Optimize eCommerce Holiday sales

 

Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM) combined is one of the biggest eCommerce holiday sales every year. If you’re running an online store, it may just be your most profitable weekend ever,  provided that you play your cards right.

For the uninitiated, BFCM is the weekend following Thanksgiving and is traditionally when people go all out with their shopping both in brick and mortar stores and online. It kick starts the holiday season leading up to Christmas and New Year.

So just how big is this weekend? In 2018, the National Retail Federation reported that in 2018, people spent a total of $717.5 billion over the BFCM weekend. Every individual spent $1,007.24 on average.

To help you boost your eCommerce holiday sales this year, we’re listing down ten simple ways you can optimize your web store. Let’s get started!

1.     Start Early

start early

Back in the day, Black Friday was a single-day sale after Thanksgiving where people would rush to the stores to get the best deals of the season. In 2005, Cyber Monday was marked as one of the biggest online shopping days of the year.

In recent years, business owners started taking advantage of the whole weekend after Thanksgiving to sell, sell, and sell more!

Now a new trend is coming up. More and more online sellers are starting their BFCM deals earlier than usual. Some start offering their promotions on Thanksgiving while others release their deals days earlier.

BFCM is no longer a one-day affair. So stay on your toes and start rolling out deals and promotions early on to get a head start on your competitors. Plan early, start planning your offerings and write all the copy you need before the eCommerce holiday sale season goes full swing.

2.     Make Sure Your Website is Running Smoothly

eCommerce Holiday Sales

Since BFCM is one of the biggest eCommerce holiday sales of the year, you can expect ramped-up traffic to your website the whole weekend. The holiday rush can bring down even the biggest online stores so it’s best that you and your website are both prepared.

One of your top priorities when preparing for BFCM is ensuring that your web performance is top-notch. Your store needs to be scalable and stable enough to handle the increased pressure during the weekend. Delays in loading web pages can and will cost you money and potential future sales so it’s best to come prepared.

Your pages need to load quickly to prevent user frustration and to improve customers’ shopping experience. So check every possible aspect of page loads on your side from image rendering to browsing to the checkout process.

Have your IT guys work out any kinks on loading speed and have them prepare contingency plans that will counter any online surges and possible outages over the weekend. According to Catchpoint, you should also look into the following areas when checking the pipes for the holiday:

  • Third-party website components/apps,
  • Overburdened APIs,
  • Servers with lack of scalability unequipped for peak traffic, and
  • Web pages with slow loading times resulting from too many graphics components.

3.     Make Sure Your Inventory Can Keep Up with the Holiday Demand

keep up with holiday demand

You can’t sell what you don’t have in stock. At a crucial time like BFCM, having enough inventory can mean the difference between making a huge profit and facing a customer service nightmare.

Don’t fall into the dangers of overselling during one of the biggest eCommerce holiday sales of the year. Communicate with your supplier early on and expect the increase in demand, particularly for your best-sellers and any products you have promotions and deals on.

Work with your inventory manager and review your annual sales report to see which products perform best and stock up on these. It’s easier to overstock products than to undersell since you can always keep on selling any leftover inventory after the holidays.

Make sure as well that your system is reliable and scalable so that when a product sells out, your store is immediately updated.

4.     Give Your Online Store a Black Friday and Cyber Monday Makeover

eCommerce Holiday Sales

Just as brick and mortar stores are decorating for the holidays to create an unforgettable atmosphere for shoppers, you might also want to consider dressing your website for BFCM. Banners add to the user experience while promoting your holiday sales. Meanwhile, specially crafted landing pages featuring top products or special promotions can amplify your SEO and traffic through PPC campaigns.

You can set the mood this year by using these tricks:

  • Modify your landing page with a holiday theme a few days leading up to the sale. Depending on the platform you are using, you can find different themes to change the mood of your online store. If you’re not sure what to pick, try split testing different styles and imagery to see which ones help with conversions the most.
  • Create anticipation and generate excitement by putting a countdown clock on your landing page. Shoppers have a tendency to give in to FOMO, or fear of missing out. By putting a timer on your online store signifying the beginning of the BFCM sale period, you can use this emotion to your advantage and increase sales.
  • Place top-selling items and your best deals on the landing page. Shoppers usually go all out when it comes to BFCM shopping. Take advantage of the holiday shopping rush by placing your best-sellers and your best deals within reach for your customers.

5.     Make Sure Your Checkout Process is Impeccable

Impeccable checkout

With countless options for getting deals during BFCM, you should be making sure that your customers have a great shopping experience from the time they log on to your website up until they hit the checkout button.

During this weekend, abandoned carts are your worst enemy so make sure that the checkout process is quick and not cumbersome for your customers. Remove unnecessary steps that will only interfere with buyers’ purchase decisions. Consider some of these when optimizing the checkout process:

  • Allow users to complete purchases without registering
  • Remove unnecessary form fields
  • Remove sidebars, headers, and footers
  • Offer as many payment options as possible
  • Allow users to modify quantities and remove items easily
  • Ask for credit card information last (after entering shipping info)
  • Make it as mobile-friendly as possible
  • Make error messages extremely clear
  • Clearly, indicate shipping costs
  • Offer free shipping

Finally, don’t forget to test everything before BFCM hits. Simple A/B tests will show you what aspects of your checkout process need to be tweaked and which ones lead to more conversions.

