21 Jan _

How Businesses Can Avoid The Black Friday Blues

Here’s our top tips on how your business can reap the rewards of a profitable Black Friday in 2019.

Written by
Sean Edwards
Content Editor

Black Friday 2019 - Sale Image

If last year’s Black Friday rush saw your online store crash as a result of unexpected levels of traffic, then it’s likely that server resources simply weren’t prepared.

Maybe your marketing strategy didn’t pay off and sales didn’t live up to expectations.

Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Even some of the biggest retailers have fallen victim to server overloads, email marketing nightmares, and low-sales due to lack of strong content optimisation.

When is Black Friday 2019? And How Can Retailers Prepare?

With Black Friday 2018 behind us, both marketers and consumers will again be required to prepare for the biggest sale extravaganza of the year. 2018's statisticians estimated that UK consumers spent an incredible £4.75 billion, with 47% of that figure spent solely online (£2.23 billion).

With an increasing number of consumers that use the event to not only grab a bargain, but to also get their Christmas shopping over and done with, it’s imperative for any eCommerce website to prepare accordingly to boost traffic and maximise sales.

Here’s our top tips on how your business can reap the rewards of a profitable Black Friday this November 29th, 2019.

01. _ Safeguard Your IT Infrastructure

The Black Friday of 2017 notably saw the likes of Debenhams and GAME (UK) struggle to deal with a high-volume of traffic. So any business, big or small, must rigorously safeguard their systems through performance testing.

It would not be worth a Marketing Team working on a carefully devised Black Friday strategy if the companies’ IT infrastructure wasn’t secure. The website’s belonging to the ‘Brand-Daddies’ of online retail are well-equipped to deal with a massive influx of big web traffic surges.

The quickest way for retailers to deal with any bugs or trouble coping with traffic surges is to employ the hosting services of an on-demand Cloud Based Infrastructure.

A cloud infrastructure includes all the necessary components such as virtual servers, PCs, and storage clusters. All of these elements merge to create a complete IT infrastructure that works equally as well as a physical one.

It’s easy to manage, and its flexibility & scalability is completely dependent on each user’s website requirements. This method can also prove to be an effective time saver when retailers might be enduring a busy period where focus is required elsewhere.

Cloud Infrastructure - Managing Your Server for Seasonal Promotions

If retailers are planning to send a massive thread of campaign emails, then authentication protocols like DMARC can prevent customers from being deceived by impersonators or spammers.

DMARC (or Domain-based Message Authorisation, Reporting & Conformance) ensures that legitimate emails are correctly authenticating against established DKIM and SPF standards, and that fraudulent ongoings emanating from domains under the organisation’s control are blocked.

The first and most widespread technology to make the ‘header from’ address trustworthy; brands / retailers with a DMARC record are less likely to be targeted by cybercriminals, as well as protecting both customers and brand.

Other methods can include running several load tests to gain an idea of capacity limits, along with analysing your web traffic from previous years, which can help estimate a more accurate user load.

Last but not least is the potential threat of cyber-attacks; scams are increasingly rife during this busy buy & sell period to both consumer and retailers. Ensure all security defences are up to date, and that any suspicious activity is capable of being hastily identified and dealt with.

If anything slips through the net, then it’s essential that a ‘Code Red’ disaster management recovery strategy is in place so teams know how to counter any threats.

Code Red - Black Friday

02. _ Personalisation is Key to any Email Strategy

One of the biggest things consumers dislike about Black Friday & Cyber Monday is the imminent barrage of email campaigns that inevitably clog up their accounts. Retailers have to tread carefully when sending campaigns out to their subscriber lists. Despite the effect of GDPR on this form of communication, it remains a key advertising tool.

The best email campaigns and strategies depend on intelligent segmentation, based upon how customers have previously interacted with the medium, along with purchasing behaviour.

Retailers that don’t engage their subscribed consumers on a personal level will most likely have their emails deleted or ignored. It’s crucial that marketing teams collate relevant, beneficial data to deliver a truly personal ‘experience’ for their audience.

Reward consumers with exclusive, personalised Black Friday deals that they can brag about.

03. _ Content Is King

Don’t be tempted to just update old landing pages. Keeping your old Black Friday pages alive has proven to build search jurisdiction, but without refreshing new creative content, it’s dangerous to not try and stand out amongst the crowd.

New Meta descriptions, tags, and image descriptions will prove to the little key differentials between companies vying for the most web-traffic. Any landing pages or blog-related content will need to be indexed & ranked within search engines.

Ultimately, what will make or break any Black Friday campaign is original content. Keep it fresh and use the business' unique selling points to really sell it to potential customers, e.g. delivery speed, exclusives, and rewards.

Strategising PPC, marketing automation, and social media posts will aid a great deal, but creative content paired with clever SEO, delivered in an original, considered campaign will prove organically successful when taking on the likes of Amazon’s Black Friday deals.

04. _ Go Mobile with your Black Friday & Cyber Monday Deals

Last years’ sale weekend saw 26% of orders also derive from a mobile device, a figure that was expected to increase in 2018.

It’s imperative that mobile platforms incorporate a responsive design, otherwise a quarter of consumers will be effectively lost before the weekend’s even begun.

Retailers can easily see for themselves what the experience is like on their website, and it’s even simpler to check if it’s mobile friendly courtesy of Google’s mobile test page – see for yourself here.

Once your strategy/campaign is in place, ensure there's a clear message with a concise plan that's researched target audience, prepared original & personalised content for loyal members, and stands out from the crowd.

Whether you want to embrace or shun the weekend and promote alternatives to what some brands consider a righteous battle against consumerism, Black Friday/Cyber Monday/Black November (when will it end?) presents a prosperous marketing opportunity for all retailers one way or the other.

At Sherwen Studios, we can assist with devising marketing strategies for all seasonal promotions, from Content to Email Marketing, along with fluid, creative responsive web design.

We’re also able to identify and repair any subsequent or existing server response issues or downtime; optimising websites through a process that involves meticulously reviewing system infrastructure and performance to avoid any vulnerabilities.

For further information on how we can grow your business contact us below to chat, request a quote, and more.

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