The 6 Must-Do's Prior to Black Friday & Cyber Monday 2016

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 Love them or hate them, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are here to stay! And if the figures are anything to go by, you should be glad they are. US sales alone reached a whopping 5.8 billion USD during Black Friday and Cyber Monday in 2015, making them the biggest sale event ever!

With the holiday frenzy rapidly approaching now is the time start your preparations if you want to avoid being caught with your pants down. Get the foundation right and your virtual cash register should be ringing more than ever before.

With that in mind, our partner Nosto - the world's fastest growing personalization solution - stepped in to lend their expert advice by sharing the 6 things you absolutely need to do to be prepared for Black Friday and Cyber Monday in 2016.

Read the tips in full in the complete guide ‘6 things you need to do to be prepared for Black Friday, Cyber Monday and beyond’

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1.OPTIMIZE YOUR SITE’S PERFORMANCE

Often retailers can only dream of attracting so much traffic their site crashes. But the reality is, this it isn’t something you want happening during the hottest sales events of the year. Rule number one: always expect the unexpected. Even if your site doesn’t crash from the traffic you receive, you might end up with frustrated and abandoned shoppers should your site not load fast enough. Remember, 40% of people abandon a site that takes more than 3 seconds to load.

How to prepare?

  • Load test strenuously, making sure your site can take the strain
  • Consider reducing the size of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) to improve load times
  • Compress and resize images so they don’t slow your site down

2. GET MOBILE READYiphone-urbanoutfitter

In 2015, mobile and tablet devices accounted for over half of online Black Friday traffic and over a third of the sales. Which means, in 2016, mobile optimization is no longer an optional extra - it is a must if you want to compete. Fortunately if you’re running on Shopware 5, you are perfectly prepared for mobile optimization due to the system’s responsive template.

How to prepare?

  • Check if your site passes Google’s basic mobile test, by clicking here
  • Make sure your text, images and navigation adjust accordingly for use on smaller screens.
  • Check what your site looks like on different devices.

3. PROPERLY UTILIZE EMAIL

Email, despite the predictions of some, is not dead! In fact, it is thriving. Reports have shown that during 2015 Black Friday, email drove more sales than any other channel! They key however, if you want to achieve this type of email success, is to utilize it properly. Build excitement about your upcoming sales, remind dormant customers of your brand before the big day and bring specific star items to their attention.

How to prepare?

  • Start to personalize your email communications. There’s going to be a whole lot of noise to cut through so make sure your emails are the ones that get opened by addressing them to the individual. Then increase click through rates (and ultimately sales) by tailoring them with individual product recommendations.
  • Highlight trending items. It is human nature to want what others have, so highlight those star items that are flying out the virtual door to create a sense of scarcity, encouraging shoppers to move quickly.

4. REMOVE IN-STORE BARRIERS TO PURCHASE

Ok, so you’ve got people to your store but how do you make sure their journey, once they’re there, is ideal for them reach the check-out? As you already know, competition is high and shoppers will be frantic- the key is to make the shopping process as clear and simple as possible.

How to prepare?

  • Enable a fantastic returns policy
  • Optimize your checkout process

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5. ENABLE POP-UPS AS BOTH A SAFETY NET AND A WAY OF DRIVING LONG-TERM VALUE

Site abandonment is always a problem for retailers - but with sales shoppers being a fickle bunch, this can be even more so during Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Stop them from leaving your store empty handed by using exit intent technology (that recognizes when a shopper is about to abandon) to deliver a pop-up and disrupt their journey elsewhere, enabling you to win back their affection before it’s too late.

How to prepare?

  • Enable pop-ups that deliver an extra incentive to buy there and then - such as a discount or free shipping.
  • Set up pop-ups that will capture valuable email addresses, helping you to drive long term value from difficult to pin down sale shoppers.

6. RETARGET, RETARGET, RETARGET

If timely pop-ups don’t do the trick, fret not: just because a customer has left your site doesn’t mean your chance to woo them back is over. Retargeting is an effective way to reach back out to shoppers you didn’t win over first time round. Tempt them back with items they have previously shown an interest in by highlighting them in display ad space, on social media feeds and in your email efforts.

How to prepare?

  • Set up Facebook retargeting campaigns, selecting the lowest possible retargeting cycle to compete with other, pushier stores on the big day!
  • Create abandoned cart emails to be triggered automatically 30 minutes after they have left items on your store.

There you have it - the things you absolutely need to do to prepare for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Read the complete guide ‘6 things you need to do to be prepared for Black Friday, Cyber Monday and beyond’ which contains all of these preparation tips in full, with examples of how others are doing it!

To the free whitepaper

Nosto's plugin in the Community Store

About the author

Nosto is the fastest-growing personalization solution in the world, enabling online retailers to deliver their customers personalized shopping experiences, wherever they are. A SaaS solution, Nosto’s ease of use and speed of implementation empowers retailers to start growing their businesses within minutes of getting started, increasing conversion, average order value and customer retention. With offices in New York, London, Berlin and Helsinki, Nosto is used by over 10,000 retailers across the globe including Volcom, LUSH and The ICONIC. You can download Nosto's plugin for free in the Shopware Community Store.

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