Isn’t it amazing how one weekend in the calendar year can make or break your annual sales targets? That’s the power of Black Friday. In fact, November and December are said to drive 30% more revenue for online retailers than during non-holiday months, with the days from Black Friday through Christmas specifically generating 50 to 100 percent more revenue than non-holidays.

Clearly, there’s a massive opportunity for online retailers to make their mark on Black Friday. However, when you’re trying to manage the day to day running of a business as well as get a winning Black Friday promotion off the ground, it’s VERY easy for certain things to fall through the cracks and hinder your online store’s overall performance. That’s why we’re sharing the 5 Black Friday pitfalls that all online retailers should be on the lookout for ahead of the busiest weekend of the year:

#1: Not being organised

Launching a Black Friday promotion without an organised system in place is simply asking for trouble. We can’t stress enough just how important it is to have a dynamic project plan that covers every single action that needs to be taken in order for your promotions to go live, no matter how big or small all of those tasks may be. That way, you can track the progress of the various projects in the weeks leading up to Black Friday, and see if there are any potential blockers or gaps as you tee up to launch day.

Any and all assets relating to your Black Friday promotions should be housed in a single location, be it a shared drive, Dropbox, or within your project management software system (Trello, Basecamp, etc.) That way if, for example, you discover that you’re about to launch the wrong banner graphics on your online store, you won’t have to trawl through countless email chains and umteen draft images before you find the right one! Let’s not forget that famous quote by Benjamin Franklin – ‘for every minute spent in organising, an hour is earned’. Hard to argue with that!

#2: Not having a ‘Plan B’

In the least negative-sounding way possible, you need to assume that everything that could possibly go wrong on your online store on Black Friday will go wrong! Let’s just assume that you’ve planned a 50%-off sitewide promotion to run on Black Friday only. But for some unknown reason, when the clock strikes 12 am, your online store doesn’t display the updated pricing that you had scheduled to go live. Social media posts have already triggered to promote the sale in various markets, and queries are starting to come in from visitors who aren’t seeing a discount appearing in their shopping cart at checkout. What do you do?!

Well, aside from staying calm (or as calm as you can be in that situation!), you need to have a network of experts that you can call on to troubleshoot in the event that something doesn’t go to plan on a day like Black Friday, which has the power to drive huge revenue for your business.

Determine exactly who those people are (e.g. key developers, your digital commerce platform account manager, members of the digital marketing team, etc.) and start developing your Plan B now. Best case scenario is that you never have to use it. Worst case is that you might experience some small bumps in the road, but at least Black Friday sales won’t be a complete write-off for your business as a result!

#3: Conversion optimisation isn’t set up

When it comes to Black Friday, shoppers want to get in, pick up exactly what they want, and get out! Therefore, as time is of the essence, and you’ll likely have a spike in web traffic on the day, it’s absolutely vital to ensure that your online store is set up to limit shopping cart abandonment and optimise conversions.

The number one reason for shopping cart abandonment in digital commerce is unexpected extra costs (shipping, tax, fees).  So it’s critical to clearly list your shipping and returns policy throughout the entire customer journey – (e.g. on the homepage, category pages, product pages, at checkout, order confirmations, delivery updates, etc.) It’s also just as important to have retargeting campaigns in place to recover as many sales opportunities as possible. Check out some of our top tips for running successful cart abandonment email campaigns.
#4: Lack of customer service resources
You need to crank the volume all the way up to ensure a positive customer experience for Black Friday shoppers. Reports show that websites with the highest volumes of revenue are the ones with the highest number of sessions per user over 12 months. So repeat visitors are the key to increasing revenue, and customer service plays a crucial role in influencing the overall customer experience. Therefore, there’s no better time than Black Friday to make a good impression on shoppers!

So, apart from the obvious action of making sure that you have enough resources in place (e.g. customer service agents) to answer queries that come in over the course of the day/weekend, it’s also crucial to make sure that all channels are synchronised. That way, it doesn’t matter who’s answering queries on any channel – they can deal with them directly as they’ll have all of the information they need to provide information to the customer. From their perspective, there’s nothing worse than having to explain a query five different times to get a simple answer!
#5: Not having a post-Black Friday pow-wow
Once your Black Friday promotions are switched off and the dust has settled on your online store, you should, without question, set aside some time to go through all of your data with a fine-tooth comb to measure your results. You NEED to know what your conversion rate was on Black Friday versus a regular day. Likewise, you should find out what the rate of new versus repeat visitors was. What were the cart abandonment (and recovery) rates for the day? Take this as an opportunity to learn more about your customers and how they shop on your site, and then plan out how you’re going to re-engage with all of them so that they keep coming back for more and become advocates for your brand.
Want even more tips and tricks for making the best Black Friday marketing campaign for your business in 2018 ? You’re in luck! Click here to download our latest E-Book ‘The Ultimate Black Friday/Cyber Monday Guide & Checklist’