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Ecommerce Black Friday Tips

This article is part of our Guest Blogger Series. Its content was created by Lesley Paone, a PrestaShop Global Forum Moderator (Dh42) and the owner of Nashville-based Designhaus 42.
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With Black Friday fast approaching, here is some advice to maximize your sales for the holiday season.

Announce your sales on coupon sites or Black Friday sites

How are people supposed to know about your sale unless you announce it? You want to plaster your sales on every Black Friday themed site that will let you post sales. These sites get huge amounts of traffic this time of year because people are trying to find the best deals and are a great way to let people know about your sale.

 Use an abandoned shopping cart strategy

I always suggest to my clients to modify their abandoned cart strategy leading up to the holiday. The Friday before Black Friday is the last day we send out abandoned cart reminders with a coupon. Then for the week leading to Black Friday we collect all of the abandoned carts and send them an email with a catchy title like “Your cart has been reduced for our Black Friday Sale” with information about the sale in the email.

 Don’t trust your shipping API

Does your site use live shipping rates? If so I would suggest setting up a fallback shipping rate system, manually entering rates. This might sound insane, but Black Friday is a very heavy shopping day, what happens if the UPS, USPS, or FEDEX rate servers go down? No sales can be made on your site, because shipping will not be figured. Last year the USPS rate servers went down for a couple hours right at the peak of Black Friday, I was lucky enough to have the foresight to set my clients up with emergency shipping methods that I could turn on in case anything happened. The USPS servers were down for a few hours, but my clients were still taking orders while other sites were just dead in the water.

 Send your mailing list out at the right time

The time I recommend for the Black Friday emails is late in the day on Thursday. Typically in America there is not much to do after the Thanksgiving festivities are over, so most people either watch TV or browse the internet. You want to target the emails for when people are most likely going to be free to read them. The middle of the day is a bad time, because most people are with their families and will not read them. Then by the time they are alone and have time; every other mailing list they are signed up to has sent an email, yours will get buried. I do however recommend sending out an email on Monday letting people know about the upcoming sale too.

 Use holiday themes or slides

Nothing gets people in the mood for the holidays like decorations. Show people you are participating in the holiday by advertising them on your site!

 Load test your site

Have you thought about what will happen when tons of buyers are on your site at the same time? Can your server take that kind of load, or will it be knocked offline? I highly recommend using a service such as Load Impact to test your site before the rush hits. You might even consider upgrading your hosting package for the month and down grading once the holidays are over.

 Monitor your site

I highly recommend setting up a service such as Pingdom on your site so that if the server does go down you are alerted to it immediately. How upset would you be if your site was down half of the day and you did not know, how much money would you lose?

 Have staff on hand for live chats

What if a customer has a question about a product that is only on sale for a limited amount of time? Answering that question could be the deciding factor in making sales and not making sales. That is why I always suggest to my clients that they need someone to staff the phones and live chat during the whole Black Friday sale.

  Start early

Who says your Black Friday sale has to start on Black Friday? Some stores are starting to open early for Black Friday now, why can your sale not start early? I usually recommend start your sale around 7pm on Thursday, because you are getting people when they are home and bored usually. Bored people spend money. Also I highly recommend having the sale active when you send out your mailing list email. People line up at stores for hours to get in and buy hot items, if you can give them the hot products without a line, early in the day it becomes a win-win.

 

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