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The 8 Point Black Friday Checklist for Online Retailers

Black Friday Checklist for Online Retailers

We’ll let you in on a little insider secret: although Black Friday isn’t until 27th November in 2021, we here at Zyro have already started planning for the biggest shopping event of the year. 

Black Friday 2019 saw 93.2 million shoppers making online purchases and spending a record total of $7.4 billion in just 24 hours. 

This year’s Black Friday will – no doubt be bigger – with shoppers not only looking for great deals, but also turning to online shopping rather than brick-and-mortar stores because of the pandemic threat. 

If you’re an online retailer, this is not an event to be missed. Here’s a rundown of what you should be doing to prepare.

1. Decide on your deal(s)

Black Friday is popular for one big reason: the savings consumers can make on their shopping. 

In 2019, the average discount on Black Friday deals for online retailers was 37%, so the bigger and more impressive your deal, the more likely you are to attract customers. 

That’s why your first step should be deciding what kind of deal you’re going to offer to Black Friday shoppers. The kind of offer you’re able to run will depend on your business and its products or services, but there are a few things you should keep in mind:

  • Your deal must be eye-catching. Remember, loads of businesses will be vying for attention on Black Friday. It’s crucial that your promotions stand out. 
  • The savings should be clear. You should be able to summarize your deal in one sentence. If you’re explaining too much, you’ll lose out on sales. 
  • It should not just be an average deal. Black Friday is about being out there and over the top with your promotions. This should be THE deal of the year. 
  • You should still be making a profit. Don’t rip yourself off. Make sure that you’re still going to turn a tidy profit, even while your customers are saving. 

2. Define a timeline

Open page project planner

The next step is simple: make a plan. 

You know how many days are left until Black Friday, and by the time you’ve read this article, you’ll know what needs to be done. 

Create a plan of action, and decide on hard deadlines for everything you need to do between now and the big day. 

Black Friday is coming at you fast, so be ready. 

3. Create a communications plan

How are you going to spread the word about your Black Friday deals? 

The best way to make sure that all potential customers are aware of the savings you’re offering is to create a solid communications strategy for the event. 

Of course, you can make use of your regular marketing channels to inform new and existing customers, but since the sales opportunities are so high, it’s worth pushing the boat out a little. 

You might consider:

  • Running one-off PPC ad campaigns
  • Sending out emails and text messages to existing customers
  • Creating unique and shareable social media content 
  • Reaching out to affiliates and influencers to promote your deals

You should also spend time thinking about the way you’ll frame your campaign messaging to create the greatest hype around your promotions. 

4. Produce creatives and copy 

Ads on tablet screen

Once you know the channels you’ll be promoting your Black Friday deals through, and what your message will be, it’s time to start creating your content. 

It’s never too early to start preparing graphics and copy, especially if you’re embarking on a bigger than normal campaign. 

If you don’t have graphic designers or copywriters in-house (and don’t have the skills or time yourself), this is something worth spending a little cash on. 

Make sure that all your creatives do the following:

  • Make your deal clear. There’s no point running a campaign if it’s not obvious what you’re offering. Put your deals front and center. 
  • Appeal to your audience. Each target audience will respond to different styles of messaging. Make sure your ads are tailored to your target audience. 
  • Stay consistent with your brand aesthetic. While they should be unique, your advertising creatives should also be true to your brand. 
  • Have a clear call to action. Use imperative language to encourage prospective customers to click on your ads. 

5. Create landing pages

Incoming Black Friday traffic shouldn’t just land on your regular homepage. You should think about creating unique landing pages that are themed for Black Friday and push visitors towards your deals. 

It’s been shown that targeted landing pages tend to result in higher conversion rates, so it pays to create some tailored to your Black Friday deals. 

6. Check inventory and supply 

Now that you’re moving closer to Black Friday, you need to make sure that you’re going to be able to deliver on all orders you’re hoping to make. 

Take the opportunity to check on your supply chain and inventory. Part of your planning process should be a projection of how many extra orders you expect on Black Friday, and your inventory has to be up to the job. 

Think about ordering more stock, or at least checking with your suppliers that extra stock will be available. 

7. Ensure dispatch and delivery is prepared

Up to now, everything has been about securing sales, but that’s not the end of the story with Black Friday. 

The majority of Black Friday purchases are made on the expectation that the customer will receive them before Christmas. This is why you should make sure that your dispatch will be made in time, and your delivery couriers are reliable. 

Consider taking on more staff to handle an increase in dispatch volumes. 

8. Check your website is bulletproof

Your final point on the checklist is arguably the most important. If all goes to plan, you’ll have an influx of new traffic to your website to make purchases, so you need to ensure your website is ready to receive it. 

With this in mind, it’s worth double-checking the following:

  • Server space. You don’t want your website to crash on the most important shopping day of the year. Make sure you have enough server space for an influx of traffic. If you have a website with Zyro, your server space automatically scales to meet demand. 
  • Site speed. Optimizing your website’s load times will make sure you don’t lose out on any sales. The longer customers wait, the less likely they are to complete purchases. 
  • Navigation. It should be super easy for customers to find what they need on your website. 
  • Promotional terms. If your promotion has special terms and conditions, these should be clear and easy to find. 
  • Delivery and returns. Make it easy for customers to find information about when and how they’ll receive their goods, and how they can return them. 
  • Contact information. Some customers may want to reach out to you with questions. Make sure they can do so easily.

Get your website ready for Black Friday

There’s still time to get your online store open or updated in ready for Black Friday. Zyro gives you all the tools you need to create a compelling Black Friday campaign with the website infrastructure to back it up. 

Even if you’ve not launched your online store yet, you can get your brand online in minutes with a new website, add your products to an online store, and launch a marketing campaign with weeks to spare. 

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Written by

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Duncan is obsessed with making website building and eCommerce accessible to everyone. He explains the best tools and the latest digital marketing trends in ways that are clear and engaging. His focus is on supporting the sustainable growth of small to medium-sized enterprises. When not writing, he enjoys deep sea fishing and endurance cycling.

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