4 Signs Your Black Friday eCommerce Strategy Needs an Upgrade

By Sophie Walker • Last updated: Thursday Oct 19th, 2023

Black friday on a smartphone, shopping cart, credit card and a shopping bag

Black Friday is one of the most significant shopping periods in Q4 and presents a prime opportunity for online retailers to increase revenue and attract new customers.

80% of shoppers say they feel encouraged to make a first-time purchase with a new brand if a discount is being offered, making your Black Friday and Q4 deals powerful tools for customer acquisition.1

With an increase in online traffic and a high level of purchase intent across the board, the opportunity for eCommerce stores is undeniable.

Preparing a robust eCommerce and marketing strategy is therefore crucial for retailers to maximise Black Friday’s potential.

Lessons from Black Friday 2022

In 2022, eCommerce further proved its popularity amongst financially savvy shoppers looking to make the most out of the discounts. Looking at the stats from Trends, we noted a 13.37% increase in conversion rates from the previous year. 

The data shows that certain industry sectors boomed. The Entertainment industry reported the biggest increase in AOV, up by 63.1% from the year before. This huge increase could mean that people are waiting until Black Friday to purchase discounted, entertainment items and are building larger baskets. 

It is increasingly important for retailers to track previous years’ data in order to create reactive eCommerce strategies and marketing campaigns. Consider utilising data tracking platforms such as Trends to benchmark eCommerce data across industries.

Black Friday challenges for online retailers

There’s no denying preparing for Q4 can be overwhelming. Retailers are busy organising discounted stock, creating marketing campaigns and preparing social media channels for the busiest dates in the eCommerce calendar.

But let’s not forget, all the traffic you generate through your marketing and advertising is being driven back to your website, so offering an optimised, user-friendly site is crucial to your Black Friday success.

Some websites may struggle to cope with the huge surge in online traffic, resulting in slow page loads, errors, and site crashes and retailers may need to address these issues before they hit the peak of Q4.

Let’s look into some of the problems online stores may run into this Black Friday and Cyber Monday and how you can work to combat them:

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1. Slow site functionality

At this time of year the internet is bustling with online shoppers looking for the best Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals.

No matter how great your discounts are, usability problems will always create friction for your shoppers and prevent conversions when it comes to Black Friday eCommerce.

Studies show that during Black Friday 2022 a record 48% of online sales and 78% of web traffic came from smartphones. 2

So it’s crucial for retailers to make sure they adopt a mobile-first approach and ensure their site is responsive. 

Consider testing your website on multiple different devices to make sure it performs as well as it does on a desktop.

This involves reviewing your site’s functionalities, such as your search feature, and assessing whether it delivers results quickly enough to your shoppers.

You can look to upgrade your search functionality to deliver results faster to your shoppers, with Salesfire’s AI-driven Search.

Salesfire’s Search enables you to go beyond the basics. Add weightings to groups of keywords to promote specific products at the top of your search results, directing traffic towards specific products that will maximise your sales.

Delivering accurate, immediate search results is crucial for a successful customer journey. After all, a frustrating product search experience can result in burning 68% of your conversions.3

40% of customers say they will wait no more than three seconds before abandoning a site, so ensuring your website runs efficiently is crucial to capitalising on the increased traffic in Q4 and improving your conversion rates.4

Things to consider: You may even consider expanding the capabilities of your on-site search engine by integrating AI-powered Visually Similar Search, which allows shoppers to use images as their search query and works to instantly connect your shoppers with the products they want to find.

2. Abandoning shoppers

With a multitude of different Black Friday deals and discounts on offer across many different eCommerce sites, you may notice an increase in abandoned carts from shoppers who have built baskets and then dropped off-site.

In order to re-engage shoppers, you should look into ways you can recover abandoned baskets and capture the attention of your lost visitors.

Place importance on tactics like abandoned cart emails to remind fatigued Black Friday and Cyber Monday shoppers about items they have left in their baskets.

Since 63% of abandoned merchandise can be recovered with a follow-up email, reviewing any sequences you’re currently running can ensure you’re not missing out on Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.5

To best prepare your abandoned cart emails consider:

  • A/B testing: Test out personalised subject lines, emoji use, or calls-to-action to see if they have any effect on your open rate and plan your email content accordingly.
  • Consider the timing: Set out a time frame in which you send out your abandoned cart emails. Do you want to send a series of emails over a specific time frame, send a one-off basket reminder or create a series of automated emails?
  • Including incentives such as free delivery or further discounts: You may already be offering a large Black Friday discount, so consider if you can take it one step further and offer free shipping or an additional incentive to encourage your shopper to come back and complete their purchase.
  • Build up urgency: Carefully consider your subject lines, including time-sensitive CTAs. This creates a sense of urgency for your shopper to avoid missing out on the basket they have built.

