buy at that price while they still can!

Streamline Checkout Process

Given the nature of Black Friday and the fact buyers have limited time, they typically do not have the patience to sit through a long-winded checkout system. If you can simplify your checkout steps in any way, do so. Also, remember, if your site is busier that day, loading times may increase, so the fewer pages a buyer has to go through, the better. Also, it’s good to note, many successful ecommerce sites often remove the need to register during this period to speed up the checkout process.

Upsell and cross-sell

It’s important to take full advantage whilst a buyer is actively interested by upselling and cross-selling a variety of your products. Why not offer a multi-buy discount, buy two get the third half price? Or, a very popular way to boost the average price of sale is to offer free delivery when spending over a certain amount. These kinds of combined promotions work very well, when people are actively looking for a good deal.

Watch the sales roll in!

We advise making sure you are fully covered during the busy times of year, especially holidays like Black Friday; if you need any help maintaining your site and getting the most out of your audience, then get in touch today!

Written by Sian Daly

Hi there, I'm Sian, the Marketing Accounts Executive at Brave Agency. I have a tonne of experience in marketing and account handling and hope to share a little bit of that knowledge with you guys here.

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