For a number of years, I managed the e-commerce of one of Brazil’s main retail business groups, specifically looking after the health, cosmetics and perfumery segment. From my experience, two particular dates are critical for those in charge of an online store: Christmas and Black Friday.
The main difference between these two events is that, unlike Christmas, Black Friday only lasts one day – and you need to have all guns at the ready to avoid disappointing your customers.
To grasp a better understanding of the sales turnover achieved on Black Friday, in 2016 the USA market saw a sales turnover amounting to $ 3.34 billion in just 24 hours. If you have an online store and have been preparing since the beginning of the year, I have to say you’ve made a great decision.
If you still haven’t prepared, however, you’re still not sure if it’s worth it, now is the time. Some preventative measures will leave your store fully operational, guaranteeing your Black Friday sales. Let’s take a look!
Making sure that you are well stocked with products is fundamental. Ensure that you have sufficient stock to meet sales, but not so much that there is surplus. Use intelligence and check which products tend to sell more.
Having a good relationship with suppliers is crucial to maintaining cooperation during times of crisis, strengthening your power when negotiating price, as well as faster delivery when restocking.
Avoid bad business practices. Black Friday earned the nickname ‘Black Fraud’ in previous years after some stores were ‘caught’ increasing prices in the days prior to the event, to make their discounts seem more attractive.
Be very careful here, as there are legislative bodies and tools that monitor prices during the year, exposing stores that offer false discounts.
The general rule is: concentrate on offering real and practicable discounts. Rock bottom prices can make your store ‘bankrupt’ and manipulating prices can be detrimental to your brand’s reputation.
3. IT infrastructure
Black Friday can generate a large volume of visitors a very short space of time, and it’s not uncommon to see some online stores affected by extremely slow browsing or that have even ‘gone down,’ because they didn’t prepare their host server.
One currently popular solution is cloud computing, that automatically detects a surge in visits and extends the server’s capacity, ensuring that your store is always online.
Another possibility for dealing with overloading is a CDN service, that allows you to store and distribute your online store’s content in different places, reducing browsing time.
Tracking is vital during the 24 hours of Black Friday for online stores, particularly for sales operations such as product searches, order, payment and payment confirmation. Everything needs to work perfectly and efficient website speed responses.
A well-structured marketing campaign prior to the event is one of the best ways to prepare your customers for what’s to come.
Having developed a good system of business analytics, for better decision-making is also important. Some of this data can be obtained through analysing previous years’ events.
There is also a lot of information in the National Retail Federation report, the world’s largest retail trade association, being one of the primary reference sources for professionals in this segment.
You will need a skilled and specialised support team to ensure that your customers are well looked after throughout Black Friday.
Ensuring that both you and your team are in place to resolve customer queries, right from the product search to the after-sales period.
Think about investing in technology to enhance support. There are low-cost and easily implemented solutions available today, that equip your store with a 0800 telephone number, a chat, and even artificial intelligence. Online stores that offer multichannel support can guarantee a higher turnover.
Make sure you’re well prepared for Black Friday. Apart from being an important profit-making period, it’s also an opportunity to gain new clients for your online store.