Today’s shoppers demand value for their money, and will let nothing get in their way of snagging the best deals for the Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales, even if that means sleeping on the sidewalk or refreshing the retailer’s web page all night long. This growing enthusiasm sometimes translates into consumers getting overly aggressive, as many viral YouTube videos can attest.
Luckily, most customers don’t lose their minds chasing bargains, but that doesn’t mean they’ll visit your store with any less interest. In fact, Black Friday and Cyber Monday have become so entrenched in recent years that retailers now offer bargains for extensive periods of time, which marketers often refer to as “Cyber Week”. Most importantly, the days following Thanksgiving mark the beginning of the busiest period of the year for retailers, leading up to the winter holiday season.
1. Invest in Technology and Perform Multiple Tests Prior to Black Friday
There is nothing more irksome than a site crashing during the all-important Cyber Week. Retailers who can’t handle the peaks in traffic this time of year will likely lose precious revenues while upsetting their loyal customers. After all, who wouldn’t be frustrated to be locked out of checkout after having spent hours — if not days — creating wish lists. Thankfully, retailers can prevent such inconveniences by investing in a reliable cloud-based e-commerce platform.
Advanced e-commerce solutions can adapt to your unique business needs and provide the stability and scalability needed for flawless operation. Load testing your website prior to the Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales is vitally important, as you might catch website issues that deserve attention right away. For instance, a server response time of five seconds or more may have gone unnoticed without sufficient testing. Retailers who run performance tests before important events like Black Friday will likely catch the major issues that would otherwise have taken center stage on the big day.
2. Focus Equally on Your Online and In-Store Strategies
According to NRF, retail store openings have increased in 2017. (NRF) As consumers still regularly visit brick and mortar stores, retailers need to ensure they’re ready for the shoppers’ annual arrival. Equipping your seasonal employees with mobile point of sale devices can be an easy yet effective way to offer exceptional service during this busy time of year.
Having sales associates on the floor ready to process transactions anywhere is essential, as busy modern shoppers don’t want to wait. Your clients should always be acknowledged as they walk in and out of the store, no matter how crowded the shop floor may be. Customer-first companies should focus on both the online and in-store experiences, as there must be a real synergy between the two.
3. Give a New Feel to Your Website
Retailers who want their e-commerce platform to stand out during Cyber Week won’t necessarily need a complete website overhaul, but should still try to give a fresh look to their site. This can be accomplished, for instance, by visibly changing the landing page and clearly announcing ongoing sales.
Easily customizable e-commerce platforms are a must, as their adaptable design can be changed to retailers’ current needs and interests. Creating a sense of urgency during Cyber Week by adding a site countdown or a reminder of items still available can also help generate more revenues. If your customers don’t feel like they’ve found the deal of the year, they may delay or even cancel their purchase.
4. Keep Communications Alive Before, During and After Black Friday/Cyber Monday
The importance of regularly communicating with customers cannot be underestimated. For major annual events like Black Friday/Cyber Monday, using clienteling outreach tasks can help keep the customer-associate relationship alive.
Before Cyber Week even begins, marketing emails can let customers know about upcoming sales and what they can expect this year. If customers abandon their shopping carts once sales begin, don’t forget to send them an abandonment cart email. You could be reminding them of the items they’ve abandoned, and convince them to return to that page of your site. In fact, “more than half of cart retrieval emails are opened, and over a third [of them] result in purchases.” (Marketing Land)
Follow-up emails are also smart ways to remind customers that you haven’t forgotten about them. Encouraging shoppers to write reviews is a modern-day technique that shows you value your customers’ opinions and really need to know what they think of your products. By responding to your customers’ feedback, retailers can offer the products customers truly need.