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Why Black Friday Is Relevant For eCommerce

28/10/2015

Black Friday is one of the most chaotic consumer periods of the year. And it can also be one of the most profitable for eCommerce.

You probably saw the coverage last year from Black Friday with intense images of people scrambling to save on a new TV or the latest iPhone.

This year Black Friday is on 30th November 2015 and, despite the chaos that surrounding the event in 2014, it is still an excellent time for both customers and eCommerce businesses.

The name ‘Black Friday’ was originally used back in the early 1960s in Philadelphia, USA, as a way to describe the large number of consumers out the day after Thanksgiving. Their post-holiday shopping ended up putting most stores’ finances ‘in the black’. Since then it has evolved to include online traffic as well as high street sales.

Convenience

Shopping online is rapidly catching up to high street shopping. In 2014, online sales reached 104bn, which equates to 20% of total high street sales of 504bn.

online_vs_high_street

For many, this pull towards online shopping is mainly down to convenience. Customers like the fact that they can browse, choose and buy their item from the comfort of their own homes, rather than facing the festive crowds.

The startling images from last year’s Black Friday crowds show that the high street takes its fair share of chaos, but online, that fight is just as fierce, even if you can’t see it on the news.

When Black Friday arrives, it is everyone for themselves. The key here is to ensure long before the event that every aspect of your eCommerce website is up to scratch. This means optimising landing pages, updating imagery, checking for broken links, improving site speed and ensuring your checkout process can handle the influx of traffic.

Because of its proximity to Christmas, most, if not all, of your on site optimisation should already be up to the task. If not, you can read through our guide to getting your eCommerce website ready for Christmas for advice.

Cost Leadership

At this time of year, cost leadership is extremely important. Being the one who offers the best price for your item is critical, more so than any other time of year. Shoppers will be hungry for a bargain and it is down to you to offer the best one on the market.

  • Overstock – if you have a lot of overstock products to sell, having a Black Friday sale can be a great way to promote your excess inventory at discounted prices
  • Free delivery – most customers will expect free or at least minimal delivery on their item and if you don’t offer it, they will go elsewhere
  • Special offer landing pages – In the turmoil of Black Friday, customers need to find your offers fast. Creating a special offers page, with Black Friday branding, will take them straight to your selected products

Understanding how the online market is shared will also help you gain insight into where you should be targeting. In 2015, electronics has overtaken food shopping to join fashion as the two biggest slices of the eCommerce pie. Knowing which areas to target will give you a head start, even if you are a smaller eCommerce business.

online_shopping_2015

Customer Expectation

Customers expect incredible discounts on Black Friday and, as we mentioned before, if you do not take part, you will miss out.

Do not wait until the last minute to let your customers know that you are gearing up for the event. Begin your social media and email promotions now to ensure your customers have you in mind when looking for their first Black Friday deal.

With social media, you can ensure your promotions and offers get the best exposure by using #BlackFriday in any tweets, and branding your imagery to include ‘Black Friday’.

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Conclusion

As with any other sales peak, such as Christmas or Valentine’s Day, conquering Black Friday is all about preparation. Getting your strategy in place weeks before the event will ensure you come out the other side unscathed and, more importantly, with a profit.