Black Friday 2014, hailed the day’s highest expenditure yet, with shoppers spending $2.5 billion. With so much being spent and retailers such as Amazon experiencing a sales rate of 64 items a second, it can come as no surprise that stocks and delivery companies struggled to keep up. Last year, the delivery service came under so much pressure in the UK that “Christmas deliveries descended into chaos”, and Yodel suspended collections from some retailers “to protect its service levels” – Dick Stead, Yodel’s executive chairman.
As Black Friday, which falls on 27th November this year, is tomorrow, here are some key facts surrounding the day and some last minute tips to help your store deliver the best service in the face of what is predicted to be an even bigger day in 2015:
- 40% of customers start researching their Christmas shopping as early as October, so analyse your stock, know what sells well and promote it on your site, advertise it on affiliate sites and get your SEO just right to draw these researchers to your site.
- Whoever said you need to wait until Black Friday to start enticing customers to your site with great offers? Make the most of the festive buzz, and start warming people up for Black Friday with a selection of deals. Amazon started its sale period nearly a month ago!
- 26% of Black Friday and Cyber Monday orders were placed using a mobile device in 2014, and with over 50% of ecommerce traffic coming from mobile Google is now favouring mobile friendly sites, so make sure yours is compatible!
- Flash Sale email marketing was responsible for over 27% of holiday sales for e-tailers last year. Not only is it a good way to stay in touch with customers all year round, but fun emails heralding flash sales are a great way to keep you in the forefront of customers minds as they hit the sales.
- With volumes being so high, next day deliveries may not be feasible for everyone. Avoid disappointment by realistically managing expectations and IMRG suggests that during such heavy periods, on solution is to set next day delivery as a premium rather than standard offer. Get your packaging right, to ensure the most efficient use of vehicle space and therefore improving delivery times for the maximum number of customers.
- Automation of sales prices, product feeds and stock count is crucial for keeping everything running smoothly. Especially if you have a large product catalogue, this will not only save you time, but it will also save you from making mistakes and promising products which are no longer in stock, only to have to send customers that disappointing email to say that you’ve sold out.
- Black Friday 2015 is predicted to be the UK’s first £1 billion shopping day, which translates into some pretty heavy traffic for online stores. Make sure your server can stand the pressure!
- Get a cross-border strategy in place to distribute your product catalogue worldwide. Using marketplaces to do this is both easy and cost effective and will improve your visibility and sales.
- Forecast for this year based on 2014’s experience as this will help you to plan effectively for the big day and manage the period successfully. You should also keep an eye on what your competitors are doing, to stay ahead of the game.
- Although it is a great idea to make your site look festive, now is not the time to start making any big changes or testing anything new. Focus on your strong points and accentuate them
Finally, and perhaps ironically, don’t panic discount! Black Friday is a big sales day but it is not the only one in the year. By not going over board, you have more chance of maintaining good customer service throughout the Christmas period and it will also allow you to optimise other sales opportunities, as the January sales are just around the corner…
Good luck, from Lengow!