Black Friday is not that far away - online shop owners, here’s your checklist!

Black Friday is not that far away - online shop owners, here’s your checklist!

The peak of the e-commerce season is approaching in leaps and bounds. Online shop owners and operators have spent the last couple of months preparing their sales channels, warehouses and distribution strategies, and yet, they can’t be sure they haven’t overlooked something important that might eventually take them by surprise! 

To make sure your Black Friday goes according to your wishes, you need to bring your attention to multiple activities, adjustments and measures spreading across multiple areas (ranging from production to marketing). We certainly recommend you emphasise the following ones:  

Not a single step without a plan

If you plan, you eliminate the possibility of unpleasant surprises just at the moment when your website is being flooded by shopping customers. In order to be able to set all the following steps properly, you need to know what your expectations are. How many visits and orders are you expecting during the season’s peak? If your estimate is a big number, an exact plan is the best way to set up every process in a way that is most beneficial for your business.

Website speed has never been more important

The world belongs to the fast. This is especially true in regards to the online world as the website speed directly influences your conversion rate.  Your more demanding customers leave your websites after waiting for too long and your website speed is now a landing page factor for various search engines. Standard page load time is 3 seconds and the lower you can get this number, the better. Don’t forget to test your speed not only during a regular day but also during expected peaks. The word of advice is: Design your infrastructure in such a way that your servers will run on 50% even when facing the maximum number of visitors.

Make sure your Customer Support is accessible in case of an outage

Chance favors the prepared mind - or expect the best but prepare for the worst. What is your back up plan ina case of an outage or a technical failure? Can you afford to experience one during your busiest period? Even though many people consider focusing on correct system adjustments and keeping people on-call too consuming, the opposite is true. To learn this lesson first-hand right when your conversion rates are peaking can have devastating consequences. Emergency services and support on multiple levels (helpdesk operators, system operators, specialists or quick change or maintenance of damaged hardware) are your safety nets to ensure everything goes according to plan. Signing your SLA – Service Level Agreement with your services provider, do not forget to double check the conditions regarding monitoring, alerting, reaction times and escalation processes offered in regard to your services.  

Never mislead the customer about real availability of your products and its delivery options

Different online shops need different amounts of time - months, days or sometimes merely hours to ensure they have sufficient stock. Your biggest advantage is again the above mentioned plan. It comes hand in hand with releasing sufficient volume of finance. To make sure you don’t get stuck with leftover stock sitting in your storage, it is crucial that you inform your customers about its availability and delivery options on your website. If the details on availability and delivery times provided are correct, you have great chances of getting a new satisfied customer. If not, you can expect an influx of negative reviews. And the reviews are one of the most important aspects of your online shop’s reputation.

Go big not only on stock, but also on staff

Higher conversion rates bring more pressure not only to your storage areas but also to your staff. The parcels won’t pack themselves. The answering machine won’t answer your potential customers’ questions. To make sure you have enough staff to man your call centres, helpdesk or storage area is as important as having enough stock.  

Make sure you work with a reliable and swift delivery company

Reliable products delivery is crucial. It is advisable to inform the delivery company about the expected volume of orders in advance to prevent their refusal. It might be a good idea to start cooperating with more than one delivery company before your busiest season to eliminate all potential glitches and problems

It might be really challenging for any online shop owner to manage the year's top season successfully. As we mentioned above, Black Friday differs from market to market in many complex activities - marketing, pricing, campaign timing or other important aspects of this phenomenon apart from those already mentioned in this article. We hope our TO DO list will help you not to forget anything and bring the revenue your hard work deserves.