How to Prepare Your Online Store for Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Black Friday sale sign

It’s fall once again, and that means Black Friday and the upcoming holiday season are just around the corner for ecommerce businesses. It used to be that customers lined up at stores’ physical locations. Now, most of that action has been taken online. While that means that you don’t have to worry about managing crowds in your physical store, that doesn’t mean creating a Black Friday ecommerce strategy is easy. There are many ways your site could experience issues and aggravate customers on the big day, losing you profit. If you start preparing now, your store will hopefully attract more shoppers during the holiday season. Check out these Black Friday ideas for ecommerce to maximize your store’s potential.

Get Ready for Crowds

It shouldn’t be surprising that Black Friday ecommerce sees huge volumes of users. Handling that volume is different online versus physically, but that doesn’t mean it’s any easier. Without a robust infrastructure, your site may buckle under the increased traffic. Consider upgrading your site to a VPS hosting plan or dedicated server to ensure its stability and have easy access to it if it faces any problems. It’s also a good idea to calculate the average bandwidth of your site and use it to predict Black Friday conditions and the speeds you’ll need.

Speed is Everything

Customers don’t need to rush to get all the items they’re after during Black Friday ecommerce sales but they still expect their shopping to be quick. Customers expect their shops to load quickly and will leave a site without a second thought if it doesn’t. You can use plugins like Jetpack to quickly optimize your site’s speed, or go for a more comprehensive overhaul if it’s necessary. Also, a crucial part of your Black Friday ecommerce strategy should be responsiveness. More than half of last years’ holiday purchases were made from phones. You need a site that can support them.

Online shopping on phone

Streamlined Functionality

In addition to speed, customers also expect their sites to be easy to use. You want your ecommerce Black Friday site to have clear indicators of how to navigate the site. Check that all the buttons and layout of your site are functional and clear for users. It’s also a good idea for your ecommerce Black Friday site to back it up and update its plugins to the latest versions to guarantee good performance. Your users should be able to search, buy, and check out in a quick, uncomplicated manner. That means minimal visual clutter, fewer checkout fields, multiple payment fields, guest checkout, everything to put more power in the hands of users.

Coupons and Discounts

Coupons and discounts are your best weapon for bringing in as many customers as possible for your ecommerce site on Black Friday. Make sure to alert customers of sales ahead of time so they’ll know to stop by your store. And, you can create coupons and ads to display in the store to hook people once they’ve arrived. It can be as simple as putting a new banner at the top of the screen with a deal. Just make sure any discounts you run are easy to understand and not prone to loopholes customers can take advantage of. When done right, this Black Friday ecommerce strategy attracts many new potential customers and convinces them to add more to their cart.

Person entering payment info using keyboard

Coordinating Fulfillment

When people shop online, they expect their items to be delivered quickly. Your Black Friday ecommerce system needs to have the resources to properly fulfill all its shipping requests and inventory management during this high traffic time. Outline the shipping process and get well-staffed for it ahead of time to get it running smoothly. If you’re ultimately unsure of how your shipping will play out, communicate it plainly on the site. Disclosing estimated shipping times (i.e. orders will ship within 3-4 business days) is much better than leaving customers guessing. They often appreciate the openness. Also, free shipping is a big bonus to shoppers. 75% of US online shoppers expect free shipping on orders under $50.

Optimize Customer Service Channels

With more sales comes more contact from customers, including issues, return requests, site issues, etc. Your ecommerce Black Friday plan should account for the extra demand and equip customer service employees with the tools to remedy customer frustrations. There are plenty of opportunities for temporary employees if you know where to look. Post a job on Indeed, or reach out to people you know and get them set up with tasks that require minimal training. Your employees won’t even need to speak on the phone. Most service is done over instant messaging nowadays. This Black Friday ecommerce strategy is crucial but easy to accomplish.

Go All Out With Marketing

The more marketing you do, the more customers you’ll see in your ecommerce store on Black Friday. This isn’t as much of an idea for Black Friday ecommerce as it is a necessary tool for general operations. Specifically, you’re going to want to use these approaches:

Email Marketing

Email marketing is a simple marketing method that lets you reach out directly to frequent customers who have signed up for your newsletters. Alternatively, you can send out the same ecommerce Black Friday communications over texts if you have customers’ phone numbers.

Social Media

Social Media is huge for marketing. 58.8% of marketers use social media as an effective marketing tool, capitalizing on platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and even Reddit. 

Additionally, you can use SEO or paid searches to get to the top of Google results. Whatever you go with, make sure your brand is recognizable and approachable.

Start Early

Clock surrounded by leaves

The most important thing you can do to prepare your ecommerce store for Black Friday is get started as soon as possible. The more systems you refine now, the better off you’ll be on the day of. Optimize your Black Friday ecommerce strategy for the extra crowds, site speed, shipping, and functionality. And give people the right service to ease their issues. Finally, market like you’ve never marketed before. You have huge potential to get customers on Black Friday. Don’t let it go to waste!