Q4 2022 - Post 7: Getting your store ready for Black Friday - CRO & Site Considerations

You can have the greatest product and offer in the market, but if your site isn’t optimized for BFCM traffic, you’re going to leave tons of revenue on the table.

How can you ensure that your store makes a healthy profit during the big holiday period this year? That’s what we’re here for. 

We’re going to discuss the following:

  1. How to ensure your site can handle a big traffic boost
  2. 6 ways to increase your Black Friday conversion rate

Let’s get started…

Ensure your site can handle an influx of traffic effectively

Triple check your site’s loading speed

Just take a look at what a recent Namogoo study discovered. During the BFCM four-day stretch, an average ecommerce website sees:

  • 133.7% increase in website traffic
  • 459.3% growth in the number of conversions
  • 139.4% boost in conversion rates

You have to admit, those numbers are too high to ignore.

A site that loads in 1 second has a 3x higher conversion rate than a site that loads in 5 seconds. Nearly 70% of consumers admit that page speed impacts their willingness to buy from an online retailer. Here's the average bounce rate for every second your site takes to load:

  • 2 seconds: 9.6%
  • 3 seconds: 13%
  • 4 seconds: 17.1%
  • 5 seconds: 22.2%

Clearly how quickly your website loads has a direct impact on your conversion rate.

Run speed tests on both your homepage and highest-traffic collection, product, and landing pages well in advance of Black Friday Cyber Monday. Resources like Google’s PageSpeed Insights and GTmetrix can help analyze your site and provide specific suggestions to improve its speed.

Stress test your server (then test it again) 

Picture this: it’s Monday morning of BFCM week. You just sent out an email and SMS promoting your big Black Friday sale to a large list built up from months of paid ads. Your time-sensitive offer ads just launched and the additional spend has started to roll. Traffic is flying to your site at a rate you’ve never experienced before. 

Then… your site crashes. 

Wouldn’t that suck? Let’s avoid that. 

social network we don't crash ever gif

Note: if your store is on Shopify, you’re in luck. They’ve invested a ton of time and effort to ensure their servers can handle huge spikes in sessions and sales, specifically for events like BFCM.

If you’re not on Shopify, however, it’s worth testing your online store’s server load capacity with a tool like k6 Cloud, then re-testing your site a few times before going live with the sale. You should also ensure you have an SSL certificate so prospective customers know their data is secure and that they can trust your site.

6 ways to increase BFCM conversion rates

1. Test landing pages in October and early November for Black Friday

Getting data around which types of landing pages and offers work ahead of BFCM is a great way to set yourself up for the greatest returns this holiday season. 

A pre-launch sales page can generate hype around the discounts you’ll be offering. These can also build your audience and validate the offers to understand shoppers' level of interest before your sale goes live. 

In exchange for their email and/or a share on social media, you can offer early access to the sale, an entry into a contest/giveaway, a free gift with their next purchase, or even a holiday gift guide. 

Holiday gift guide landing pages and quizzes through a tool like Octane.AI can be a great way to grow your email list ahead of BFCM, especially if your products are popular gifts for the holidays. 

It can be worthwhile to turn these gift guides into blogs with search oriented titles like 'best gift ideas for food and cooking enthusiasts or ‘hair care gift guide for under $100’.

2. Plan your store takeover

Provide a consistent experience throughout your BFCM customer’s purchase journey by customizing your store’s look and feel to match your paid ads and email/sms pushes. 

Refining and updating subtle details on your site like hero images, headlines, or even core CTA button messaging can help create a seamless experience and reinforce savings through the customer journey. For example, consider swapping a generic CTA button that reads “Shop All” to “Shop The Sale”. 

Reinforce your offers and their end dates (can include a countdown timer if it works within your brand guidelines) at each step of the checkout process for added urgency. 

When developing the site layout for your sale, use insights from your BFCM offer and landing page testing to inform design decisions and what offers to promote. 

If you’re short on design talent, look to simple design tools like Canva or Taler to provide some quick fixes, or look to freelance solutions like Fiverr or UpWork.  

