The weekend following Thanksgiving is by far the biggest shopping weekend of the year. According to Adobe Analytics, 2022 reported the biggest Black Friday yet. In addition to that, the National Retail Federation also reported a 2% rise to show that more than 130 million people purchased products through ecommerce stores during that timeframe.
With massive sales beginning on Black Friday (or earlier) and continuing through the weekend with Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, those looking for good deals will be busy, busy, busy buying items for themselves as well as holiday gifts for others. Is your ecommerce site ready for the buying avalanche the weekend brings?
Here are some helpful hints to assist you with positioning your ecommerce business so you can maximize sales, improve reach, and increase market share this hectic time of year.
Have a Plan
If you want to be ready for the trifecta selling spree, you may want to consider the following:
- Have you analyzed data from this weekend last year?
- Have you done a site audit?
- Have you optimized your user experience?
- Do you have a sales strategy?
- Do you have an advertising plan in place?
Learn from the Data
Take stock of your data analytics. Look at what worked and what didn’t work last year. Look at what your competitors did and are doing as well. The more aware you are of what’s going on in the marketplace, the more agile you become in responding to any changes and trends.
Know your target audience. Who’s bought from you before? What did they buy? There are plenty of analytics tools available, such as Logicblock eCommerce solution’s detailed reporting solutions and order history information. Data from those tools help you ensure you are reaching out to your target audience.
Now assess your goals. What is your target objective? What do you want to accomplish with your business during this time? What are your customers’ immediate needs during this time? Is there overlap? There’s a pretty good chance buyers’ needs are to find good deals for themselves as well as for gifts for the coming holidays. How can you meet those needs?
This information will inform your plan for handling what’s to come. Once you have that mapped out, it’s time to tackle your site.
Site Audit and Updates
Your website is the place where people do their buying, so it needs to be ready to go, optimized for search, and functioning flawlessly. Logicblock’s eCommerce solutions provide everything from site optimization and SEO to flawless check-out tools to catalog/inventory and cost/order management to completely customizable and easily updatable content services.
Site Load Time
A good way to convert a site visitor to a customer is to optimize your website’s load time. With the millions of deals and options available, no customer wants to wait around for a site to load. According to studies by Hubspot, the longer it takes for your site to load, the more current and potential customers you lose.
Make it easy to find you! By keeping your listings on local search directories current and thorough, anyone doing a search for where to buy what ‘near me’ will find your company at the top of their results. And make use of Google to claim your Google Business Profile page; this helps your search ranking as well.
Clean up your product pages and make sure you’ve taken the time to write accurate descriptions of each item. This helps tremendously with SEO and gets back to ensuring people can find you AND what they need.
Optimize Your User Experience
A great-looking site is useless if your user experience is a disaster. Here are ways you can improve your UX.
UX + Mobile Friendly
Is your website both user friendly and mobile friendly? A significant number of people make their purchases with their mobile phones these days, so be sure your website is both user friendly and optimized for mobile.
Your home page can make or break your sales. Use it to promote special offers, sales, and gift suggestions. Use terms like “best gifts” and “cool gifts” in your messaging, as these are terms people frequently use for search.
Test your checkout process and make it as efficient, convenient, and simple as possible. People who have to jump through a bunch of hoops and have a difficult time checking out will simply abandon their carts and look elsewhere for their shopping needs.
Incentivize People to Purchase
All customers want the process of finding and purchasing products and services to be as easy and convenient as possible. More importantly, they want to find what they need and feel they are getting some sort of bargain in the process. Some additional ways your business can do that are by implementing the following:
- Create special offers, gift ideas and limited-time promotions specifically for this time frame.
- Offer extended hours.
- Offer free shipping or flat-rate shipping.
- Leverage FOMO and create a sense of urgency around certain products. Using words like ‘limited availability’ or ‘exclusive to members of our loyalty program’ or ‘exclusive to our Instagram subscribers’ make buyers feel like they are missing out if they don’t act on something.
- Leverage ‘sold out’ products. When something sells out, let consumers know by displaying those items with a note that says ‘out of stock’ along with a message stating that users who sign up for the mailing list will get a notice when the item is back in stock.
- Hide the discount field – when there is a discount field, consumers are more likely to leave your site for another site in search of a discount code. That distracts them from your page and, if they don’t find any discount codes elsewhere, may deter them from returning to your site.
- Make returns and exchanges easy.
- Provide a personalized shopping assistant.
When it comes to consumers using this time to buy gifts for other people, the following are some useful ways to increase sales, boost interest, and improve customer loyalty.
- Offer gift cards! They are the easiest product to offer and they solve the problem of people having to worry about what to get that person ‘who has it all.’ Gift cards are also great for gift swaps and office gifts. And gift cards don’t have to be impersonal. Getting someone a gift card from a business they like shows you pay attention to their preferences while also giving them the freedom to choose what they want.
- Create gift guides (especially last-minute gift guides) highlighting popular items and/or bundling several small items together in one package. Include items from a wide variety of price points and cater to different potential recipients to help reduce buyer stress.
- Consider collaborating with another local business to help cross-promote your brand.
- Prioritize customer service by doing things like offering a live chat option on your site.
Leverage Social Media Channels
Maintaining a strong online presence is crucial to maximizing your reach during this time. A significant portion of consumers use social media to influence their holiday purchases. And the things they want to see during this time are holiday cheer (read: personality), followed by sales and promotions. So, give your followers what they want.
One of the best things about social media is you can update it as often as needed, which is perfect for those times when you might want to drop a last-minute special or to keep an ongoing campaign front of mind. Use your social media channels to generate buzz about upcoming sales and promotions and provide valuable information that helps personalize your brand and make it more relatable. Don’t forget to use hashtags, engage with followers, and post frequently.
Brands also often use their social media platforms for online-only coupons, sale previews, giveaways, contests, exclusive deals, and ads specific to this time of year, encouraging shoppers to sign up for mailing lists to be kept abreast of what’s to come. You can then use data from these campaigns and sign-ups to retarget ads for later in the holiday season as well as for next year.
Speaking of ads, you can also boost your results with social media advertising, which allows you to target prospects with great precision, based on their interests, demographics, location, and past interactions with retailers and retail ads.
There are two main perks of social media: analytics and adaptability. With analytics, you can see what is getting traction and what isn’t. Secondly, the ease with which you can adapt and try something different. If the analytics indicate that a specific offer or campaign is not yielding desired results, simply adapt and adjust your ecommerce strategy.
When to Start Preparing for the Thanksgiving Weekend Sales
It is never too early to start preparing for this sales weekend. Consumers begin looking for info on sales as early as October. If you want to beat out your competition, consider offering some teaser sales leading up to the weekend rush. Space out your deals to avoid crashing your site leading up to the weekend and in the week(s) following.
Don’t Sell Yourself Short
While it’s easy to think relying solely on increasing sales by lowering prices will do the trick, that can backfire on you not just for your bottom line but also for your brand’s reputation. Though it may be tempting to increase sales by lowering prices, it’s important to consider the potential consequences. By solely relying on discounted prices, you may be inadvertently positioning your company as a “discount brand”. Instead, consider offering value-adding deals specific to Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday.
While predicting consumer behavior is never a sure thing, being well-prepared can make all the difference in the success of your business both during this busy buying time and in the future.
Contact us to keep your eCommerce site competitive and up to date.