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Are you ready for Black Friday?

E-commerce · 4 min read

Black Friday – how to prepare your e-commerce business

The countdown has begun to one of the biggest online shopping days in the world – Black Friday 2020. If you run an e-commerce business, it could be your most lucrative day this year which counts more than ever right now. It’s not too late to get ready, so read on for tips to help you maximize this sales opportunity.

If you’re an e-commerce business owner, Black Friday should be one of the most important days in your calendar. Black Friday is the name given to the day after Thanksgiving in the US, and marks the start of the busy holiday shopping season in the run up to Christmas. This year’s event will take place on Friday 27 November.

In 2019, Black Friday’s US online sales reached US$7.4 billion, up from US$6.2 billion in 20181, but the trend is not restricted to the US; over the years, Black Friday has expanded into a global event, with retailers all over the world – both online and offline – offering huge discounts and special promotions to cash in on the momentum.   

Of course, the pandemic has fueled record e-commerce growth this year, as retail store closures nudged a record number of buyers online, some for the first time. Businesses too - we explored this shift in our article looking into how to move your face to face business online alongside our pandemic culture series which assessed how businesses can adapt in times of unprecedented change. Adobe Analytics forecasts that the total amount of global spend across this year’s Black Friday weekend is set to increase by 20% in revenue compared to last year2.

As the kick-off to the lucrative holiday shopping period, many e-commerce businesses spend months planning for Black Friday. If you haven’t yet prepared, don’t panic, because we have all the tips you need to ensure your business thrives during the busy period.

Black Friday – everything you should know to be ready

Make sure you’re found

Competition will be fierce so it may be worth considering selling on an online marketplace to help your products be found by customers – did you know, in the US, more product searches now start on Amazon3 than Google? Many of the leading marketplaces run their own Black Friday events to build buzz, maximizing your opportunity to connect with millions of buyers around the world. Our exclusive guide to the leading online marketplaces will help you pick the right one for your e-commerce business and our guide to Product SEO will help you stand out from the crowd.

Plan what deals you’re going to offer

It’s not as simple as plastering a “20% off everything” banner across your website. Instead, you should carefully plan exactly which products you’re going to promote in advance. Always know what’s in your inventory – if something sells out, you can quickly switch to push other products. Black Friday is a good opportunity to shift old stock that’s taking up space, or you may want to offer a special discount on your usual best-sellers to create buzz around them and encourage first-time visitors to your website to buy. Order in extra stock to prepare for this.

Reward your loyal customers…

Set up an email marketing campaign to send special Black Friday discount codes to customers who have purchased from you previously. Use engaging copy to thank them for supporting your business – customers appreciate personal touches, and this will make them feel valued.

…and keep new ones coming back for more

Your Black Friday deals may attract new customers to your website so take the opportunity to build a relationship that will lead them to buy from you again. Add incentives that encourage them to sign up to your mailing list so that you can stay in touch and target them with new product releases or deals in the future.

Optimize your website

Once you’ve attracted customers to your website, you don’t want to lose them because of a slow loading time, or a complicated checkout process, so follow these tips on how to optimize your search bar to get everything in order.

Is it mobile friendly? In 2017, around 50% of Black Friday sales were made using a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet4, so ensure your e-commerce offering is optimized across all platforms.

Checkout features are integral

Did you know that 91% of customers will leave a website if shipping isn’t free or fast enough?5 Customers want choice and flexibility of their deliveries and if your e-commerce business doesn’t offer that, you may have a high cart abandonment rate. DHL Express can help you integrate a range of shipping options into your online checkout to keep your customers happy.  

International shipping  the perfect time to expand  

Currently, of the world's 195 countries, it’s estimated that approximately 50-60% “celebrate” Black Friday in some form or another6 – a global market of eager buyers keen to try new brands and products. For this reason, it’s the ideal time for you to think about shipping internationally if you don’t already do so. DHL Express can help your business introduce international shipping, taking care of all the hassle around customs regulations, duties & taxes, and tariffs for you, so that your customers receive their orders without delay.   

Ensure your fulfillment network is running like clockwork

Fulfillment is the engine of your business, so make sure it’s perfectly tuned. From picking, packing and labeling, to knowing the price of a shipment to almost anywhere in the world, a well-oiled fulfilment operation is what will ensure all orders are dispatched on time and in perfect condition. Disappointed customers won’t return.

Be ready for returns

E-commerce returns rates are around 30% worldwide7, so you’re likely to have some, no matter how great your product is. Have a good returns policy in place and state it clearly on your website – 67% of shoppers check a business’ returns policy before committing to a purchase8.

And lastly, it’s not all over after Friday…

Cyber Monday

It may seem strange in today’s digital era, but there was a time when online shopping was a relatively new concept. In 2005, the term “Cyber Monday” grew out of the observation that many Americans would spend their Thanksgiving weekend window shopping and then use the high-speed internet connections at work on the Monday to buy what they like9. These days, many retailers choose to partake in both Black Friday and Cyber Monday to maximize their Thanksgiving weekend sales.

And of course, it's never too early to start thinking about your Christmas strategy - ensure you have everything in place ahead of time with our essential delivery tips for Christmas 2020.

At DHL Express, we're the experts in helping businesses cope with sudden increases in demand. We offer a door-to-door service, from website-integration to last-mile fulfillment, and deliver to and from almost every country in the world, so we can help you reach new markets easily and seamlessly. Partner with DHL Express and watch your sales grow.

1 - Adobe research, Nosto, August 2020

2 - Adobe Analytics research, The Drum, September 2020

3 - Econsultancy, July 2020

4 - EKM, 2020

5 - Pitney Bowes Global eCommerce Study, ShipperHQ, February 2019

6 - Jungle Scout, November 2019

7 - Invespcro, 2020

8 - Invespcro, 2020

9 - Cyber Monday, Wikipedia, October 2020

Anna Thompson
Anna Thompson Discover content team

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