6.     Optimize for Store for Mobile Users

eCommerce Holiday Sales

Shoppers are more likely to whip out their smartphones than log on to a computer come Thanksgiving night to check your your eCommerce holiday sales. This means a sizeable portion of your potential customers will be using mobile devices to shop on your website.

Before the sale period starts, be sure to check how your site behaves on mobile. It should be fast, easy to navigate, and allows users to access your BFCM promotions easily.

Images and website designs should also be optimized for mobile. Remember that even if smartphones are getting larger each year, they’re still small screens compared to desktops so make sure everything looks and works right. Buttons and links should be working, images should load fast, and the checkout process should be quick and uncomplicated.

7.     Make the Most Out of Email Marketing

shopify virtual assistant

One of the best ways to build anticipation for your BFCM offers is a solid email campaign. A series of emails starting with an announcement of your upcoming sale, followed by two to three emails that will keep your products top of mind, and then by exclusive pre-sales and special like discounts and coupons for your email list.

Remember to split test subject lines to find what clearly states your offerings and gets the biggest open and click rates. Your customers will be swamped with promotions from other competitors so your emails should stand out.

It’s also important to design abandoned cart emails to target shoppers who have browsed your website without following through with a purchase. These last-minute reminders help improve your conversion throughout the BFCM period.

You can also use email to retarget old traffic and previous customers. It will be helpful to create campaigns specifically designed for this segment of your customers. Remarketing emails brings you and your brand back to the top of your customers’ minds just in time for BFCM.

Finally, make sure that your emails drive traffic to your store. Use email marketing to direct your email list to your website by offering in-store promotions.

8.     Reward Your Most Loyal Customers

eCommerce Holiday Sales

BFCM is the perfect time to create a VIP experience for your most loyal customers. These are people who make repeat purchases and large orders, so go the extra mile to make them feel special.

You can create special sales or give them earlier access to your holiday deals while other customers have to wait for Black Friday or Cyber Monday to roll around. You can also give them free shipping or complimentary overnight shipping. You can also treat them to more personalized service by offering faster returns.

9.     Personalize Your Offers

The key to converting more visitors on your site during the most lucrative eCommerce holiday sale of the year is through personalizing your offers. You don’t necessarily have to send each one of your customers’ marketing materials. Instead, deliver specially designed promotions based on user behavior and preferences.

Instead of a one-size-fits-all message, think of various scenarios and design promotions based on these. Consider how people interact with your site as well as with your PPC, social media, and email marketing campaigns. It is also important to study what products they spend a lot of time on when browsing your site. This way, you can highlight CTAs, specific promotions or offers that increase the likelihood of conversions for different customer segments.

10.  Incentivize Sharing Your Promotions

eCommerce Holiday Sales

It’s true that paid ads and PPC campaigns can work wonders for your conversions during BFCM. However, you shouldn’t rely on this marketing strategy alone if you want to optimize your eCommerce holiday sales.

One free way to drive traffic to your store is by leveraging the power of your customers’ social networks. Give shoppers incentives to share your deals by offering discount coupons for sharing them.

This form of viral marketing transforms your customers into brand advocates who can help you build awareness about your products and deals, and increase conversions along the way.

When using social sharing as a marketing tactic for BFCA, be sure to test the placement of your CTAs. You can try placing them on product pages, the checkout page, the order confirmation page, or in email campaigns, and social media posts.

BONUS TIP: Hire a Freelancer or Two to Help You Out

outsource email marketing

Anticipate the additional manpower you’ll need to fulfill orders during BFCM. The surge of orders can leave you overwhelmed. It’s usually a good idea to hire freelancers who can help you out for a few days or weeks. Remember that you could be wasting sales opportunities just because you cannot meet the demand of your customers. It’s best to be prepared.

Freelancers can help you with listing updates, order fulfillment, and customer service. They can also help with marketing and advertising during this 4-day eCommerce holiday sale.

One of the best places to find awesome freelancers for Black Friday and Cyber Monday is right here at FreeeUp. Recently voted SellerPoll Best Amazon Service Provider, you can trust them to introduce you to pre-vetted virtual assistants, freelance specialists, and boutique agencies who can help you meet your goals for BFCM.

There are no sign-up fees and no minimums. Simply send your requirements and you can meet a specialist in as short as one business day.

Final Words

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are all about increasing sales, making sure that your customers are happy, and securing potential returning customers. But you can only do this if you’ve equipped your online store with the right tools beforehand. We hope the tips above can help you make the most out of one of the most lucrative eCommerce holiday sales of the year.

If you’re looking for more tricks on building your online business empire, check out FreeeUp’s weekly Outsourcing and Scaling podcast. On the show, you’ll receive exclusive advice from leading entrepreneurs, business owners, and startup founders in eCommerce, Amazon, Shopify, and digital marketing.

 

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