Digital Marketing Blog

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05 Nov 2018

3 Ways To Make Sure You're Prepared For Black Friday

Biggest lesson we learned from Black Friday last year? 

We need to scale way up. 

And from the looks of it, the same was true for just about everyone. 

Retailers were wholly unprepared for the sheer volume of shoppers that descended on their sites and catalogs. 

In fact, quite a few sites crashed under the visitor volume. 

Right now, Black Friday is right around the corner. You've probably already got your deals and offers lined up but even so you can never be too ready for this particular weekend.

So, I've looked at 3 things you can check to make sure you're prepared for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.  

#1 Check Your Site Speed

#2 Check Your Stock Against Latest Sales Estimates 

#3 Check That You've Got Enough Developers And Customer Care Staff 

 

As a bonus, I've also written a short eBook, 3 Tactics To Hype Your Black Friday Catalog. It's not gated, so read it and download it if you want to keep it.

black friday ebook

#1 Check Your Site Speed

Every hurdle in your buyer's journey has to be eliminated in time for Black Friday. The biggest hurdle for most eCommerce sites last year was their site either crashing or being way too slow.

Websites with long load times slow down the purchasing process and increases the chance that your customers will leave your site before buying.

In fact, recent research from Pingdom shows a really drastic link between slow load times and high bounce rates.

pingdom load time bounce rates

We're battening down the hatches here at iPaper to make sure your catalogs will weather the traffic. Once they check out in your catalogs and head to your website though, what then?

If you haven't already, consider optimizing your site to speed things up. 

This doesn't have to involve some major deep dive, after all, we only have three weeks to work with.

It could be as simple as taking a look at the images on your site. Load times suffer when images are too big, don't fit the screen or when there are just too many of them on a single page. 

Of course, there are other more in-depth ways to optimize your site. If you have the resources and time you can organize the CSS and Javascript on your site. You can also minimize the HTML, CSS, and JS files. But like I said, you're working with a short time frame so images are a good place to start.


PRO TIP: Mobile load times are super important, just think about how many of your sales come through mobile - especially on Cyber Monday. Mobiles don't have the same processing power as desktops so by optimizing your images you really increase your chances of making that sale. 

 

#2 Check Your Stock Against Latest Sales Estimates 

On average, Black Friday generates 3.6 times more sales — and Cyber Monday, 3.1 times more sales — than a normal day in November. 

Obviously this varies by country but luckily Shopify just released some country specific data that outlines roughly what you might expect. 

shopify black friday volumes

So in order to make sure you are prepared for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, you need to know:

  • Your average daily sales for November
  • The amount of stock required to meet that number - times 3.6 

Then consider the same scenario, but itemized. 

  • How much each item sells on average in November
  • The amount of stock required to meet that number - times 3.6 

Then make sure you have the inventory to cover those potential sales.

What you don't want to happen is to run out of inventory before people are done shopping. If you're only stocked to cover an average day's sales, you'll potentially miss out on loads of orders.

Should it swing the other way, and you find yourselves overstocked, don't worry. You can get rid of that over the next few months, during Christmas or in the January sales.

But if you sell out on Black Friday because you didn't buy enough inventory, well, you'll never get those sales back. 

#3 Check That You've Got Enough Developers And Customer Care Staff

It's fairly standard for physical stores to be brimming with staff to handle the increase in shoppers on Black Friday weekend.

But often companies with eCommerce channels forget to consider extra staff or overtime for Customer Care Specialists - especially for Cyber Monday.

It may not be enough to just have enough developers on call to make sure things run smoothly. You may need extra staff whose only task is to react and problem solve throughout those crucial days. 

To figure out how much staff you'll need to schedule for the weekend (Friday - Monday) ask yourself:

  • How much additional time or staff resources will be necessary to cope with 3.6 times more sales?

It's probably worth your time to ask your team what they think. Chances are they'll have a more realistic estimate of how high volume traffic and sales will impact their workday than you. 

No matter what, it's probably better to over-staff for Black Friday and Cyber Monday than run the risk of losing potential customers because either there weren't enough developers or customer support staffers to manage unexpected issues.

Don't underestimate the value of good service. While price points are always important, they're not everything. In fact 73% of customers say they love a brand for their friendly employees or customer service representatives.

So, if you pride yourself in good service, make hotlines visible and make sure you take care of your customers during the holiday weekend.

Related Reads

Why Your Catalogs Are Not Fit For Black Friday (And How To Fix It)

[eBook]: 3 Tactics To Hype Your Black Friday Catalog

References 

Pingdom: Does Page Load Time Really Affect Bounce Rate?

Shopify: Black Friday Ecommerce Trends By Country 

About the author

Nanna Árnadóttir

Nanna Árnadóttir

Nanna is a storytelling wizard with over ten years experience working as a journalist and copywriter. Wielding magic with her words, her goal is to educate and delight you with fresh blogs and sage wisdom.

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