Brands Gautam Srivastava By Gautam Srivastava

Brands: Your Black Friday Checklist

The leaves may only just be changing colour, but shoppers are already hunting down online Christmas bargains. So if you’re not yet ready for Black Friday 2017 then there’s no time to lose. Use this checklist to make sure you’ve covered all the bases and are set to make the most of what could well be this year’s biggest online shopping day for the UK.

Black Friday’s an online event

This year’s Black Friday falls on 24 November (it’s always the day after Thanksgiving in the US) and it’s expected to take place overwhelmingly online. Last year saw a 7 percent decline in footfall on UK high streets while online sales grew 25%. Out of the £5.9 billion spent over the four days between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, online retailers took £2.8 billion of this – up 20 percent from £2.3 billion in 2015. On Black Friday itself, an estimated £1.27 billion was spent in that 24-hour period – a 16 percent increase on the year before.

Make mobile your priority

Last year mobile was the most popular channel for purchasing goods on Black Friday. According to ChannelAdvisor data 64% of purchases took place on mobile devices compared to 48% in 2015. This trend looks set to increase this year as retailers provide mobile users with improved apps and ever-more frictionless payment options.

The way to avoid abandoned carts is to ensure your customer’s experience on mobile is flawless and that buying is preferably a one-click experience. The majority of online retailers are planning to increase their payment capabilities this year – so If you haven’t already done so it could be time to re-consider. And keep an eye out for new innovations – companies like Alipay are leading the way with facial recognition technology.

Test your website to check it’s Black Friday ready

Compared to a normal Friday your web traffic could increase by up to 220% on Black Friday. Your site has to work seamlessly even when under huge strain. Even if you have the best products at the best prices if shoppers can’t access the site – or worse still get booted out – they’ll shop elsewhere.

Create dedicated Black Friday landing pages – and link them to social media and anywhere else you have a presence. Boost organic SEO by using long-tail search terms to drive traffic further down the sales funnel to your site. Google Trends indicates that Black Friday is the keyword of choice for people looking for bargains (and greater than terms such as Cyber Monday etc.)

Shout it out on social

Dedicate as much time and money as you can into creating an exciting social media campaign – because more and more people are searching social networks for information on deals.

Build suspense and buzz by posting sneak-peaks of your sale items well in advance. Identify websites that are talking about Black Friday deals in your niche and get your site mentioned. Starting earlier makes it easier to manage consumers’ expectations – for instance you can give consumers forward notice about key delivery dates. Keep the momentum up as the big day approaches with exciting countdown deals.

Don’t forget to hashtag your content when it’s published and get your hashtags more attention by including pictures of your best deals in social media posts.

Use paid ads on social media

Place ads on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or any social site that’s relevant to your niche and audience. Consider live streaming. It’s reported that users spend three times longer watching live videos  compared with those that aren’t – and they comment far more. Live streaming is still relatively unknown territory for many retailers so you could steal a march by getting Facebook Live right. Post engaging videos promoting your Black Friday deals – and create retargeting Facebook campaigns aimed at people who watched the videos.

Offer attractive delivery options

Your fulfilment strategy could make or break your holiday season with customer expectations higher than ever. Don’t offer anything less than top-notch delivery options. 58% of shoppers say they would shop more online if free shipping was offered – and over 60% of shoppers say they’ll abandon cart if delivery costs are too high.

Click & collect is still popular as a form of delivery – or consider using FBA on Amazon to guarantee smooth delivery at peak times. Check out eBay’s Guaranteed Delivery too.

Review last year’s Black Friday performance

Analyse last year’s Black Friday data to reveal your busiest periods and best-performing items. Find out what people were searching for. Predict key sellers based on upcoming trends and market reports to stay ahead of competitors.

Identify when consumers are shopping for your goods – last year some retailers noted that more and more shoppers are night owls –  Argos reported 8,000 visits per minute between midnight and 1 am. John Lewis saw a 21 percent spike in sales in the hours between 8am and 9am last Black Friday as workers shopped on their daily commute.

Plan staffing well ahead of time, and take on temps if needed to cover this weekend -to answer calls, emails and track orders. Or use live chat on Black Friday through to Cyber Monday.

Get your Black Friday ads rolling in the run up to the day

Build brand awareness in the run up to Black Friday by creating Shopping Campaigns using targeted keywords so you’re present when consumers are researching reviews and comparison sites. Increase your bid price on Black Friday keywords to boost visibility of your ads during peak season.

Use dynamic remarketing strategies such as Google RLSAs to entice previous visitors back to your site. Set your CPC higher for your remarketing than for your display campaign because this audience is more valuable to you than someone who’s never met your brand.

Use paid listings to target general and branded terms and run ads to the whole month of November and keep them going through Cyber Monday.

Black Friday provides you with a great opportunity to maximise your online sales –  and this major spending spree is just a few weeks – so make sure to capitalise by being prepared. For more advice on how to get holiday season ready – or indeed for a chat about any aspect of your digital marketing campaigns, contact the UKteam@channeladvisor.com.