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Are you ready for Black Friday retail success? Where is your festive high street?

by  David Dwyer on  06/09/2017

Make use of Small Business Saturday

This year, Black Friday falls on 24 November. Love it or hate it, the phenomenon has transformed the festive season’s retail landscape.

What many felt was a drive by large retailers to squeeze smaller enterprises out of the market has led to the rise of Small Business Saturday – a chance for the retail Davids to fight back against the multi-national Goliaths. (Sunday is apparently a day of rest from frenetic shopping before it all starts again for Cyber Monday.)

What is clear is that retailers, large and small, have had to rethink how they trade in the lead up to Christmas.

In the past couple of years, there has also been an evident consumer backlash against scenes of panic buying and crowd surges, leading many businesses to take a step back, often restricting Black Friday/Small Business Saturday activity to their online activities only.

Small Business Saturday Black Friday

According to the Centre for Retail Research (CRR), here in the UK we spent a record £5.8bn over the four days between Black Friday and Cyber Monday in 2016 – up 15% on the previous year. Most importantly, eCommerce websites saw 20% growth, claiming £2.8bn of consumer spend over the same period.

Cementing the digital marketplace as the new “festive high street” was further evidence that showed that online spending on Black Friday alone topped £1.2bn.

Increasingly, the ubiquitous smartphone and advanced mobile websites are now the gateway to the digital high street. It’s never been easier to spend money with one touch biometric purchasing and a whole host of polished, consumer focused store apps.

Shoppers don’t want the inconvenience of having to enter payment card details every time they complete a transaction, but they do expect the highest standards of availability, service and trust. That responsive or dedicated mobile website has never been so important.

We’ve written about the importance of SSL certificates in a number of our recent blogs, but for an eCommerce site leading up to the Black Friday – Small Business Saturday – Cyber Monday period, site security has never been more important.

With Google and Mozilla among the leading browsers now tightening controls on SSL certification, failure to ensure your certificates are not only up to date but secured through a trusted and recognised certification authority will be disastrous. Leading browsers will now flag your site as being NOT SECURE leading to consumer confusion when visiting your online store.

Make use of Small Business Saturday
For smaller eCommerce sites, trying to get your message through to consumers on Black Friday can seem a daunting prospect. Originally promoted by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg in partnership with American Express, Small Business Saturday was set up as an attempt to redirect consumer attention toward small business offerings during the post-Thanksgiving sales rush in US.

The move has since become a global movement and in the UK, small businesses can now create their own personalised, geo-targeted ads that run on Facebook and download online promotional materials that can be used to promote Small Business Saturday.

Small Business Saturday 2017 falls on 2nd of December, and in the UK, where it is now in its fifth year, will reach millions of consumers.

Do you get online marketing?

This isn’t Field of Dreams – if you build it or spend time updating your eCommerce site, consumers won’t come. They have to know about it!

Proactive marketing via social media is essential to maximising the potential of the festive season retail bonanza. Use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Vine… use them all and get the word out using #BlackFriday and #SmallBusinessSaturday. The official Small Business Saturday Facebook page or its UK equivalent, is a great place to promote your business and unique offers.

Remember, competition is NOT LIKELY to be greater, IT WILL BE GREATER at this time of year.

Pay per click advertising through platforms such as Google AdWords offer you vital route to market to get your promotion in front of your audience. Plus even if you simply take a Google Adwords voucher and set up your own campaign you will likely run the risk of making mistakes and not getting a return from your budget. You may have to spend a bit more in getting someone to support you by managing the campaign to crafting the right keywords, but the effort will be worthwhile. Try looking at long-tail search terms and implementing some negative keywords to help make your search more relevant.

By optimising your customer relationship management (CRM) database to deliver promotions and one-off offers to loyal customers, small businesses will begin to reap the rewards of engaged customers.

So, in summary, any small business with a transactional website wishing to get in on the Black Friday action, here’s a short checklist to sees your preparedness:

  • Is your site secure? Are your SSL certificates up to date and valid?
  • Can your website server manage the expected uplift in traffic?
  • Is your online presence optimal for mobile?
  • Is your checkout process as streamlined as it should be? Is it One Page Checkout?
  • Have your prepared a marketing strategy?
  • Have you developed an engaged social media audience to target?
  • Have you considered pay per click advertising?

If the answer to all the above is yes, then you’re all set! If you need help, contact us now!








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