Black Friday

Black Friday sales are no longer a one-day deal. Major retailers are offering deep discounts beginning as early as the Wednesday or Thursday prior with extended store hours to give shoppers a jump start on their holiday shopping.

The end-of-year sale event has sparked a backlash among those who want the Thanksgiving Weekend to remain focused on quality time with family, including a few large retailer campaigns like #optoutside from REI, encouraging families to spend the holiday weekend enjoying outdoor activities instead.

Last year, Black Friday brought in $5 billion in the US with Cyber Monday hitting $7.9 billion. 

This year Black Friday lands on November 29 so buckle up and let’s get going! 

What follows is an indispensable guide that will prepare your eCommerce store for this important time of the year.

Userflows audit

Review last year’s analytics and metrics for various devices. Draw conclusions. Pay attention to tablet and mobile sales. Rethink how you present promotions throughout the customer decision journey – highlight those CTAs. Improve all buying userflows. Contact us to get it done on time.

Mobile traffic dominates over the holiday season but desktop conversion rates are still much higher. E-Commerce industry still has a long way to go in terms of optimizing the mobile shopping experience. It’s worth the investment with the Thanksgiving weekend a time of especially intensive mobile shopping.

Be where your customers are while traveling, spending time off and thinking about getting some gifts for the family – using their mobile devices.

Load testing

Traffic spikes are coming. More importantly, orders spikes are coming and these are far more difficult to handle.

Caching static content pages is easy. Just utilize any CDN and implement full page or fragment caching. Handling ten fold order volume on the checkout requires preparation and advanced engineering. It will take a few weeks to get right. Prepare early. Better safe than sorry.

“I would be interested to hear how retailers’ earnings were affected by site crashes late Cyber Monday — Eddie Bauer and Nordstrom, for instance, didn’t seem to have enough front-end capacity to serve all their visitors. I was able to hit the homepage of both sites but no product pages, and I’m sure they weren’t the only two retailers affected by lack of capacity planning.” a WSJ user Thea Domber comments.

“EB seemed to make right by extending their promo through the day, while Nordstrom had lots of apologies through its social media channels but no extra time for their Cyber Monday promotion” – Thea writes.

Time is the most precious resource. If you fail to prepare, prepare to fail. Contact us to get it done on time.

Promotions

RetailMeNot found that 70% of retailers started promoting Black Friday offers before Thanksgiving, and that the average duration of the offers was 10 days.

What sells? Electronics and appliances were the best-performing category on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, with sales up nearly 27% from a year earlier, First Data found. Clothing and accessories grew 10%, as did sporting goods, while health and personal care was up nearly 8% – WSJ reports.

Ecommerce marketing automation

Surely not every user will complete their shopping journey over the busy weekend.

Automate abandoned cart recovery. Sign those users up for a newsletter or an automated product recommendation. Dig that traffic gold to maximize your returns on E-commerce investments. Or lose out on over 90% of the traffic which does not convert into sales.

Systems Monitoring

Google Analytics is not enough. Monitor your backend performance.and your 3rd party integrations health.

If you can early, catch all anomalies, fix them. Q4 is hardly the time for debugging, maintenance or downtime.