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8 key points for a successful Black Friday & Cyber Monday

by  David Dwyer on  24/09/2018

Are you facing the following 3 facts:

  1. What if we told you that in two months you and your website were going to have to go head to head with Amazon and every other major online retailer?Black Friday - 8 key takeaway points
  2. That not to do so would be detrimental to your business?  
  3. That it is in your interests to face up to this and do everything you can to carve out your share of the online business available?

Black Friday and Cyber Monday fall on the 23rd and 26th of November this year.  Far from being imported nonsense they have rapidly established themselves as the single most important online retailing event of the year.

If you choose not to capitalise on the opportunity offered, shoppers who should be your customers will go elsewhere and become somebody else’s customers.  Consumers are looking for bargains and they are spending money that they have previously earmarked for the post-Christmas sales.  PWC found that many people shopping on Black Friday and Cyber Monday intend to buy for themselves, not other family members.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday have already had a significant impact on high street retailers and this trend is unlikely to be reversed.  Failure to innovate and compete could leave you contemplating the fate of the buggy whip manufacturers who failed to innovate. Taking on the behemoths like Amazon may seem like an insurmountable task, but it isn’t, and the potential returns are great.

Here at Inspire we have the knowledge, the skills and the tools to help you succeed in this challenging, rapidly-shifting environment

My website is my store front

Let’s wheel out the clichés, but remember, just because it’s a cliché doesn’t make it less true.  If you operate online your website is your store, and it is much more besides.


Mind the door

You can expect a rush of customers, but:

  • Are your virtual doors big enough to cope?  
  • Can your website safely and comfortably handle an influx of customers?  
  • Will the site remain reliable and more importantly available?  
  • Will it respond quickly enough to requests from shoppers?

It is a truism we all recognise that we are impatient when shopping online – too much delay, which in truth translates to between 2–3 seconds, and we’re off looking for a better service.  Slow sites also see less crawling from the Google bots and that can affect your ranking and visibility.  Now is the time to make sure that your site hosting has the capacity to cope should you prove popular and can be increased dynamically should you prove very popular indeed.  
Fundamental to this is whether your site lives on a shared server?  It may seem like a minor consideration but as we have shown a dedicated web server can make a huge difference to the performance, security and reliability of your site.


Are your shelves full? 

Does your site properly display what you have to offer?  Again, assume the impatience of bargain hunters and take a long, hard look at how well your site displays your wares.  If it takes too long to find what they’re looking for, consumers will click away and look for an easier purchase.  Don’t lose out by being the only store in the street with empty shelves.  This may be the ideal time to consider making prominent displays of your best lines, so that they are easy to find and easy to buy.


Are your staff helpful?

No one likes giving their hard-earned money to surly, unhelpful staff.  Your website is your staff where your online presence is concerned so it needs to be as helpful as possible, answering questions and guiding customers to the goods they want.  Take time to ensure that your site is doing that as efficiently and quickly as possible before it is subject to a sudden rise in demand.

If you are selling products that demand a little more from your customers than, say, a multi-pack of custard creams, adding a live chat facility to your site can pay dividends.  A great FAQ page can make life simpler. For a customer, getting their questions answered promptly and efficiently can be a great sales convertor.

Why not, have a look at what we implemented for one of our Architect clients, to see how this works?


Are your checkouts staffed and ready?

A poor or lengthy checkout is one of the biggest turn-offs for shoppers – a single page, secure, easy-to-navigate checkout should be your aim.


Is your store safe AND compliant?

Leaving aside tales of fist-fights in the aisles of supermarkets, we all expect to be safe while we are shopping.  Are your SSL Certificates up to date? Does your site show as secure?  Are your financial transactions handled safely, robustly and PCIA compliant?  Are your privacy notices up to date and properly displayed?  You may think that some of this doesn’t matter but it does, ignore it at your peril.


Are you local and open all hours?

This may seem utterly irrelevant, but it isn’t.  Can you get more local than living in the pocket of your customers?  That’s where you are – on their phones, their tablets or their computers.  Obviously they know that you aren’t based in the next street, but that only concerns them with regards to speed of delivery


All done? Excellent! But there’s a problem…

There is one final issue that needs to be addressed.  It’s not enough to have a shiny, easy to navigate store that practically places what your customers want straight into their basket – they must find you first.

Are you on top of your Google My Business (GMB)?  You should be because that can have some very positive effects on your business.  You have almost certainly seen examples of Knowledge Graphs, those useful panels that pop up when you do a Google search, with information and links to relevant businesses.  They make it easier for customers to find what they’re looking for but only 19% of the information they rely on comes from the GMB entries of relevant businesses – businesses like yours.

It is too easy to overlook the importance of proper marketing for your business; marketing spend is one of those costs that can seem like something for not-very-much if it’s not being done properly.  Black Friday and Cyber Monday is a time of frenzied online activity and the big boys and girls will have spent eye-watering amounts of money to ensure that you can’t turn around without finding some reference to their excellent offers.  We won’t lie to you, unless you are willing to match that kind of spend, you’re not going to compete with that in the global marketplace, but do you need to?

Sitting down and having a serious chat about what, where and who constitutes your market is an invaluable exercise as it enables specific marketing effort which is far more cost effective.  Go after the customers who will be genuinely interested in what you offer, rather than trying to attract everyone and hoping to get lucky.

Digital marketing gets more sophisticated on an almost daily basis and you may be surprised by just how effective well-targeted marketing can be.


Let us help

Inspire has years of experience of designing, building, and tuning eCommerce websites that deliver for both owners and users. If you want to make the most of the Black Friday weekend and beyond, contact us to discuss how we can help you to deliver.

Black Friday, Cyber Monday, e-commerce
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