Be Prepared for Black Friday: 6 Strategies for E-Commerce & What to Know
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Be Prepared for Black Friday: 6 Strategies for E-Commerce & What to Know

Reading Time: 7 minutes(Last Updated On: August 20, 2020)

Black Friday isn’t what it used to be. That’s a fact, not an opinion.

In 2015, nearly 60% of American consumers planned to do most of their holiday shopping on Black Friday. Over recent years, that percentage has dropped more than 20 points; in 2019, only 36% of American consumers planned on shopping on Black Friday. What explains the drop?

For one thing, people are sick of the crowds they need to endure to get the deals offered in stores on Black Friday. On the other hand, holiday shopping through e-commerce and e-business has increased over the past few years – a rise of more than 13% last year. Together, those factors have made it harder than ever for brick-and-mortar stores to survive in the face of e-commerce.

But Black Friday 2020 will be different in its own right and you can likely guess why. The coronavirus crisis has placed a load of stresses on both brick-and-mortar stores and online stores in preparation for the upcoming holiday season.

Here, we’ll cover the top 6 Black Friday e-commerce strategies you can use to make the most out of the holiday rush. 

 

Why you need a Black Friday strategy

A Black Friday strategy is absolutely essential to have in order for your e-commerce business to see strong profits this holiday season. Without clear goals and a clear plan on how to reach them, you will likely have a hard time achieving what you set out to do.

These 6 Black Friday e-commerce strategies are going to not only prepare your business for an impressive performance this year but will also serve as guidance on what you need to stay focused on during the event itself.

 

1. Optimizing your e-commerce store

The first step here is to visit your website as if you were a customer in order to see where improvements need to be made. Better yet, have some friends do it for you so you know you’re not missing any bits. Included in that quality assurance should be a review of your sales funnel to see what the dropoff points are and how you can resolve them. Why? Because user experience is key!

Next, you’ll want to prioritize SEO practices. That means creating high-quality content on a consistent basis and in a variety of formats. Why? Because showing up in organic search engine results is critical to generating traffic to your e-commerce website.

 

2. Advertising Black Friday deals for e-commerce

There are plenty of e-commerce advertising strategies that you can include in your Black Friday strategies arsenal:

  • Email marketing
  • Affiliate marketing
  • Social media marketing
  • Pay per click (PPC)
  • Banner ads
  • Facebook Ads
  • Shopping campaigns
  • Local marketing
  • Influencer marketing
  • Content marketing
  • Etc.

 

Why? Because growing brand awareness and generating leads is how you turn shoppers into buyers.

 

Black Friday marketing ideas for small businesses may differ from the strategies that a larger business would use, while some tactics are suitable for businesses of all sizes.

For example, regardless of the business’s size, it’s always a good idea to create a sense of urgency through your Black Friday e-commerce advertisements since the special offers will only be available for 24 hours.

On the other hand, a marketing strategy like including a free gift with each purchase could be more feasible for larger businesses than for small ones. You’ll want to carefully consider which approaches are best suited for your online business.

 

3. Ensuring you have enough stock for the Black Friday rush

There are several potential inventory issues you need to consider when laying out your Black Friday strategy. Why? Because having enough inventory to satisfy your customers’ demand is important not just for meeting Black Friday orders but also for preventing negative reviews in the future.

Black Friday e-commerce inventory issues to avoid:

  • Poor supply chain management – supply chains have been put under immense pressure since COVID exploded onto the scene. Now, supply chain optimization is more important than ever. That means making improvements to cut costs, raise profits, and keep customers satisfied.
  • Overselling – the one time that you accidentally sell the last unit of something to two customers can result in reputational damage that takes very long to repair – even if you get it right 1,000 times before. If your business operates online, having negative reviews can do serious damage to your bottom line.
  • Overstocking – in the context of Black Friday e-commerce strategies, the concern of overstocking is probably going to be very small. But in general, storing products can become a costly expense – that is, unless you’re operating a dropshipping business.

 

Note: Often times, these problems can be resolved with the power of technology. For many smaller e-commerce businesses, it can be difficult to afford the upgrades they need to optimize their stock management. In those cases, having access to e-commerce loans is something that every e-business should ensure.

 

Black Friday Strategies

 

4. Automation

If you’re not making the most of automation, you’re doing your e-commerce business a disservice. Bottom line. Why? Because customers shop online largely due to the quickness and efficiency.

