Is your ecommerce website ready for Black Friday and Cyber Monday?

It’s officially fall and that means it’s finally time for changing leaves, sweater weather, pumpkin spice-flavored everything, and of course, Black Friday.

Black Friday, and increasingly, Cyber Monday, have been hallmarks of the holiday shopping season for decades and retailers everywhere are putting the finishing touches on their plans for this year. The internet is quickly becoming the preferred method of shopping for most individuals during the holiday season. Just last year, online sales between Thanksgiving and Christmas accounted for $126 billion, a 16.5% increase compared to the prior year. Sales from Cyber Monday actually outpaced Black Friday in 2018 with an astounding $7.9 billion in revenue for that day alone. These trends show no sign of slowing down so retailers with online stores need to be prepared. Review these four key steps to get your site primed and ready for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Redesign your homepage.

During Black Friday and Cyber Monday, customers are typically looking for one thing in particular – deals! Make sure to highlight the promotions you’re running prominently on the homepage. Create a cohesive design that aligns with your brand while still standing out as something new and special. And the design fun doesn’t have to wait until the big day. Consider adding a countdown clock about a week ahead to get your customers excited for the deals to come.

Get your digital marketing in check.

Digital Marketing is a must all year round, but companies can really use it to their advantage during Black Friday and Cyber Monday. If you have a digital marketing plan for the entire year, build one that is tailor-fit for the holidays and make your goals specific and measurable. Here are some techniques you can add to your strategy:

Email: Send out segmented newsletters with different promotions based on user behavior on your site. You can add in trigger emails for abandoned shopping carts for maximum impact.

SEO: SEO is the foundation for any digital strategy and it’s especially important during the holidays. While you’ll want to remain high on search engines for brand-specific keywords, consider also creating content to rank higher on long-tail keywords as well, like “Black Friday Sales on Vacuums,” or “holiday sweaters in St. Louis.”

Social Media: Promote your Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals on your social media platforms as well and choose the right platforms to reach the right segments of your audience. Create gift guides, blogs, and other shareable content to drive even more site visits.

Paid Search: Review your existing PPC ads and make them Black Friday ready. Incorporate holiday messaging into your pre-existing text ads to stand out this season and insert specific promotional offers and incentives to get users to click.

Optimize for performance and speed.

So your digital marketing and promotional campaigns worked out and now you have a flood of customers visiting your website. Great, right? Not so fast! A large spike in users on your site can be both a blessing and a curse. Before the big day, you will want to load test and performance test your site to make sure you can handle all of those users. The last thing any online retailer wants during Black Friday and Cyber Monday is a crash. Above all of that, site speed is integral to the shopping experience. Studies show that 40% of users will abandon a site if it takes more than 3 seconds to load, and that number jumps to 53% on mobile. Review your code, optimize your images, and get rid of any outdated plugins – they are just slowing you down. Consider consulting with a hosting provider before the holiday rush to check whether your site is performing at its best.

Be there for your customers.

There is a lot of chaos online during major shopping days like this and it’s important to have a plan to appease customer concerns. Online reviews can kill a company but timely and effective customer service can help fan the flames. Think about some common questions visitors would ask and put together a robust, easily searchable FAQ that is easy to find. If staffing allows, consider creating a live messaging feature on your website for customers to quickly get their questions answered by knowledgeable employees. AI-powered chatbots can even help do the job.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday can be stressful for any ecommerce company, but those who plan ahead will see greater results. Take these tips and check to see if your site is ready for the season. If you have any questions about building out your plan, our experts are here to help!

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