Black Friday is coming closer and it is never too early for e-commerce businesses to prepare for one of the busiest shopping periods of the year. We’ve compiled a list of tips and tricks so you can optimize your business for more revenue and less stress during Black Friday.
Although we are still in the midst of summer, the countdown has begun for the day that both shoppers and sellers dream about — Black Friday. This year, November 26 is shaping up to be an even more lucrative day for e-commerce businesses as consumers have increasingly shifted to online shopping, skipping the long lines at brick-and-mortar stores and scoring even better deals on their devices.
In 2020 Shopify saw a 75 percent increase in revenue from 2019 with over 44 million customers purchasing products and services from D2C brands worth more than USD 5.1 million. In Europe many countries experienced triple-digit growth in sales, Germany (189 %), Italy (211 %), and the United Kingdom (122 %), signaling a fundamental change in consumer behavior worldwide. The data does not lie — if you own an e-commerce business, mark your calendars because Black Friday 2021 is your most important sales day of the year.
Yet, while this day could be your best sales day, it can also be a day with major missed opportunities. In 2020, almost 50 major retailers experienced outages on their websites as online traffic surged, costing brands more than USD 100 million in revenue. On the logistics side, Amazon faced backlash from paying customers accusing them of failing to fulfil and ship their orders on time.
While a lot can go wrong on Black Friday, a lot can go right as well.
The key to a successful and smooth Black Friday experience – for both you and your customers – is to be prepared in all aspects of your business. We at Hive have been through the chaos of holiday shopping while providing both software and operations for e-commerce businesses.
Follow our four-step guide and get ready for Black Friday 2021:
Whether you use Shopify or WooCommerce as your e-commerce platform, you need to make sure your website performance is both stable and fast. Every second — even every millisecond — is crucial to ensure users spend their precious 24 hours shopping on your website instead of a competitor’s.
Slow loading times hurt the customer experience and potential customers will bounce before check out.: Amazon calculated that if their website ran just one second slower, they would lose $1.6 billion in sales per year.
Definitely speak with your IT team or a cloud service provider before the holiday rush to make sure you have multiple backup options if your site goes down.
In the meantime, here are a few quick fixes for you to take immediate action:
In addition, if you want to proactively diagnose issues on your website, you can use Google’s Test My Site to troubleshoot bugs and increase conversion rates.
While we are on the topic of websites, do not forget to optimize for mobile commerce as well. At Hive we are convinced that mobile browsing and purchasing is becoming the new normal. Today, more than two-thirds of Shopify purchases are made on mobile devices and research shows that a two-second delay in transaction load time can result in an abandonment rate of up to 87 percent.
Let us get your e-commerce mobile-friendly:
To get started, test your website with Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test which — despite a mobile-first approach in today’s e-commerce world — declares one in every fourth website as “not mobile-friendly.”
If you are using a standard shop system, like Shopify or WooCommerce, you can easily switch to mobile view and adjust your fonts and images accordingly. You find more resources on every shop’s supplier website. After publishing, there are many different applications you can use to check your website's responsiveness. The easiest way to get a quick impression when opening your website in Chrome is to right-click it, select “Inspect” and then choose the specific format (you can even choose between multiple phone models) in the top header. Finally, you can run some A/B tests, e.g. with Google Optimize, to see what mobile website option shows the best performance.
Similar to your mobile A/B testing, you want to make sure to find and conduct A/B testing on a checkout system that involves the least amount of clicks so you do not lose customers on their way to checkout. 70 percent of online buyers drop out before purchasing and every added click or page is a chance for them to do so.
Ideally, you would also like to accept as many payments as possible, including Paypal and Apple Pay integration. If you are on Shopify, consider using tools like dynamic checkout buttons which increase mobile conversion rates by remembering customers’ payment preferences for future purchases.
Also, when designing your checkout process, make sure to capture contact information as early as possible to decrease cart abandonment rates. You want to do everything in your power to mitigate cart abandonments early, but if they do happen, this way you can take reactive steps like email retargeting and offering discounts.
For the holidays, you might even want to consider switching to free shipping and returns to grow conversion rates. If you are charging for shipping, make sure your prices are transparent to prevent cart abandonment.
Finally, do not be afraid to make your deals big and bold and keep influencer codes simple and easy to remember. This helps eliminate as much work for the customer as possible. Also, consider sending out vouchers via email in addition to adding physical vouchers to increase the number of returning customers in the future.
As an e-commerce business, the work is not done after checkout. Your number one priority now is to make sure your products get picked, packed, and shipped from you to your customer’s doorsteps. In whatever way you decide to run your operations, make sure you can take care of all the little details such as stock keeping, address validation or fast shipping worldwide — especially during these peak times.
Consider working with a professional and modern third-party logistic (3PL) provider. Ideally, this 3PL solution integrates directly with Shopify or WooCommerce. A reliable fulfillment and software team can handle the surge of your new orders as well as the returns.
Lucky you are here, because what rhymes with “thrive”? That is right – Hive provides you with an all-in-one-hand fulfilment solution. We handle the operational part of your fulfilment and you can keep track and even see forecasts in the app so that you are always on top of things.
One of our most important tips during these busy seasons is to make sure you have enough products to sell. Out-of-stock notifications are an e-retailer’s worst nightmare, especially with customers flooding your website with credit cards on hand (or even worse: customers who already paid).
While it might seem like an achievement for your products to sell out, it only causes headaches for all parties if not displayed correctly. Customers will not only become frustrated for wasting their time buying a product not in stock but also vent their frustration by flooding your customer service, leaving a bad review, or shaming you publicly. But do not worry, you can avoid all that.
With automated e-commerce operations and software solutions, little can go wrong. Hive forecasts the best time for you to reorder your products and automatically updates your e-commerce site.
We are all human and mistakes happen. Make sure your customers type their addresses correctly when ordering, this is done easiest by integrating an address verification system. If you work with a logistic provider, check-in with them to see if they can provide this service and reduce your returns.
Last but not least: Shipping. Once your customers press the order button on your website, they should not have to wait more than 48 hours for delivery within the same country. Thus, check your capacities or check in with your logistic provider. If necessary, announce later deliveries transparently on your website or after checkout via email.
That was a lot. Let us step back and recap. In short, as an e-commerce owner, you need to recognize the significance of preparing early for what will be another incredibly busy — and immensely profitable — holiday shopping season.
Every Black Friday ends with another sales record and even more customers ordering online. With the tips shared above, you are well on your way to achieving success on November 26. And if you need any help along the way, Hive is here to offer easy-to-use software and operational excellence.