If your customers have questions about a product or even the payment process, you’ll want them to get the information they’re looking for as soon as possible so they can move forward with purchasing your product(s) or service(s). The longer they have to wait, the less likely they are to complete the purchase.

Consider using some of the following automation techniques in your Black Friday strategies:

  • Abandoned cart reminders
  • Abandoned cart recovery
  • Rewards for customer loyalty
  • Ask customers for feedback
  • Auto-purchase inventory when it drops below a certain threshold
  • Upselling (followup emails with suggested items)
  • Email sales (special offers only available to pre-existing customers)
  • Etc.

 

5. Handling a spike in e-commerce server load during Black Friday

Black Friday will [hopefully] bring a huge rush of customers to your e-commerce website and you’ll want each of them to make a successful journey from interested shopper to satisfied customer. You’ll need your servers to be able to handle the rapid increase in traffic.

Why? Because an overload of traffic on your e-commerce website server could crash the site and result in no orders being processed.

Test your site’s performance under heavy traffic conditions and assess the integration of your different systems. If you have multiple platforms running and they’re not sufficiently synchronized, you could see one or several of them crash – again, leading to a freeze in sales.

 

6. Black Friday e-commerce customer service 

On Black Friday 2020 in particular, you’ll likely be under more pressure than usual to answer questions, respond to messages/SMS/phone calls, process returns and refunds, and so on. Chatbots can offer a great helping hand for the improvement of your e-commerce customer experience. Don’t underestimate the impact that good customer service has on your business’s bottom line!

Why? Because research on customer loyalty found that 75% of US consumers would completely cut ties with a company for having received bad customer support.

 

What to expect on Black Friday

If implemented correctly, these Black Friday strategies can produce impressive results for your e-commerce business. Below, we delve into the details of what you can expect to see in terms of online traffic and sales through each of the 6 Black Friday e-commerce strategies.

 

1. Optimizing your e-commerce store

Last year, the top 100 shopping sites saw an increase in e-commerce traffic of 137% on Black Friday. Even if your business isn’t ranking that high, that statistic should show you just how important it is to have a flawless sales funnel if you intend on doing well during Black Friday 2020. 

 

2. Advertising Black Friday deals for e-commerce

Choosing the right Black Friday e-commerce marketing strategy can make a huge difference to your earnings this holiday season. For instance, men tend to spend more on Black Friday than women (even if it’s only by 3%), and Baby Boomers plan to spend an average of more than double the amount that Millennials plan on spending during Black Friday.

Do your due diligence so you select the appropriate target audience and the right marketing strategies to attract those customers.

 

3. Ensuring you have enough stock for the Black Friday rush

Retailers (e-commerce included) can expect to generate roughly 20% of their annual sales over the holiday season. If you plan on fulfilling the immense influx of orders you’ll likely see on Black Friday, you can’t afford to be caught without enough inventory on hand.

 

Black Friday 2020 Tips

 

4. Automation

Time is of the essence, especially during Black Friday – an event that spans just 24 hours. Automation tools are immensely powerful and can help save your e-commerce business an incredible amount of time. Automated workflows in Shopify are reportedly saving more than 9.2 million hours – that’s more than 1,000 years. That saved time can easily be used to improve other aspects of your e-commerce business to also increase your profits.

 

5. Handling a spike in e-commerce server load during Black Friday

As noted above, shopping sites are expected to see large increases in traffic during Black Friday. The worst-case scenario would be your servers stalling under that increase flow of traffic and stopping all business from processing!

Another issue related to your network’s performance is cybersecurity. Even though 90% of cyber-attacks happen because of human error, the other 10% of attacks could be the result of a vulnerable server. When website traffic booms, that vulnerability magnifies. Step up your cybersecurity plan before Black Friday comes around.

 

6. Black Friday e-commerce customer service 

Considering the fact that more than 80% of US consumers report needing some form of support throughout their online shopping journey, it’s clear that customer service is a crucial part of creating successful Black Friday strategies. Just implementing a chatbot in your Black Friday e-commerce strategy can save your business 30% on the cost of customer service – well worth the investment.

 

Back to Black [Friday]

Black Friday e-commerce trends are bound to be very different this year given the economic strains brought on by the coronavirus crisis. That’s all the more reason to get focused on perfecting your Black Friday strategies ahead of time. Use the top 6 Black Friday e-commerce strategies listed here to prepare your business for this holiday season’s online shopping boom!

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Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is provided for informational purposes only, should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter and should not be relied upon as such. The author accepts no responsibility for any consequences whatsoever arising from the use of such information.