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Got an ecommerce website? Here’s how to prepare for Black Friday...

November the 25th 2016 brings us this year’s annual bargain shopping event, Black Friday – but while it started life as a one-day High Street spree, the last couple of years have seen consumers hitting the internet instead of the shops.

It’s no coincidence that Black Friday falls in the run-up towards Christmas, and it certainly adds weight to the bottom line of those retailers who find that the last quarter accounts for up to 40% of their annual revenue. Last year’s Black Friday generated £1billion, and UK predications for this year is a £5billion online spend between the 24th and the 28th of November - ‘Cyber Monday’.

So if you have an ecommerce website and want a bite of the cherry this year, you need to start planning ahead – many consumers will start buying early, so you need to be retail ready.

Our Black Friday ecommerce tips

Black Friday is likely to put your website under some strain. Higher traffic levels and a potential purchasing frenzy means that your online shop needs to be able to meet demand, while also drawing attention to the great products you’ve got on offer.

Here are our tips on preparing for Black Friday so you can maximise your success:

1. Clever marketing – yes, of course you need to be promoting your offers, but you’ll get the most benefit if you stagger your marketing comms throughout the week. This keeps customers shopping, but reduces pressure on your website and fulfilment teams.

2. Be business ready – make sure all your departments and staff know what promotions you’re offering and when marketing campaigns are rolling out – good internal organisation and being prepared for traffic/purchasing surges is key.

3. Test your website’s performance – check your site is ready to handle the influx and offer a good user experience. You can use Load Impact to check server capacity and Google’s PageSpeed tool to assess load times among other resources – focus on the pages that are expected to receive the most visitors and key conversion pages.

4. Improve checkout speed – with high demand, stock levels can soon dwindle, so you need to ensure that visitors can add items to their basket and complete the checkout process quickly. Read our checkout optimisation tips, or simply consider removing any registration requirement to keep buyers on board and reduce abandonment rates.

5. Adjust your home page – visitors will rely on your home page to give them information about your Black Friday offers and help them to find the products and categories they’re looking for quickly and easily. If possible, add a Black Friday button in your main navigation too.

6. Create a dedicated landing page – you need a clear platform for your deals, so set up a landing page that shows what visitors can expect on Black Friday, includes a sign-up option for email offers, and provides clear and concise terms for discounts, delivery, returns etc.

7. Be clear about queues – if you experience high levels of traffic and purchases, however well prepared you are the site may still slow down a little – be courteous about any inconvenience and notify visitors if they’re going to be held up. Not only will it help to smooth out traffic, but it will also help to reduce drop-out.

8. Be mobile ready – if you experience high levels of traffic and purchases, however well prepared you are the site may still slow down a little – be courteous about any inconvenience and notify visitors if they’re going to be held up. Not only will it help to smooth out traffic, but it will also help to reduce drop-out.

9. Great images – buyers are going to be making some pretty snappy decisions, so having great images that give them confidence in their potential purchases can make all the difference.

10. SEO and PPC – don’t forget to research the best Black Friday keyword targets specific to your products to help with your marketing and SEO – and it may also be worth setting up a Google Adwords campaign for the event too.

So now you have lots of helpful tips on how to prepare for Black Friday, go and get your ecommerce website ready before you run out of time!