It’s November already! It’s that time of the year when users are on a month-long shopping spree while the retailers are enjoying the massive profit-earning opportunities. The Black Friday countdown has already started this year.
Almost a year-long pandemic in 2020 couldn’t curb the customers’ shopping needs. That’s the reason why online stores have witnessed a record-breaking Black Friday sales in 2020. The global sales amount being $14.13 billion to be precise
This year’s Black Friday sales are going to be BIGGER and Better. And why wouldn’t it be? After all, customers have been waiting for a whole year to make the most of the best shopping deals and discounts for this occasion.
We at Argoid are pretty excited about Black Friday 2021. We created this checklist just to ensure that eCommerce stores don’t miss out on any last-moment shopping essentials. We want you to ace the Black Friday 2021!
Note: This is part 1 of the Black Friday 2021 checklist for website prep. Don't miss the next one on Black Friday eCommerce marketing prep.
Your last-minute checklist for Black Friday and Cyber Monday Website Preparation
Black Friday 2021 falls on the 26th of November, 2021. That means, you only have a few weeks in hand to complete the last-minute Black Friday preps. What is the first thing a visitor will notice when they enter your eCommerce site? The store itself. So, you need to make it Black Friday-ready.
Don’t freak-out! We have a checklist ready for you. Let’s tick off the essentials.
Is your website hosting in the right place?
Is your eCommerce store under a shared hosting plan? Remember that Black Friday and Cyber Monday will cause a sudden traffic surge to your store. So, make sure that your store can handle this traffic surge. Shared hosting plans often have some limitations. So, what you can do is consult with your hosting provider and discuss these pointers in detail. If your site gets collapsed in the middle of a shopping session, users are very likely to leave your store.
What about your store’s load balancing?
Black Friday is expected to drive a huge traffic to your store. With proper load balancing initiatives, you can distribute this excess traffic through a network. That way, the chances of a store crash will be lesser. Again, you’ve to check this with your hosting company and ask them to double-check on the load balancing.
Did you do speed and stress tests?
Do you want to offer an unmatched user experience to each store visitor during the Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping season? Start with testing your store’s speed and stress.
For speed testing and optimization, do the following:
- Reduce the number of resources available on your website. This will take off the load from the web pages and your store’s loading speed will increase. Remember that 39% of users will give up on your store if the site pages take too long to load.
- You can also reduce the image sizes of your store. Furthermore, remove any unnecessary plugins from the store. These can also speed up the eCommerce store.
- Do a quick speed test from here. This will help you understand how you should move ahead.
For stress testing, do the following:
- Performing a stress test is also a good idea. A stress test or load test helps you drive hypothetical traffic to your website. That way, you can check how your store is performing under excess traffic and take corrective actions.
Did you work on website’s navigation?
You don’t want to confuse the store visitors with a complicated eCommerce store, right? So, go for a simple navigation that leaves sufficient opportunities for the store visitors to explore your store and make their purchase decisions. Here are some tips to improve website’s navigation:
- For each product, use clear images and clear descriptions. Add product categories to each item so that users can search and find them conveniently.
- Add a powerful search functionality. Make sure that customers can filter their searches based on color, size, price, availability or any other relevant factors. Filtered searches can reduce customers’ frustrations as it helps them find their desired product quicker.
- Add a clear navigation button. So that, the customers can navigate different categories anytime and return back to the homepage whenever they want.
Are your product recommendations organized properly?
Black Friday and Cyber Monday is the BIGGEST shopping season for the US consumers. As an e-retailer, it is your time to ensure that you drive maximum sales on this occasion. So, don’t limit your offerings to only what the customer is searching for. Offer relevant recommendations for each product to increase the chances of cross-selling/up-selling/down-selling.
See what top online retailer ASOS did here. Along with the search result of a mini dress, the store shows two kinds of recommendations to the buyer. The first type is “similar products” recommendation where they display similar dresses close to the user’s search.
The second type of recommendation is called “Buy the look” where they’re trying to cross-sell various accessories like shoes, earrings etc. that will go well with the dress.
Adding personalized recommendations is a smart idea as it can double the chances of buying for shoppers. But how can you add personalized recommendations for each product? Well, you can get Argoid’s personalized recommendation engine.
Here’s how it can help you this holiday season:
- Personalized home page for each user based on their purchase history, browsing history and store activities.
- Reduce users’ time in manual searches and engage them with hyper-personalized recommendations that they can’t ignore.
- Engaging and re-engaging users with different types of recommendations like Recommended for you, Trending, Inspired by your shopping trends, In-cart recommendations, and so on.
Once you add a personalized recommendation engine, it becomes easier to convert users in just one scroll and recover abandoned carts with a simple click.
Are you done with inventory preparations?
It is the holiday season and you’re prepping for the massive Black Friday sales. So, make sure that you have enough inventories in place. So, what type of eCommerce model do you follow? Inventory preparations can vary based on your model you operate with. Here’s the deets:
If you're a dropshipper, managing stocks is not your direct responsibility. However, when a massive sales season is going on, you don’t want to disappoint the buyers with sudden “out of stock”, right? So, take care of the following aspects:
- Connect with the suppliers to discuss how they’re approaching the Black Friday sales
- Help the suppliers an actionable stock management plan relevant to the increased sales volume
- Get in touch with the logistics provider and ask for frequent updates in case of any possible delay in delivery
- If there are any major delays in the delivery dates, keep the customers informed in advance.
Physical stock management
Does your eCommerce store manage stock in house? In that case, take care of the following aspects:
- Stock up before the beginning of the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. Make sure that the new stock level matches potential demand.
- Do you have plenty of packaging (boxes, ribbons, packing tapes, gift wraps etc.) in place? You can get out of packaging too.
- Automate the stock management process. Make sure that whenever a particular item crosses the “low stock” limit, the warehouse receives an automated notification. That way, it will be easier to understand when to restock.
Did you consider customer communication?
Finally, it is also part of your website prep to add proper communication channels for prompt customer interaction. Here’s what you should do:
- Create an automated email sequence to keep the customers in loop. Make sure that they get personalized notifications in every stage, starting from placing the order to delivery. The email sequence should include a series of personalized emails starting with welcome emails, cart recovery email, order confirmation email, delivery delay email, order delivered email and post-delivery feedback email.
- Adding a chatbot to your eCommerce store is always a smart idea. It helps the customers navigate through the store on their own. Chatbots can quickly answer their FAQs and transfer any complicated queries to the human agents. The best part is that chatbots can serve the customers 24/7 and address queries in multiple languages. So, the room for a broader outreach is huge!
So, how many of these pointers did you tick off yet? The fourth pointer on this list is most important! Personalization can easily amp up your Black Friday website prep game. Argoid’s 1:1 personalized recommendations can help you stand out this holiday season!
Also, read our Black Friday eCommerce marketing prep!