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Black Friday “eCommerce To-do List” and how to prepare for the big day.

08 November 2019 by Chris Behier


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As everyone knows, the online shopping marketplace is still a growing space but it is harder to compete. It now takes more analysis to run a lean operation with the aim to drive to profitability – this is done frequently. Black Friday is an anomaly and breaks the trends throughout the year and requires planning on various fronts. Preparation of infrastructure readiness, inventory levels, your marketing campaigns and of course all your eCommerce tools.

 

Here are the top Black Friday Planning items to consider:

  1. Strategic Planning – When planning for your big day, lead-generating products, pricing strategies/bundles, shipping discounts, cross-sales and all the various marketing value propositions you might have in mind are usually dropped on paper/tablets.
  2. Plan on pre-marketing – A timeline starting with your approach on how to create buzz on your sale day using social media, email marketing and all other advertising in letting everyone know of your offerings is key to build the momentum. Getting engagement before Black Friday on social media such as give-aways, raffles, testimonials, all help build the buzz further.
  3. Identifying your core products – These core products are the lead generators that you might have planned to bring customers to transact during Black Friday. They have margins large enough for you to drive a significant discount and make some noise. Ensuring that you have enough stock, that the item has the cross-sale opportunity, and that you have set up the correlations between products in your online store.

 

Your eCommerce preparations:

  1. Website stability and load testing – The worse thing that can ever happen is for your web-server to crash under load. Ensuring that your IT is sound (and redundant if possible) for the big day. Cloud-based platforms like Shopify that cater to a wide variety of products with a plethora set of tools are a lot more robust than hosting your eCommerce system under Magento/WooCommerce where hardware/software resources have limits. Plan all your eCommerce development work to be done weeks before the day, you need time to test and ensure that all is configured and working as it should.
Tools to test your website’s performance and errors:
All unreasonable errors need to be resolved by your development company.

 

  1. Mobile responsiveness and optimization - By now most eCommerce themes are mobile-friendly. However, ensuring that your theme “delivers” is another point of testing and verification. Page load time on various phones/operating systems is crucial to reducing your bounce rate. Your image sizes, javascript loads are to be optimized to ensure that the performance of the page is within expectations.   Navigation made simple, landing-pages to be formatted and ensuring that your one-page checkout is fast for clients to get through the process will put your mind at ease.

Mobile Test Emulator (for the PC): http://mobiletest.me/

 

  1. On-site Search capabilities – If you have many products, the chances that your client might have to use the on-site search tool increases. If your products are well categorized and cataloged, the search tool should perform well. In product categories, you might employ filters to assist clients to find their products. Alignment between the navigation menu, page layouts (Products/page, bulk-layouts vs. box) and Header/Footer navigation is crucial to ensure that the clients don’t get frustrated by your website’s theme and product hierarchy.
Example of an enhanced Product Search and Filter tool: https://apps.shopify.com/product-filter-search

 

  1. Organize your promotional tools – More is not better and definitely can get complex. Associating products as bundled products vs. unique products is one step that requires attentive configuration. Identifying products that are “related products” is a time-consuming process but pays off in spades for shoppers to easily find what they might need. With “Customers also bought these items” which relates products in your basket to relevant products that might be of interest is yet another way to put additional products forward. Additionally, the “Free Shipping” toolbar (which might turn on after a certain basket size is reached), timed sale items and a myriad of additional tools can all play together. However, testing of all these promotions will require time and due diligence to ensure there are no loopholes or confusion in the selection/redemption of discounts at checkout. 
Example tools from the above discussion:
Related Products and People Also Bought Together: https://apps.shopify.com/related-products-by-tag
Free Shipping Bar: https://apps.shopify.com/free-shipping-bar

5.  Business Automation in your online store – With the increased load of clients online, it will stretch all areas of the business. A focus on providing a good customer experience requires to ensure that the various front-end and back-end areas have as much automation as possible. FAQ’s usually help considerably, however, with today’s tools like AI integrated into Chat to Inventory Management tied into the front-end of the store (if you are out of stock, it reflects it and suggests a similar product).

Examples of AI and Customer Service tools that could be helpful:
AI Support and Retention: https://apps.shopify.com/sallybot
FB Messenger and Support: https://apps.shopify.com/messenger-sales-marketing-customer-service-automation
Personalize Discounts AI: https://apps.shopify.com/boost-sales-with-discounts-optimization-by-amp-ai

  

Conclusion:

It takes the right tools, in the right hands to look at your eCommerce store to help your business to get ready for Black Friday. With the competition being fierce in this space, readiness and standing out will maximize your marketing efforts to convert visitors into customers.


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