Black Friday is THE biggest day for retail. Online, offline, a mix of both – anybody who’s dipped their toes in eCommerce will know that Black Friday / Cyber Monday and the run-up to holiday shopping are the hottest months in the world of commerce.
When it comes to seasonal trends, you need to be one step ahead at all times. Many eCommerce merchants get preparations underway weeks, if not months in advance of Black Friday to make sure that they’re prepared for the inevitable influx of customers landing on their store, and to activate their existing customer base ahead of the big day.
Now it shouldn’t be a massive surprise to hear that this year, the eCommerce world will see a much larger percentage of sales compared to physical stores due to COVID-19. The problem for you? Competition for eyeballs and customers’ wallets will be higher than ever, but fear not: We’ve put this guide together to get you raring and ready to shine online through the rewarding Black Friday and holiday period.
Super-Fast or Super Trash?
eCommerce merchants saw a 35% rise in conversion rates in Q2 this year compared to Q2 in 2019. That’s a massive increase, and it’s expected to carry on through the seasonal period too. So how can you prepare? Well, it all starts with your storefront. The demand will be higher, and so too could the stress on your store.
We recommend running through Shopify’s new Speed Check tool to make sure your store isn’t being bogged down by an app or oversized images. If there are any speed issues NOW, they will definitely be exacerbated once hundreds or thousands of shoppers try to access your store all at the same time. For most people this won’t be a large issue unless you’ve got that hot product that everybody wants and isn’t being sold elsewhere. People are shopping with greater intent online knowing that popping up town may not be an option this year, so if your web pages aren’t loading quickly or are crashing all the time, that isn’t going to look good. Users are likely to just give up and move on, losing you a customer. Moral of the story? Check up on your store speed!
Well, not just speed itself, but the nitty gritty bits of your website. Dead links, mobile responsiveness, outdated contact details. Your store may have fantastic landing or product pages with elegant features but if it’s slow to load or inbound links are broken then everything else will be a flop. Audit your store and hammer down the basics.
Make Your Products Stand Out
Depending on what industry you’re in, there could be very high or very little competition for what you offer. Even if there’s just one competitor you’re at battle with, it could be a lost sale if the customer swings in their favour over yours.
Ways to market your product successfully is a topic covered by multi-year degrees and thousands of hours of training, so we can’t tell you the secret formula in one short blog post (that, and the fact that said formula is really non-existent). However, there are tips to grab a customer’s attention whilst they’re browsing your store.
Consider video. Adding a short video, or professional photos if you can’t create the motion, will help showcase your offering in the best light. We think that embedding a video in your product descriptions is a great way to capture someone’s attention and make them consider you over a competitor with just a drab block text about their product.
And if a customer doesn’t know what product to go for? A separate page for ‘gift ideas’ could provide them with the answer to what they’re looking for. Try cross-selling some products that work in tandem too and pair that with some FOMO – Fear of Missing Out. A sense of urgency in product descriptions or imagery will help the buyer come to a decision quicker, and if they’re on your site and tight for time, the conversion may well go to you.
The Price is Right
Consider your pricing for your products in your store. Many people will be on tighter budgets this year due to COVID-19, so price sensitivity is a big factor.
Online merchants like you will need to deal with these changes in the market. Deals and special offers will be what your customers are expecting, particularly on days like Black Friday or Cyber Monday, so it’s up to you to provide them.
We recently launched a new app for price matching which gives your customers a price match guarantee if they’re about to go elsewhere to buy. The popup only appears when customers highlight a product title on your store (to copy & paste it into Google), so you’re not cannibalizing sales by offering price matching to someone who wouldn’t even have thought about it. Consumers across all industries will be craving discounts this year, so why not take a look at our Smart Price Match popup (psst, there’s a free 7-day trial too!)
Make the purchase flow easy, too. Make sure that, if it isn’t already, your checkout process is as streamlined as possible – offer the most popular payment methods like PayPal, credit cards, and Apple Pay so customers don’t drop out of your funnel at the last second..
For some smaller merchants, getting found organically can be difficult, especially when the competition is as high as it is this year. The answer to quick traffic is paid search. Now don’t hesitate, paid search does not mean you will need to budget for £1000s of additional marketing spend. As little as £50 could generate a sufficient stream of customers to your store who are eager to convert.
Google Display ads are fantastic because they can reach a large, targeted audience and have very low costs per click – sometimes as little as $0.02 per click. This means you can generate healthy amounts of traffic to your website without busting the bank.
Google Display ads also mean that, using their ad builder, you can put some professional ads together for your products using just a few images, a logo, and some crafty ad copy to capture someone’s attention.
If you have the budget though, search ads are worth exploring too to capture high intent & active customers in the market. Search has consistently generated the largest ROI throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and had the least impact from the downturn.
If you’re still looking for additional help, please reach out to us – we’d be more than happy to give a helping hand getting ready for the holiday season. Drop us an email or fire up a live chat on our website for a super-speedy response.
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