Following abandoned cart email best practices is especially important over Black Friday. You can work to recover abandoned baskets and recover lost sales with carefully crafted email sequences that leverage urgency and encourage your shopper to complete their purchase.

Pro tip: Think of how you can promote shoppers to subscribe to your mailing list during Black Friday. You could opt to display a targeted Overlay to customers at the right time in their journey in order to incentivise them to become an email subscriber.

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3. Low average order value

You work hard to drive traffic to your website, so you want to ensure you get the most out of those who buy into your brand.

Implementing strategies that boost your average order value (AOV) can help you get the most out of your customer acquisition spends.

This is especially important over Black Friday, when your profit margins are slim and your discount offerings are high.

Integrating Recommendations can work to suggest relevant products and upsell to your customers at the right time.

After all, upselling and cross-selling can increase your AOV by 50% – 100%.6

You can integrate AI-powered, genuinely relevant Recommendations on different parts of your site such as product pages or the checkout, and encourage shoppers to build bigger baskets.

Personalisation is the key to success in eCommerce and Recommendations provide the perfect opportunity to offer just this to your shoppers.

To optimise your opportunity to increase average order value visitors want to see products they’re genuinely interested in.

Utilising a personalisation algorithm in your Recommendations offers shoppers products that machine learning knows they will love and provides the perfect opportunity to upsell, cross-sell and ultimately drive online sales.

Pro tip: With Digital Assistant you can display a targeted Overlay to promote your Klarna integrations at optimal parts of the user journey.

4. Poor customer retention rates

You may have spent a lot of time and money driving new shoppers to your site using PPC ads and social media campaigns.

After all, Black Friday is the perfect time to invest in acquiring new customers.

From this, you should start to think about your approach to customer retention and how you can work to turn these new shoppers into loyal, repeat customers.

A brand’s ability to retain customers is an important metric for eCommerce success as returning customers provide a long-term, reliable stream of income.

It is therefore important for retailers to outline a strong customer retention strategy that includes:

  • Personalising content: Personalise your on-site content with dynamic messaging and targeted email content. This helps capture your shopper’s attention and starts to build up loyalty towards your brand.
  • Utilise social proof: Showcase customer reviews on-site and on social media, to show your new customers that your brand is reputable and highly trusted.
  • Offer customer support: Consider integrating a live chat on-site to ensure your customers get answers to the questions they have, quickly. Offering excellent customer experiences on-site will allow you to stand out from competitors.
  • Send nurture emails: Through email marketing you can remind your shoppers of products of interest, send them exclusive discount codes and showcase your latest campaigns, nurturing them to become repeat shoppers.

To get started with some of these customer retention strategies, Digital Assistant offers personalised messaging, social proof campaigns and a live chat to tie together all your strategies into one easy-to-implement CRO solution.

Now is the time to think about strengthening the relationship with your customers who have interacted with your brand for the first time during Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

You can take the steps to ensure you go into the next quarter with a strong customer retention strategy.

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Final thoughts

Black Friday 2023 falls on the 24th of November, but we know that it isn’t just a one-day event. A lot of deals are promoted leading up to Black Friday, and in some cases reductions start from late October.

It’s more important than ever for online retailers to create strong eCommerce and marketing strategies in order to navigate Q4 and boost sales. By offering speedy website functionalities and a seamless on-site experience, you can drive your conversions and increase your revenue.

Now is the time to update your eCommerce strategy and start preparing for your best Black Friday yet.

1 What Science Says About Discounts, Promotions and Free Offers | CM Commerce

 2 Black Friday 2022: Mobile Proves a Big Hit

3 Google-ize Your Site Search Experience – Forrester

4 Website Load Time Statistics:Why Speed Matters in 2022 | Website Builder Expert

5 12 Abandoned Cart Email Examples You Can Use Right Now | ActiveCampaign

6 Increase the average order value for eCommerce brands | Wake up Data

See how Salesfire can help you convert more of your traffic this Black Friday, email one of our experts at [email protected] or book a free demo of our personalisation tools.