The phone rings. “I’d like to know which of your products will be available on the upcoming Black Friday and Cyber Monday sale?” What! It’s that time of year already and you still have your head in June’s endless sunny days and cocktails. Oh, my word! Panic!
Your mind might look something like this right now: Which products am I going to sell, at what prices? Can I have them made or buy them from somewhere? How am I going to market it? Who’s going to take all the orders and pack them? I don’t have enough money to buy stock! Who’s going to deliver all of this stuff? I’m… going… to… have… a heart attack!
Relax. Sit down. Take a deep breath. Let’s go through a checklist that will help you get your house in order and your orders going through the roof.
One thing you know is that there will be more traffic on your site and through your payment gateway than normal. Prepare for it by testing your website speed, how fast the images load, and payments take. Use sites like Pingdom to test your speeds and see which other parts of your website need work. Upgrade your hosting plan if you need to and ensure that the servers can cope with the traffic. Make sure all your images are optimised for fast loading. Also, speak to your payments provider (*cough cough*) to ensure they can cope with the increased volume. It shouldn’t be a problem for them (it wouldn’t be for us), but a heads up won’t hurt. Make sure that your checkout process is simple, fast, and that it works.
Devices and browsers
Make sure your products load properly on mobile devices and on all browsers. The last thing you want is for someone with a handful of dosh to have any difficulty in buying from you. If you’re selling on Instagram, test all the buying links you have on your products. Design them in time and do test runs. Let your friends and current customers test for you if need be. It might even serve as an early marketing campaign, you never know. What you do need to know is that buyers go to the right page when they click on a product, receive the right discount, and can check out effortlessly and quickly. We’ll get to the fulfillment part just now. If you don’t have anybody to help you test, use something like LambdaTest to see how your products and ads display.
While we’re on the subject of browsers and mobile devices, test all the functionality on your site. Do your emails come through to the right person if somebody wants to contact you? Are all the tracking pixels you’ve installed to measure traffic firing? Remember, you’re not only going to be selling loads of products, the amount of data you can gather from the increased traffic can tell you a lot about your marketing efforts: It will show you what works and what doesn’t through who’s arrived on your site and how they got there. This will help you prepare for the festive season when sales are expected to spike again. So make sure they work.
I seek you…
There is nothing more frustrating than seeing an amazing offer online, going to the website, and not being able to find it. Even more frustrating is eventually finding it only to see that it’s no longer in stock. Remember that you’ve spent a lot of time and effort to get that customer to your store. Make sure they go directly to the product any advert advertises, that your stock counter is working accurately, and that you can deliver it pronto. Once somebody has decided to buy from a store, they will normally browse around to see what else is on offer. Benefit from this by ensuring that your products are divided into categories and that any search functionality on your site is working properly. You can also perhaps aggregate your best offers to your home page so that people can immediately see what’s on offer.
And don’t make the fatal mistake of running out of stock on popular items. If you know an offer is going to take off, make sure you have enough of it! Prepare your suppliers for an increase in demand and motivate them to deliver extra stock before the big day. Keep an eye on the stock counter on your site. The minute you run out of stock, remove the product from all your ads and promotional campaigns to ensure you don’t create demand for a product you cannot deliver.
How do you decide what to sell and how much to charge for it? Now is the time to get rid of the stock you’ve been sitting with for ages. It might also be a good time to test different price points on items that don’t move fast. There are various kinds of offers you can make:
- Buy one get one free (good for moving old stock)
- Percentage discount (10% off, etc.)
- Percentage of entire cart off
- Free shipping of orders over a certain amount
- Discount bundles
- Free gift cards with every purchase. This is a value-add offer where you give shoppers something of value that they can redeem in your store after the promotion ends. It ensures return traffic and will also establish your brand as a serious one that customers can trust.
Remember to calculate the value of discounts and the difference it will make to your bottom line. HubSpot provides this handy downloadable calculator to work out the cost of discounts. HubSpot also discusses various promotional pricing strategies and how to identify relevant products for different strategies.
These are really easy to install and will make a massive difference to your bottom line. Set them up as multiple-step mails where you offer coupons or free shipping if the shopper returns to your website to complete their purchase.
Shopping and shipping
Make sure that you speak to your fulfillment partners to accommodate increased orders during the upcoming sale season. If you have a good relationship with them it might give you the edge in offering reduced shipping times during peak times.
Packing and packaging
Do you have enough packaging materials to handle increased sales? And do you have enough hands to pack these parcels? If you don’t, make sure you hire staff in time to be able to fulfil your orders as soon as possible. Remember, there will be an increased demand for these skills during this time as well.
Support and staff
The more successful your season is, the more support staff you’ll need. Make sure that all your systems can handle the traffic and that your support staff are trained and ready to solve any problems that might arise. People might forget what they bought from you this time next year, but they will never forget it if you sort out any problems they might encounter. Good service is memorable, bad promotions aren’t.
The most important element of any Black Friday strategy is to make sure your payment gateway works and that you can process payments easily. There is no use in all this song and dance only to fall flat when it comes to putting money on the table. We can help you with that. Truevo provides ecommerce businesses with a seamless, elegant payments gateway that will process transactions as fast as you can say, “Flash Sale!” Have a look at Truevo’s range of online and offline solutions for businesses big and small. Speak to us today about a solution that suits your needs. We can’t wait to work with you.