Black Friday ecommerce is just around the corner (Nov 25, to be precise), but you’re still feeling hectic after the Halloween sales? Don’t fret. Maybe you should skip the Black Friday 2022 overall.
Truth be told, Black Friday is in demise. It used to be this enormous splash event kicking off the holiday shopping season, with thousands of people getting up at 5 a.m. to go bargain hunting. Now, consumers have become more conscious of their shopping decisions and got a grasp of holiday sales as a “carefully engineered illusion” with inflated prices.
Black Friday is evolving into a month-long event where retailers push forward consumers to shop earlier and at a steady pace throughout the season. In fact, Ware2Go data confirms that holiday shopping is going full steam as 44% of merchants announced they’re already in peak season since September.
So should you invest in Black Friday ecommerce strategy 2022? What if you just see immense traffic to your website for a day and then, puff, gone?
In this article, you’ll learn more than just how to prepare your website for Black Friday. You’ll see some examples of how our clients at Elogic boosted their store performance and find a few ecommerce Black Friday tips that will gear up your store for the whole year of sales.
How to Prepare for Black Friday Ecommerce and Hack the Holiday Season
You might be down on America’s biggest shopping day but not on the entire holiday season. You’re still on time to prepare your ecommerce business for sales, be it without the usual hassle of Black Friday.
Here’s a checklist of six Black Friday ecommerce tips that will help you leverage the entire end-of-year ecommerce holiday season.
Check Your Website Speed to Prevent Downtimes
According to Gartner, every minute of website downtime can cost companies an average of $5,600 per minute and anywhere from $140,000 to $540,000 per hour depending on the size of the company. Imagine the losses of over fifty ecommerce brands, including Zara, H&M, and Foot Locker, which experienced site outages during Thanksgiving through Black Friday and Cyber Monday ecommerce in 2020.
To make sure your website is ready for a holiday traffic surge, optimize your website speed:
- Use Content Delivery Networks (CDNs).
- Compress and optimize images.
- Take advantage of browser caching and lazy loading.
Magento merchants may also find many useful insights on optimizing website speed in a related blog article.
One of the best Black Friday ecommerce tips is to stress test your website to make sure it can sustain high traffic. That’s exactly what we’ve done for an Aussie fashion marketplace, Whola. To prevent downtimes and Black Friday website outages, we’ve performed the code audit and optimized the page load speed from 20 seconds — something no user and search engine would tolerate — to less than 3 seconds.
Look Into Hosting & Security
On Black Friday 2018, J Crew experienced a five-hour crash due to high demand, resulting in an estimated loss of over $700,000 in sales. No official apology saved the brand from furious customers.
To avoid the fate of J Crew, make sure your website runs on a scalable hosting solution, such as AWS or Google Cloud Platform. This way, you can handle traffic and sales increases during seasonal spikes.
Speed Up Your Checkout
Slow checkout is one of the primary reasons for high cart abandonment rates. And you don’t want that — neither in your Black Friday ecommerce strategy nor during the holiday sales.
Here are a few practices to streamline the checkout experience:
- Limit checkout to one page (this should also help mobile shoppers).
- Offer multiple payment options.
- Allow guest checkout for non-registered users.
- Use clean design and remove distractions.
- Be transparent about the costs & fees.
For instance, our recent client at Elogic, Saudi Coffee Roasters, has revamped their website and optimized the speed of checkout just in time for the Black Friday ecommerce sales. We’ve helped them redesign it, add a custom shipping address feature with Google Maps, and boost the speed by 3.5 times on desktops. Thanks to the newly integrated payment methods, such as Google Pay and Apple Pay, 90% of all orders are now paid via mobile wallets.
Provide Customer-Centric Experience
One of Black Friday ecommerce ideas is to improve your website UX both design- and functionality-wise. Shoppers need to find exactly what they’re looking for in a matter of seconds.
The least you can do is to create a separate landing page with special offers and top-selling products to boost your ecommerce sales. If you’re pressed for time, redesign your homepage to shout out to your customers about the holiday sales, as Carbon38 did.
Apart from the best UX tips & tricks for product pages, you should consider the following:
- Make your navigation more intuitive: include keywords in your menu, use breadcrumbs & autocomplete, work on advanced product filtering.
