The ongoing year is running under the coronavirus aegis, which has significantly affected the eCommerce industry. Lot’s of world-known stores have been closed, billions of dollars have been lost. Leading e-trade players were in a rush of implementing new online sales strategies. The coming Black Friday will never be the same, however, changes bring opportunities, thus we should focus on common issues business may encounter and solutions we can bring to fix it.
The Black Friday 2019 Top-5 Mistakes You Should Avoid This Year
It is known that smart people learn from their mistakes, but truly wise people learn from the mistakes of others. Let’s draw the lessons from the eCommerce giants' failures based on previous year experience and never repeat such errors.
1. Underestimate the website traffic and possible crashes.
According to Business Insider, on Black Friday 2019 Costco said goodbye to $11 million, with a website going down for more than 16h. Walmart might have lost $9 million in just 150 minutes, while J.Crew lost 323, 000 shoppers, which were about to bring $775,000 in about 5 hours.
2. Undervalue the importance of staff pre-event training.
People buy from people, not from businesses. To some extent, we would agree with this statement as it doesn’t matter how cool and branded your goods are in case the consultants are unprepared. Black Friday’s chaos, overtimes, sleepless nights, customers’ rudeness, work under pressure, complete exhaustion — here are the main challenges employees witnessed last year stated by Refinery 29.
3. Make a poor web and mobile usability.
We can’t just count on our guessings while preparing the online store website structure and usability. According to Digital Commerce 360, Black Friday mobile sales has shown > 46% of revenue, whilst supplying 61% of traffic to retail sites. Plus: 75% of consumers do research or make purchases on mobile devices (which is 9% more compared to the previous year).
4. Have insufficient stock or choose the wrong shipping service.
Probably, one of the biggest nightmares for brands or retailers is to sell something which is a lack of. Once that happens, you will definitely face furious customers claiming their purchases to be delivered as arranged. In such cases, you are risking not only by losing the profit but also to earn a bad reputation as an unreliable seller, which is even worse than financial issues with the reimbursements. Moreover, marketplaces could also impose sanctions if you sell more than actually can supply. Also, your success’s main sticking points are the constant delivery delays.
5. Focus sales strategy on a single channel.
You might have experienced one or two top-performing sales channels last year, nevertheless, this year’s Black Friday differs significantly, and you are not recommended to rely on the previous background. According to the National Retail Federation Survey 124 million people went shopping to offline stores, while 142.2 million shopped on retailer’s websites. Same time, 75.5 million consumers made their shopping both online and offline and spent 25% more than those who were single-channel buyers. Moreover, a consumer habits survey by McKinsey stated that more than 51% of clients compared the prices via different sales channels.
Gepard Tips To Run This Sale Efficiently
1. Get ready to handle high traffic on your website.
A best-case scenario to test whether your website can cope with high traffic loads is to check a server capacity with external tools like K6 Cloud, Loadview, GTmetrix. Moreover, you can carry out your competitors’ analysis to compare if your speed is good enough, and the user interface design is streamlined.
In any case, running a high loading website requires you to apply caching techniques to speed up data processing. Based on our experience, we advise you to install a Varnish Cache (a piece of software that you put in front of a web-server) to reduce your website loading time.
2. Expand your eCommerce channels.
Coronavirus has brought its limitations, so the eCommerce channels became a lifeline. Be online and be omnipresent, delivering simply the best customer care service. Consider going live with different marketplaces, online stores, apps, and other E-points of sales that work for your clients.
There might have appeared the problem of product information syndication and adopting your product descriptions for various retailers’ requirements. Here Gepard brings a solution on how to deliver product information automatically and efficiently.
3. Prepare your staff to work hard.
It’s a great idea to conduct a team-building and share your thoughts on why it is crucial to deliver simply excellent customer service. In return, be ready to make a generous reward or offer an extra day off, feed your employees, as hungry staff on duty seems to be a big no-no you definitely do not need this Black Friday. Create a detailed plan of what to do if your shipping service misjudged its capacity, your offline store manager fainted, and your website customers need tremendous support as they couldn’t proceed with the payment.
4. Say “NO” to the untested marketing tools.
There are plenty of marketing channels that are good to use for your Black Friday & Cyber Monday campaign, however, the main rule is: you should have used it before! Advertising algorithms are pretty tricky and needed to be explored and set up properly to serve your goals. Otherwise, the chances are to waste your budget.
5. Create an efficient mobile-optimized website.
On such hectic days as Black Friday & Cyber Monday, having a speedy website and logically built structure is half of the battle for gaining the buyers’ orders. You should launch a demo-version and get feedback from the business’s buyer personas.
If you struggle with making an excellent website and mobile app, contact the eCommerce solutions development ninjas to ensure the best buying experience for your customers. Do not forget to optimize your website for mobile devices.
6. Leverage up-to-date technologies in your clients’ shopping.
Apply Virtual and Augmented Reality to create the most similar atmosphere as do offline stores offer. Launch a voice-based search on your website and make sure the recommendation engines are working smoothly to display the “You may also like” section. Should I tell you that chatbots, prompt replies, order fulfillment automation, and robotic store assistants are a new normal?
One more thing to remember: if you can’t get an immediate sale, get an email instead.
7. Select a reliable shipping partner to make sure all purchases will be delivered in agreed terms.
On busy days such as Black Friday & Cyber Monday fast and free delivery service is one the best ways to stand out from your competitors. The buyers are over-spammed with “Hot offerings”, “Best deals”, “Only for you”, “Buy now, pay later” and other cliches.
Here is your turn to announce the same day delivery and a free-dropshipping. Yes, it might be costly, but your return on investment is the number of seasonal clients converted into loyal ones.
8. Prolong your hot-offerings for more than a weekend and take care of hassle-free returns.
Running BFCM this season can be even more turbulent than in previous years. The bulk of people will prefer to stay at home and ensure safe shopping. Therefore, why not to quench the desperate shopaholics’ thirst for lucrative shopping and not to slightly extend your Black Friday & Cyber Monday Sale for more than a weekend?
And the last but not least point is to enable an effortless product returns flow and make sure your store has a transparent return policy. To better understand the product returns reasons and the ways to minimize it you can read the related article: 5 ways to minimize eCommerce returns with product content.
Expert View on Black Friday Trends
Thierry Chrin, Founder & Managing Director at IRIS Consulting, Former Clarins Group CIO/CDO.
How Coronavirus is going to affect Black Friday 2020?
Over the years Black Friday has become an increasingly important sales period. In China Double Eleven (11/11) is the same kind of sales peak in the year for the Chinese market. As we have seen everywhere in the world a shift of consumption from retail stores to eCommerce, Covid-19 is the accelerator that is going to help eCommerce become the major distribution channel, 10 years ahead of what experts expected.
Amazon said it sold more than 175 million items during this year’s Prime Day shopping event in Oct 2020, more than its sales for the past Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined. So yes, Covid-19 will see a surge in eCommerce sales, and certainly a strong decline in retail stores.
What are the main pain points brands may have faced and how they can prepare for it?
Brands who run their own eCommerce have to make sure that they can absorb the sales peak and provide the same delivery quality and speed. This is a real supply chain challenge. Excellence in execution is key.
What terms companies should offer to shoppers to make this Black Friday ultimately profitable?
The Retail recipe has not changed over the years. An attractive product at a bargain price will sell without a problem.
If you found something useful in our article and want to discuss with our experts how to speed-up your time-to-market with new sales channels, schedule your 30-Minutes Free of Charge Consultation with our eCommerce ninjas from Gepard!