It’s Black Friday this month – how ready is your website?

It may have originated in the States, but in recent years Black Friday has really taken off on this side of the Atlantic too. Seen as the kick-off for the festive shopping period, this year it’s on November 23.

Essentially, it’s the final opportunity for retailers to make a big promotional push in the run-up to Christmas. Last year, Black Friday online sales reached £1.4bn in the UK, and it’s also the ideal occasion to expose new customers to your brand.

Cyber Monday, the first Monday after Black Friday, falls this year on November 26. This is another great opportunity for extensive online promotion. Indeed, many retailers offer deals before, during and after this crucial shopping weekend – meanwhile, of course, people start browsing several days beforehand.

In short, it’s no longer a one-day event and has become a trend you can’t afford to ignore. You need to be ready.

Prepare your website

Here are the things you can do to maximise sales at this crucial time of year:

  • Test your site server’s load capacity to make sure it can handle the extra traffic and that your site doesn’t crash. Use a tool like io to do this. Additionally, check for any broken links using a tool like this one. Have a contingency plan in place for what to do if the worst happens.
  • Make sure all your product photos make what you’re offering look their best
  • Ensure all your delivery systems and stock levels can cope with the extra demand
  • Be SEO-ready: Use targeted, relevant keywords in headers, giving preference to seasonal terms, tidy up your URLs and get rid of any duplicate content.
  • If you’re using discount and promotional codes, test them to make sure they work
  • You may also want to consider having website banners or specific landing pages for Black Friday promotions
  • Remember to update your FAQs so these are relevant, current and answer anticipated questions before they’ve been asked

Finally, think about what products may be trending, and anticipate what people are buying, so you’re in the strongest position to maximise sales.

Google Shopping

As customers increasingly use mobile to browse products and make their shopping decisions, it’s vital that you have the right Google Shopping strategy in place.

Think about your performance so far this year on this channel, and the areas where you may be able to make improvements.

Expect traffic to spike at this time of year, alongside rising competition for some keywords, and increased average cost per clicks (CPCs). Budget accordingly to capitalise on the greater demand. You may want to think about upping your daily budgets ahead of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and then keeping a close eye on things. For those high-performing products or categories that are sure to do well, set up a budget campaign.

If you’re managing multiple campaigns simultaneously, consider automated bidding – but have your strategy for this in place first.

Finally, remember also to get your product feeds optimised and your ads approved by Google in plenty of time.

If this sounds daunting, it doesn’t have to be – and we’re here to help. If you have any queries at all about preparation for Black Friday, we’re always just a phone call away.