— October 12, 2018
Black Friday is just around the corner, and this one is shaping up to be a special one for e-commerce. Not only has online shopping been booming year-over-year (last year’s Black Friday topped $ 2 billion for purchases via desktop computers for the first time), but this year 60 huge physical retailers will be closed on Thanksgiving day, which may affect Black Friday sales in-stores. It might mean more shoppers flocking to the internet instead of the local toy store to fill the space under the tree.
And that’s good news for e-commerce businesses.
So what can you do to prepare as best as you can to take advantage of the growing number of online shoppers? We’ve got you covered. Here are the preparations you should make to ensure a great Black Friday haul.
Start your deals early.
As mentioned, physical retail locations are fighting “Black Friday creep” by closing on Thanksgiving, but that certainly doesn’t mean people won’t be shopping. In fact, experts predict that nearly half of shoppers will begin their hunt before December, which is up (again) from the previous year.
This means two things: 1) people will also shop online earlier than ever before, and 2) those who plan on buying in-store will research online earlier than ever before. This means e-commerce businesses should have their Black Friday deals advertised earlier as well.
If you’re not ready to put your products or services on sale just yet, consider an “upcoming Black Friday deals” landing page to let your customers know what will be put on sale. It’s a tried-and-true technique that not only primes the pump for shoppers, but provides an early SEO boost to drive traffic to your Black Friday landing page (which you can redirect when the deals go on sale to reap the SEO benefits) that will give your site more time to rank higher on Google for “black friday” queries.
And if your business utilizes coupon codes, you can advertise the codes right now and make it so that they’re only valid when it’s actually Black Friday.
Make a mobile-friendly Black Friday landing page.
While your entire site should be mobile-friendly and/or responsive by now, it’s especially important to have a Black Friday landing page optimized for mobile devices. Remember earlier when we said $ 2 billion e-commerce purchases were made on desktop computers? Well smartphone traffic and purchases rival that. According to TechCrunch:
The bigger shift is in how we are shopping. Purchases made on mobile devices have so far totalled a record 36.9 percent of all sales, and 54.3 percent of all site visits. This works out to just under $ 2 billion in sales. Smartphones accounted for 44.6% of visits and 26.0% of revenue.
So, over half of site visits took place on the phone meaning most people are at the very least doing product research, even if they plan to buy in-store. That’s why detailed product pages with good SEO is important, and why making the landing page mobile-friendly is paramount.
Run a Black Friday affiliate marketing campaign.
We’d be remiss if we didn’t advocate for a special Black Friday push via your affiliate partners. While there are plenty of ideas to juice sales using some special tactics, unifying your reps under one concentrated Black Friday push can result in some great conversions. But it takes work on your end.
Remember, we’re getting into the holiday season and everyone gets lazier and busier due to family, traveling, etc. And affiliates are no different. They simply might have less time to market your e-commerce business, even though it’s one of the biggest sales times of the year. That’s why it’s incumbent on you, the tireless merchant, to do the heavy lifting for them.
And by heavy lifting we mean creating a slew of creatives that your reps can easily repost or repurpose to advertise your Black Friday deals. If you do the work of creating the pretty Instagram images, they can manage clicking a button to share it on their social media. If you can write the content for them, they can copy and paste it to their blogs. If you can create a Black Friday deals trailer video, they can repost it on Facebook and YouTube.
If you put in the effort, you can really mobilize your army of reps. After all, their friends and family will be researching products. Now’s the time for them to point back to your business. And doing the legwork for your reps will translate to more traffic, and more sales.
Give it away, give it away, give it away now.
If there’s any time in your calendar year to offer freebies, now’s the time to do it. E-commerce businesses that offer free shipping can boost revenue by 10%. If your SMB usually can’t afford to offer free shipping, see if you can offer it at least for during Black Friday sales.
Can you offer free items with a purchase? Costco’s free samples lead to sales increases of 600%; you think they do it out of their own good will? Freebies are a time-tested method that hooks customers. The tease of a free item with Black Friday purchases can boost sales in a hurry.
Finally, if you can’t give away products, see if there are other ways to nearly give it away. Rebrand your clearance section on your website to Black Friday deals and slash prices as much as you can. Be sure to include limited-time or almost-out-of-stock wording to tap into the psychology of shoppers who don’t want to miss out. In fact, toss a countdown timer across your entire site to motivate purchasers to buy before Black Friday is over.