The biggest shopping weekend of the year is approaching fast, which means it’s time for ecommerce businesses to prepare for increased traffic and—hopefully—sales. 2020’s lineup sees Black Friday falling on November 27th, with Small Business Saturday taking place on November 28th and Cyber Monday following on November 30th.
Online shopping has already seen unprecedented growth throughout 2020 due to the global pandemic limiting brick-and-mortar store operations. This growth trend—combined with a years-long upward trajectory in Black Friday ecommerce activity—means that online sales this holiday sales weekend are bound to shatter records. Online store owners can maximize their profits by planning their sales strategy in advance. Below, we walk through six strategies to ensure that your ecommerce business enjoys a successful Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
1. Analyze Last Year’s Performance
Before you start planning, examine the strategies you implemented last year to determine which were the most fruitful. Look closely at your conversion rates on those sales days, as well as for any email messaging, social media posts, pay-per click ads, and other methods you employed leading up to the holiday weekend. Then, compare your conversion rate(s) to your everyday averages, holiday averages within your industry for that weekend, and any goals you set for your store that weekend.
Analyzing these numbers will give you a clear idea of what strategies worked and should be repeated or expanded upon, as well as which ones should be abandoned altogether. From there, you can determine what new strategies, if any, you should try this year.
2. Plan Sales & Discounts Strategically
While it’s tempting to implement blanket discounts at high rates to attract as many shoppers as possible, it’s far more advantageous to plan your discounts with purpose. Consider setting up a separate discount strategy for each of these holidays to differentiate them from one another. For example, Black Friday could feature hourly discount codes valid for the first 10 buyers, Saturday could feature bundled discounts, and Cyber Monday could feature tiered discounts based on the dollar amount spent. You could also offer a separate perk available across the entire sales weekend to unify it, such as free shipping over a certain dollar amount.
Offering a variety of discount types spaced across the entire weekend will bring shoppers back again and again as they become excited about the variety of savings opportunities. It will also give you an opportunity to analyze each sales strategy’s effectiveness separately so you can easily see which types of sales should be reused in the future, and which should be retired or reworked.
3. Optimize Your Product Pages
Your product page is arguably the most important stop in the purchase process. If each page does not contain all the information a shopper needs to make an informed decision, they will look elsewhere until they find exactly what they’re looking for. However, if you inundate each page with too much information, shoppers will become overwhelmed and distracted from their main goal: purchasing a product that will meet their needs.
Before the sales holiday weekend begins, audit the product pages of as many of your most popular items as you can. Ensure that each page concisely conveys everything your shoppers may want to know before making a purchase. If you want more insight into the best ways to optimize your product pages, check out this recent post from our blog.
4. Notify Shoppers That You’re Participating
Holding a sales event is a futile endeavor if shoppers aren’t aware that it’s happening. Make sure you announce that you are participating in these sales events across as many of your available channels as possible. Social media campaigns and email campaigns are the easiest ways to get information about your sales out to fans and existing customers.
To attract online shoppers who aren’t already familiar with your store, ramp up your SEO strategy and implement pay-per click ads in the weeks preceding the sales. As a final touch, place a countdown widget on your online store so that site visitors who happen upon it leading up to the holiday weekend have an incentive to return.
5. Tell Customers What To Buy
While some shoppers prefer to search an online store for an item they already have in mind, others will want suggestions for what to purchase during your sales event. To help them hone in on the perfect products, create a Gift Guide ahead of time that highlights items that are among your most popular, seem most relevant to the season, or will be featured in your sales.
Additionally, if you don’t have it set up already, create a prominent “Suggested Items” category or carousel in your online store that includes the types of products mentioned above. This will give site visitors who have not previously viewed your Gift Guide a pool of relevant products to choose from, and will help site visitors who have already viewed your Gift Guide find featured items more quickly.
6. User-Test In Advance
Once you’ve put in the work for a successful sales event, you’ll need to user-test your site. This will help you verify that every visitor’s shopping experience is smooth and give you time to eliminate anything that will deter them from completing a purchase. Have employees, friends, and/or family navigate your site to ensure that products are easy to locate, product pages are informative, and the checkout process is painless.
On the back end, make any staffing, inventory, or shipping adjustments necessary to support the increase in demand. This will help you avoid shipping delays, maintaining a positive shopping experience for your customers.
Black Friday may still be weeks away, but don’t wait too long to start planning for the sales holiday weekend. By considering the strategies above now, your store has a greater chance of meeting—or exceeding—your sales holiday goals.