Business development 10 August 2018

How online retailers can prepare early for Black Friday 2018 success

Black Friday
1.4bn was spent on Black Friday in the UK in 2017
?With the summer still in full swing, it might seem premature to start thinking about Black Friday but getting it right can take months of planning.

While Black Friday is traditionally a US event, it has been imported to the UK and is fast becoming commonplace. Black Friday is no longer just a single day event, but a four-day spending extravaganza that culminates on Cyber Monday. Last year in the UK alone, more than 1.4bnwas spent online on Black Friday sales, up 11.7% on the previous year.

With that in mind, it is more important than ever for businesses to get ahead of the competition by preparing in advance. Make sure this Black Friday is one to remember by following these tips:

  1. Reacquaint yourself with your customers

A targeted marketing strategy is a sure way to encourage Black Friday success and it’s something you can start well ahead of the day itself.

Intelligent, personalised outreach is an excellent way to raise the perception of your brand, stand out from the crowd, and spark regular and meaningful interactions in the run-up to Black Friday.

For instance, giving loyal customers an early heads up on relevant discounts will encourage them to visit your website and take advantage of your bargains on the day. It should also work to support sales throughout the year not just when your products are discounted.

Using social media is another great way to get in touch with your customers, bring them closer to your brand, and encourage them to visit your site. Releasing discount codes via your social media channels is a smart way to make the most of your loyal following and convert interest to action.

  1. Keep on top of supply chains and pricing

A successful Black Friday can rely on solid logistical planning. Get on top of what you have in stock and work out how much you can afford to discount your products to avoid mispricing items and protect your bottom line.

it’s important to have a handle on what inventory sells, and how much you need to stock overall. Looking at sales data from previous years is a good place to start, but to really find out what your customers want, you should also consider current trends, economic factors and even weather forecasts.

This will help predict which products you should stock up on and which might not be so popular. Engaging with your customers for feedback is also a useful indicator, while monitoring social media can help you work out which products are trending this year.

Making sure you have the right stock before a big retail event like Black Friday is important, not least because disappointed customers are less likely to revisit your site in the future. Get on the front foot by liaising now with your manufacturers and suppliers to ensure there are no surprises.

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  1. Manage the flow of web traffic

The technical troubles that Amazon experienced last month on Prime Day are a perfect reminder that preparing for large sales events is essential, no matter the size of your business. Website crashes caused by increased web traffic can happen to any business large or small but there are ways to protect your website.

Using a designated backup server to automatically reroute web traffic in busy periods is a great way to prevent customers being put off by a poorly functioning website.

Also, if you are planning to make any changes to your website, do so well in advance of sale periods and test rigorously to make sure your new website will be able to handle the increased traffic that Black Friday will bring.


 
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