Shopify Ecosystem

Black Friday Prep

black-friday-prep

This blog post is the fifth installment of our Black Friday Checklist series. Keep an eye on our blog for new tips and insights each week, as we count down to the biggest shopping event of the year!

Black Friday / Cyber Monday Content - Black Friday in neon lights; CTA: More black friday / cyber monday content; Black Friday in neon lights; CTA to more black friday / cyber monday content

Are you ever truly “ready” for an event like Black Friday? Even for veteran retailers, the magnitude of Cyber Weekend prep can be overwhelming. With so many elements at play, it’s hard to shake the feeling that you’ve forgotten something important. To put your mind at ease, this checklist covers all the last-minute tasks that will set you up for a stress-free Black Friday.

Shop Your Own Site

Place yourself in the customer’s shoes and shop your own site. Preview your Black Friday category pages and complete a purchase from start to finish. While it’s too late to perform a full site audit, this is an effective alternative to identify areas you can still optimize. Assess your site speed, check for broken links, and rectify any technical glitches that could sabotage the experience. Don’t forget to review the checkout process to avoid losing customers at the final hurdle. For a fresh perspective, ask friends or family to act as secret shoppers and observe any roadblocks they encounter.

Check-in With Vendors

From payment gateways to inventory management systems, online retailers rely on a long list of external vendors. Even with the best tech stack in place, your entire Black Friday strategy can be thrown into disarray if just one system goes down. Check-in with your vendors to confirm they are prepared to handle a spike in traffic. If an issue occurs, ensure they have a tried and tested process to get back online as quickly as possible. As an added safety net, create contingency plans for a critical system outage. Plan for an increase in customer support queries and have draft communications ready to send in the event of a site crash or payment failure.

Check-in With Internal Teams

Brief all internal teams on your Black Friday plans and campaigns. Yes, your marketing and ecommerce teams are already familiar with the details, but other departments should also be up to speed. Plan dedicated briefs for the teams you lean on most during the busy period. For example, your customer support team needs to know the specifics of your offers and promotions so they can address queries with speed and accuracy. Your IT team should also be prepared for an influx of site traffic, with a full roster of support staff available over Cyber Weekend if technical problems arise.

Review Information Pages

Black Friday typically attracts a higher rate of new site visitors than usual. These shoppers are likely to seek out details of your return policies, shipping fees, and other key information before they purchase. Ensure all of your FAQ pages are fully up-to-date and adjust their content for the holiday period as needed. If you anticipate delivery delays during the upcoming season, make sure this is clear. Use merchandising banners to highlight last shipping dates and encourage customers to shop early. Be transparent and keep shoppers informed to eliminate frustration or confusion.

Prep for Post-Black Friday

Before you know it, Black Friday will be over for another year. But, that doesn’t mean your efforts should end on Cyber Monday. If you haven’t already, start thinking about your post-Black Friday strategy. Prep ways you can turn seasonal shoppers into repeat buyers. For new customers, send a follow-up email to thank them for their purchase, and offer an incentive to return to your site again. For regular shoppers, deliver personalized follow-up communications based on their purchase history. With the sales rush behind you, take this opportunity to build long-term loyalty.

Avoid Sleepless Nights this Black Friday

The holiday season may be the busiest time of the year for online retailers, but that doesn’t have to induce sleepless nights. With the right tools and support, you can prep with ease and deliver a better experience for your customers. Get in touch today to learn more about Searchspring’s search, merchandising, and personalization platform.

Special thanks to our friends at Searchspring for their insights on this topic.
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