All online retailers we work with can’t wait for these thrilling days of November to come. Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and then a long holiday season full of celebration and gifts. Since the pandemic is still in place, online stores assume that sales in 2021 will be no worse than the previous year.
But don’t fall into the complacency trap. As the competition tightens, there is always room for improvement of your website. You need to fully prepare your site for overloads and demanding customers. Below, you’ll find a dozen recommendations on how to increase your online conversions further during the holidays and beyond.
1. Upgrade Your Store
Having the experience of 2020, you can expect that shoppers will literally attack your online store on Black Friday. So, the task is to ensure all of them have an equally excellent customer experience. Moreover, you need to guarantee it both on desktop and mobile.
By the way, many retailers can’t boast of providing a decent shopping experience even in normal conditions: we all, as customers, encounter such irritating stores. What does this lead to? If your store slows down and seems inconvenient to your customers, they are likely to close it. And, perhaps, never come back: 46% of people don’t return to websites with poor performance.
The least you can do now is to optimize your site for better performance. There are many parts your development team can improve: media files, databases, search, caching, and so forth.
But by Black Friday 2022, you can make a true breakthrough: switch to headless commerce architecture. Firstly, after splitting the frontend and backend, your online store can operate faster and be more scalable. Secondly, you’ll be able to plug separate frontends designed for your main touchpoints. As a result, your customers will get a seamless shopping experience both on desktop and mobile.
Going headless will be getting more and more relevant as new channels (various IoT devices) grow in usage for shopping. This means that in the future, you’ll be able to offer interfaces geared for particular touchpoints (whatever they will be).
2. Go Mobile-First
According to the Adobe Holiday Shopping Report 2019, 58% of online traffic on Black Friday came from mobile compared to 37% from desktop. Nevertheless, only 36% of purchases were made from smartphones, while desktops accounted for 59% of sales.
What might this tell us? Firstly, the mobile share is steeply growing and overtaking desktop usage. Secondly, the eCommerce store usability on smartphones still isn’t satisfying enough for buyers. As a rule, people encounter lags, speed issues, and numerous inconveniences when browsing online stores on their mobile devices.
The mobile-first approach is now a must for those online retailers who want to sell more. Therefore, you should revise the UX/UI and performance on handsets. There are a few ways to reaching the needed level of customer experience:
- A classic solution: a solid optimization strategy + responsive design;
- A drastic solution: a mobile application (a native application that’s downloadable from an app market);
- A modern solution: building a progressive web app (PWA) based on headless architecture. Being browser run, a PWA can help enhance your site performance, speed and improve UX\UI. It’ll become possible for the eCommerce store to look just as good in a mobile browser as it would in the form of a native app. Obviously, such a seamless approach makes your visitors happier and positively influences your conversions. Here’s a neat example of an online retail store that’s a PWA.
3. Move Towards an Omni-channel Approach
People tend to switch between two or more touchpoints during even one episode of shopping. For instance, Google states that 46% of consumers prefer to check the availability of an item online and then go and buy in physical stores. Many retailers aren’t ready for such a turn of events, unfortunately. Omni-channel means consistency in customer service across all online and offline channels of interaction. Take a look at the screen capture below from Levi’s. This online store not only offers to ship orders but also to pick them up in store for those who want to look, touch, and try on the item. People can select a store 5 to 50 miles from their location.
Genuine omnichannel gives even more options to customers, and top brands take huge steps towards this approach. But even if you add the “check in-store availability” feature, you’ll improve the odds of order placement.
4. Give Freebies
One research revealed that 49% of consumers regard free shipping as a factor that affects the final decision during Black Friday shopping. Additionally, 36% indicated promotions and limited-time sales as contributing aspects.
Black Friday is traditionally associated with grand sales and very tempting promos. So, our next advice is quite expected: the more benefits you offer, the higher the conversion rate will be. For example, simplify terms and conditions over shipping, returns, and other fees or allow payment by installments (we’ll discuss discounts later on).
See the screen capture below shows how Motherhood Maternity highlighted the advantages of Black Friday deals in their email send-out. When people don’t have to think about additional costs, they buy way more willingly.
5. Craft Personalized Emails
Newsletters are amongst the primary ways to get customers acquainted with your holiday offerings. Besides the announcement itself and special conditions, brands send product selections and recommendations. These could be your bestsellers and seasonal must-haves, but the ultimate goal is to personalize such emails.
