Black Friday is one of the most significant shopping events of the year for eCommerce retailers. According to Adobe, nearly 93.2 million shoppers made a purchase online during Black Friday in 2019, with sales topping an all-time high of $7.4 billion.
Despite record-breaking sales during last year's Black Friday event, brick-and-mortar stores saw a 6.2% decline in traffic. Given the current uncertainty around COVID and the digital shift we've seen this year, it's reasonable to expect that online sales will be even higher than last year.
If you want to get the most out of this upcoming Black Friday event, your website needs to be optimized to handle the surge of online shoppers.
To help you prepare, here are ten ways you can maximize conversions for a successful Black Friday sale.
Tip #1: Strip down unnecessary apps.
Today’s shoppers expect a fast and responsive shopping experience on their desktop and mobile devices. A slow and sluggish experience will adversely affect your conversion rate as users abandon your website for your biggest (faster!) competitors.
One thing that can slow down your Shopify website? Apps.
We love apps for their ability to add functionality and increase personalization, but too many--especially during a peak traffic period like Black Friday--can take a toll on your site speed and in turn, sales. Here’s why.
When a customer arrives on your website, each app installed on your storefront makes an independent request to its respective server. Each of these requests, or handshakes, requires a series of information exchanges that take time. We’re talking small amounts of time, like seconds or milliseconds, but those seconds make a big impact on your conversion rate.
A study from the website performance experts at Yottaa found that a one-second improvement to your average page load time can boost overall ecommerce conversion rates by up to 2%--that’s a potentially major impact if we’re talking about delays of three to five seconds or more.
Instead of relying on multiple apps, we recommend switching to a BFCM-specific Shopify theme stripped of unnecessary apps that slow down your store. You can switch it back later after the BFCM rush.
Perform periodic checks leading into BFCM sales events with tools like Pingdom, GTMetrix, and Google PageSpeed Insights to monitor your site speed. While obtaining a perfect score is both challenging and impractical, these tools will help you measure site performance, identify front-end issues, and identify improvement opportunities.
Tip #2: Optimize your site for the Black Friday traffic surge.
Another way to shave those precious milliseconds off your site load time is to employ CRO best practices for images and code.
Shopify automatically compresses images when they’re displayed on your store to allow for faster page loading, but you should also optimize images at the point of upload. Images should be uploaded at the lowest size available without compromising quality--i.e. blurriness or pixelation. JPEG images are best for product and lifestyle photos, while PNG is the format of choice for images with “flat” colors, like logos and icons.
Finally, employ what’s known as “lazy loading,” which displays page elements only as they scroll into view rather than all at once. This can speed up your initial load time.
We talk more about how to improve the speed of your Shopify store in this post.
Tip #3: Ensure that your mobile experience is optimal.
In 2019, nearly $2.9 billion worth of Black Friday sales happened through mobile phones alone. And with mobile commerce on the rise every year, this trend will continue, so your mobile experience must be frictionless.
Broken elements and functionality are a significant impediment to conversions and will lead to user abandonment.
To ensure a seamless user experience, test across your top mobile devices and browsers, and address any bugs you encounter. If you don’t have a physical device lab, BrowserStack and Cross Browser Testing are easy and affordable tools for testing on different devices.
Tip #4: Announce your Black Friday deals early.
Online retailers seem to market their sales earlier and earlier every year. To keep up with the competition, give your users a sneak peek and build anticipation by running a Pre-Black Friday sales event.
Once Black Friday rolls around, consider timing your strongest promotions as early as possible.
Tip #5: Fine-tune your copy and sales promotions.
When shoppers arrive on Black Friday, they’ll expect to see your biggest promotions front and center. Your value propositions and promotional copy should be prominently displayed and should convey value to your target audience.
To nail down your copy and messaging, you can use tools like Copytesting to identify unclear messaging and whether or not it aligns with your target audience.
