It's that time of year again. The weather is getting cold, the seasonal decorations are going up, and retailers everywhere are getting ready for the four days after Thanksgiving. That's right, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are just around the corner, and if you're not getting your website ready for it, you're missing out on the biggest shopping day of the year.
What are Black Friday and Cyber Monday
The period between November and January is the highest sales period of the year. Kicking off with Black Friday on the day after Thanksgiving, sales historically remain high through these months as people rush to buy gifts for the holiday season, Christmas, and New Years. Retailers have been aware of this since the 1980s when the shopping spree after Thanksgiving got the name Black Friday (named as such because companies in the "red" would sell enough to get back into the "black").
As online retail gained popularity, Cyber Monday took root as people often shopped through the weekend following Black Friday. Since they couldn't go out to shop at the beginning of a work week, the online shopping day fell on Monday to allow shopping from work or home. Since then, online shopping revenues have risen steadily to a point where they often exceed offline shopping.
Black Friday vs Cyber Monday
Besides a dip following COVID-19, Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales consistently increase yearly. Cyber Monday 2022 sales exceeded $11 billion, while Black Friday sales rose to just under $10 billion. This trend is relatively recent, with Cyber Monday sales surpassing Black Friday sales over the course of the 2010s. Most of this can be chalked up to smartphone and internet saturation, though the increasing online presence of retailers has made online shopping the obvious choice for many.
Selling online during this period is easy, but it doesn't mean you should rest on your laurels! Poor user experiences, lack of quality customer support, unresponsive websites (especially common given the surge in traffic!), and unpromoted discounts can leave your online shoppers feeling confused and unappreciated. This is where some website changes can make all the difference, and services like Ucraft Next are equipped with everything you need to make your website a great place to visit this holiday season.
How Ucraft helps you build your website for Black Friday 2023
Here are the basics: at the start of the holiday season, your website should expect a surge in traffic and an uptick in sales. This means your website needs to work quickly under a heavier server load, have accurate tallies on inventory (and the ability to take the item offline if you run out!), promote the best deals for your customers, have checkouts that work seamlessly, offer secure payments with multiple payment methods, and have shipping that works efficiently.
If it seems like a lot, you have the right idea. Making sure your website looks like the above, with just weeks left until Black Friday and Cyber Monday, is no small task, or at least it used to be. Website builders have helped alleviate most of the work that goes into making your website sale-spike-ready. Ucraft Next has the tools needed to bolster your website for heavy sales and traffic.
Promote your best sales
Black Friday is all about the deals, but when you have one, you need to promote it to get any attention. The best way to highlight your best sales is with website elements that push them to the customers who want them the most.
Start with promotional banners, which are large elements that span the webpage horizontally and take up a fair amount of vertical space as well. They grab attention and usually function as a hyperlink, so whatever image or promotional material you want to highlight is only one click away. Banners are a great way to push your best sales to customers and quickly guide them to a purchase funnel.
If you're looking to instill a sense of urgency, then add a countdown timer to the banner. This shows customers that there is only a limited time to take advantage of your sale, which often triggers a fear of missing out. Just make sure you leave enough time for customer volume to react! Ending your timer without ending your sale can leave a bad taste in your customers' mouths and impact their trust in your company.
Finally, make sure your customers have an easy and clear way to compare prices to your other services or items. Combined with sales, you can highlight just how great a deal is if you stack it up against a similar item that is not on sale. Conversely, you can also compare two items on sale and show that a more premium selection isn't so much more expensive. This technique is called price laddering, and companies as successful as Apple use it to show that the next step up from your first selection is quite low.
Now, all you have to worry about is making sure your website can be changed to "Black Friday Mode" and back after the holiday season. Thankfully, eCommerce solutions like Ucraft Next have banners, price compare, and discount functions that can easily be added and reverted.