- Present exclusive offers to boost sales: think of shopping incentives, like gift cards and vouchers, and make them visible to your target audience (insider tip: try pop-ups).
- Prioritize fast, free delivery: reach out to your fulfillment partner to inquire about their delivery times and cost during the holiday season.
- Personalize: make your customers feel like they’re one in a million tailoring offers & messages based on their search history.
Introduce Loyalty Programs
Black Friday ecommerce holidays are the best time to introduce a loyalty program. According to the 2021 Premium Loyalty Data Study, 49% of consumers would provide the necessary information during the checkout to join a loyalty program with the intention of remaining for the long term.
This news may have lasting repercussions for retailers. Loyalty programs will not only bring more traffic (read: customers) to your website, but also serve as a valuable source of data to make UX better and increase engagement in the future.
Optimize for Mobile
Consumers are expected to spend more than $86B online using their smartphones. Mobile traffic and sales are immense as shoppers enjoy the convenience of browsing products from anywhere, anytime.
If you still don’t have a mobile-friendly ecommerce website, it’s high time to think about it. Not for Black Friday 2021, but for the future. Mobile-led commerce is gaining momentum, and you risk missing out on potential customers and sales opportunities.
As mobile conversion rates still lag behind the desktop ones, one of our Black Friday ecommerce tips is to optimize payment methods on mobile first. Easy mobile checkout will prevent your customers from switching to desktop to complete the purchase (and losing interest in your brand on their way).
Reduce the address and payment details only to the essential info, take advantage of a simple username and password, and integrate Apple Pay or other digital wallets in your checkout.
Gearing Up For End-Of-Year Sales: Is Black Friday Worth It?
The short answer is no. End of the year is so packed with events for the sales season that it’s unreasonable to focus on Black Friday only. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas — all these generate about 19 percent of annual retail sales.
Here’s why you should grab the spoon of all winter sales season rather than focus on one-day-only Black Friday sales.
Consumers Don’t Believe In Ecommerce Black Friday
As much as consumers are willing to fling their wallets open for luring discounts, they understand most of the Black Friday deals aren’t real. Many retailers inflate the prices long before the ecommerce holiday season starts only to make Black Friday discounts seem more impressive.
In fact, a close analysis of a shopping cart in the two months before Black Friday showed the same ten items cost a total of 18 percent more on the day itself. The study covered the most researched deals among the UK respondents.
The Stakes Are Too High For Small Businesses
It’s difficult for small businesses to compete with the large retailers that dominate the market. The latter might allocate up to $6 billion dollars in media toward their four-day Black Friday ecommerce strategy, while the average marketing budget of a small store is no more than $400 per month. Besides, they can’t price-slash like big stores.
In fact, in 2020, many brands across Europe called their Black Friday promotion plans off altogether. For small businesses, Black Friday just means putting immense resources into something that won’t pay off.
Ecommerce Strategy for Black Friday: Conclusion
You don’t need Black Friday 2021 to kick off the holiday season. Sales have started long ago, and you shouldn’t necessarily spend a fortune on marketing one day that won’t bring many sales.
Yet, you can still take advantage of the events beyond Black Friday ecommerce. Website performance optimization helps at any time. During busy periods it gives an extra advantage and brings a lasting effect of increased brand visibility and higher conversion rates.
Do ecommerce sales dip the week before Black Friday?
It is quite common to see ecommerce sales go lower the week before Black Friday as more customers are waiting for discounts. But you can actually use this time to prepare your website to Black Friday by optimizing its performance, carrying out stress tests, and enhancing its security. You can also optimize your marketing, for instance, by offering pre-Black Friday discounts to registered users, thus, boosting your customers’ loyalty and getting more data for your analytics.
For more ideas on how to build outstanding customer experience to ensure your sales never dip, get an ecommerce consultation with Elogic experts.
What are Black Friday challenges for ecommerce?
One of the biggest Black Friday challenges for ecommerce is maintaining website traffic. You need to perform stress and performance testing of your website to ensure it doesn’t go down and will sustain a consumer influx during holiday sales. Contact us at Elogic and get your ecommerce website audit now.
When did ecommerce outperform in-store on Black Friday?
Ecommerce started gaining its momentum during the years of the pandemic and is forecast to yield more revenues for Black Friday 2022 as well. About 62% of people plan to shop online for Black Friday, while only 32% will complete their purchases in person.