Although originally an American tradition, Black Friday was introduced to Britain by Amazon in 2010. This sales extravaganza soon took the UK by storm, and having realised the enormous potential of this day, the majority of UK businesses now partake in the Black Friday weekend in some way. In the US, Black Friday always falls on the day after Thanksgiving, which is the fourth Thursday of November. As a result, Black Friday is held on the same day in the UK and this year falls on November 24th. 

According to statistics, last year’s Black Friday saw a 15% increase on the year before. Shoppers in Britain spent an extravagant £5.8 billion over the Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend. With this figure expected to rise year on year, it’s clear how important it is for retailers to jump onboard and utilise all of the opportunities Black Friday presents. So, in light of this, what can you do to capitalise on this year’s Black Friday weekend?

Black Friday

1. Make sure your promotions stand out from the crowd

Every successful campaign starts with planning, and so a good first step is to do some research. Look into your competitors and find out what they are offering, what they offered last year, and analyse what was successful and what wasn’t. Doing this allows you to adjust your campaign accordingly, ensuring you are going to attract maximum sales. If you had Black Friday promotions running last year, how successful were they? Identify everything you did well and not so well, and use this to build a strong Black Friday strategy.

2. Ensure that your website is working efficiently

Cyber Monday used to be the online version of Black Friday, but we’re now seeing a Black Friday that is just as ‘cyber’ as the Monday. With more and more people choosing to shop from home and avoid the patience-testing and potentially dangerous ‘Black and Blue Friday’ chaos, it is extremely important that your website is working smoothly in order to cope with the volume of traffic you are likely to receive. According to The Guardian, at least 15 online retailers experienced issues with their sites in 2015, including big names such as Tesco, Argos and John Lewis. Last year, big retailers like GAME and Currys PC World experienced technical difficulties. Any technical issues are not going to go unseen; angry shoppers are known to take to social media and you could lose large amounts of money from even the slightest glitch.

To ensure that your sales are not stunted by slow loading pages and site-crashes this Black Friday weekend, think about investing in more servers or cloud hosting and consider refining your site’s code to reduce the amount of load on the server.

3. Make sure your website is suitable for mobile

Mobile is dominating the online shopping world for all areas of retail. More and more stores are seeing an increase in purchases via mobile, and so having a flawless mobile shopping experience is key to preparing for Black Friday sales. This trend shows no sign of stopping and is set to rise even further. With this trend set to rise even further, it is vital that you create a smooth digital mobile experience for your customers, to increase your chance of sales this Black Friday. One great way to achieve this would be to reduce and refine the number of stages between choosing a product and purchasing it on a mobile device. This means you are making the purchasing journey swifter and easier for the customer.

4. Make sure people know what deals are being offered

In the run-up to Black Friday, it’s important to optimise your sales through one of the leading digital marketing channels, email marketing. As a business, you likely already have a loyal customer base who subscribe to your weekly/monthly newsletter. Email marketing is a fantastic way to target your core customers, providing them with an exclusive ‘sneak preview’ of your Black Friday deals and promotions. By offering your customers this exclusivity, you are making them feel special, thus increasing the chance they will think of you first when it comes to purchasing an item.

5. Shout about your deals and promotions on social media

If people don’t know about your Black Friday deals, how are they expected to spend any money on them? With 2.44 billion (and rising) active users worldwide, social media is a great platform to engage with your audience and create a promotional buzz. So Tweet, post on Facebook, publish a product photograph on Instagram, create a fun Snapchat story, do everything and anything you can to get your company’s message out there.

6. Ensure you have enough stock to meet the demand

When the Black Friday shopping fever hits the UK, it’s vital that you have enough stock to match your volume of sales. Don’t be left shorthanded, plan ahead and stock up on all of your most popular items and see them fly off the shelves.

7. Liaise with your delivery partners

The demand for products over the Black Friday weekend has led to delivery disasters in previous years. The year 2014 saw big names such as Amazon, with an average purchase of 64 items a second, struggle to keep up with the huge jump in seasonal sales. As a result, customers across the country suffered with delays of up to 10 days.

To keep your customers happy and your delivery time frames consistent this Black Friday weekend, ensure that you liaise with your delivery partners and have everything in place.

8. Consider extending your offer period

Many retailers are starting to begin their Black Friday promotions early, recognising that consumers are starting their Christmas shopping earlier each year. PayPal have previously noted: “It certainly is becoming more like Cyber November because people are getting a jump on their holiday shopping much earlier year over year”.

As the sales period grows and encapsulates more and more of the yearly calendar, your Black Friday marketing campaign is at risk of losing its exclusivity, impact, and draw. To combat this, evaluate how effective your previous Black Friday campaigns have been to determine whether it would be more beneficial to offer your customers discounts throughout the Christmas trading period.

If the thought of preparing for Black Friday weekend and other busy holiday periods leaves you feeling daunted, contact us to find out how we can help your business succeed.