The busiest shopping weekend of the year is almost here. Is your eCommerce website ready for the rush?
Keep in mind, being prepared for Black Friday Cyber Monday (BFCM) isn’t just about planning, marketing, and deploying awesome deals and promotions. It’s about having tools and processes in place to effectively connect with customers, increase brand loyalty, and expand your customer base—before, during, and after the holiday season.
With that said, let’s discuss the five key mistakes eCommerce merchants often make in the days or weeks leading up to BFCM.
Not stress testing your website
Stress testing—the practice of simulating a spike in traffic to see if your site can handle it without experiencing bugs or outages—is a critical task when preparing for BFCM.
In a more general sense, this exercise in quality assurance (QA) will help you accurately evaluate the robustness of your site, where its breaking points are, and how it can be improved for the future. Failure to conduct regular site testing can result in lost revenue, frustrated customers, and a poor representation of your brand, especially during peak sales season.
In addition to site usability, loading speed will play an important role in the success of your BFCM strategy, as shaving a few seconds off your page load time makes a huge difference in sales. In fact, sites that take one second to load convert 2.5 times higher than sites with a page load time of five seconds.
Factors that influence site load speed include:
- Poor server performance
- Large media files
- A spike in redirects and server requests
- Bulky code
- A lack of mobile optimization
- Caching issues
- Integration errors with third-party solutions
Not checking inventory
If you’re selling physical products on your site, make you have a comfortable volume of inventory before the rush. While this may seem obvious, businesses often under- or overestimate their holiday sales, resulting in delayed shipments, upset customers, and a negative impact on their bottom line.
An effective inventory audit requires analyzing historical data to forecast sales numbers, understanding which items sell faster than others, getting on the same page with manufacturers and suppliers, and reviewing your ERP, IMS, or WMS system integrations to ensure everything is running smoothly.
Do you have automated notifications set up for when you run out of products? Are your employees adequately trained in existing inventory tools and workflows? Will your product pages display real-time inventory data so that your customers know whether items are still in stock? Addressing these issues before BFCM weekend will result in higher operational efficiency for your team and a superior shopping experience for your customers.
Not optimizing CTAs
CTA optimization plays a critical, yet often overlooked role in driving eCommerce sales and conversions. Whether you’re prompting site visitors to sign up for a promotion, browse new products, enroll in your email newsletter, or make a purchase, the messaging and design of CTA buttons should be carefully thought out and rigorously tested—especially in the weeks leading up to BFCM.
CTA buttons should be brief, specific, personalized, and located strategically on the page. But more importantly, they should be written and designed with a data-driven approach. This applies to on-site CTAs, as well as CTAs in marketing emails, SMS, and ads. By regularly experimenting with different CTAs and engaging in A/B testing, you can learn which ones make the biggest impact—resulting in a more effective UX/UI design strategy, and ultimately higher sales and conversions.
Here are a few important statistics to keep in mind:
- Personalized CTAs convert 202% higher than generic ones.
- The average click through rate (CTR) for email CTAs is 3%.
- Red CTA buttons consistently perform better than green ones.
Not collecting user data
With the influx of new and returning site visitors, BFCM is an opportunity to not only expand your customer base, but also gain deeper insight into your target audience. You can witness how different user types navigate the site, which pages get the most attention, where visitors seem to get lost or confused, and so on. However, many businesses lack the necessary tools to efficiently collect, organize, and visualize large amounts of customer data.
Like many eCommerce merchants, you’re likely marketing and selling products on multiple channels, from your native website, to marketplaces like Amazon and eBay, to social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. The trick is centralizing all of this information under one roof, then translating it into digestible, actionable insights.
Solid customer data management also enables personalization, meaning your site automatically displays tailored product recommendations, promotions, and other content to customers based on their browsing history, geographic location, age, gender, and other factors. Research shows that 65% of online stores experience higher conversions from personalizing the customer experience.
As you prepare for BFCM weekend, review your existing customer data management capabilities, and consider upgrading them with new tools and workflows so that you can better understand user behavior, embrace personalization, and ultimately enhance the customer experience moving forward.
When BFCM is over and your online store’s discounts expire, your sales and marketing work is not yet over. This is the time to continue connecting with customers through email, SMS, and pixel-based retargeting ads.
With a solid customer data management system, you can send personalized offers to customers based on their browsing and purchasing behavior during the holiday weekend. For example, if a customer abandons their cart, send them an email with a discount and a link to complete the purchase. Or, display ads for previously viewed products on their social media feed. After all, you already know they’re interested in these products—you just need the right solutions in place to keep them engaged.
Looking ahead, AI will make personalization and retargeting more accessible and effective for eCommerce companies. In fact, 88% of marketers plan on implementing AI solutions to optimize their retargeting efforts in 2024.
BFCM presents an important opportunity for eCommerce businesses to not only sell more products, but to acquire new customers and learn more about their existing ones. If your website is at the heart of your customer experience, then there’s no such thing as being over-prepared for BFCM. So in the days leading up to it, run a lot of tests, review your site’s content, and make sure you’ve got a solid retargeting strategy in place.
Here at Codal, we help bands maximize the value of their online store via data-driven UX design and cutting-edge integrations. With over thirteen years of experience building sites for businesses across industries, a global staff of over world-class designers and engineers, and a network of industry-leading technology partners like Shopify and BigCommerce, we’ve got the knowledge and resources to equip your brand for success in the ever-changing eCommerce landscape.
Interested in learning more about how to drive sales and conversions on your eCommerce site? Get in touch with a member of our team today!