Black Friday is just around the corner. So if you’re looking to make some last minute improvements to your online store, now’s the time to get them sorted.

Any article predicting the major trends of 2020 would have done well to come remotely close to what has actually happened. 

The global COVID-19 pandemic has turned the world on its head in many ways. The retail industry is one of many that has been dramatically affected by it. But in the retail space, the news is not all bad.  

What has happened in light of the pandemic is a real shift to online retail and ecommerce channels. This was happening anyway, but the pandemic has only accelerated the process. Items that people may previously have headed to a bricks and mortar store to purchase are now increasingly being bought via online mediums.  

This may be because people are reluctant to head back into stores due to the risks posed. It could also be that people are finding that online retail is more streamlined and practical than they had previously realised. 

This all means that two of the year’s major online retail events – Black Friday and Cyber Monday – could reach new levels in 2020. They are already big events in their own right. But with everything that has happened in 2020 thus far, this year’s events seem set to break a host of records in terms of money spent, transactions made and profits gained.  

As an online retailer, capitalising on the opportunities that both Cyber Monday and Black Friday 2020 present is a must. In our latest blog, the Williams Commerce team provides a few tips and tricks to help you take advantage of the opportunities that are out there. 

Black Friday Growth

gifts and presents bought on Black Friday

Black Friday takes place the day after Thanksgiving is celebrated in the US, meaning this year it falls on Friday 27th November. Black Friday sees many retailers knock down their prices for one day only, with customers looking for a bargain buy on something they would ordinarily pay significantly more for.  

From its American origins, this retail event has taken off in a big way in the UK in recent years, with steady growth in spending continually taking place. That rise continued into 2019, with Barclaycard stating that transaction value for Black Friday 2019 was up by 16.5% on the year before. 

How are people shopping on Black Friday? 

When it comes to how people are actually completing transactions on Black Friday, there has been an interesting and notable shift towards mobile channels. According to Nosto50% of Black Friday sales in 2018 were conducted via mobile. In 2019, this had risen to 56%. Traffic via mobile saw a similar rise, from 64% of all Black Friday traffic in 2018 to 71% in 2019.  

This means as a retailer, ensuring your site is optimised for mobile is all important when it comes to Black Friday 2020.  

The buzz around Cyber Monday 

Cyber Monday is kind of like Black Friday’s little brother, who’s a bit more into tech. 

On 30 November, you will be able to cash in on a host of different deals related to technology, with big discounts on some big-name technology products anticipated on Cyber Monday 2020. 

If you are a retailer in the technology sector, then Cyber Monday, and the week which follows - known as ‘Cyber Week’ - offers you the opportunity to cater to customers on the lookout for a bargain. 

Cyber Monday has also seen a significant rise in transactions in recent years, with Cyber Monday 2019 seeing a 6.9% rise in transaction volume compared to the year before according to Barclaycard. 

Avoid these Black Friday mistakes

If you as a retailer have not really embraced Black Friday or Cyber Monday in previous years, then taking the opportunity to do so is well worth it. But there are a few common pitfalls that should be avoided.  

The first is putting too much emphasis on discounts. Rather than solely advertising the fact you’ve slashed prices, spend more time and effort on promoting your products. Solid product recommendations and before and after prices can encourage shoppers to invest in your range over the competition. 

Another mistake businesses make is not sending enough emails out about their offers. You want to avoid spamming people, but they always have the option to unsubscribe from your list of course. So be sure to send out plenty of emails highlighting the Black Friday and Cyber Monday discounts you have available. 

Also look to create personalised and stylish content, and stay on top of your products. And DEFINITELY avoid displaying out-of-stock products in your email advertising. The last thing you want is a customer getting an email from you about Black Friday or Cyber Monday offers, really liking what they see, and then trying to buy something only to find it is out of stock. By embedding dynamic content and ‘batching’, it’s possible to avoid this unwanted scenario. 

red tape with white lettering saying ‘mistake’'

Some Black Friday Best Practices

As a retailer embracing Black Friday, you can look to create a category page where you list all your Black Friday deals and Cyber Monday discounts. This will save customers having to trawl through your site in search of what they really want - products at lower prices on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. 

You can also look to segment your customers based on their interests and send relevant deals and info their way. 

And don’t underestimate the power of social media when it comes to promoting what you have available on Cyber Monday and Black Friday. Social media allows you to access new customer bases and secure interest from people who may not be actively looking for deals, but like what they see on your feed.  

One final tip is to test your site speed before these big events. If you are likely to see higher numbers of visitors flocking to your online store to secure a great deal, the last thing you want is for them to have a negative experience due to a slow website. Higher visitor numbers can also impact site performance, so aim to take the required measures to enable a really positive outcome. 

Follow up and Flourish

man in cafe receiving email following up after Black Friday.

Once Black Friday and Cyber Monday have passed, that doesn’t mean the opportunity to gain from these events is gone. 

Follow up opportunities are available in abundance, allowing you to strengthen your ties with customers and potentially help them spend more with you. 

A post-purchase follow-up email campaign in which you thank shoppers who bought from you is a great opportunity to add a few recommended products and potentially stimulate their interest in more buys.  

You can also get a better sense of what certain customers may be interested in. For example, if they visited a certain range of products but didn’t commit to purchasing, you can use this information to deliver more relevant purchasing options to them in the future through email marketing. This allows the opportunity to potentially secure sales post Black Friday and Cyber Monday. 

Get ready for Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2020

Black Friday 2020 is on 27 November, with Cyber Monday 2020 taking place on 30 NovemberSo if you’re looking to secure more sales, don’t overlook some of the tips and tricks in this blog. 

Aim to be efficient and effective with your approach to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and always put the needs of the customer first. 

Williams Commerce’s marketing team can help your business reach more people. Get in touch today.