5 Ways to Optimize Your eCommerce Store for Black Friday

As Black Friday approaches, it’s expected to be bigger and better than 2018, which pulled in a record $6.22 billion in US online sales alone. But Black Friday isn’t just for the American market – Finder.com has seen a rise in sales in the UK, Europe and South America. Black Friday is a global holiday marked on seasoned online shoppers’ calendars. 

In-store deals did make an impact but online platforms still take the lead as a shopper’s choice for deals and specials. That being said, your website is the most important marketing tool for Black Friday sales. You’ll have to get your website in shape before Black Friday to compete against over 1.8 billion websites, including your competition. 

So, you’ll need a game plan to optimize your eCommerce store for Black Friday, and we found five ways to do it. 

Let’s begin… 

1. Instantly Offer Discounts and Deals 

Black Friday is all about discounts and deals, and you’ll be dealing with seasoned shoppers who want to get the best deals and products for their money. As such, you need to place your deal in full view: from the moment people land on your site, add items to their cart and even after they’ve checked out. 

When people have to search for deals or codes, especially during a big rush such as Black Friday, they might end up going to a competitor. So you’ll need to give people instant access to discount codes. 

That means using pop-ups, website banners and even popup overlays. As soon as you land on Hot Topic’s website, you’re greeted with a free 30% discount offer. You want to start grabbing shoppers the moment they land on your site. 

eCommerce popup example

Your next step of showing off deals you have on your store is placing items you have on sale on the first page of your website. Again, most people during such a big holiday don’t like to search through items that are on sale. So create a section on your blog where they can all be easily found and shoppers can browse with ease. 

2. Email Marketing Deals 

In 2017, Statista reported that there were over 3.7 million email users, and that number is set to grow to 4.3 billion users by 2022 (Statista, 2019). 

That’s half of the world’s population. Emails aren’t just limited to welcoming your new customers; they can also help push customers to your website to take part in Black Friday deals.  

Email marketing is now the norm, so much so that Oberlo’s Email Marketing Stats found that some subscribers want to get an email from their favorite brands, deals and all. 

Especially Black Friday emails. 

email marketing stats black Friday

But as great as emails are, the problem is you’re not the only one who’ll be sending Black Friday deals to your prospective customers. On average, someone can receive up to 50 emails a day, and that number doubles when high-stake holidays come around the corner. So standing out in their inbox is important… and difficult.

Black Friday emailer example surfdome

There are three elements that make an email that stands above the rest: your subject line, design and CTAs. 

But the most important of the three is the email subject line. 

Your subject line is the first thing your customers see before they open the email. If it isn’t relevant or interesting, they’re not going to make an effort to open it.

Mailer Lite said it best: “Treat your subject line like the movie trailer. Give a preview, so they know what to expect.”

A captivating subject can lure your target audience into reading your email and hopefully turn them into a lead.

Consider your subject line as a headline, because it is. Think to yourself, Would this be a perfect headline for a short article? If not, scrap it and start again. You can use these headline formulas to guide you:

  1. Be mindful of the length of your subject. Shorter subject lines get more clicks. Most people use mobile to read their emails on the go; if the subject line is too long, they won’t see all the words and most likely won’t click to read. The perfect subject line should be eight words max.
  2. Use “power words” in your emails. When you use power words in your headlines they’re able to pique your viewer’s interest, which means they’re more likely to click. 
  3. Say no to clickbait. Avoid clickbait subject lines unless you want to be marked as a spammer by your readers or their email providers. This means your unread emails will be sent straight to the trash.

3. Fix Broken External Links and Errors

Broken external links, just as the name states, are links that lead nowhere or give users an error. This can lead to a 404 error page. 

404 error page

The last thing you need on your website during a shopping rush are broken links. Maybe you’re busy sharing other links from your site or there are some old pages you forgot you deleted. Unattended broken links can lose you sales and traffic if you forget to audit your site.

You can easily find these broken external links using tools like Ahrefs or Google Tag Manager.

Use this detailed guide to help you find & fix broken external links the right way so you can start promoting your website without any hiccups during Black Friday.

4. Have a Clear and Easy Return Policy 

Black Friday may be about sales but it’s also about returns. An estimated 52% of people have purchased something on sale that they later regretted. 30% of shoppers deliberately over-purchase and subsequently return unwanted items, and 19% admitted to ordering multiple versions of the same item so they could make up their minds after the purchase is delivered.

You can expect customer returns during and after the holiday rush. 

Before people complete an order or add items to their cart, shoppers take a look at your return policy. The only thing worse than a bad return policy is a non-existent one, which can turn away shoppers just as quickly as they came. ReadyCloud states that 66% of shoppers say that the better the return policy, the more they’re willing to buy. 

Online shoppers can’t physically touch your products, and no one wants to buy something that doesn’t fit properly or looks terrible in person. A flexible return policy gives them peace of mind when shopping. 

This can help reduce shopping cart abandonment as well. 

For 30 days, offer free returns on all products sold from your store and compare the number of sales generated in that 30-day period with sales generated before it. Then deduct the cost of returns from the increased amount of sales to determine whether a flexible return policy works for your bottom line.

You can also specify from which geographic locations customers are eligible for your return policies. Check out how TopShop offers UK customers free returns. It’s placed on their product pages so customers can safely make a purchase with this in mind.

product page example

5. Offer Reliable Customer Support

Online shoppers expect reliable customer service, especially during holiday sales. LivePerson did a study that showed 83% of online shoppers actively seek out help while they shop online at a store. 

Lack of customer service on a website will only fill your shoppers with doubt and make them uneasy about completing a purchase. If a brand is unavailable before a sale, it’s most likely to be unavailable after a sale. 

Optimize your website with online chats, email support and a detailed FAQ page so that customers feel assured that if they need help, you’re there. 

FAQ example for ecommerce

Even if you only provide support for your website via email, provide customer service on your social media pages so customers can feel like they’ll be heard no matter how they reach out to you.

customer service on social

Conclusion 

There you have it – five ways to optimize your eCommerce store for Black Friday. 

There is a lot of competition for sales leading up to Christmas. So once you’ve optimized your website, take a look at your other marketing and sales channels, which you might need to improve to increase your site’s chances for sales. 

Are you currently promoting your site for Black Friday? 

Comment below about what’s been working and what you might need help with related to your website marketing strategy. We’d love to know. 

 

 

Victoria Taylor

Victoria is a Marketing Generalist at Wishpond specializing in all things digital and content marketing. In love with blogging and Taco Tuesdays. Follow her on Twitter @vicknwsbest or Instagram @vitalvines.co.

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