It goes without saying that Black Friday has become something of a big deal, pun intended. Each year sales rise and new records are broken, with SME’s hoping to add their own success to the figures. This year we’ve partnered with AO.com to bring you all the insights you could need to make this Black Friday the most profitable yet.
What is Black Friday
Just in case you didn’t know, Black Friday is a retail extravaganza originating in the US and taking place on the Friday following Thanksgiving. While our American neighbours may have invented the retail holiday, we’ve certainly made it our own since its arrival in 2010.
This year Black Friday will take place on November 24th, with Cyber Monday following on November 27th. While traditionally Cyber Monday was set aside for online retailers with brick-and-mortar retailers claiming Black Friday, rapid ecommerce growth has all but erased the conventional setup. Today consumers can find online deals across the whole weekend, with many retailers now starting their sales up to a week before the big day.
Amazon has already started their Black Friday sale, a full week before the official day.
Now a permanent highlight in our retail calendar, Black Friday boasts some of the best deals of the year. For consumers, it’s a chance to save on their holiday shopping, while retailers hope to attract new customers and boost revenue.
Big day, big deal
Taking place at the start of the real run-up to Christmas, many stores take the bulk of their holiday sales during this time. With shoppers eager to bag a bargain it’s a chance for retailers to shift holiday stock and get their products under customer’s Christmas trees.
Last year saw consumers spend £1.23bn on Black Friday alone, a 12.2% increase on the year before. Online sales continue to dominate with 2016 seeing a record number of transactions. At AO.com alone there were over 30 orders a minute during peak shopping hours, and this year looks set to be even bigger. As an opportunity to attract new customers, retailers could see growth beyond the Black Friday mayhem.
Let the numbers guide you
As well as record-breaking sales figures, last year’s stats indicate the areas that could make or break retailers this year. To help you make the most of this huge event we’ve delved into the numbers and uncovered some game-changing insights.
Make it mobile
If you haven’t already, make sure your mobile game is up to scratch. Mobile sales continue to grow every year and Black Friday is no different. Nearly half of all online spend in the UK was spent on a mobile device last year. That’s a huge increase of 26% compared to the year before, and if mobile trends are any indication this figure could well rise again this year.
Your website is probably already responsive, but test it out on a range of screen sizes before the big day. Ideally, test it with any of Black Friday banners and promotional content to make sure everything is clear and clickable.
Don’t forget your other content either. From email marketing to Google display ads, test each in a mobile format to make sure customers are getting the best experience on every device. Remember to keep everything concise and any CTA’s big enough to be clickable on the smaller screen.
It’s all about the timing
With customers queueing up before shop doors open and many online in the early hours of the morning, it may come as a surprise that the peak shopping time was between 1pm and 2pm last year. If you’ve previously taken part in Black Friday, take a look at your own data to see if this matches up.
Peak times are a great opportunity to promote your best deals and increase your average order value (AOV). Save your most expensive items or discounts on bundled products for these hours and make the most of the larger audience.
You can also hold exclusive deals on different days and even at different hours during the day. Not only does this give customers a reason to keep coming back, it can also help spread your website traffic. This can be anything from a different type of a discount to a new product category added to the sale.
Make sure your website is ready
While spreading your deals out can help with high volume peak hours, there’s no avoiding the increase in traffic over the weekend. Last year website traffic was up by 220% compared to a normal day, and it’s not unheard of for even big brands to experience some downtime. The last thing any retailer wants is to stop selling on the biggest sales day of the year. In the price rush, even a slow website could see customers flock to your competitors.
Make sure your website is up to the job by speaking to your hosting provider and considering a content delivery network. A CDN can store a cached version of your website content on servers in multiple locations. This improves your coverage and delivers content to visitors from the nearest server, plus saves time on loading fresh content.
You can also look at your page speed by seeing if any web images or files can be reduced in size and improving your caching setup.
Let people know you’re secure
Security is a key incentive for customers and most are more cyber aware than ever before. Double check your website and payment security and don’t be afraid to let customers know just how secure you are. Now that any web pages with form fields are flagged as HTTP and ‘not sure’ by Chrome, it’s especially important to get your website HTTPS secure. You can find out more about migrating to HTTPS in this blog post.
Make Black Friday your own
While general stats can tell us a lot about what works on Black Friday, don’t forget your own data. The big retailers account for a lot of the figures, but small businesses can certainly make Black Friday their own. Look at your own market and customer behaviour from previous years to identify areas of focus for this year. Big site-wide sales might make a statement, but there may be more specific discounts that are just as attractive and kinder to your margins.
From PPC to email marketing, your digital presence has a direct impact on your business growth over the holidays and beyond. Discover how we can help you start strategizing for success by contacting on of our team today.