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10 Last Minute Fixes for Online Retailers Before Black Friday


With Black Friday 2019 coming soon, we look at some last minute fixes and tips to increase sales and improve performance.

Black Friday is on November 29 this year, so while it’s a little late for major site changes, there’s still a lot retailers can do to make the most of such a busy shopping season.

Test Site Performance

Each Black Friday seems to be busier then the one before, and retailers need to be sure they can handle the volumes of traffic from Black Friday shoppers.

Slower sites can deter shoppers through poor usability, while a site going down during a large sales event can be a disaster in terms of lost sales.

Black Friday website crash

By performing a load test, you can see if your website can withstand large surges in traffic. Indeed, there are lots of free tools which can simulate traffic spikes, so you can see how your site responds and make changes in time.

Drive repeat purchases and visits

Look for Quick Fixes in Checkout

Any unnecessary friction during the checkout process can seriously damage sales during busy periods, so it’s important to identify and problems, and areas for improvement.

Look at your analytics, customer feedback, and any user testing to identify areas of your checkout which may be hammering your conversion rates.

Just a small piece of microcopy to explain tricky form fields or guide users through checkout can make a difference.

Use PPC to Achieve Quick Search Visibility

If you already have campaigns running, it will take up to an hour to set up another campaign for your Black Friday/Cyber Monday promotion. You should set this up a few days before and run it through the Black Friday weekend.

Review Delivery Options

Shoppers can often decide to buy based on the delivery options available. Some will be looking to have items delivered quickly, others as cheaply as possible.

Ecommerce delivery options

If you already provide a good choice of options, or can add more in time for Black Friday sales, then this can give you an edge over the competition.

Make Returns Policies Clear

Shoppers often look at returns policies before they decide to buy. According to Shopify, 83% of consumers read returns policies before buying, and most say the cost of returns can prevent them from buying at all.

Customer attitude to returns polices

Easy returns policies encourage customers to make a purchase in the first place. It also helps to make policies clear and easy to find.

Follow up with Newly Acquired Customers

If you’ve attracted new customers during Black Friday, then it makes sense to target them again in the run up to Christmas.

If they were impressed enough to buy from you once, then you can target them for repeat purchases with smart email marketing.

Attract Repeat Visits

The sales period around Black Fridays lasts for at least a week, taking in the build up to Black Friday itself, and the weekend before Cyber Monday.

By mixing it up and having different offers and products, you can provide customers with plenty of reasons to make multiple visits and tease them with offers worth returning for.

Use Gift Vouchers Instead of Discounts

For retailers that don’t want to offer discounts, gift cards with selected purchases are an excellent alternative.

They provide an incentive to buy in the first place, and also give people a reason to come back and buy again, perhaps before Christmas.

Use Cart Abandonment Emails

Extra traffic around busy sales periods means more people are abandoning baskets as they shop around for the best deals.

This can be an opportunity to obtain permission to market to shoppers, and to recover abandoned sales while customers are in purchase mode.

Use Urgency to Drive Sales

Sales like this are time-limited, and some products are likely to sell out during Black Friday.

This is the perfect situation in which to use urgency tactics to inform shoppers about stock levels or how long they have left to take advantage of sale offers.

We monitored six retailers for a case study over Black Friday 2018. By using countdown timers in emails and on-site messages, they were able to increase clicks and conversions.

The average uplift increase in click-through rates was 231%, while overall we increased conversion rates by 200%.


Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is Editor in Chief at SaleCycle. He's been covering ecommerce and digital marketing for more than a decade, having previously written reports and articles for Econsultancy. ClickZ, Search Engine Watch and more.