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How Your Online Store Should Prepare for the Black Friday Five-day

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When it comes to profits, Black Friday is every retailer’s favourite American export. As manic as it may be, it is an amazing opportunity to drive sales, and capture new customers. This year will be no exception.

The big difference this year, however, is it’s predicted to be an overwhelmingly online event that will take place over a full 5 days. Goodbye Black Friday, hello Black Five-day – a five day shopping spree that will see visitors expecting online deals from the 24th November right through to Cyber Monday on the 28th.

It’s also predicted that this year’s event is going to be bigger than ever. More than 1 in 3 families will buy their Christmas presents over the Black Friday weekend. Sales are expected to surpass the $4.5 billion spent in the US last year, with £5 billion worth of sales predicted in the UK. And online traffic is expected to increase by up to 20%.

With expectations like this, it makes sense to get ready now.

Optimise and Personalise Marketing Activities

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In the run up to Black Friday, make sure you utilise the right channels to create a buzz about your event and remind shoppers of what kind of deals they can look forward to, and when. 

Interestingly, last year, email drove more sales than any other channel on Black Friday. Consider personalising content around customers’ buying and browsing behaviour – personalised deals and recommendations will convert better and see more return visitors.

During the event itself, feeding customers deals gradually will help control peak traffic spikes and reduce strain. Plan carefully to stagger marketing activites and think carefully about what times to send out your messages.

Test, test, test!

Some of the biggest brands’ websites have infamously crashed during the Black Friday rush. And while most sites think this may be a concern reserved only for high volume retailers, all sites should think carefully about site functionality and load times during peak hours.  Unprecedented numbers of online visitors are expected this year.

By preparing in advance, and carrying out performance tests you can avoid any disruptions during the big event. Discuss traffic concerns and limitations with your web hosters. Make sure your whole organisation is communicating across departments, particularly with regards to marketing activities that could cause traffic spikes.

Get mobile ready

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In 2015, 52% of traffic came from mobile. More than ever, it’s important your store responds well on mobile, and that your offers and marketing material are optimised and accessible on mobile devices. 

According to Big Blue, mobile and tablet devices accounted for well over half of traffic last year, seeing a 16% increase. In addition, mobile accounted for over a third of purchases and saw higher AOV than desktops. Black Friday has become a largely online event and this year will be more about mobile than ever before. With this in mind, you should make your mobile marketing personalised in line with other channels.

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While Black Friday may bring stresses and strains on your website, planning in advance will help ensure your site is ready to reap the benefits of higher traffic and engaged shoppers.

Watch this space for more hints and tips in the run up to the big week!