As the seasons change from summer to autumn, the attention of online retailers quickly turns to the highly anticipated Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend.
This year’s BFCM kicks off the Golden Quarter on 26th November, with consumers getting ready to take advantage of deals and offers on what has become the UK’s busiest shopping weekend of the year.
With the countdown on, we look at ways in which you can boost sales to take advantage of all the opportunities Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2021 could offer.
Why is Black Friday so important for retailers?
It’s hard to remember a time when Black Friday wasn’t here, but the concept – which was brought to the UK by Amazon – actually landed back in 2010. In the US it had always marked the start of their festive holiday shopping season, but it really gained momentum in the UK in 2013, primarily through in-store events that saw huge numbers of shoppers heading to stores.
Fast-forward to the present day and the world looks very different due to the pandemic, with consumers wanting to buy more online than ever before. A recent survey found that around 40% of consumers said they had continued to shop more online after restrictions had lifted compared to before the pandemic.
The Black Friday sales are something that have been increasing year on year, but as a result of the pandemic, in 2020 retailers such as Boots and Amazon actually launched month-long online campaigns in the run-up to the Black Friday weekend in a bid to boost sales. Last year there was also an extra boost with Amazon Prime Day taking place in October, and although it moved back to the more familiar slot of June this year, there are rumours we could see a second date launched this autumn. Based on the success of 2020’s campaigns, many retailers are expected to go for longer campaigns again this year.
With Christmas being the busiest, and most profitable time of the year for most retail businesses, it’s no surprise that over 30% of all retail sales occur during the period from Black Friday up until Christmas.
And a huge £6bn was estimated to have been spent over the Black Friday weekend in 2020 in the UK, so it’s crucial to make sure your business is ready to capitalise on what is set to be another surge in demand for online sales.
How to quickly increase your website sales on Black Friday
Understanding what consumers need and what they expect from an online experience is a key first step to accelerating your growth. A study by FinancesOnline uncovered four main factors influencing buyers’ decisions during Black Friday, which are:
- Free delivery (49%)
- Promotions / limited-time sales (36%)
- Easy-to-use website/app (21%)
- Click and Collect (20%)
As you can see, the top three results are directly linked to eCommerce websites, which underlines the value consumers now place on online shopping.
Here’s five things to help you boost your sales on BFCM weekend and beyond…
1. Offer free delivery
Time and time again, research and data highlights just how important free delivery is to shoppers, but for retailers, it can reduce cart abandonment and improve your conversion rates.
With the greatest influence on buying decisions being delivery, you need to look closely at the cost of your logistics and also the speed of shipping. Of course, you need to be realistic with what you can do to protect your profit margins but ask yourself if there are any changes you can bring in to make delivery more attractive for an online shopper.
Customers wouldn’t value free shipping as highly if the item arrives in 10-15 business days as opposed to 3-5 or even next day delivery, so it’s important to consider all angles. Ensuring you have enough resources and the right processes in place to deal with an influx of orders will also be vital.
2. Have sales and promotions ready
The BFCM weekend is notorious for discounts, sales and promotions with the average savings on Black Friday specials being 37%. With competition fierce on this weekend you need to ensure you’ve got a strong strategy for your sales and promotions. There are different ways you can approach this, including:
- Limited time offers
- Bundle or bulk-buy discounts
- Upgrade deals
- Loyalty or referral promotions
- New visitor discounts
Alternatively, you could opt for store-wide discounts across everything you have available online. Different products can be discounted at varying amounts or you could offer a standard percentage discount that’s taken off at the checkout.
3. Website optimisation
When it comes to eCommerce there are 5 key strategies to ensure your business is running successfully. For more established retailers, it may be more appropriate to ensure a good focus on SEO to generate organic web traffic. But, when it comes to specifically preparing for Black Friday and other key seasonal events, there are some shortcuts that can help retain and convert new customers.
Finding ways to avoid cart abandonment is one of the best things you can do to boost online sales and there are some best practice tips you should look to adopt:
- Use a prominent colour for all call-to-action (CTA) buttons
- Showcase any promotions, vouchers or discounts
- Create a sense of urgency – this could be limited time offers to drive sales
- Display testimonials, reviews, and case studies clearly
- Use a limited number of form fields in the checkout process (the simpler the better)
- Check your page speed – reducing page load time helps ensure those shopping via their devices don’t get bored and leave before your site has time to load
- Offer multiple payment options to overcome any barriers to purchases at checkout
These tips should be used in conjunction with an effective customer service strategy, which means answering customer service queries, using live chats, and responding through other social media channels as quickly as possible.
4. A bespoke BFCM marketing campaign
When it comes to promotions and limited-time sales, seasonal marketing can help you to take advantage of different seasonal opportunities and maximise sales during key periods. The Black Friday weekend is the perfect opportunity to ramp up your existing marketing efforts. It can act as the ideal trigger to take a consumer from being interested in a product through to a sale, so you need to make sure you integrate your campaign across every relevant channel available to you. Some ideas include:
- Plan social media posts in advance and look at the trending hashtags closer to and during the time
- Focus on your most popular products or most viewed items in the past 30 days and for last year if you have the data –give these more focus on your website if you can
- See if you can get your products listed in key media outlets – national media often cover round ups and specific trade media titles also like to know who’s offering what
- Do you have an email marketing list you can take advantage of? Remember that lots of retailers are set to go early with their campaigns this year, so you could think about a series of emails leading up to the weekend
The key here is to prepare in plenty of time. Now is a great time to get your campaign calendar together if you haven’t already. Just be sure to refine and update it as you go to ensure it stays relevant and on track.
5. Offer different payment methods
Lastly, you must have something to differentiate you from the competition when it comes to payment – and the heart of that is making life easier for your customer.
With more online shopping and greater competition than ever before, online retailers are driving digital customer experience through a combination of convenience, great customer service, personalised marketing campaigns and highly targeted promotions.
Adding the convenience of an interest free payment option for your customers is a great USP against competitors, and could help convert the sale.
Research has shown that 44% of UK consumers will stop a purchase if their preferred payment method isn’t available. For more high-value purchases, like furniture, electrical goods or even self-care procedures, retail finance solutions offer consumers another option.
Implementing new payment methods into your eCommerce business may seem complex and tricky, but providing easier ways to pay is fast becoming a significant factor in purchasing decisions. DivideBuy’s interest free credit solution means repayments can often be spread over a longer period of time and the set-up is seamless.
Offering interest free credit can also be a great way to:
- Boost sales
- Increase average basket value
- Keep customers happy
- Increase repeat-custom
If you’d like to explore how an interest free credit payment solution could boost your business sales this Black Friday, get in touch with us using the form below and our team will come straight back to you.