Black Friday 2021: 10 Tips To Prepare Your Business For eCommerce’s Biggest Weekend

According to data published by local online payment gateway PayFast in their second annual eCommerce Performance (PEP) Index, the number of new shoppers introduced to eCommerce over lockdown boosted the Black Friday weekend total online transaction volumes by 50% in 2020 compared to 2019. With many consumers experiencing financial recovery after months of hard lockdown, we can only anticipate even greater online and in-store traffic this sale season. To help you make the most of the boom, we’ve compiled 10 tips to supercharge your digital customer journey by optimising each touchpoint of your Black Friday campaign.

Tip #01: Keep Your Deals Simple & Data-driven

 

Use the shopping data gathered over the past 6-12 months to maximise purchases on top-performing products or excess stock. You can use this data to strategically plan your campaigns over the Cyber 10 (the Sunday before Black Friday until the Tuesday after), while leaving enough wiggle room to be agile and change your offers according to market shifts and competitor activity. You can also use previous sales as market research. For example, would customers prefer free shipping or a percentage discount? Deep discounts on old stock or smaller discounts on bestsellers? The key is finding the medium between what is realistic for your business model, and what would entice customers.

Tip #02: Gear Your eCommerce Store for Greatness

 

Many online retailers lose out on the final stretch to a sale not because of their offerings, but because of a faulty site! Ensure your checkout process is seamless (why not ask a friend to test it beforehand?), that you have multiple payment methods (including a buy now, pay later option), and that your site is optimised for mobile (where most transactions tend to take place these days!). Make a point of conducting the necessary website technical checks in order to prevent hacks, handle increased traffic and improve load time. If you don’t have a dedicated tech team, you can look into uptime monitors and cyber security tools such as pingdom.com and sucuri.net. Remember to also add BFCM homepage banners, product category/landing page and product badges to clearly highlight your offers. You can never be too prepared!

Tip #03: Customer Support Needs to be More Than an Email Address

 

Let your customer service be your differentiating factor this sale season! Ensure your team is available 24/7 during the mega sale weekend by drawing up a call roster. Utilise a WhatsApp line, live chat feature and/or chatbot, but remember that a direct telephone line is one of the preferred methods of support for South Africans. Your support team should also be monitoring social media messaging and comments to consolidate queries & complaints as they come in. The last thing you need is a bad review raining on your Black Friday parade!

Tip #04: Streamline Logistics to Maximise Customer Satisfaction

 

Seamlessly prioritise your order fulfilment processes with delivery integrations and plugins. Worried you’ll struggle to keep up? No problem! Just make sure you communicate timeously and effectively with customers so they aren’t left in the dark on the status of their order. Build relationships with more than one courier according to their strengths or choose an all-in-one aggregator to manage local and national volumes. Finally, add a wow-factor to packaging as it’s the only physical brand touchpoint for online shoppers (personal notes are always a win!).

Tip #05: When it Comes to Social Media, a (Strategic) Little Can Go a Long Way

 

Get to know the backend of Facebook Ads Manager – although boosting your feed’s content can bring awareness to your brand, running off-timeline conversion ads and dynamic shopping ads can maximise your results. You can learn more Facebook Ads with Facebook’s Blueprint courses. All the course work is available for free to work through without paying to complete the qualification. Ensure tracking and events are set up in order to track the success of campaigns in real time, and use UTM links to feed data into Google Analytics. You should also plan and schedule organic posts over this period so that your followers are aware of your deals, but ultimately ads drive sales most. 

Tip #06: Email Marketing May Seem ‘Old School’ But It’s Your Secret Weapon

 

Grow your mailing list leading up to Black Friday with a ‘subscribe to be the first to know’ pop-up on your website. Your email marketing campaign should be manifold and include a teaser, sneak peak, midnight launch, reminder and last chance. Play around with your email platform beforehand, such as conducting A/B tests on subject lines to see what works best, implementing an automated nudge journey for abandoned carts, and segmenting your audience lists and messaging by Customers, Prospects, VIPs, regions, product interests, etc.

Tip #07: Capitalise on Top Performing Target Audiences and Remarket Using Google Ads

 

You can research customer intent using the free Google Trends tool! Try use a lead generation or teaser campaign in the run-up to build a remarketing audience to target existing shoppers or people who have previously shown an interest in your offerings. Planning your budget is also pivotal as with higher activity comes higher competition – which means higher ad spend in order to compete. The budget that worked for you 3 months ago, may not be the budget you need to make a dent on Black Friday. Utilise Google Shopping Ads as well as regular Search & Display Ads, but with the strict Shopping Ads approval process Google has put in place, you want to ensure your ads are approved ahead of time.

Tip #08: Don’t Neglect SEO When it Comes to Your Black Friday Marketing Strategy

 

Take time to review your technical SEO fundamentals and best practices. This includes resolving broken pages (i.e. 404 errors), placing 301 redirects on broken pages and checking with your web host to ensure your server can handle the expected volume of web traffic. Every second your site takes to load may lead to a higher bounce rate, which results in lost revenue, so optimising your site speed is crucial! You can use free loading speed tools such as Google PageSpeed Insights and GTmetrix. Remember to optimise landing page meta tags and descriptions with targeted ‘Black Friday’ keywords, as well as consider having an evergreen Black Friday landing page that will maintain your search ranking throughout the year. Free tools like Google Search Control can assist with improving your SEO

Tip #09: Gather as Much Data as (POPI) Possible to Supercharge Sales into the Festive Season 

 

Run competitions leading up to Black Friday to grow your database for email marketing and remarketing, leading into the festive season. Use the increased traffic on your website to assess heat maps and the usability of your online platforms. Use Black Friday as an opportunity to test

different target audiences, ad copy and creative to inform decisions ahead of the new year.

Tip #10: Become More Than Just a Shopping Experience Online

 

Use the increased activity online as the opportunity to launch new campaigns or products. You can also donate a percentage of sales to causes you are passionate about in a ‘Give B(l)ack Friday’ campaign. Most importantly, don’t be blinded by the Black Friday mania – maintain your brand message and let your brand story shine through!

If you need help planning your Black Friday campaigns or want expert insight into how your business can take advantage of the sale season, feel free to connect with one of our Mentors! If you’ve got the strategy but need cash flow to bring your vision to life, you can apply for data-driven Business Funding directly through Xena and receive approval within 24 hours. 

Here’s to a booming Black Friday for all Fempreneurs!

More To Explore...

Rise and unlock the collective potential of the female economy.

Join a community of South African Female Founders, Female-Led Businesses, Mentors and Leaders on a mission to grow together. Plug into a network of Fempreneurs (like-minded women) who are here to listen, support, help and mentor.

Not a business owner yet? Subscribe to our #Dreampreneur Newsletter.