If promotional codes are necessary to receive a discount, make them easy to see throughout your entire funnel.
If your Black Friday offers have special terms or require minimum purchase amounts, make sure they are clear and visible. If you require a minimum purchase, consider A/B testing copy that calculates how much more shoppers need to spend to qualify.
Tip #6: Maximize sales by creating scarcity and urgency.
Since quantities are limited on Black Friday, many shoppers start looking for bargains early in the day.
Black Friday is an opportune time to create scarcity and urgency. There are several ways that you can do so.
Countdown tickers, for example, drive users to purchase to take advantage of the limited promotion.
Low stock alerts are also useful in creating scarcity. When customers see that products are in high demand, they’ll be motivated to buy before a product’s supply runs out.
Tip #7: Evaluate your shipping, return, and exchange policies.
When shoppers are purchasing more products than usual, it’s essential to make sure that your shipping policy is transparent.
If you don't ship for free, this is the best time to offer it. If free shipping is off the table, it’s worth considering discounted shipping, even if you have to adjust your margins to accommodate.
If you have special requirements for returns and exchanges, make them easy to find and understand to avoid losing sales, or worse, creating a customer service nightmare that users won’t forget.
Tip #8: Test different pricing displays.
The way you position pricing is critical, and this is especially so with the flood of bargain-seeking shoppers on Black Friday.
Try experimenting with different pricing displays on Product Listing Pages and Product Detail Pages, based upon the type of offer.
Another thing to consider: Since there's a good chance your users will land directly on your Product Detail Pages, it’s a good idea to display Black Friday discounts on these pages in addition to the home page.
Tip #9: Reduce and recover cart abandonments.
The simplest way to minimize cart abandonments: implement exit-intent popups that present an attractive discount to convince users to continue their purchase.
You can also use delayed live chat triggers for inactive users. By addressing their questions, you might help clear any uncertainty or doubt customers may have.
If your website has user authentication, you can utilize cart abandonment emails to logged-in users that encourage them to return to complete their purchase.
Learn more about how to use displays to multiply your subscriber list by 700% here.
Tip #10: Create personalized experiences to encourage larger purchases and increase average order value.
Today, online competition is fierce. It’s no longer viable to compete on price alone. To stand out, you must adjust your strategy. The biggest differentiator between your brand and another is the experience you create for your users.
Personalization is a powerful way to connect with your users and ensure that their experience is delightful. If done correctly, your personalization efforts can help your brand stand out among the competition. Just make sure you don’t “creep out” your users by displaying too much information about their behaviors.
There are hundreds of ways to personalize the user experience, but here are just a few that most a/b testing platforms are capable of:
- Serve "recommendations" that show relevant or related products to users, based upon what they have already viewed.
- Show complementary products, add-ons, or bundles.
- Display dynamic content and buying guides to help a user find the right product for their needs.
If you want to capture more conversions and increase the average order value, personalization is an excellent way.
Start Preparing for Black Friday Now. Don’t Wait!
Black Friday 2020 is just around the corner, so start preparing now. By tweaking your website and implementing these strategies, you'll position your brand for more sales and happy customers.
Need help executing? Let's chat.
Check out the rest of the BFCM Last-Min Strategies:
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Smash Your Email ROI: 3 email templates that will up your email game during Black Friday Cyber Monday.
Grow Sales Thru Stellar Support: Turn your customer support experience into a revenue generating machine with key insights for your site and reps.
Crush Your Holiday Sales Targets: Use your customer reviews to drive sales this holiday season and beyond.
Grow Your Sales With Process Automation: See five areas where you can employ automation to simplify your operations, save time, and boost sales this holiday season.
High-Converting Templates for SMS, Facebook Messenger & More: Use these ten templates to craft engaging, high-converting messages for SMS marketing and Facebook Messenger during Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Don’t Blow Your Budget!: 10 tips to help you navigate paid media strategies this Black Friday / Cyber Monday (BFCM).