Black Friday is an important date for e-commerce retailers. Not only is it one of the biggest sale dates for the year, swiftly followed by Cyber Monday, it marks the 4 week countdown to Christmas.
But has the Black Friday and Cyber Monday surge peaked, especially for bricks-and-mortar retailers? Business Insider reported that over half of surveyed shoppers will not be venturing out to bargain hunting over the BFCM weekend. With brands spreading savings all year round and early bird Xmas shoppers now starting in October, shoppers no longer want or need to queue and stampede for deals and discounts.
And is the BFCM surge ultimately profitable? IMRG announced that out of the top 75 retailers in the UK, 65 brands launched campaigns in-store and online for Black Friday 2016, whilst 10 retailers withheld. Interestingly, the 10 retailers who did not participate, still saw the same (relative) percentage growth over the festive season as those who advertised dedicated Black Friday promotions.
However, for direct to consumer etailers, Black Friday is still an excellent way to reward current customers and acquire a new fan base. Even if revenue growth rates stay similar, it can be assumed that those who joined in with BFCM online campaign grew their reach and email lists significantly, which will be invaluable to marketers in 2018.
If you are planning to take part in Black Friday and Cyber Monday this year, there is still time to shape up your website and turn browsers into buyers. Here’s our key must haves to make the festive season a profitable one.
SAFETY: Consumers have to trust your checkout process to make that final step and complete the purchase.
- Make sure your SSL certificate is enabled (adding the ‘s’ to your http:).
- Add endorsements from Visa, PayPal or MasterCard and other methods of safe payment.
- Check your website for spelling errors as they instantly destroy credibility.
- Make sure you have social proof (Facebook / Twitter / Instagram).
- Add accreditations, customer reviews, testimonials and any press coverage.
IMAGERY: Utilise powerful, consistent imagery that shows the quality, size and use of your products.
- Homepage imagery needs to clearly show what you sell and why you're different.
- Ditch carousels in favour of a single hero banner image that clearly states your best offers.
- Add video showcasing what your product can do, especially if it’s complex, solves problems or moves!
- Show photos of the packaged item. Shoppers will want to know what their gifts will look like once they arrive.
SEO: If customers are looking for what you are selling, let them find you!
- If you are utilising Adwords or Google Shopping, make sure your campaigns are live and you are bidding for the relevant keywords to maximise the opportunity.
- Analyse and improve how well your web pages rank for the key searches that generate sales.
- Improve and refresh any product page copy and any other text content.
- Mobile response time is a big factor in search rankings. Make sure you are optimised and responsive.
TOP TIP: Create a guest checkout option for speedy shoppers.
Customers can become frustrated having to create an account to purchase, enabling guest accounts can cut down this barrier. You can find out here how to enable guest accounts on your Shopify store.
CONSENT: By handing over their email address, primarily for order confirmation, customers do not expect to be spammed.
- With the GDPR ruling in May next year, use email responsibly and collect the correct consent for any online marketing activities.
- Email is still the highest-converting channel for e-commerce. Use offers, inspirational content and product features to direct people to your website.
- Consider segmenting your list and send different content to new customers and repeat customers.
- Make future contact opt-in rather than opt-out. Be willing to lose a little bit of data in return for some customer trust.
HELP: Offer immediate customer support and answer questions quickly. You’ll build a personal bond with your customer.
- Your contact details should be obvious. Add a phone number, social contact and business address.
- Be able to reassure customers that are concerned about gifts arriving in time.
- Add an FAQ and cover any recurring issues. This can also be great content for SEO, with “how to” and “what is” searches consistently gaining top results.
- And if they’re not ready to purchase just yet, remember first impressions count and they will remember your level of service.
DELIVER: If you have a special shipping rate or free shipping, advertise it!
- Delivery charges can really bump up an order so make sure yours is reasonable.
- Easy and hassle-free returns is a key selling point you should mention when it comes to gifts.
- Your website needs to clearly state if items will still arrive before Christmas. Even better, give a precise date.
- Use the header of the website to communicate selling points, such as free shipping and guarantees.
- It’s important at this time of year to mention if goods are still available for delivery before Christmas.
If you are looking for a more in-depth checklist, including conversion driving product page and checkout pointers, you can download our 2017 e-commerce website checklist here which will give you further site wide checks and tips.
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