The events of 2020 have forced our already tech-heavy society to become even more reliant on technology in all aspects of our lives. Of course, ecommerce has soared in popularity as companies optimize their online stores and rely on digital marketing techniques to maintain their customer base, and as customers are relying on the Internet to shop for their basic needs.
Due to social distancing and long lines because of limited store capacities, and many stores already announcing that they will not open their physical doors for Black Friday, customers are significantly more likely this year to spend their time on their laptops after Thanksgiving dinner instead of walking it off at Best Buy.
If you’re a retailer who’s also available online, or solely an e-tailer, this guide will help you prepare your website for this upcoming Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
1. Prepare for increased traffic
If your website is already running on the slower side (an unfortunate side effect of piling on the apps, large files, etc.), an influx of user traffic can definitely affect your website’s performance on the biggest shopping day of the year. Slow loading times and site crashes will result in an increased bounce rate--which you do not want, especially during a huge sale! 40% of consumers will leave a website if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load, and a whopping 79% of consumers who have a less-than-satisfactory website experience are less likely to buy from that site again.
To ensure things run smoothly, check your servers to confirm they can handle an influx of traffic and double-check the checkout process so customers won’t leave mid-checkout because of complicated or broken processes. You can check your Ecommerce Shopping Behavior Reports on Google Analytics to analyze your current user experience and make sure the check out process is efficient.
When downtime occurs on your Shopify website, you can check out shopifystatus.com to monitor the status of Shopify admin, checkout, storefront, point of sale, and more. If there isn’t a server outage, there might be a larger issue with your website that you’ll need to connect with your developers on.
2. Optimize your mobile site
Along with the surge in ecommerce, customers are even more likely to reach for their phone and shop online instead of their computer--especially since it’s more convenient. 50.48% of traffic comes from mobile, while 46.51% comes from desktop; tablets have the least amount of traffic at just 3%. Check page layouts on mobile and tablet devices and ensure mobile performance is optimal to prepare for your eager customers. Make sure your pages are easy to navigate, as well. Installing HotJar heatmaps or reviewing device-specific behavior in Google Analytics can provide a lot of great insights on how your mobile experience is for shoppers. If bounce rate, pages per session, and conversion rates are drastically different from desktop, then you should reevaluate your mobile web design.
While mobile optimization isn’t much of an issue when using a theme on Shopify (or whichever ecommerce platform you’re on) because they tend to come optimized for mobile out of the box, there are still elements to watch out for. Such as, billboard images that need to be resized or shown differently when on smaller screens, or cutting down on images or information shown on each page. If you show ingredients, details, and shipping information on your product pages, you might want to turn those sections into expandable “drop-down” units on mobile. Of course if you’re going the custom theme route, this all needs to be done manually.
3. Get ahead of the game
Many customers start looking for Black Friday sales as early as October to plan their shopping and prepare for the chaos. Many stores are starting their Black Friday sales earlier than ever because it’ll be almost entirely online this fall. Make sure you’re starting as early as your customers and competitors, so start offering sales and coupon codes on your website early to generate customer loyalty. This way, they will be enticed to keep returning to your online store--especially on Black Friday. Update your SEO strategy for sale-related keywords and run ads weeks before Black Friday to generate brand awareness and drive traffic to your store.
4. Take advantage of the sense of urgency
Think about it: seeing a countdown on a website gives you the urge to grab your wallet and checkout right away. Just like the in-store experience, customers will likely rush to make sure they buy something before it’s sold out. After all, it’s part of the rush of Black Friday shopping! Try to experiment with adding a countdown banner, or sending emails and text messages to your loyal subscribers by giving them early access to a sale. Consider personalized cross-selling at checkout based on each consumer’s unique activity and behavior on your website. This will make your customers feel important and shows that your company understands their needs. This can also increase cart sizes. When done effectively, product recommendations can account for 31% of ecommerce site revenue.
For cross-selling at check out, we recommend the Shopify plugin, Also Bought. The app utilizes AI to recommend the best products, or you can manually choose which of your products you want recommended at checkout.
5. Add a live chat window
If your site doesn’t already have a live chat function, consider adding one. You should have a customer service team already set in place to work the live chat, especially since your own employees are the ones who know the most about your products. Customers will certainly have questions about the products you offer, and it would make the experience more personalized. Allowing your customers to chat with another human rather than just a chat bot makes them feel more comfortable and welcomed on your website; not every question is exactly the same, so having set commands and responses through a bot is less likely to answer their exact inquiries.
Since many companies are staying online for this upcoming Black Friday, it is important to optimize your ecommerce site to draw in customers and get them to stay. Start prepping now to ensure your store is at its utmost performance on one of the most profitable days of the year for retailers. If you need some assistance with your ecommerce strategy or updating your ecommerce website, we are Shopify Partners.