Personalize and improve user experience
The internet has come a long way since the early 1990s. What once was a simple series of connections has evolved into a living, breathing infrastructure that often knows you better than you know yourself! Customers are used to this now and expect to be treated as individuals with unique wants and needs, meaning your website has to make each and every visitor feel a little special.
Live chat is a great way to make your customers feel important. No matter how ergonomic your website is, problems will occur, and when they do, your customers will need help. Having a live chat function (preferably in the lower right) gives customers an easy way to navigate the website, find the items they want, ask questions about your service, or resolve issues they encounter. Simply talking to another human being goes a long way in customer service, so make sure your customers have an easy and apparent option to speak to your staff.
Next, consider adding product recommendations while your users are browsing items they enjoy. You can think of this as a method of upselling, but it can improve the customer experience by saving them time buying items that work well together. Buying a new tablet? Your customers will probably want an extra charger, a case, or a screen protector. Having these items immediately available can raise your sales and make your customers happy.
Lastly, make sure you update your website design. Nothing is perfect, and nothing lasts forever, and in the fast-paced world of digital sales, this mentality is extra important. Learn about what your customers want using traffic and sales statistics, and always work to make the process as simple, transparent, and ergonomic as possible. Update the website for holidays like Black Friday to give your online store a fresh look, and always experiment with new ideas based on your customers' behavior.
Make buying easy and secure
It often goes overlooked, but a simple, secure, and easy checkout process is imperative to good user experiences. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to buy something only for the website, payment process, or cart to fail.
The first step is to make the cart easily accessible. Amazon uses a progressive cart window on the right, while most other stores have a cart button in the upper right corner. Either is fine, but your customers need to be able to immediately access the items they add to their cart so that they can have an easy checkout and shipping experience.
Next, make your payment process secure and offer multiple payment options. Most website builders will have this option available, but it is important, so be discerning. Your customers need to feel safe giving you their credit card, debit card, PayPal, or even crypto. Stress test your payment and checkout processes before you head online for the best results.
Lastly, your customers need to get their items, which is where shipping comes in. Having multiple shipping profiles is a great way to give users a last discount out the door, especially on heavy sales days like Black Friday. Consider offering a free shipping option if a customer passes a certain price threshold or even as a base-level option. Remember, expedited shipping as well, as the holiday season can get rather hectic.
Track and manage your sales
Now that the obvious is out of the way, it's time to turn your attention to the backend. Servers, statistics, and graphs may not be interesting, but understanding how your website is running and how your customers are acting is just as important as having a top-tier Black Friday website.
The first thing to do, especially with Black Friday in mind, is to make sure you know exactly how much stock you have and where it is. Website builders or eCommerce solutions like Ucraft Next, will offer options for multiple stock locations so your customers can get their purchases quickly, no matter where they are. Ucraft Next also offers eCommerce solutions that will give you a good read on your stock numbers, and remove their availability online if you're running low. Many, like Ucraft Next, can even do this automatically!
Another function available on Ucraft is abandoned checkout settings. When your customers leave behind a full cart without purchasing, you need to be able to clear it automatically, allow them to save it for a future purchase, or understand the process that made them leave without buying. All those stats and more are available on the best website builders, giving you some insight into where you can improve your website. Clearing their cart is also good, as it relieves stress on your server that can quickly build up over time or over a single day in the case of Black Friday.
Get ready for record Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales
Prepping your website for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or any holiday isn't strictly necessary, but they're opportunities that few turn down and with good reason. It's not only an opportunity to sell more on the days when people are ready to shop till they drop, but a way to inspire your audience, give them a fresh take on something they already like and keep up with trends. It shows that your company isn't stagnant but vibrant, attentive, and alive.
If you're using a website builder, make sure to check out the elements they have available for seasonal updates. Ucraft, for example, has a plethora of frequently updated elements that can give your website a facelift, increase sales, refine user experiences, and provide useful metrics that you can use to push your service or store to the next level. Regardless of what your goals are, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are important days for the entire retail and service industry, and ignoring them is leaving money on the table.