Black Friday is just a couple of weeks away and it’s set to be a bigger shopping extravaganza than ever before, with 64%* of us expected to use the huge discounts our favourite retailers are offering as a chance to stock up on Christmas gifts.
Since we started our Black Friday website tracker in 2014, U.K online retail sales have increased by a whopping £30 billion**. Looking back just to the start of this year, the U.K experienced a 10% increase in online retailing*** – a new record for shopping outside of our bricks-and-mortar stores. And with shoppers no longer waiting until Cyber Monday to scour the internet for the best deals, a strong technology stack will be essential to ensuring your website can handle online demand, scale fast enough to manage the surge and avoid any dreaded downtime during the busiest trading period of the year.
Ahead of the 29th (and days to follow!), we thought we would share some last minute tips to make sure you have a prosperous Black Friday, Cyber Monday period:
- Don’t make any big changes now! Just make sure weaker areas of your website are tidied up.
- This one is obvious but make sure your host can scale available server resources to ensure your website can cope with the spike in traffic.
- Forget about the tech for a moment, are your teams prepared and organised? Are your rotas up to date with all holidays covered? Does IT know what your colleagues in marketing have planned? Do you know when to expect the spikes in traffic? You need to be prepared behind the scenes. T’is the season to be jolly ……..and cross-functionally connected and coordinated.
- Keep the user experience simple: use clear product photography; easy to find Delivery and Returns info; transparent pricing; and easy-to-understand promotions.
- Black Friday shoppers won’t accept slow site speed. They’re moving fast to try to snag the best deals, and if your website is slow, or even worse, down, the chances are, they’ll Google “Christmas jumper” or “Christmas socks” and move on to your competitor. And with more customers than ever shopping via mobile, remember to compress images, remove videos and plug-ins to make sure you don’t lose valuable m-commerce.
- Of course, you need to boost your SEO so that customers can find products and Black Friday deals. Pay particular attention to niche event keywords as these may be different from other times of the year.
- It’s crucial to test your website to uncover any bugs ahead of the BFCM season. This includes Updates, ie your new Black Friday banners, BFCM pages and seasonal colour schemes; Black Friday Promo Codes and Discounts; your Shopping Cart; and Multi-Device testing.
- Don’t give it all away at the start! Design shopping processes to increase profitability: promote cross-sells on loss leaders; schedule discounts across the weekend (and Cyber week of course); encourage repeat visitors and remember many eager shoppers can’t get to your site until the evening (some people have proper jobs).
Back by popular demand…
Returning for its 5th consecutive year, the Ampersand Black Friday Live Website Tracker is back! We’ll be tracking the best website performances of the UK’s top 50 retailers; the uptime, the down-time, and the site speeds in between. From Amazon to Zara, Boohoo to Schuh you’ll be able to see everything that’s happening on our Black Friday Live Tracker.
By the way, we don’t just track website performance on Black Friday! Ampersand is a specialist e-commerce agency providing solutions and services to retailers needing to undergo transformational change in order to grow. If your retail business is expanding and you’re experiencing growing pains with your current e-commerce system we should have a conversation.
***Office for National Statistics
Visit amp.co for more information or better still, get in touch:
Marketing & New Business Manager
Tel: +44 (0)161 236 550 Email: [email protected]