Fortunately, with the help of AI-powered services, you can align the contents with the preferences of a particular subscriber. Basically, algorithms analyze a user’s purchasing and search history, uncompleted orders, and likes to find out what goods they’re interested in.
6. Leverage the Sense of Urgency and Scarcity
These psychological tricks nudge shoppers to make purchases before it’s too late. There are various methods to demonstrate urgency: setting a countdown or displaying the number of people who are currently on the same page.
In the screen capture below is an example from Missguided. The brand draws people’s attention to some goods by little labels with notes on the catalog and product pages. Users don’t want to miss such a popular item and hurry to add it to their cart. That’s it!
Another incentive for consumers is showcasing exquisite commodities. You can indicate on product pages how many items are left in stock. Again, prospects will see some goods going fast, and this will influence their own decision.
7. Attract Attention Using Popups
It’s always a good idea to provide some additional info by using popups. Of course, there must be either economic avail or a stimulus in such messages:
- Suggest referring friends in exchange for a discount;
- Encourage to subscribe to newsletters with a discount;
- Give a promo code;
- Remind how many hours are left until the end of the Black Friday sale.
But do not overdose people with popups, as they can be pretty annoying. You can also think more about the popup placement: it’s unnecessary to cover the entire screen with this message. For instance, it can appear in the corner of the page.
8. Use Push Notifications
Newer technologies have made it easier to send (or push) notifs from not only mobile apps but also websites. Use this advantage, so your customers conveniently see your messages right on their phones.
But remember, it’s important to apply such means in balance. If people receive your notifications every day during November, they might find it irritating and forbid you to send them anymore.
9. Promote via Social Media
Socials give you more opportunities to make this Black Friday even more lucrative for you. Take these ideas for example:
- Collaborations with bloggers.
We’d even recommend you to find niche influencers in a certain industry that matches your brand (beauty, style, health, sport, and so on). These experts might have fewer followers than celebrities and lifestyle bloggers. But the audience will be more targeted, raising the efficiency of your advertising.
- Livestreams on Instagram.
These can be makeup, art, yoga classes, or whatever your audience might like and find wholesome. Just think about how to integrate shopping tags so that they look relevant.
10. Give Special Offerings to Regular Customers
Regular customers are loyal customers. So why give them “treats”? First and foremost, you will remind them about your brand, especially if customers haven’t purchased for a while. Probably, they won’t miss a chance to order in a reliable store with an additional discount.
Don’t forget about the members of your loyalty programs. Basically, brands promise loads of benefits like exclusive discounts and deals (take a look at the screen capture below). Black Friday is a good chance to prove that a subscription was reasonable.
11. Polish Product Pages
Let’s also revise the content on your product pages. When shopping online, we can’t touch products, we can only count on texts and media. So, there ought to be enough info to make up one’s mind. For instance, let’s make the checklist on what is needed on the product page of an apparel brand:
- A concise product description that includes the main benefits of an item
- The size the model wears and their height
- A size guide
- Detailed care info
- Zoomable and macro photos
- A video
- A review section
- A social media widget
- A “You may also like” block with smart product recommendations
- A “Complete the look” block for cross-selling
Take a look at the screen capture below from Adidas. This brand crafts product pages that convert as they give exhaustive information about every pair.
12. Give Enticing Discounts
After all, Black Friday is all about huge sales. Brands generously cut prices, and shoppers actively empty the store’s shelves. The configuration you choose (the discount percentage, assortment, and duration) will largely depend on your financial conditions and expectations.
There are lots of combinations. For instance, a clothing brand Filson offered 50% off for selected items (see the screen capture below). This can be a good opportunity to sell not so demanded commodities. On the contrary, you may set discounts on bestsellers to attract those who have long wanted to buy your product. If it’s affordable for your store, the whole catalog could go on sale.
Hopefully, this guide has given you some insights on how to enhance your selling platform for Black Friday and the whole high season ahead.
Speed, performance, and UX/UI on mobile should be your primary concern if you want to get the most of the most challenging season of the year. Also, remember to do simple things like writing engaging product descriptions or offering promo codes for current customers.
Finally, all the ideas in this article are versatile and applicable to any online store at any time in the year. After the winter holiday season is over, the tactics, technologies, and other changes you’ve applied will still be bearing fruits.
The featured image is from Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.