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Picture: Is Your Site Ready for Black Friday?

Is Your Site Ready for Black Friday?

Black Friday is just around the corner, which means that it’s time for retailers to fully embrace what has now become the biggest shopping weekend of the year. As an unofficial start to the Christmas shopping period, Black Friday and more recently, Cyber Monday, have seen consumer anticipation for discounts grow year on year.

Alongside the usual rush to the high street, last year’s bargain frenzy saw more people staying inside to shop from the comfort of their own homes than ever before. Online sales surpassed the $3 billion mark for the first time, with over half of all Black Friday spending coming from mobile devices. Even here in the UK, the gains to be reaped this Thanksgiving weekend will be immense.

But even so, many e-commerce businesses stand to miss out by failing to adequately prepare their websites for the influx of traffic and potential sales. Whether you’re holding a sale, launching a new product or service, or simply publishing some timely content, you should think about improving your website for the big day.

We’ve put together some essential tips to ensure that your site is ready to reach new audiences and maximise your revenue during this year’s internet bonanza.

 

  1. Calls to Action Must Be Strong

This is one of the few points in the year where customers are willing to hear overt marketing messages. Creating a Black Friday landing page on your site will provide the perfect opportunity to capture traffic and build as much interest as possible before the big day. You should immediately make clear what’s on offer with the following:

  • A short, attention-grabbing headline
  • A sensational image
  • A bold, action-orientated call to action

 

  1. Make Your Checkout Process Simple

On Cyber Weekend, the likelihood is that your customers will have many shopping tabs open, and their time will be split across a number of different sites. Whether they’re comparing deals on a certain product or looking for impulse buys, the fact is that a quick sale needs to be made.

You should temporarily strip down the checkout process on your site to the bare essentials. Only ask your customers for information that’s absolutely necessary and ensure that your site’s navigation menu is straightforward enough to cater to a time-limited mindset.

 

  1. Remarket to Customers Who Don’t Complete the Process

Customers who don’t make it to checkout are by no means a lost cause. By following them up through an abandoned basket campaign, you can stay at the forefront of their minds and win back at least some of these conversions. Reminding shoppers of your offers through Google, Facebook and email is the best way to drive sales since they’re bound to be present on these platforms over the weekend.

 

  1. Speed Up Your Website

Most online visitors tend to switch off if they’re waiting more than 3 seconds for a site to load. You can use free tools like Pingdom and Google PageSpeed Insights to find out if certain areas of your website are functioning too slowly. Once you’ve determined where these milliseconds are being lost, there are a few last-minute changes you can make to recover them:

  • Contact your Content Delivery Network or web hosting provider to discuss the increased traffic and sustained volume. You may even want to upgrade to a better server (but only if there is time to do this before Black Friday).
  • If not, then resizing or compressing any unnecessarily large images on your homepage and top product pages will help to reduce their file size and cut down the time it takes for a page to load.
  • Third-party snippets that display content from another service also have a massive impact on page performance, so you should think about which ones you really need.

 

  1. Don’t Ignore the Mobile-First Generation

If last year’s Black Friday sales figures show anything, it’s that optimising your site for mobile is crucial. When questioned, 32% of mobile and tablet users said that they would not try a mobile site or app again if it didn’t load the first time.

Here in the UK, where Black Friday isn’t a public holiday, customers will be looking to make online purchases at all times of the day. Performing user testing of your mobile site in advance of Cyber Weekend will ensure that you’re fully prepared for the big rush.

 

 

While there are many more complex changes that can be made to improve your site’s profitability in the long-term, the above changes should be relatively quick and help to improve the functioning of your site for Black Friday. By refining your site’s user experience, speeding up the purchasing process and remarketing to your customers, you’ll be in the best position to make the Christmas shopping season a success.

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