How to Prepare Your Online Store for Black Friday.

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October 8, 2021
How to Prepare Your Online Store for Black Friday.

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Black Friday. These two little words mark the most important period of the e-commerce calendar. As millions of shoppers worldwide wake up hungry for good deals, it can be hard to stand out from the crowd.

So how do you get your online store ready for those all-important sales?

As the clock ticks down to the biggest online event of the year, we’ve compiled our list of go-to tips to get your store primed for your best month yet.

1. Decide on your offer.

Ever had one of those winning moments?

The “I’ve just found a twenty in my pocket!” moment.

The moment your boss says: “Come on guys, let’s finish early today.”

That feeling that you’ve just totally, undeniably won.

We all get excited when we feel like luck is on our side. And so the first step to any successful Black Friday campaign? Figure out what will give your customers that winning feeling that they just can’t miss.

With only a short time until Black Friday offers start spilling into people’s inboxes, you need to decide how you’d like to reward your shoppers this year.

How do you want customers to spend with you? Are you offering a discount code, a free gift, or discounting everything on your store using a bulk product edit? Black Friday is an excellent opportunity to shift old stock or introduce your customers to something new, so analyse your stock closely and see what you’d like to offer.

If you’re choosing a site-wide discount code, then your process is simple. Create your code - or codes - under the Discounts tab in your Shopify store and set your percentage discount. Splash your code across your site and social media - and just make sure that the code is valid right through your sale period to avoid any unhappy customers.

Discounting your stock en masse? Our team recommends the Bulk Product Edit app for big sales. This app allows you to easily set, configure and most importantly schedule your new sale prices so that they’re clearly visible throughout the site. Any price changes will automatically be reflected in your Google Shopping feed and social ads, meaning that your customers won’t have to do the calculations themselves and can easily see which deal they’re getting. The best part? These prices can be reverted at the click of a button, meaning that you don’t have to panic about switching prices manually in that post-sale period.

2. Prepare your products.

You know your products are great. But do your customers?

Once you’ve settled on an offer to entice people to your store over the sales period, it’s time to ensure your product pages look as appealing as possible. Whilst this is an equally important step for your store all year round, Black Friday is a time when shoppers aren’t afraid to shop around to find what they want. In order to stand out from the competition, show why your products really are the best.

Start with your images. Do you have clear, original photography? Is your imagery consistent? Multiple photos, videos and detailed product descriptions all help to build trust and get your customers through to checkout.

Make sure your products are all up to date with useful information. If you’re a furniture seller, then list dimensions and show how your pieces can be styled in a room. If you’re a fashion retailer, include details such as washing instructions or a size guide to preempt common questions. Particularly if you’re selling items in a competitive industry, having a trustworthy site could mean the difference between them shopping with you or heading elsewhere.

And finally? Show off your product reviews. Customer reviews are just as powerful as word of mouth when it comes to encouraging new potential buyers, as 95% of people are influenced by them. Display your reviews, Trustpilot badges and other accreditations on product pages and in the footer to let your previous sales do the talking.

3. Schedule your emails.


Hear that?

That was the sound of another email hitting your inbox over the Black Friday period.

With over 116 million emails sent out on Black Friday alone (not to mention the other days such as Cyber Monday), it’s getting harder and harder each year to cut through the noise.

Direct emails are a great way to keep your loyal customers in the loop, so start thinking about your email marketing early. Plan out how many you’ll send to your data list in the run-up to the main event. Too many emails and you risk people unsubscribing, but a few well-timed updates will build a sense of urgency when your sale finally drops.

Make sure your copy stands out. Emails with time-sensitive subject lines such as “Urgent”, “One Day Left!”, “Don’t Miss Out” or a countdown tend to get the highest open rates, as do curiosity-inducing emails which leave your customers on a cliffhanger that can only be resolved by opening the email: “Psst! We’ve got a surprise for you.”

And don’t forget your abandoned cart emails too. For uncertain customers who need that final push to make a purchase, having a timely email land in their inbox can bring them across the line. Just make sure that your abandoned cart reminders also mention your Black Friday deal, and switch back to your old templates once your sale is finished.

4. Step up your social media.

Dancing dogs. Squid Game references. Memes about Drake’s latest album.

No matter what you’re posting about on social media, there are millions of ways to get people engaging with your content online.

As the run-up to Black Friday approaches, use your social media channels to your advantage and alert your customers to your upcoming offers in new and exciting ways. Whether this be jumping on a TikTok trend, showing a sneak preview of what you’ll be offering in the coming days, or just counting down to the big launch, this is a time to engage with loyal customers and let them know you’ll be treating them over the sale period.

Use Instagram stories to add countdown timers and build momentum in the final moments before the sale starts. And when you finally launch? Don’t forget to reshare any content that your customers tag you in. Join in the conversation and be on hand to answer any questions that people may have as they shop on your store. Every positive customer service experience gears you up to a future sale.

5. Boost your banners.

Much like Christmas or a summer sale, Black Friday is a chance to get creative on your site and show the world your special offers. Whilst you don’t need to go mad and have flashing images, whizzing icons and pop-ups on every page (we’re looking at you, Cards Against Humanity), this is also a time to have some fun. Your homepage is prime real estate for enticing your shoppers deeper into your store. Embrace the Black Friday frenzy and make your sale very obvious from the moment someone lands on your store.

When your assets are ready to go, save yourself time by uploading any banners in advance. Head to Online Store on your Shopify dashboard, duplicate your theme, and prepare your store behind the scenes by switching up your banners and any announcement bars.

This will ensure that your sale is all ready for launching on the day and can be easily be switched back to your old theme again when the Black Friday period is over.

6. Simplify your shipping.

Nothing feels better than the arrival of a parcel in the post. But when you’ve been waiting months for your new item to arrive? Anger creeps in. Strongly worded emails are sent. Your poor postman starts to duck for cover every time he approaches the front door.

In a world where delivery times have been reduced to hours, not days, time is of the essence. If you’re expecting a vast number of sales over the Black Friday period, then you’ll have a lot more work to do behind the scenes to get your stock shipped out to customers in a timely manner.

Prepare for this influx of orders in advance by ensuring your stock levels are high and informing your customers of any potential delays. If you know that shipping and fulfilment will be slower in this period, then make this clear to shoppers browsing your site. Check over your returns policies too and decide whether you’re happy to offer a generous returns window and whether you want your sale items to be exchange only. The longer the return policy, the better. Shopify conducted a study on customer satisfaction and found that the promise of a 30-day return policy increased conversions by as much as 57%. And when you extend that window to 60 days, the benefits of customer loyalty far outweigh the time it takes for people to send parcels back. Shoppers with a 60-day window took an average of 15.85 days to return their items – while shoppers with a 30-day window took 12.25 days. Doubling your policy could provide huge value to your customers without significantly impacting the sales timeline.

With so many people spending over the Black Friday period, the chance of items getting returned is going to be higher than usual. Adapt your policy in preparation to keep yourself ahead of the game.

7. Smash your post-sale strategy.

Whilst it seems premature to plan the afterparty before the show’s even begun, it’s important to consider what will happen after your sale. Are you launching straight into a Christmas deal, or will you be switching your store to its pre-Black Friday state for a week or two? Have an idea of what your next step is after the big event, and you won’t have to panic as Cyber Monday draws to a close.

Remember that just because Black Friday is over, doesn’t mean that your work has to stop. With a whole host of new data at your fingertips, you can use your new sign-ups and followers to market all the way through the festive season.

And there you have it! You’re all ready to go and make sales and grow your business.

Do you have any other go-to Black Friday preparations? Let us know!

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