When Q4 is underway, many ecommerce companies have their sights focused on one specific weekend (we all know what it is). The day after Thanksgiving, Black Friday, takes over with millions of people eager to take advantage of heavily discounted products. And some ecommerce companies scramble to get ready for the biggest sales weekend of the year.
As an ecommerce company, it will surely be one of the busiest days of the year. There are increases in site traffic, conversions, order placements, and customer service inquiries. The online shopping experience is even more important in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic since there are still thousands of people who are unwilling to risk their health in crowded retail stores.
Expect more people to flock to ecommerce sites to get the best deals this holiday season. Black Friday sales last year surged 22%, hitting a record of $9 billion, according to Adobe. Given all of this anticipated activity, how can you prepare for the busiest shopping day of the year? Here are 5 ways on how to get ready for Black Friday.
Be Mindful of Supply Chain Issues
With the COVID-19 pandemic still raging across parts of the world, there have been numerous reports describing ongoing supply chain management disruptions as a result of the pandemic. This could be your biggest hangup to get ready for Black Friday.
In a detailed article on Forbes, the supply chain issues are well documented and not forecast to end anytime soon. The pandemic caused manufacturers, distributors, and other sectors of the economy to grind to a halt when global lockdowns were all the rage.
When the worst of the pandemic had passed, manufacturing and distribution had to ramp back up to match the returned demand for goods and services. But restarting such a vital part of the economy proved to be more challenging than expected.
- Shipping rates have skyrocketed
- Fewer containers are available to move products from one place to another
- Staffing shortages make it difficult to unload and load products from cargo ships fast enough to keep supplies in stock
There is now a sense of uncertainty about the future of the global supply chain. The question really has to be asked: will the supply chain ever go back to normal? All of this will impact your ability to keep inventory on hand for Black Friday and the holidays as well as how to ship items out to customers.
Consider Offering Black Friday Deals Earlier in the Month
One way to offer great discounts and reduce any supply chain issues is to stretch out the length of time you offer your Black Friday deals. Over the years, a growing number of companies have done this to avoid overwhelming their staff during the busy holiday weekend.
For example, Walmart is offering Black Friday promotions to their Walmart+ members throughout the month of November. The decision came on the heels of an Accenture survey of 1,500 US shoppers, which found one third are concerned supply chain issues will prevent them from buying what they want this holiday season.
Walmart believes they can better service customers by spreading out their offers throughout the month, but they also wish to increase demand in their Walmart+ subscription program. They’ve included incentives like fuel discounts, options to skip checkout lines, and free grocery deliveries to the home.
Be Upfront With Special Deals and Discounts
On Black Friday, everyone is eager to buy. The shopping journey is a much shorter path to conversion than at other points of the year. Why make it more complicated for people when they’re already at the tipping point of making a purchase?
Don’t be afraid to be aggressive with your promotions. Use things like:
- PPC ads
- Google Shopping campaigns
- Pop-ups on your web pages
- Clickable banners at the top of your website
You want to capture people with a great message like “get 30% off this item now!” Or, “50% off for the next 50 minutes” and include a countdown timer to create a sense of urgency.
Also, include promotional codes in all of your advertisements. Make it easy for shoppers to take advantage of the discounts you have so they’re motivated to buy. Don’t let them feel confused or overwhelmed by your site experience. Optimize your ecommerce website for Black Friday (another way to get ready for Black Friday) to make it as simple as possible, rather than risk losing them to a competitor.
Hire Temporary Staff
Expect to be bombarded with questions from shoppers leading up to, on, and following Black Friday. You’ll also need enough manpower to handle packaging, shipping, and delivering items that are ordered by your customers.
You want to look beyond Black Friday and think about the long-term impact of this busy shopping season on your brand. Your goal should be to turn as many Black Friday customers into repeat buyers as possible. But you need to provide a satisfying shopping experience from start to finish to make people want to come back to your site again.
Part of that customer experience is the order fulfillment and delivery arm of the transaction. If you can’t deliver on time, it’s going to leave a bad taste in the mouths of your buyers. If the products are packaged haphazardly or arrive in damaged condition, you can say goodbye to those customers, and potentially lose money in the process.
That’s why it may be helpful to hire temporary workers to handle customer inquiries and help arrange orders for delivery. Ensure you have enough manpower to fulfill those customer expectations so that people get a satisfying experience with your brand. Additionally, you can improve customer service by outsourcing to a fully functional call center. They’re able to manage a higher volume of support requests and inquiries from shoppers.
Expand Your Ability to Manage Orders and Deliveries
If you can’t find additional support on your own, take that logistical challenge off your shoulders by partnering up with an order fulfillment company. Let’s face it; the holidays are the busiest shopping season of the year, and you only have a limited amount of resources to maintain exceptional service for your shoppers. Even temporary support staff may become overwhelmed by the volume of orders during Black Friday sales events.
An order fulfillment company handles orders and deliveries from multiple fulfillment centers across the country, which helps localize deliveries and ensure orders are fulfilled on time. This is also an added benefit to handle any returns that are requested by buyers. It’s the holidays so returns go hand in hand with the season. Make that experience easier on both your in-house team and your customers with outside help from trained professionals.
Are you looking for help on how to get ready for Black Friday? Then reach out to us at sales (at) owd (dot) com.