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How To Prepare For Black Friday 2021

How To Prepare For Black Friday 2021


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In ecommerce, Black Friday is one of the biggest and most valuable days of the year. The rise of online shopping from 2019 to 2020 saw the biggest value increase since 2016 and this was all down to the pandemic. Understanding the increase in traffic to your site can better prepare you for Black Friday. 

One of the best ways to predict how Black Friday will play out is by looking at past events and patterns. In our 2021 Black Friday Ecommerce Strategy & Stats Report you’ll find the biggest trends of Black Friday 2020. 

Here are some key takeaways from last year’s Black Friday that you can use to help prepare for Black Friday 2021.

Black Friday is a steady paced marathon, not a sprint

In 2020, online traffic increased day-on-day in the week leading up to Black Friday. Strategise early to make the most of the increased traffic over this period. This can include what you’re offering for Black Friday, where you’re going to promote your offers and prepping your website ready for all the customers. This can include promo codes to tempt customers to spend on the day or creating an optimised post purchase email strategy to increase retention rates after the event has passed.

To make the most of this opportunity, provide a sneak peek of what’s on offer for Black Friday. With the increased traffic online, offering a sneak peek can keep consumers coming back. If they have an early idea of what’s on offer then they’ll be prepared to come back on the day.

Early bird catches the worm

To beat the virtual queues on Black Friday, the early bird shoppers will be online first thing in the morning; in 2020, traffic increased by 73% at 6am from the day’s minimum (4am) and by 8am traffic increased by 179%.

To capitalise on these early shoppers, make sure your website and advertising campaigns are up and running well in advance of the 6am rush. Have your website speed up to par with your competitors as you’re likely to see a huge increase in traffic, this will help prevent your conversion rates suffering.

Black Friday shoppers are not ‘in the bag’

We know that sales events like Black Friday tend to drive down cart abandonment rates and in 2020 it dropped slightly to 76.63%. The graph below shows that cart abandonment was at its lowest on the day of Black Friday in the 2-week period surrounding the event.

black friday cart abandonment - week before

However, these figures aren’t much lower than the week before, and can remain particularly high. To help keep your shoppers ‘in the bag’, abandonment and conversion rate optimisation strategies will be most effective in the run up to Black Friday. So, what can you do to set yourself apart from your competitors? Do you offer free delivery or guarantees? Anything that can add value to your customers will also help boost your sales during this key period.

Focus on improving user experience on-site by removing distractions from pages, or adding an easy pop up that takes people to the checkout can help the customer’s journey through your website.

The most popular products during Black Friday 2020

‘Baby & Child’ was the retail sector with the biggest boom in online shoppers on Black Friday with an increase in traffic of 161% compared to the Friday prior. Not only did traffic increase on the day, but the week leading up to the event saw shoppers increase, with a 60% and 136% increase on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively. 

From this unprecedented growth, it’s clear that parents are looking for the best deals so that they can provide for their family while on a budget. For those operating within this sector, Black Friday  is a great opportunity to capitalise on the growing demand for family products at lower prices, especially in the lead up to Christmas.

Following ‘Baby & Child’ was ‘Sport and Outdoor’ with online traffic up by 97% and ‘Jewellery’ up by 64%. Take a look at trends on your website, as well as these previous Black Friday figures, and see if you can tap into the popularity of certain products by offering deals that match what your consumers want.

black friday traffic week before vs black friday

Ride the wave of the Black Friday Sale

Following Black Friday, you can harness any information gathered from online traffic and sales, and focus on what consumers were browsing on your website to create even better deals for Cyber Monday and in the week after. 

Our report shows that traffic remains high in the week after Black Friday. In total there is more traffic in the week following Black Friday than the week prior. Capitalise on the pre-Christmas rush with extended deals throughout the following week to really get the most out of this seasonal promotion. Retailers can use this data to understand the best days for ecommerce sales.

With the two sales events being so close to Christmas, anything you learn from consumer activity can be invaluable for the Christmas shopping period. Black Friday may only be one day, but you can carry on the hype for a long time after.

You can read more about 2020’s Black Friday trends in our 2021 Black Friday Ecommerce Strategy & Stats Report. 

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Brad Ward

Brad Ward is the SEO & Content Manager at SaleCycle. Brad is a former magazine journalist with over 8 years experience in digital, including SEO, social media and copywriting. Brad has written thousands of articles for a range of different sectors including online gambling, travel, education, sports and ecommerce.