Written By
Jamie Walsh, Copywriter & Content Support

Throughout November, many consumers will have Christmas firmly in their sights with that all-important gift shopping being one of the top priorities.

The end of the month brings along the widespread discount event Black Friday to stores, in an effort to entice shoppers with temporary price cuts and special deals. The trend in recent years has also seen many retailers extend sales across the weekend to the following Monday, with Cyber Monday appealing specifically to online shoppers.

Even though the phenomenon has it origins in the US – falling on the weekend after Thanksgiving – the rise of online retail and globalisation has prompted merchants and brands around the world to change the way they market and sell themselves and their products to stay competitive.

With just a couple of weeks to go before the big shopping season kicks off, we’ve looked at a few ways online retailers need to make sure they’re prepared for the busiest days in the ecommerce world.

Flawless website performance is essential

Black Friday weekend is pretty much the Glastonbury ticket sale of the Christmas shopping season. Thousands upon thousands of shoppers will often be poised at their screens, ready and raring to get purchasing once the offers go live online.

This is the last thing your customers will want to see when trying to bag a bargain…

If you have an ecommerce store allowing customers to buy online, you’ll want to make sure it’s able to cope with the immense levels of customer traffic throughout the day. Not only will the website need to sit on hosting servers stable enough to handle large request volumes, the store itself will need to be capable of delivering speedy response times no matter what.

Take a lesson from Black Friday in 2015: numerous big hitters including Argos and US chain Target saw their online stores struggling to cope with the massive demand. It’s essential to provide customers with a smooth shopping experience every time and to take note of your store’s performance if you don’t want your customers getting frustrated.

Shoppers have high expectations

The general public is more tech-savvy than ever before and people have become accustomed to dealing with the various aspects of shopping online. This includes an always-on, lightning fast connection as well as the ability to easily browse and buy across a diverse range of devices.

The number of shoppers using phones and tablets usage now outweighs those using traditional desktops

With the bar set pretty high already, any shopping experience that falls below a user’s expectations runs the risk of losing them altogether. As trends continue to evolve at a rapid pace, it makes life harder for retailers to keep up. Fortunately, newer technologies are helping ecommerce stores to meet the relevant requirements.

As modern customers are wiser to the methods of buying online, there are a few tips and tricks you can rely on to persuade people back to your store in future. By making a strong positive impression, you have the chance to evoke a sense of loyalty in your customers. Through this, Black Friday weekend offers a great opportunity for you to turn a one-off shopper into a faithful customer all year round.

Strong marketing works just as well as price drops

Since ecommerce has become such a competitive space, retailers need to find new ways of differentiating themselves. While consumers might be easily enticed by price drops, deals and bundles, these are not the only ways to have a strong impact on your target audience.

As retailers slash prices across the board, you’ll need to find new ways of appealing to the crowds

Stepping up your marketing efforts both on and offline is vital to drumming up interest among potential shoppers, especially in the run up to Black Friday and the Christmas shopping season. By strategically utilising your marketing department and appropriate resources, you can get the right customers to your store who may be likely to become core shoppers in future.

This is the time of year when marketers often push the boat out a little in their ad campaigns. Some may enlist the help of endorsements from celebrity or high profile influencers. Certain brands like John Lewis and M&S have become known for their TV adverts in the run-up to Christmas. With online ads tailored towards certain demographics, there are plenty of ways to stand out from the crowd in front of the right people.

About the Author
Jamie Walsh, Copywriter & Content Support

Jamie is here to provide content support for our clients, as well as keeping an eye on blogs and social media interaction for Sutton Silver.

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