This year, Black Friday is on the 25th of November. If you haven't started planning, it is now time to do so.
Last year Black Friday, for the first time, became really big in Sweden and other parts of Europe. Last year it became one of the most important days of the year for many e-commerce companies, but the trend that led to that is not new.
The latest five years, the consumer interest for Black Friday has on average doubled every year. The graph shows the Google Trend statistics for the search "black friday" during the Black Friday week in Sweden during the last five years. Similar trends can be seen in other European countries.
It looks like this trend will continue, so we have put together a list with some tips to help you benefit from Black Friday as much as possible.
1 - Participate with the right offers
To participate is of course the most important, but you must also have the right offers. The visitors expect to make really good bargains on Black Friday so it can be a good idea to sell old shelf warmers as leader bates in combination with a wider selection of more moderately discounted products. Make sure you take control of the margins, so that you know how much more you need to sell at discounted prices to make as much as at the regular price. If not Black Friday - despite a high turnover - might become a net loss.
2 - Prepare the organization
Black Friday can put strains on large parts of the organization. It is therefore important that all departments - from marketing to logistics and customer services - are prepared and know what is expected from them. The sooner potential risk areas can be identified, the bigger chance to avoid weak links that limit the sale or make your customers dissatisfied.
3 - Notify Viskan and other suppliers
On Black Friday we expect a large increase in the number of visitors and transactions. Our systems and our hosting environment are built to handle large peaks. At the same time it is important for us to have an idea about what transaction volumes we need to plan for when many of our customers have large sales at the same time. We can also give you tips and advice on how to spread the traffic in order to get an even flow of visitor instead of one large peak. We are therefore grateful if you talk to your business developer and lets us know how end when you will communicate the sale to your customers and how high turnover you have budgeted.
If you have other suppliers, for instance outsourced logistics, it is important to notify them too.
4 - Spread the message
With Black Friday becoming so big, many e-tailors want to market their participation which means it can be hard to break through the noise. It is therefore important to spread the message in an efficient way in all your channels. Utilize and coordinate your existing customer database, social medias, brick-and-mortar stores and ads and use messages that stand out.
It is also important not to forget the search engines - make sure that those who google "black friday" during the sales-period find your store instead of your competitors'.
5 - Utilize the entire weekend
For those of our customers that had Black Friday offers during the entiree weekend (Thursday - Sunday), the Friday contributed a little over a third (35%) to the total turnover last year. That means that the rest of the weekend contributed almost two thirds. By utilizing the entire weekend you can both increase the total turn over and spread the visitors in order to minimize the risk for sub-optimal performance which makes the experience faster and more enjoyable for your customers.
6 - Take control of the hygiene factors
Even with an organization, e-commerce platform and hosting environment built to handle large peaks, it is important that all parts of the organization and all systems are tuned to cope with the peaks. Make sure to have enough staff to handle all the incoming orders and to stress test and tune the web shop. Turn off unused offers and any funcionality that is not needed.
7 - Have enough products in stock
To arrive at a sale with empty shelves is not a good experience. Not only will it affect the sales, it might also affect your customers' trust and loyalty. Make sure you have enough products in stock.
It is of course hard to judge how many products are needed. Because of this it might be a good idea to have some backup offers ready to be activated if needed. This way you can ensure that you utilize the increased traffic and noone is met by an empty sales rack.
8 - Take care of your customers after they buy
Just because the customer got a good price, it is not an excuse for delayed deliveries or bad communication after the purchase. Instead, make sure that Black Friday is an opportunity to exceed customer expectations and to strengthen your brand by delivering quality that exceeds - or at the least meet - their expectations.
It is much easier for your customers to accept slower deliveries if it has been communicated in advance than if they find out the hard way after they order. If there might be a risk for slower deliveries than usually, be clear about that in your communication. It is much better to communicate a delivery time of 3-4 days and deliver in 1-2 than the other way around.
9 - Kick start the christmas sales
Black Friday can be a good way to kick start the christmas sales. Not only can you sell during the event, it can also be a channel to communicate with your customers to come back and buy their christmas presents. Thank your customers who participated, for instance by sending them a code for free shiping that is valid until cristmas and take the opportunity to inform about when they need to order in order to guarantee delivery before christmas and push for products that are expected to become popular christmas gifts.
10 - Bring what you learn to the after christmas sales
Black Friday is not only an important sales weekend in itself. It is also a great opportunity to prepare for the after christmas sale. What went well and what could have improved? How many visitors and orders did you recieve? Were there enough products? Could all orders be fulfilled on time? Were customer services able to handle the increased preassure? How did the largest visitor peaks look and how good was the performance during the peaks?