Have you planned for Black Friday yet?

Have you planned for Black Friday yet?
Business desk concept - DIGITAL MARKETING

Last year, UK eCommerce sales set a new record of 1.49bn, a jump of 7.3% on 2017.

Online sales continue to creep up year on year, which is why savvy eCommerce retailers are planning their Black Friday activity now. Consumers are spending more time researching Black Friday deals than ever before, so it’s crucial to have your offers front and centre during the research phase.

If you’re running an online business, don’t wait to plan your Black Friday activity. The most successful eCommerce retailers have already finished their Black Friday planning, and make the most of the whole of November to build awareness and consideration among their audiences.

If you’ve yet to plan your activity, don’t worry. In this article, we’ve listed the 5 key steps you’ll need to take to ensure your eCommerce business is ready for Black Friday 2019.

1. Decide on your deals

Many retailers make the mistake of selecting clearance stock to push during Black Friday. There is a common misconception that Black Friday shoppers are simply looking for a deal – any deal – and aren’t fussed about what they’re buying.

Statistics from 2018’s Black Friday event suggest that shoppers are now researching further in advance than ever before, and are shopping with one or two big-ticket items in mind.

This is your chance to attract new customers by offering them the best possible deal on highly sought after, quality items. A couple of your top sellers is a great place to start.

What’s more, there is a lot of press leading up to the big day, so if your offer is market-leading, you may enjoy some free exposure to boot.

2. Make sure customers can find you

During that all-important research phase, you’ll need a place to drive customers.

Work with your content, design or trading team to put together a killer Black Friday landing page, and get it live several weeks before the big day. Not only will this capture search traffic, but it’ll improve your Google rankings, too. Think about adding a countdown timer, to drive urgency and excitement before the event.

Most retailers don’t publicise their full range of Black Friday deals until the morning of, so instead, we suggest adding some tongue-in-cheek copy enticing your customers to come back and check for offer updates nearer the time.

Another great idea is to host your current deals on your Black Friday landing page. If customers are looking for a deal on a specific product, you may be lucky enough to convert early (and they’ll be back on Black Friday, too!).

3. Alert your customers a few days (and hours) before

Black Friday isn’t just Friday, it runs for the week before and the week after and the most successful online retailers will consider this. Drum up some interest in your Black Friday promotion by sending a teaser email. According to Custora, around 25% of all Black Friday sales originated from email marketing campaigns last year, so it’s really important to get your email marketing strategy right ahead of time.

Be sure to include a catchy subject line to encourage your database to open the email, provide a few hints on your upcoming deals, and perhaps throw in an existing deal to encourage click-throughs. If you can, add a save the date to allow recipients to add your Black Friday event to their calendar, so they won’t forget to check back when the big day arrives.

Don’t be tempted to stop your activity on Black Friday, either. Drip feed your database with new and enticing offers throughout the day and make sure you’ve got a Black Friday-themed abandon-basket email campaign ready to go, too. Retargeting ads will REALLY help with this.

4. Use social media

A 2015 study revealed that there were around 3.9m social posts mentioning Black Friday and Cyber Monday that year. That’s pretty impressive!

You’ll want to ensure your social media channels reflect your killer deals – it’s a well-known fact that your followers are some of your biggest advocates. Be sure to replicate the look-and-feel of your campaign so that shoppers can easily identify key offers, and create separate posts for each deal you have live. Go one step further by launching a competition, and get your following to like and comment to enter.

To get the best cut-through, you’ll want to time your posts perfectly, and use your existing following to drive sales. Paid social media advertising can prove to be expensive on Black Friday itself, due to the sheer traffic and competition in the space. So if you have a limited budget, save it for a pre-event campaign to drive interest before launch.

5. Don’t stop at Black Friday

The most successful online retailers understand that Black Friday is no longer a one-day event. For example, Amazon runs market-leading deals in the seven days running up to the event, with their most impressive offers landing on the Friday. ASOS have a weekend-long promotion to encourage those extra sales.

Almost as big as Black Friday itself is Cyber Monday, so be sure to have a fresh (and perhaps stronger) deal to pull out of the bag on this final sale day before Christmas.