Black Friday: It's All in the Numbers

By Kris Wanamaker, Right on the Line Commercial Director

Black Friday has crept its way across the pond from the US to Britain, and we’re starting to see it move out of the purely consumer domain and into B2B.

If your business has an eCommerce angle, or you’ve been looking for opportunities to engage your channel partners on deals, chances are you’ve been thinking about whether to get in on the Black Friday action.

And it’s a good thought. But you’ll need to be ready. Here are some numbers on the Black Friday phenomenon and some of the things to think about to prepare your business for next year.

  • UK online retail sales have grown from £0.81 billion in 2014 to £1.49 billion in 2018. (SaleCycle)
  • Brits will spend an estimated £220 each on Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales 2019 – a decrease from 2018 which saw a £304 average spend. (Finder)
  • Yet more Brits are planning to take advantage of Black Friday this year – 62%, which is up from 36% last year. (Finder)

Black Friday: Mobile shopping

  • Retailers saw a 47% growth in online traffic in 2018. (The Future of Commerce)
  • 51% of all traffic to retailers came from smartphones in 2018 (Adobe).
  • Yet people are still more likely to purchase on desktop, with 60% of transactions taking place on a larger screen (SalesCycle).
  • This shows that people use a variety of devices to shop, switching due to convenience and accessibility.

Customer experience is everything

  • 57% of shoppers leave and buy from a similar retailer when frustrated with a slow site. (The Future of Commerce)
  • 80% of consumers will stop doing business with a company because of a poor customer experience. (HubSpot)

Customers abandon their cart at checkout due to:

  • Website errors – 61%
  • Having to create an account to complete checkout – 60%
  • Checkout process is too complicated – 46% (Namagoo)

How to prepare your business for Black Friday

1. Don’t cheap out on infrastructure.

The reliability of online shopping experience is everything – website downtime and slow page loads can result in massive losses.

Increased website and app traffic loads will put strain on infrastructure – it needs to be stable, operational and error-free.

2. Optimise technical infrastructure to cope with excessive demand:

  •  Load and test all aspects of the online experience well ahead of time.
  • Review checkout page and mobile load times (53% of mobile visits are terminated if the page takes longer than 3 seconds to load (remember that the average load time on 3G connections is 19 seconds).
  • Put technical checks and alerts in place to monitor performance to take remedial action in real-time.
  • Make the most of SaaS e-commerce platforms and cloud hosting solutions with agile infrastructure that scales with traffic fluctuations.

3. Optimise the user experience. Really optimise it.

Bear in mind that there are usually two types of shoppers:

  1. Those shopping with something specific in mind, they want to get in and out as fast as possible.
  2. Spur of the moment shoppers, looking for something that catches their eye.

Streamlining the experience for both can massively improve the chances of closing a sale. This requires the user’s path to checkout to be as frictionless as possible.

This means ensuring:

  1. Products are properly categorised and tagged, along with quick access navigation menus, filters, and keyword search functions.
  2. Doing everything to prevent cart abandonment, which usually happens due to:
  • Product out of stock after adding to cart
  • Long page load times
  • Inability to access user account
  • Losing spot on page after adding item to cart
  • Search doesn’t turn up items user is looking for. (BizCommunity)

4. Be realistic about order fulfillment

Remember we’re living in an age of instant gratification. Can you deliver on that expectation?

  • Inefficient supply chain management and order fulfillment processes will put retailers at a massive disadvantage.
  • Specialist e-commerce predictive analytics software can monitor user behaviour in the lead-up to Black Friday, which makes planning easier.
  • Track which products customers search for, view, compare and add to wish lists in advance, and ask customers for input on what they want from you.
  • Consider click-and-collect as an option for order fulfillment to take the strain off the delivery system and bring feet through doors for another opportunity to make a sale.
  • Don’t over promise and under deliver – if you are likely to experience delivery delays over the Black Friday period, communicate clearly with your customers.

5. Take full advantage of technology.

Automation and artificial intelligence can enhance the customer experience and save money.

  • Predictive personalisation software: uses AI to tailor each user’s visit according to their unique preferences and real-time purchase intent.
  • Automated merchandising: uses AI to help businesses put the right product in the right place at the right time by automating website search processing, to establish a self-operating, consistent, scalable system that grows more intelligent with time.
  • Marketing & CRM software: enables an omnichannel experience to marketing, selling, and serving for an integrated and cohesive customer experience, no matter the customer touchpoint.

Need a hand getting your business ready for Black Friday 2020? Get in touch.