Preparing your website for Black Friday in 2022

Preparing your website for Black Friday – Why It Matters in 2022 More than Ever

Retail statistics for the UK can make grim reading just now, with sales volumes falling by 1.4% in September according to the Office for National Statistics. This continues a downward trend since the lifting of Covid restrictions in summer 2021. Indeed, the latest figures show total retail sales volumes to be at their lowest level since February 2021, and 1.3% below their pre-pandemic level of a year before.

The fall was steeper than expected last month, as soaring prices meant many reined in their spending. Food sales in particular dipped 1.8% as increasingly budget-savvy consumers cut their spending amid concerns over the cost of living.

It’s against this backdrop that retailers must prepare for 2022’s Black Friday sales.

Why prepare for Black Friday and Cyber Monday?

‘Black Friday’ was first used in the UK by the emergency services to describe the last Friday before Christmas. But we’ve now imported the term from the US, and it’s the day after Thanksgiving, which always falls on the fourth Thursday in November.

The day is, of course, synonymous with shopping and unofficially kick-starts the pre-Christmas buying spree, with many retailers holding sales and special offers. It’s now followed by Cyber Monday, which this year falls on November 28 (Black Friday is on November 25). Together, these dates create a full weekend of shopping deals. Traditionally, Cyber Monday, introduced to concentrate on online sales, focused on electronics, tech and gadgets, although offers are often broader now.

The approach to Black Friday generally has also evolved, with the focus shifting online, although many shoppers combine web-based and in-store browsing. Clearly, online sales are cheaper to run than in-store promotions. However, you still need to be prepared, not least as increasingly demanding and discerning consumers have ever-tighter budgets.

So Black Friday still matters. One in five consumers will up their spending from last year despite cost-of-living worries, with a tenth using it to finish off most of their Christmas purchases. Meanwhile, the average UK consumer is expected to spend £283 over the Black Friday weekend – a 25% increase from 2021. Over a fifth (21%) don’t have a specific purchase in mind, but nonetheless plan to take advantage of special offers somehow. (That’s according to a study of 2,000 shoppers from marketing software providers Emarsys.)

So retailers and brands need to prepare for Black Friday earlier than ever this year to beat the competition. Equally, you could well find deals from your competitors start earlier and last longer this year, so be prepared:

Your Black Friday/Cyber Monday checklist

  • Test and prepare your store for traffic surges

Loading speeds can make or break your customers’ experience of your site, not to mention the conversion rate – even minimal rises in site speeds can have a disproportionate impact on conversions. Test performance with a tool like Google Page Speed.

  • Go multichannel

Are you reaping the benefits of multichannel sales (i.e. operating via a mobile app and social media platforms as well as your online store)? If you’re already doing this, identify your most lucrative channel and redouble your efforts with it.

  • Have contingency plans in place

Are the right back-ups in place if a spanner appears in the works? For example, if stock doesn’t arrive, or if anything goes wrong with the website? You need to think in terms of, and prepare for, worst-case scenarios and tough situations. After all, you won’t want to be trouble-shooting in the middle of your busiest sales weekend.

  • Create an unbeatable offer for Black Friday

What sort of ‘unmissable’ deal would draw people to your online store? When emailing subscribers to tell them what’s on offer, focus on the one sale product that you think is the most enticing. (And, by the way, start email campaigns now, and target all previous customers and visitors.)

  • Create banners and images for holiday sales

Come up with some brilliant graphics and visuals. After all, the best promotion in the world is no good if no one knows about it. Make sure you properly signpost the pages you want to draw attention to.

  • Do your keyword research

The more general sales keywords for Black Friday or Cyber Monday will see you compete with the e-commerce giants, so you might want to combine the occasion names with specific target keywords.

  • Create dedicated landing pages

Your customers will probably be browsing multiple sites simultaneously and quickly as they scour the web for the best deals. They’re likely to leave promptly if they can’t find what they want. Dedicated landing pages for your Black Friday promos will give shoppers easy access to the deals they’re after.

Talk to us

At Front Page Advantage, we’ve run countless successful Black Friday and Cyber Monday campaigns for a variety of clients from different industry sectors. This year, such drives are more vital than ever. Get in touch today to chat about what we could for your website at this crucial time for retail.