How to Prepare Your Website for Black Friday

As with all things 2020, this year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday sale season has been forced to adjust to a virtual market. Social distancing measures and health and safety concerns have pushed ever more consumers online over the past few months, and those who would have saved their online browsing exclusively for Cyber Monday deals while they spend Black Friday queuing in overcrowded malls to take advantage of offers from major department stores, will likely be spending the entirety of of November and December online shopping this year.

So for those businesses new to the online transition, how can you prepare your website not only to handle the increased traffic and sales, but also nab consumers already browsing the online space amid even more fierce competition than ever before? These handy tips will help to gear your e-Commerce site for a success this sale season.

Test Your Load Capacity

Luckily you don’t need to simply sit back and hold thumbs on the big day in hopes that your website doesn’t crash amid the extra traffic. There are a number of free online tools to measure the load and traffic capacity of your online store, such as k6 (previously Load Impact). If your site doesn’t quite meet the standard, consider upping your server package over this period. Think of it as brick and mortar stores employing additional casual staff over busy shopping periods to handle increased customer traffic. 

Be Upfront

Let customers know as soon as they land on your site that you are participating in Black Friday with an eye catch banner. This can let them know exactly what your offer is so that they can bookmark your URL for the big day, or simply create a buzz by posting a teaser “Coming Soon” graphic. You can even link your banner to a special Black Friday/Cyber Monday collection so visitors can see exactly what is up for grabs, or perhaps even start shopping early.

Win Back Abandoned Carts

Unlike physical stores who are very limited when it comes to converting customers having a window shop, the online capabilities of e-Commerce allow you to know exactly who has added what to cart and track if those customers leave your site without completing their purchase. On average, abandoned carts make up around 69% of online store traffic – three thirds of people on your site could be leaving without making a purchase! Luckily, you still have the means of contacting these unconvinced shoppers with automated abandoned cart emails, reminding them what they have left behind and perhaps offering an additional discount as incentive to follow through with their purchase.

Optimise for Mobile

Let’s face it – browsing on a PC or laptop is outdated. You need to optimise your site for where a large portion of your customer base exists: on their smartphones. Not only should your checkout experience be easy to navigate on mobile without having to rotate a screen, zoom, or click a teeny tiny button, but creating an app is an even more accessible portal to your store. This allows your business to reside permanently on a customer’s phone without having to navigate to your site through a browser. You can also use your app to send your customers sale notifications, order and shipping updates, or let them know when you restock items on their wishlist.

Secure Sensitive Data

Perhaps one of the most important aspects of targeting an online audience is assuring them that any information submitted to your site is thoroughly safe and secure. Using a reliable payment gateway can make customers at ease as they navigate the checkout process. If you haven’t already encrypted your site with an HTTPS URL, many popular e-Commerce platforms now offer free plugins to do so. Overall, securing your site data is the first port of call in ensuring customers continue to trust your site and and return for repeat purchases.

Customer Service is Key

Even in the age of all things virtual, do not neglect the basics of retail. Good customer service can enhance the overall customer experience, and being online makes this even easier for sellers. Consider adding a chat bot to your site where customers can ask questions about products or offers and have a staff member on standby to answer any queries. This allows customers to get the answers they need without the delay of reaching out via email or social media, and customer feedback is always a great source of information to continue improving your online experience.

We wish you all the best this sale and festive season, and hope these tips gave you the leg up you need to stand above the competition in the saturated online space.

Craft in partnership with 4theNOW is able to offer web design & eCommerce packages tailored to the needs of SMEs. 4theNOW is a Cape Town based web design agency specialising in UX/UI, eCommerce and product development.

View Craft’s Web Design and eCommerce packages here.