Black Friday 2021: 6 top last-minute tips for e-commerce brands

6 top last-minute tips for e-commerce brands

E-commerce marketers have been preparing for Black Friday for months and, now, finally, the holiday is just around the corner. As the pandemic is close to reaching its second year, it is clear that digital purchases will remain strong and that online shops will play an important part in overall sales.

If you have already developed your offers, pricing, marcom strategies and tactics, we advise you to take a step back, breath and go over our article. You will discover how Black Friday developed into a world renowned festival, see what are consumers’ expectations in 2021 and find out our top 6 last-minute tips for turning this holiday of discounts into a total hit. 

Black Friday started off in Philadelphia, in the 1960s

According to sources like Investopedia, the term “Black Friday” dates back to the 1960s, when police officers in Philadelphia would dread the day after Thanksgiving, as it marked the start of the holiday shopping season.

From its early beginnings, that particular Friday would be a very chaotic one, with lots of consumers from the suburbs visiting the city to hit the stores, causing trouble for law enforcement officers, which had to deal with traffic jams, shoplifting and different types of incidents. 

Things advanced and, in the 1990s, the name Black Friday started being used in advertising materials and TV commercials aired in the US. Since then, it grew into one of the country’s best known consumerist holidays, expanding beyond the actual day and becoming more of a festival dedicated to sales and bargains. 

Black Friday attracts millions of people worldwide, with e-commerce sales growing because of the pandemic

In the past decade, Black Friday became so successful that it gained worldwide traction. Now it is celebrated across different continents, in countries like Canada, Brazil, Denmark, Finland, France, Netherlands, Australia, India, China or Japan. The retail festival is often associated with Cyber Monday, as sales are usually linked for the whole, long weekend.

Considered the shopping day with the most international awareness, Black Friday is known for its record figures, which seem to showcase a nation’s overall economic condition and consumer sentiment. As TechCrunch reports, in 2018, the holiday generated $6.2 billion in sales for American e-shops.

Given the impact of the pandemic on consumer behaviors, more and more shoppers have been choosing to make their purchases online, to avoid interaction and reduce their risks of contracting COVID-19. According to the US National Retail Federation, last year, over 186 million American consumers shopped between Thanksgiving Day and Cyber Monday, with 95.7 million making their purchases solely online, 44% more than in 2019.

In 2021, Black Friday falls on November 26

This year, Black Friday falls on November 26, so retailers across the world already prepared their offers and strategies, to attract consumers their ways. As Deloitte foresees, although shoppers in some countries will return to experiences and brick-and-mortar shops, e-commerce will also remain a strong pillar this holiday season. According to the same report, customers will spend an average of $440 on Black Friday deals, 5% more than last year’s numbers.

This year, user experience is a main focus for e-commerce players

Many people believe that Black Friday is all about the deals and that consumers are only looking for specific bargains, but research suggests otherwise. A 2018 McKinsey international survey shows that shoppers aren’t planning what to buy and that they are willing to spend spontaneously on products that entice them. 

Like on any other day, it’s not only just about the price. The user experience is crucial for driving conversions and finishing purchases. 

As the Baymard Institute, quoted by Shopify, shows, on a regular day, the average cart abandonment rate is close to 70%, with record numbers being registered in Spain (over 86%) and Netherlands (65.5%). 

Still, with the world entering into the pandemic’s second year, there are some changes in consumer behavior. Adobe research expects that conversion rates will increase by 13% and that 9% of Black Friday consumers will be new online shoppers. These buyers will require an extremely smooth, fast and intuitive user experience which will make them feel safe and comfortable. 

It is in this context that Black Friday is projected to drive $10 billion in e-commerce sales. 

Last-minute tips and tricks for e-commerce players

If you think you are done planning your Black Friday campaigns, it might be a good time to analyze your strategy and make some last-minute checks and adjustments, before everything is live. 

1. Ensure your website is ready for the load of consumers

US National Retail Federation data points out that, last year, during Black Friday, over 100 million consumers shopped online. With such a high number of users looking for special deals, e-commerce marketers and professionals need to ensure that their platforms may handle the load of website visitors and transactions. 

This is why a crucial step is to check whether the current infrastructure will support the volumes of data which are required and, thus, offer shoppers a smooth and efficient shopping experience.

Other things that you should take into account and verify before launching your Black Friday promotions include: 

  • Ensuring all links and pages work properly. 
  • Testing the user experience on all digital touchpoints – website, app, social commerce platforms etc.
  • Recreate your users’ journeys and their possible routes to ensure everything functions properly.
  • Test the full user experience, from accessing the website to placing an order, to ensure that there are no errors in the chain. Focus on payment methods, order confirmations, follow-up etc. 

2. Think omnichannel

According to its definitions, omnichannel is an approach to sales that offers customers a seamless shopping experience, on multiple channels, from desktops to mobiles devices, by phone or in brick-and-mortar stores. The strategy is basically an umbrella one that integrates all the brand’s media.

Offering omnichannel experiences means that brands align their objectives, tactics and messages across different touchpoints, creating synergies between channels, so that they complement one another. By choosing such an approach, e-commerce players create a red thread for shoppers, making their experience a better, more fluid one. This way, no matter where they engage with a certain brand, on what platform or environment, consumers are treated similarly and directed towards the same information, so that they benefit from consistency.

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