The busiest time of the shopping year is upon us, but is your ecommerce arm ready for Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the festive period
Rampages and knocked down shelves in the wake of Black Friday specials at bricks-and-mortar retailers around the world have become commonplace. Fortunately, this won’t happen online – and that’s where you can cash in the most if you’re ahead in preparation.
“For retailers looking to sell in a struggling economy, Black Friday represents tremendous opportunity – not just to make profits off enthusiastic spenders but also to offer steep discounts to grab shoppers’ attention and stand out from the crowd,” says Matt Ong, product developer at NerdWallet.
Join retailers who make up to 40% of their yearly revenue in the last quarter alone, by ensuring you’re up and running for business ahead of the most profitable three months of the year.
Related: Everything you need to know about Black Friday (and how to cash in on the craze)
In September and October, you should be evaluating any natural increase in traffic loads, suggests James Barnes, co-founder at website monitoring site StatusCake.com. “You should start to see a natural increase in traffic loads by October, and analysing real traffic data rather than the artificial traffic that you used for load testing can often uncover some surprises.”
The haul is huge, but the effort is even bigger. It comes to down to getting your pitch, deals and sales accurate enough to keep up with the fierce competition amidst the industry’s modernisation.
Here’s how you can prepare for retail success this shopping season:
1. Don’t stop connecting
There’s nothing worse than forcing your wares onto an unwilling audience. To avoid this, align your efforts with what your customers want by monitoring social media – at the appropriate time. Your social media strategy should be in place well in advance of the holiday season.
“You have to create a dialog with consumers year-round,” notes Mitch Goldstone, President and CEO of ScanMyPhotos.com, an e-commerce photo digitalisation company. Take advantage of your Facebook page likes and Twitter follows by implementing a more assertive promotion on limited offers, specials and giveaways through social media. It’s a great way to increase consumer engagement.
2. Easy access equals a quicker sale
Tablets and smartphones are your new showroom, but while customers find mobile shopping more convenient, it presents you with some pressing logistical challenges.
The key to success here, says Ken Godskind, vice president of Monitoring Products for software solutions company SmartBear Software, is to embrace the whole mobile shopping experience rather than just the checkout stage. “Ensuring that search, product detail and reviews work well from smartphones and that the entire shopping process is optimized for [tablets] is a key objective,” notes Godskind.
Related: SA retailers jump on Black Friday bandwagon
3. Discount prices, not the experience
Your website is a great channel to shop, but it’s not the only place your customers are interacting with your brand. They’re using your mobile apps and engaging on your social media pages, and the experience on all three has to be consistent – and relevant.
Not only should you be able to target customers in real-time, but your offers must be relevant to simplifying the order process entirely. This way, the customer will have an excellent experience whether logging on from their smartphone, tablet or desktop.
A great customer experience has to be a focus, in your business, not a perk. “You want this to be an extraordinary experience where people leave your store or ecommerce business thrilled and telling everyone what a great experience you had,” says Goldstone.
- Social media is a powerful tool – use it to keep in constant contact with your customers this shopping season.
- Ensure you’re making purchasing from your site as quick and convenient as possible.
- Slash prices, not the quality of your products and services.