The Black Friday weekend is one of the busiest shopping periods of the entire year. Retailers have treated the US Thanksgiving weekend as the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season for decades, but Black Friday became the official phrase to describe the day after Thanksgiving beginning in 2005.
Since then, Black Friday has consistently been the busiest shopping day of the year in the United States. The demand for discounted products and great sales deals encouraged retailers to expand the timeline for their offers. Black Friday grew from a one-day special event into a week-long celebration, and eventually into several weeks of amazing deals on items in demand.
The Online Black Friday Experience
With the launch of Cyber Monday to complement the traditional in-store shopping experience, Black Friday has grown into an online sensation for retailers. Companies receive thousands, sometimes millions of site visits every year during the holiday season. As demand for hot items grows, the nature of the Black Friday experience must evolve as well.
Take what happened in 2020 as a prime example. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the traditional in-store retail experience couldn’t happen without the potential for a coronavirus outbreak. Therefore, companies opened the promotional window to online shoppers much earlier than in years past.
The shift led to unprecedented sales numbers for the Black Friday season. On Cyber Monday alone, retailers collectively reported over $10.8 billion in sales revenue. Holiday spending for the entire 2020 shopping season surpassed $100 billion as online purchases became the only option for shoppers to make a purchase during the pandemic.
How to Optimize Your Ecommerce Website for Black Friday Shoppers
Though Black Friday 2021 will see a return of in-store shopping events (with social distancing guidelines still in place), the convenience of online shopping means many families will stick with the digital experience. That means ecommerce retailers can anticipate massive surges in site traffic throughout the holiday season. Therefore, it’s essential to optimize your ecommerce website for Black Friday.
Optimize for mobile
One of the most important Black Friday strategies is to ensure your site is built for high mobile traffic. Since 2013, mobile has become the default user experience for Black Friday shopping. In 2020, 7 out of 10 online Black Friday sessions came from mobile devices, and 54% of all Cyber Monday sales were made from a mobile device.
So how can you optimize your site to provide the best mobile shopping experience?
- Make sure you have responsive elements and imagery that showcase popular products for sale.
- Use AI and machine learning technology to personalize the promoted items based on site behavior and audience profiles.
- Ensure your checkout process is streamlined and straightforward to reduce the potential for abandoned shopping carts.
- Finally, integrate your site’s browsing experience with other applications, especially social media apps to encourage social sharing among your shoppers.
Enhance site performance
Sometimes, the simplest inconvenience can turn a shopper away from your website, regardless of the promotional offer up for grabs. According to research from Google, 53% of online shoppers will leave a website that doesn’t fully load within three seconds. To avoid high bounce rates, make sure you do everything you can to optimize for site speed ahead of Black Friday.
- Minimizing site image and video files without compromising quality or resolution
- Using performance enhancing widgets to show products without impacting loading times
- Checking with your site administrator to verify the server will handle increased site traffic
- And more
Use incentives to increase conversion rates
Many people don’t complete the full online buying journey in one day. Shoppers typically think about a product they want or need, and then they learn about a brand that provides the item. They’ll do their own research using Google, social media, and user reviews to get a better understanding of what to expect from the experience. Even when they visit the ecommerce site, they may not be ready to buy and abandon the experience without making a purchase.
Black Friday is a limited time offer so retailers need to incentivize shoppers to reach the end of the buying journey as quickly as possible. That means you need to give your customers a little something to help them see the value in giving their business to your brand. You want to make it convenient for them to complete the purchase and receive the item so that they may come back and buy more before the season ends.
To improve the online shopping experience, use special offers such as:
- Buy now, pay later payment options
- Free or heavily discounted order shipping
- Incentives to buy from local retailers
- Options to extend discounted prices
Streamline the checkout process
According to Statista, nearly 70% of all online shoppers abandon their carts before completing the purchase. There are a number of reasons anyone could opt out of buying an item, but one of them is due to overly cumbersome checkout processes. This is low hanging fruit your team can improve on to capitalize on Black Friday business.
Checkout experiences with multiple pages are complicated, and there are some instances where people are asked to fill out the same information on different pages. It’s understandable why some shoppers would abandon that process in favor of a brand with a more streamlined approach.
Rather than put people through that, why not create a one page checkout? It makes it easier and quicker for people to complete their orders, as well as simplifies the entire optimization process for your web development team. If the checkout process is completed on one page, there are no additional steps in the customer journey you need to worry about. Once they fill out their information and hit submit, the order is complete and the order fulfillment process can begin.
Do you need to optimize your ecommerce website for Black Friday? Then get in touch with us at sales (at) owd (dot) com.