How Your E-Commerce Brand Can Prepare for Black Friday and Cyber Monday (and Win!)
The holiday shopping season is approaching fast, and for most e-commerce brands, that means increased sales. In 2021, Black Friday and Cyber Monday accounted for roughly $20 billion in sales — never mind the rest of the season!
Of course, this increased opportunity also means more competition. To help you prepare, here are the top tips to help you get your store ready for the most important shopping days of the year.
1. Accept Multiple Payment Methods (As Many as Reasonably Possible)
It’s essential to accept whatever payment methods your customers want to use, so shoppers who intend to buy go through with the sale.
Shoppers have been known to cancel a purchase because it wasn’t possible for them to pay with their preferred method. Even if they complete the transaction using a different method, if there’s too much friction, it reduces the chances they’ll be back.
To alleviate these issues, ensure you accept the following basic payment methods:
- Credit and debit cards
- Apple Pay (and equivalents)
Any additional fees you incur from accepting these payments will likely be outweighed by the additional sales you generate — particularly during the holiday season.
2. Get Your Shipping Methods in Order
Timely shipping and delivery are always important, but doubly so during the holiday rush. Customers want to know their orders will arrive on time (and intact). And when there are delays, 21% of consumers blame the seller — regardless of the cause.
Consider avoiding this problem altogether by offering multiple shipping options. This doesn’t necessarily mean shipping through different companies — like offering both FedEx and UPS. Instead, focus on offering practical shipping solutions for your customers. These might include:
- Next day, overnight, and other expedited options
- Store pickup (if you have a brick and mortar location)
- Delivery to a pickup site
Finally, clearly communicate your options and various shipping policies. Don’t leave room for ambiguity. And if there’s a delay or issue with shipping a customer’s order, be quick to communicate and do what you can to make it right.
3. Optimize for Mobile
The majority of online shopping is done on mobile — 71% in 2021, according to SaleCycle — and that’s not likely to change.
The most ideal solution is a native mobile app, although — depending on the size of your e-commerce business, that may not make sense yet.
Barring that, a mobile-friendly website will do the trick. You can use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool to see how your website scores. The tool will provide a rating and suggestions for improving your site to make it a better mobile user experience.
Design and layout is important for mobile-friendliness, but a lot of what makes a site good on mobile is how fast and responsive it is. People who are on the go, browsing your store while they wait in line somewhere, don’t want to have to wait for your site to load.
In fact, bounce rates increase by 32% if it takes just three seconds to load a site. Consumers are spoiled for choice these days. If something is too inconvenient, they’ll go to a competitor.
4. Coordinate Your Promotions Across Marketing Channels
Getting the word out about your Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals is crucial. While your customers likely expect some sort of sale, giving them the details in advance will build anticipation and enable them to slot your store into their budget.
It’s a good idea to start your Black Friday marketing early — think August or earlier. In 2021, 75% of consumers made plans to shop earlier, and retailers like Target and Amazon launched their holiday sales earlier. You’ll likely want to follow suit.
Slowly drip information about your promotions to remain top of mind and avoid adding to the tremendous amount of Black Friday messaging already being received by customers. As you do so, ensure that your marketing channels align — email, social, and paid search.
Finally, coordinate your content creation with your ads to help build interest in your products and Black Friday deals. This can include live streams, YouTube videos, or simple blog posts.
5. Consider Using Amazon as a Secondary Shopping Channel for the Holidays
For many small business owners, Amazon is the bad guy. However, the reality is over 60% of consumers start their product searches on Amazon. And, if they find what they need, they may not look for alternatives.
That means that if you’re not listed on Amazon, potential customers may not come to your site to buy — they may go with a competitor that is on the e-commerce giant.
For this reason, it’s worth listing a few of your products on Amazon for the holiday season. Note that this is intended only to supplement your normal channels. We’re not suggesting that you abandon your other platforms entirely for Amazon.
If you do this, consider purchasing Amazon Ads to drive visibility. This is important during the holidays, when search traffic is high and established players on the site are likely to get a high percentage of the traffic.
Make This Holiday Season the Most Wonderful Time of the Year for Your Brand
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the most important days of the year for e-commerce brands. They represent an opportunity to make up for lost ground during the rest of the year and end on a strong note.
If you need more hands-on support getting your brand ready for the big shopping days, adQuadrant can help. Our team of e-commerce business builders are ready to partner with you to take your e-commerce brand to the next level.
About the author: Ashley R. Cummings is a professional freelance writer and content marketing consultant specializing in e-commerce, marketing, and SaaS. Connect with her on Twitter!