6 Methods to Prepare for Black Friday

Black Friday (and Cyber Monday for that matter) are arguably the most important days of the year for most businesses. That is no different for online businesses. However, many simply assume that they will make more sales when Black Friday or Cyber Monday comes around, without any preparation. Unfortunately, that is not always the case.

So how do you prepare to get the most out of Black Friday without losing sight of quality and customer satisfaction?

Will Black Friday be influenced by this year’s economic climate?

Black Friday will undoubtedly be somewhat influenced by the economic climate. Lots of people will have less spare cash to spend, and what they do spend is likely to be on different products to what would normally catch their interest.

All in all, there is no surefire way of telling whether each individual business will be affected drastically. Some sectors will likely see a boost in sales, whilst others may well struggle more than they did in previous years. 

6 methods to prepare for the Black Friday rush

So what are the best ways to prepare and get the most from the world-renowned day of sales?

Test your website

Testing your website prior to the Black Friday rush is one of the most important methods of preparation. Firstly, you need to test the speed of your website. In order to maximise your sales, you need to ensure your website has a good load speed. A slow website will deter a substantial amount of potential buyers.

Source: Google

Secondly, you should also test the navigation of your website. It is important that it is easy for customers to get around if they do click on one of your ads. You should make it clear how to find different sections of products on your website, as well as other important information such as contact details, returns information, and more.

Lastly, you should try to ensure your website can withstand high levels of traffic. Black Friday will see an almost definite rise in traffic over a short period. Many websites are simply not made to withstand this level of traffic, so it’s wise to test it beforehand. After all, this is one of the most profitable days of the year for businesses.

Optimise your product feed

When preparing your store for Black Friday, an optimised product feed goes a long way. A well optimised feed will help to ensure your ads not just being seen by large numbers of potential customers, but also by the right customers. 

You can optimise your feed in a number of ways. Here are just a few of those ways:

Advertise your best selling products

By focusing on advertising your best selling products, you are more likely to make sales. You can also focus on your most profitable products (those with high profit margins), or exclude unprofitable products. All of these techniques will likely see you improve sales.

Use custom labels

Custom labels are one of the most useful feed metrics, as you can add anything from price margins to seasonal products. This allows you to further specify what you advertise, and focus on the products that will be more profitable at certain times.

Spend time perfecting your titles

Titles are a large part of what determines your ranking on many eCommerce websites. They are also the first thing many customers will look at. Therefore, you need to ensure your titles are search engine friendly, and easily understood. Don’t forget to include the most important keywords.

Only advertise available products

By adding product quantity to your feed, you can avoid advertising products that are out of stock or products that are limited in availability. From a customer experience point of view, someone who clicks on an ad of a product that’s out of stock is likely to think twice before clicking on your ad in the future.

Perfect your images

Along with titles, images are one of the first things customers look at. Therefore, they should always be eye-catching. They should also clearly show what it is you’re selling. Like in the example below. Remember to stay within the platform’s image requirements!

Categorise your products

Product categorisation is very important, as it helps customers narrow down their searches. Accurate categorisation helps to improve how your product ranks organically, whilst also making it more likely to appear to customers who are interested in it.

Another tip I’d like to share is to include as many product feed specifications as possible. Not only does this prevent you from having to fix those annoying merchant errors, it also makes your ad immediately more relevant and entices online shoppers to click.

See also The Journey to a Connected Supply Chain

Be ready for plenty of customer service enquiries

Black Friday is the busiest time of the year for most businesses. And this doesn’t just regard sales. Black Friday also increases the amount of customer service enquiries from those who are considering making a purchase but have questions about a product.

It is also likely you will receive more questions regarding delivery and returns, as people look to take advantage of as many deals as possible. This could lead to frequent purchases of several of the same items. For example, customers may purchase three sizes of one item of clothing, returning the two that do not fit. 

With the increased amount of online shoppers this year, it is also quite possible that courier companies will be overwhelmed during Black Friday. This could also lead to an increase of enquiries related to delivery and return times.

Customer satisfaction is a vital part of Black Friday success. Staying on top of your customer service enquiries will go a long way to keeping your buyers happy, and keeping satisfaction high. For that reason, it may also be worth ensuring you are sufficiently staffed, with happy employees.

Make sure your order management system is flawless (ensure you have sufficient stocks)

Ensuring your order management is working efficiently will play a large part of determining your Black Friday success. You can do this by making sure your website is able to deal with a large quantity of customers and orders at once. You should also make sure that you have sufficient stocks of each product to complete orders. Whilst a reliable courier is also vital for completing orders and returns. 

Source: Diffagency

You should be aware that during Black Friday, you may also receive a large quantity of returns and enquiries, as well as orders. Therefore, it is important you can fulfil them all at a good speed to ensure customers return to you in the future.

Give agents the tools for peak activity

Advances like artificial intelligence (AI) can be used in a variety of ways to help agents during busy times: routing routes requests to the right teams, while suggested responses help deliver the right information quickly.

Advances in AI are also giving rise to new uses. During peak activity, supervisors often lack time to monitor their team’s activity. Ai can coach employees to help them adjust their behaviour according to the customer’s needs. Technology can provide advice to the agent to adapt, for example integrating empathy and active listening to improve the quality of exchanges. AI also acts as an ‘extra pair of hands’ to free up teams’ time on low-value-added tasks. Conversation summaries are  stored in the customer file, which is particularly useful in the event of transfer between agents and to reduce post-call processing time. Accessing the full context avoids repeating the customer, and provides elements that will help conversion. With the freed-up time, agents can focus on their interactions with customers and actively contribute to sales for the holiday season.

Use various channels

Black Friday is a massive opportunity for stores. Therefore, you shouldn’t restrict yourself if you don’t have to. If you have the capacity to sell across numerous channels, we recommend doing so. Selling across multiple channels will expose your products and your brand to more consumers. It will also help you to compare which channels make you the most profit, which will benefit you long after Black Friday ends.

In addition to all that, each channel will bring different things to your store. For example, Amazon will have the largest customer base. Whist Fruugo will let you use one store to sell to a global audience. 

Final thoughts

There’s still time to get prepared for all the peak activity over the next month so that your business has the best chance of success possible. Make sure to test your website thoroughly beforehand, and be ready to be present over multiple channels. 

Black Friday accounts for the majority of many business’s annual profits, so a profitable Black Friday goes a long way to keeping things moving in the right direction.

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