We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again - summer is the perfect time to start thinking about Black Friday/Cyber Monday! While we’re still a few months away from the weekend itself, starting now means you’ve got ample time to start prepping to ensure you’re ready and raring to make the most of retail’s biggest weekend of the year. After all, some things like website changes, product development, and marketing material creation can take months.
There’s a lot to do to prepare for BFCM, so we’ve broken it down into two articles. This first article will focus on your website and the changes you need to start considering and researching so that your site looks and functions beautifully. The second will focus on sales and marketing, looking at what you need to consider with regards to product development, social media, and more.
Let’s get started!
Review the Customer Journey
This is one of the most important things you can do for your site in general, but especially when it comes to securing those lucrative BFCM sales. Map out exactly what the customer journey is from landing on the site to checkout. How many steps does it require? Is it easy or a bit tricky to navigate the site? Do you have a quick checkout process? Find friction points and think about how you can make a smooth, easy process for your customers. With BFCM people want to snap up deals fast, and a lengthy or complex checkout process is off-putting.
Top Tip - Have quick checkout options available
Quick checkout options can be a simple way to improve the customer journey for those just looking to snap up a product or cart. These can be done on the product pages themselves, within product catalogs as hover-overs, or having options like PayPal checkout on your cart page.
Research New Apps
New Shopify Apps are being developed all the time, improving your site in countless ways from stock management to customer service and more. Put some time into researching what new apps are available, and how they could add value to your store that’d help come BFCM weekend. If you want to be really thorough, do an exercise in looking at what areas of your ecommerce operations could do with some assistance. What could be automated? What could be better managed? This will help you figure out what apps you should be looking into as a priority. Don’t forget to review what your competitors are doing as well - you may gain some inspiration from their sites!
Here are some apps we recommend that’ll give you a leg up for BFCM:
BFCM is all about discounts and sales, and this app is a quick and easy way to set up custom promotions in your store. You can schedule discounts which means you could set up time sensitive deals over BFCM easily without manually activating them. Plus the app automatically applies and displays the best discount available on a product to avoid stacking, making it clear and easy for the customer.
Email marketing is going to be one of your biggest assets in marketing your BFCM offers, and Privy is there to help grow your list and increase conversions. Their app helps you create pop-ups and fly-outs for your store, and helps to keep track of abandoned carts. It also has an SMS marketing feature!
This is one that’s going to help you far beyond BFCM! Every store should have an app that helps with customer alerts when a product comes back into stock, and this is our favorite. Say you run out of a product over Black Friday but you have reserve stock for Cyber Monday, you can then directly target customers who signed up looking for that product letting them know that they can now purchase it. And if it’s totally sold out over BFCM, you can let them know further down the line for potential sales well after the weekend is over.
Bonus: if you use Klaviyo for email marketing then it’s easily integrated with the app.
Mobile is by far the preferred option for grabbing a bargain on BFCM weekend - in 2019, 69% of sales made with Shopify merchants were made on phones or tablets. With that being the case, your site should be fast and responsive on mobile so your customers get the same flawless experience they would get if browsing on desktop. If your mobile experience is lacking, customers will go elsewhere. Go into the process with a “mobile first” attitude, prioritizing the design and functionality of your mobile experience before moving on to desktop.
Here are some starting tips for a great mobile experience:
- Have a fixed, simplified navigation bar.
- Your “Add to Cart” button should be clear, bold, and easy to find.
- Prioritize content - what are the key things customers need to see and know about your product?
- Have a mobile-friendly live chat option that’s easily accessible on every page.
- Optimize all imagery and page elements to speed up load times.
We often manage our store from a desktop, but our customers are on their mobile devices. Be sure to navigate through your website from homepage to checkout to see if you catch any errors or confusion in the user flow.
Once your mobile experience is sorted, it’s time to think about the other 31% of customers who were shopping on desktop. As there’s likely more content on your desktop site, there’s more to unpack and improve. Your first port of call is to review your site performance. Here are some aspects to look at:
Looking at what pages customers tend to land on first will help you prioritize which to look at making changes to first. There’s little point in starting with pages that people aren’t commonly viewing as their first introduction to your store.
57% of consumers leave a site if it doesn’t load within 3 seconds - that might seem quick but first impressions count for everything, especially on BFCM weekend! People want to access hot deals fast, and if your site doesn’t load in a timely manner they’ll likely take their business elsewhere. Look at how your load times could be improved by investigating which pages tend to have the most lag and how different elements could be optimized.
Are there any ways in which you could improve your product pages? This could be anything from how images are displayed and optimized, videos, how information is displayed/accessed, your “Add to Cart” button, and beyond. Could you add any conveniences like quick checkout, or suggest complementary products?
There are a plethora of things that can go amiss on BFCM weekend and people will want some pretty snappy customer service. How easy is it to access information or assistance from your team? Look into adding on-page chat support so customers can easily get in touch if they need help with a discount code or information about your store or products.
Of course, it isn’t all about how a site functions; aesthetics and visuals play a big role in how customers view your site and brand. We also aren’t just talking about how your site is branded, but the actual layout and content on every page. A cluttered landing page is off-putting, and can be confusing during an event like BFCM. You want every page to be concise, eye-catching, and relevant. If you’re not sure where to start on visual changes, speak to your web development team and ask for a store breakdown with a focus on simplifying your store’s visuals.
Want even more info about improvements you can make to your store? Check out some of our other articles that dig a bit deeper: