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Maximise Sales with a Black Friday Ecommerce Strategy

‘Black Friday’ is the Friday following Thanksgiving Day in the USA, a day when consumers can take advantage of huge bargains. It has been the USA’s busiest shopping day since 2005, and now it has spread across the globe. These days Black Friday UK is one of retail’s best opportunities to make a killing before the festive season. To make the most of the shopping frenzy you need a great Black Friday ecommerce strategy. As a highly experienced website design agency in Oxford, we can help. Read on to find out how to make the most of Black Friday.

What is Black Friday?

In the UK ‘Black Friday’ was originally used by the police and NHS to describe the chaotic Friday before Christmas. Now it means the same as it does in the USA. So when is Black Friday? It’s always the Friday after Thanksgiving in the USA, and Thanksgiving always falls on the fourth Thursday in November. Thanksgiving 2021 in the USA falls on 26th November, but it happens on different dates around the world. In Romania, for example, Black Friday happens a week before the US event. In the UK it’s the same as the USA – 26th November 2021.

The phrase Black Friday first turned up in Philadelphia in 1961, coined by police to describe the unusually high numbers of people and cars milling around dangerously in the streets the day after Thanksgiving. By late November 1975 it had turned up in the New York Times, referring to ‘the busiest shopping and traffic day of the year’. Since then the term has spread, as has the trend. These days retailers across the world promote Black Friday sales, offers and specials heavily every year, and shoppers are perfectly happy to take advantage.

Importance of Black Friday for Retailers

Why is black Friday important for retailers? The numbers say it all. In 2016 the total retail spend online for Black Friday was £1.23 billion, a 2.2% increase on 2015. 2017 saw UK retail sales in November beat those in December for the first time ever. The day has fast become the UK’s primary Christmas shopping day, the day when all the best bargains are available and there’s still enough time for your purchases to be delivered before the festivities. It’s a day no online or high street retailer wants to miss out on, and for many it could prove the biggest earner of the entire year.

The pandemic affected Black Friday 2020 profoundly. With people in many countries locked down or restricted by covid measures, more of us than ever shopped on the web rather than the high street. Online spending on the day grew 21.6% to more than $9 billion and across the world consumers spent an astonishing 116.6 million hours shopping on the internet. Interestingly, not a single significant retail website crashed on Black Friday 2020, indicating that retailers had got their technical act together in good time and predicted the sheer force of numbers pretty well.

Black Friday ECommerce Strategy Recommendations

Against a landscape like this it’s clear you need to create a workable, practical, comprehensive Black Friday ECommerce Strategy to take full advantage of the opportunity in 2021. Planning and preparation make all the difference between a site that crashes, runs slow, and potentially drives people away, and one that comfortably generates a small fortune for your brand without so much as sucking its cheeks in! Here are some strategic recommendations to help you make a huge success of your Black Friday event.

Prepare Your Website for Black Friday

Our first expert tip is this: we strongly recommend you make sure your website is fully optimised and completely ready for the Black Friday onslaught. Here are the most important things you need to take care of before the big day:

  • The site navigation and user experience both need to be smooth, simple and enjoyable to keep visitors happy and convert them to buyers
  • A slow website speed send people away, so make sure your site loads quickly however many visitors you get at once
  • Looks matter. How are your images? If they’re sub-standard or poor quality, replace them. If you don’t have a facility for zooming in, maybe add one
  • Mobile optimisation is really important, since so many people do research on their phones and a good proportion of us buy via a mobile device, too
  • You need to provide an efficient, fast ecommerce checkout process, ideally providing a variety of ways to pay to suit all tastes
  • Your infrastructure resilience and capacity needs to be as good as it can be to keep everything running as it needs to
  • Fulfilment matters, especially this close to Christmas. Make sure you have everything you need to pack and send the goods to consumers in good time

Optimise Website Landing Pages

Marketing basics matter. The better your landing pages, the more sales you’ll convert. It makes sense to create one or more Black Friday landing pages, harnessing the principles of direct response marketing to make messages that interest, inspire and inform your prospects. Alternatively you could use banners and overlays on your existing pages to promote special Black Friday offers.

It’s a good idea to create optimal product descriptions that tell people everything they need to know about the product, so they don’t have to click away anywhere else. And it’s your job to make all the Black Friday discounts and savings you’re offering nice and prominent, so people don’t have to look too hard.

Implement and Encourage the Use of Wish Lists

Wish lists are wonderful, a powerful way to let people formalise and organise the products they want to buy. Because the wish list is saved on your website, they’re more likely to buy from you than somewhere else, making them a nice little marketing tool that’s good for you and your customers. But there’s more. Because a wish list is a type of database, you can use yours to expand your existing email marketing lists, cross sell relevant products, up-sell products, and inspire people to sign up for your newsletter or future special offers. With luck you’ll generate an enormous collection of new client data to mine, analyse, and use to boost your bottom line.

Send a Black Friday Email to Subscribers

It’s a great idea to give people some warning, providing a heads-up about the coming event, so get in touch by email to remind existing customers of the date the day falls this year. Make sure your email subject line is good and powerful, inspiring them to open and read the message. You can highlight key discounts and even get clever with targeting if you’ve collected the right kind of data. If you know someone has bought a series of similar products from you in the past, for example, they might like to know you’ll be selling more of the same items at a great discount on Black Friday. You can also get ahead of the game by carrying out a series of promotions designed to attract more subscribers ahead of Black Friday.

Promote Black Friday Sales via Social Media

Social media is your best friend at a time like this. Ideally you’ll begin warming things up a couple of weeks before the day itself with exciting posts to inspire people and hints about the special offers you’ll be making. You could make offers on social media that your followers can take advantage of using a discount code on the day, a really powerful marketing tool to get people interested and keep them that way. The more widely you promote and share your coming Black Friday discounts, the better. Make sure you actually ask your followers to share your offers. They’ll be more likely to share when you ask nicely than if you just assume they’ll share, or hope they will. Taken as a whole, social media is probably your best Black Friday marketing weapon of all.

Offer Upsell and Cross Sell Discounts

Up-selling is where you persuade the consumer to buy a more expensive version of something. Cross selling is where you sell a complementary product as well as the main one – maybe your customer buys a green widget and you cross-sell them a green widget repair kit. They’re both direct response marketing classics and are surprisingly powerful, giving you a great way to sell more products to a single customer. You might be pleasantly surprised at how many people actually take up your suggestions. How about a ‘people who bought that also bought this’ campaign, like they do on Amazon? Alternatively, offer attractive combined packages at discounted prices when someone buys multiple related products together.

Get your Black Friday plans settled

As you can see, Black Friday has become a crucial event in every online retailer’s calendar. It’s your opportunity to maximise sales, and paying attention to your strategy makes a difference. If you’d like to learn more about B2B website development from Intuitiv, we’ll be pleased to hear from you. Let’s make Black Friday 2021 the best yet!