A Retailer’s Guide to Surviving Black Friday

a retailers guide to surviving black friday

Black Friday can be every retailer’s greatest dream or worst nightmare. The outcome depends on how prepared you are to manage the holiday rush.

The truth is that Black Friday is no longer constrained to a brick-and-mortar shopping holiday. E-commerce trends and a stronger appetite for shopping on mobile devices have quickly absorbed more consumer spending. Customers are still shopping at stores, but numbers continue to dip each year as e-commerce takes a larger section of the retail pie.

Retailers that want to maximize resources on Black Friday must now balance their attention between both their physical stores and online channels. We’ve gathered some tips on how you can proactively prepare for the Black Friday rush.

Optimize Your Mobile and Online Shopping Experience

Mobile will be the shining star this holiday retail season, and merchants who aren’t mobile-optimized risk losing out big to competitors. In an era when consumers are quick to click out of a page or abandon their shopping cart, you need to remove as much friction along the shopping journey as you can.

Offering diverse ways to pay, such as digital payment methods and one-clicking payment options are ways to convert shoppers faster, and drive up cart size during the holiday rush. For those who need a little more convincing about mobile’s impact Black Friday impact, just take a look at these Black Friday stats from 2016.

Last year, shoppers spent $1.2 billion on mobile devices on Black Friday, a whopping 33% increase from 2015. On Thanksgiving Day, shoppers spent  $1.93 billion, with 40% coming from mobile ($771 million). Total shopping figures hit $5.27 billion, with online spend accounting for $3.34 billion.

Prepare For Traffic Surges

There’s nothing worse than pushing away a shopper who’s ready to spend money because of bad shopping experience or a glitchy website. This hurts brand value and can spark a wave of negative PR across social media. As a precaution, merchants should provide easy access to customer support and attempt to respond to inquiries as quickly as possible.

Whether it’s delivering customer service in-store by having enough associates available to help serve shoppers at your physical locations, or a website built to handle traffic surges; retailers must be prepared to tackle an influx of customers and their requests.

Reduce Friction in the Shopping Process

If a customer experiences friction during the buying process due to lengthy, slow lines – or a glitchy checkout that takes too long to pay — they will abandon their purchases. Integrated payment solutions can address this problem by creating a speedier checkout process.

Industry data concluded that the average global cart abandonment rate across the entire Black Friday shopping holiday weekend was nearly 70%. Merchants can improve this rate and reduce customer churn by offering a fully optimized, speedy website with easy checkout options. Use coupon codes on your homepage to give customers a clearer path to purchase.

Deliver Customer Delight Across All Channels

An omnichannel experience will resonate with consumers this holiday season. Use your e-commerce site to connect customers to your physical storefronts for a full-fledged shopping experience, and vice versa. Encouraging your customers to engage with your business through multiple touchpoints keeps them in your sales funnel longer, increasing the chances they will engage with your brand again and again. Creating the same positive experience across each channel builds brand loyalty and trust.

Stay Connected with Your Most Loyal Customers

On your digital channels, be sure to connect with the people who’ve already engaged with your brand most, especially those who’ve reached out through social media. For shoppers who start in-store, be sure to connect with them digitally and direct them to your e-commerce channels. Offering coupons after sales are completed gives them a reason to come back after they’ve left your site or store (on Cyber Monday, for example).

Give the Deals that Customers Want

Consumers are savvy and have plenty of options to chose from during their holiday shopping, which means they expect more than ever before during their shopping experience. One way to convert more sales over the holiday weekend, for example, is by advertising free shipping promotions. Customize deals for new and existing shoppers to make them feel valued. Promote deals that make your customers feel like they’re getting a deal; gimmicky pricing doesn’t typically work anymore. Promote your digital channels by offering online-only specials, and do the same for your in-store offerings.

Customize the Shopping Experience

Sending targeted digital ads and coupons about your black Friday sales will make your brand top of mind a provide a good reason for shoppers consider browsing your store or site. You don’t want to mass market your deals to everyone; you want to engage with the people who fit the model of good potential customers for your brand. Also, timing is everything when it comes to retail holiday sales; if customers think a deal is going to end, they’re more likely to convert faster. Relying on data analytics can allow merchants to customize the shopping experience for each type of shopper.

Make a Checklist – and Check it Twice

It’s easy to get caught up in the holiday rush, particularly on Black Friday. What’s important for all retailers to remember is to have an organized plan in place for each of your shopping channels. Merchants have more opportunities to connect with customers more than ever before. The key is to optimize the experience separately for each channel, while still enabling them to work together.

Rely on the power of digital to enhance your in-store experience, and use that to entice retail shoppers to become online customers. That’s where the real value will be this holiday shopping season. Check out our integrated payment solutions to ensure you’re ready to tackle the Black Friday rush.