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7 Black Friday Mistakes to Avoid: eCommerce Tips for the Year’s Biggest Shopping Event

Between 2017 and 2020, the revenue made by online sellers on Black Friday almost doubled. The holiday season’s biggest shopping event saw a respectable $7.9 billion in online sales in 2017 skyrocketing to $14.13 billion in 2020. 

It’s safe to say that further growth can be expected in 2021. 

If you run a small or medium-sized business, you might only expect a modest slice of that sweet retail pie, but that doesn’t mean you should aim your ambitions low. Black Friday can be a windfall even for businesses of all sizes. 

Last year, we published tons of resources on marketing your business on Black Friday and making your online store ready for the big day, and we stand by that advice. This year we’re back to troubleshoot your Black Friday eCommerce limitations. 

Here, we’ll introduce you to some of the biggest Black Friday faux pas, and how you can avoid them. 

1. Offering uninspiring deals

When deciding on which retailer to choose during Black Friday, 86% of shoppers said that price was a deciding factor. An additional 49% of people said free shipping was important, while 36% said they had been swayed by a limited time deal. 

Put this all together and what does it mean? It’s crucial that you stand out and offer something exciting to your customers. 

Here’s the big secret: even if you’re a small business that can’t compete with the likes of Amazon on price, you can still give the impression of a great deal by offering extras. 

Make sure you shout about the savings customers are making during Black Friday, and consider offering free postage where possible. If you can throw in freebies, that won’t hurt, either. 

Remember, more than ever you’re competing against every other online AND in-store retailers. 

2. Delivering ineffective marketing

There’s no point holding a massive sale if no one’s around to buy stuff. An effective marketing message is at the heart of your Black Friday success. 

It’s definitely important to understand marketing trends to know where to focus your attention. 

For instance, it’s useful to know how the share of Black Friday traffic stemming from social media increased from just 4% in 2016 up to 11% in 2019. It might also help to know that personalized email content based on your subscribers’ needs can lead to 6x higher conversions and a 122% return on investment.

All that said, you know your customers and target audience the best, which is why it’s important that you focus on the channels and messaging that work for your business. 

A woman looking into the camera with headphones on working at a desk

3. Neglecting customer service  

Building a buzz around your Black Friday sale is only half the battle. It’s also incredibly important to invest in your customer experience and customer service even after shoppers have bought your goods. 

Even during Black Friday, the busiest time of year for many retailers, 79% of shoppers expect a response in 24 hours and 40% expect a response within 1 hour when they reach out to your customer service channels. 

Remember, Black Friday may be a great time to make loads of sales, but it’s also an opportunity to attract a horde of new loyal customers. Taking time to make sure your post-purchase customer care is unforgettable will make this one-off event a year-round money maker. 

We created a guide to delivering great customer service, which we highly recommend you check out before Black Friday. 

4. Forgetting your core audience

During Black Friday sales, it’s tempting to try and broaden your appeal beyond your usual customer base. There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with that approach. 

However, despite Black Friday being a unique shopping day, the usual rules still apply when it comes to marketing and selling your products and services. Namely, it’s easier and cheaper to convert your normal customers than it is to appeal to new ones. 

Don’t try and reinvent the wheel; just focus on what you do best, and make sure you’re offering something your customers will really love. 

Trying to be everything to everyone at the same time opens you up to spreading your resources too thin. 

A person looking at documents at a wall against a white background

5. Making your store too complicated  

This might sound like a pretty standard piece of eCommerce advice, but on Black Friday it is particularly important to remember why shoppers are choosing to buy online (and with you in particular).

Research into shopping choices revealed that in 2020, 60.8% of shoppers chose online stores to avoid crowds, 48% wanted a more hassle-free shopping experience, and 19.3% simply wanted to save time. 

Here’s your lesson to take away: people choosing to shop online over Black Friday are looking for a smooth, stress-free, and hassle-free shopping experience. If you plan to cash in, you need to provide that for them.

Don’t worry, we’ve got your back. Check out our blog on the online store building mistakes to avoid

6. Forgetting about Cyber Monday

Black Friday might have the name recognition, but Cyber Monday has started to compete for retail dominance. 

In 2020, instead of Black Friday being the biggest shopping day of the year, Cyber Monday instead took the top spot. A massive 30% of all consumers said they shopped on Cyber Monday, while only 24% said they shopped on Black Friday. 

Whether this change was due to the Covid-19 effect, the creeping growth of eCommerce in general, or a combination of factors, it goes to show that Cyber Monday is as important, if not more important than Black Friday. 

As an online seller, you can’t afford to forget about Cyber Monday. We advise either extending your Black Friday deals through Cyber Monday and Cyber Week, or else run a new campaign to catch even more attention. 

7. Acting too late 

When it comes to pulling off the perfect Black Friday campaign, planning is everything. 

Here’s a little insight into Zyro: we started discussing our plans for Black Friday back in JUNE! 

Between deciding on your deals, preparing your website and marketing team, building hype, and making sure everything is in place for you to be able to deliver on orders in a timely manner, there’s a ton of prep work. 

The sooner you start preparing for Black Friday, the better. The good news? It’s not too late to act now and still cash in on the world’s most popular shopping event. 

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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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