3. Optimize your site UX (especially on mobile devices)

You can have the greatest product and offer in the market, but if your site isn’t user and mobile-friendly, you’re going to leave tons of revenue on the table. 

Optimizing your site for mobile is particularly important if you’re investing in paid social advertising during BFCM, where a vast majority of your traffic will come from mobile devices. 

Before digging into site optimization, it’s worth analyzing your store metrics to identify your top selling products and those that are trending with holiday shoppers to prioritize which pages to optimize.

Check out our pals at Oddit for brand-first CRO advice to improve your site and strengthen brand loyalty. Oddit reports are a personalized roadmap to boost conversion rates, LTV, AOV, and trust in your brand. For free options, they have a blog full of valuable resources and even offer a free quick win for your site.

4. Evaluate your purchase and checkout process

82% of US BFCM shoppers abandon their cart and don’t follow through with a purchase. Make sure not to lose out on even more conversions as a result of an awkward checkout process. 

Abandoned cart strategies should be a major focus of your email marketing optimizations ahead of BFCM. Avoiding those abandoned carts altogether should be a focus of your UX optimizations heading into the holidays. 

Look at every step of the checkout process from the perspective of a new user. Better yet, get some objective feedback from people you know that haven’t visited your site before, or invest in user testing through tools like UserTesting, Maze, or Lookback

Make your purchase path easy to scan with content that educates and adds value at every step. The more clearly a user understands your product, its benefits, and your BFCM offer, the more likely they are to convert.

Use 1:1 (square) images and descriptive product titles on your product pages; include the product category in the title in case there's any potential confusion between the image and title. 

Feature the most compelling sentence about your product and pair it with a few bullets that are clear and simple. Don't be vague and force prospective customers to dig for answers.

Show the reduced price they are paying clearly and emphasize the discount with a strikethrough and callout at every step of the purchase process. It’s also worth showcasing the payment options available, especially if you have high AOV products. 

5. Turn your thank you page into an upsell converter and data collector

Thank you pages are a prime opportunity to reconvert, recommend other products for upsells or cross-sells, or offer time-sensitive discounts for converted customers during your BFCM sale. 

You can also leverage thank you pages to get more information about the customer’s purchase through post purchase surveys, or nudge the customer to share their purchases on social media. 

Some of our favourite apps to optimize your thank you page include ReConvert, WISER, and KnoCommerce.

6. Sort out your apps and upsells

Run through your store’s apps and plug-ins ahead of BFCM. Ensure the keepers are up to date and get rid of anything you don’t use to avoid unnecessarily bogging your site down.

35% of Amazon’s revenue is generated by its recommendation engine. Keep users engaged with product recommendations and upsells at different points in your store. 

  • Adding a “similar items” app on your product pages can help with bounce rates and give prospective customers more reason to keep browsing. 
  • “Frequently bought together” widgets on your cart page can increase AOV and add a personalized experience with “Inspired by your browsing history” apps. 
  • Recommendations like “Best sellers” and ‘Trending products” can be effective on your storefront. 

Some of our favourite recommendation and upsell apps include Rebuy, Ultimate Special Offers, and WISER

So sure, increasing your marketing budget, raising brand awareness, and running paid promotions will bring more traffic to your website, but you need to do more than that. You need to make sure you capture & convert those shoppers!

Alright, let's take a breather here for a quick recap. So far, we've covered:

  1. Start Here: Black Friday Strategic Planning & Goal Setting
  2. Choosing Black Friday Cyber Monday Offers & Discounts
  3. How to Build Your Q4 Campaign Calendar
  4. 10 Email Marketing Strategies Your Brand Needs in Q4
  5. Prepare Your Paid Media Strategy for Black Friday
  6. Getting Design, Copy, and Creative Ready for BFCM

Now you have the tools to make sure your site is optimized for all that Black Friday traffic and you're ready to roll into the holiday season. Check out our post on What to Do During Your BFCM Sale.

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