All set for Black Friday this year then?
November the 27th, for some people this is the last pay day before Christmas and one of the biggest online shopping days of the year. For online retailers this is a chance to really maximise on those Christmas sales (unless you’re ASDA of course).
Here are some things you might want to check well in advance of that date to ensure you maximise the opportunity:
Stock levels all up to date?
Ok, so we thought we’d start with the obvious one but with everything going on in the run up to Christmas, checking stock levels might not have been on your radar.. you’ll have a good feel for what you’ll sell through most of, so what if you run out, can people back order?
How does your website hosting hold up under pressure? Did it cope well last year if you experienced an increase in visitors and orders after your Black Friday promotion? Perhaps your site was new last year and traffic quite low, but you’ve steadily built your customer base now and it may well be significantly higher this year. It is worth checking your expected traffic for this period, base it on last year and look at your annual trend building up to Christmas. Contact your hosting company and ask them what your options are to upscale your hosting should it be required. It might be that you need to consider a load balancer or server caching put in place, not something you want to be doing on the 26th of November I assure you! It’s certainly is something you wish you’d done when you review the figures on Nov 28th
It’s not really a matter of “if” you should run a promotion on the 27th November or not these days, your customers will simply expect it so give them what they want. This should be your busiest online trading day of the year, maximise it!
If you have added anything new or different to your website, is it tested within an inch of its life? Next to your server crashing, any issues with actually purchasing on your site is the next worst nightmare. Fully tested? Then test some more is our advice, there will be a scenario you haven’t thought of and tested for…I guarantee it.
Have you got your backup in place to deal with an increase in customer enquiries? Remember, customers love to comment/feedback (I really mean complain) on Twitter and Facebook usually because they tend to get a faster response and not because they are feeling mean… but you’ll likely need some extra help.
Beware of fraud!
A day of increased online activity is attractive to many people especially the fraudsters of the world. Watch out for anything suspicious, trust your instincts, if it feels wrong and suspect, it probably is. Anything from stolen credit cards and people insisting on over the phone ordering only (are you protected?).
There are some good sites to be aware of:
If you are expecting a huge increase in orders, are your logistics setup to deal with that influx? Will they be working longer hours for you to keep your orders moving through (on Saturday and Sunday) or will you need to communicate with your customers that orders will take longer?
Checked your Adwords budget?
Be prepared for cost per click to increase as competition dramatically increases on the 27th, there are things you can do to alleviate the pain of this if you simply can’t compete financially, we wrote an article last week about budget planning including some tips and there is some advice here if you’ve left it a bit late and kind of forgot about Black Friday.
Emails all set to go?
We know that people will get inundated with emails so make sure you have other channels covered. Your email just might get buried in the pile, so where else will your customers find out about what you have on offer?
There are lots of other things to check of course but if this article saves one retailers bacon, we’ll be happy.. feel free to comment (no, not you spammers!), we’d love to hear from you.