The Black Friday is around the corner, and every online retailer is looking for ways to cash in on the soaring sales. According to the National Retail Federation, Internet sales in November and December 2017 generated more than $691 billion, an impressive 6 percent increase compared to what came out of the same period in 2016. However, it is not just enough to anticipate and celebrate the arrival of a festive buying season. Instead, it is prudent to pay attention to the wise maxim that goes, “Success happens when opportunity meets preparation.”
In this post, I will not show you the opportunity since it is obvious that people shop more during festive seasons. Instead, I will focus on how best you can prepare your online business to optimize this coming sales boom. Otherwise, what was supposed to be an opportunity to sell could as well turn into a disaster because failing to prepare early and adequately could jeopardize your ability to benefit from this festive season’s sales. Also, late and inadequate preparations could crash your website due to increased traffic. Therefore, I invite you to join me as I share with you ten invaluable tips for preparing your online business for this year’s Black Friday sales.
Planning is Key
Early and sufficient planning separates success from failure. That is why a wise man said that if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. To make the most out of this sales surge, prepare your website by designing landing pages that are customized for this festive season. You can also split-test several landing pages and rework any poorly designed or malfunctioning ones. Moreover, prepare your website by identifying and optimizing those landing pages that perform well.
Don’t Forget Your Existing Customers
All your preparation efforts are useless if you forget their end—the customer. It is necessary to apply the law of life that requires you to start where you are, with what you have, to get where you want and what you need. Therefore, it is prudent to remember and thank your current customers who have helped you to get where you are. To do this, it is beneficial to appreciate and tell them how much they are invaluable to your business. Mark my words: all humans will return to stores that appreciate them. Therefore, draft personal emails and social media messages that show you appreciate them. For instance, you can incorporate printed holiday cards. By this, I mean you taking efforts to mail them physical cards they can handle and hang somewhere for remembrance. Remember, people still live in the physical world despite the fact that we live in a digital age.
Install EV SSL Certificate
If you want your customers to buy online, then it is important to pay special attention to this point because online purchases can expose your customer details to Internet fraudsters. Therefore, make efforts to safeguard them by ensuring that you install EV SSL certificate to secure their sensitive details. When you install EV SSL certificate, you assure your customers that their information is secure. This way, they will proceed to the checkout process assured that they will not fall victim to online hackers. Therefore, display your EV SSL badges on all your website’s pages. Otherwise, the fear of fraud could hinder willing shoppers from making buying decisions, especially if they are new to your site.
Go Mobile or Go Home
Another way of preparing your online business for this coming Black Friday sales is examining and fixing your website’s mobile responsiveness. Remember, over 80 percent of Internet users own smartphones, and they use them to make purchases. For example, a study that Invesp conducted shows that America’s retail purchases made using mobile devices rose to more than $114 billion in 2017 with the figures expected to rise by $18 billion in 2018. So, what do these figures tell us? They clearly tell us that the world has gone mobile, and if you want to reach it, you too should follow suit! Here are tips to assist you to prepare your website for mobile sales this coming joyous season:
- Test your website for mobile friendliness using real users. For instance, you could ask your family members or friends to access your website using their mobile gadgets. Ask them how easy or difficult it is to navigate between your website’s pages, fill forms, and make purchases.
- Besides testing it for mobile friendliness, make sure that it is also ready to handle mobile sales.
- Ensure that your site will give your users the best experience ever. For example, you need to do so by optimizing its loading speed, giving it a new responsive design, adjusting its fonts and button sizes, and ensuring that your mobile popups are of correct size and easy for customers to close them.
Mind Your Stocks
Do you sell physical products online? If you do, then pay attention to this point. The reason is that even after setting every other thing in motion, you will need inventory to sell to your customers. Therefore, secure enough supplies to last you through the festive season. In addition, you have to check out the most trending products during this season and prioritize stocking them. This way, you will assess your position early enough and organize yourself so that you don’t tantalize your customers only to land them on empty shelves.
Another way of preparing your online business for this Black Friday is by going social. Just like mobile technology, you will achieve more sales if you optimize the social side of the Net. Therefore, plan for timely social media campaigns that will boost your brand’s social brand. Otherwise, you will miss the potential of the Internet’s largest wing—the social media.
Prepare Your Business and Staff Early
Whether you sell physical or immaterial products, you need to prepare your employees for the festive season. It is necessary to prepare your workers to handle an increased number of customers this season. Moreover, is also important to prepare them through training so that they can handle your customers’ fears and queries. Remember, this can be a very anxious moment for customers since numerous competing retailers bombard them with similar offers. So, training your staff to handle and offer them exceptional customer service will benefit your business greatly. Otherwise, your plans could backfire if your staff does not know how to handle the influx of customers that streams into your store this season.
Cast Your Prospects Net Wider
Since this is a highly competitive season, you should prepare your business by casting your net wider to gain new customers. The reason is that you do not have a monopoly in your field, and hence, be ready to gain and lose some customers in the process. Don’t forget that your competitors are also looking for new customers in the same way you are fighting to get them. So, hedge your business by putting measures in place to gain new buyers to boost your customer base and replace any existing customer who could switch allegiance. For example, you can win new clients by announcing special offers and discounts using local dailies, holiday circulars, and postcards.
Test Your Website
After making all the above preparations, you need to make this critical preparation too—test your website. The reason is that during and after the Black Friday, its traffic will increase. This increased traffic will place extra demands on your site, and hence, the need to test it. You will need to test its functionality and see if its servers can handle increased traffic levels. You should identify and fix anything that could crash your site during this festive season. Otherwise, you could be embarrassed if your site crashed in the middle of customers purchasing your products.
Optimize Your Checkout Process
Lastly, optimize your website’s checkout process to ensure your customers enjoy the best user experience. But why is this critical? Because 76% of customers abandon their carts. Moreover, 28% of them say that one of the leading reasons they abort buying processes is tiringly long and confusing checkout processes. So, it is imperative to ensure that this part is functioning properly. Otherwise, it will be useless to bring the buyer this far only to lose them at the door of purchase. To help you avoid purchase abortions, here are tips to enrich your checkout process:
- Simplify it
- Make it user-friendly
- Make it easy to understand and navigate
- Make it seamless
- Only ask for necessary information
- Don’t clutter the forms
The Black Friday is around the corner, ushering in a floodgate of sales. But is your online business ready to capitalize on this windfall? In this post, I showed you ten tips for preparing your business—both online and offline—for this festive season. I hope you will apply them and make the most of this festive season’s business boom.