How to prepare your retail business for an online-only Black Friday

Megan Lipscombe

Megan Lipscombe

Head of Marketing

Typically retail businesses see more online sales than in-store sales on Black Friday and Cyber Monday; perhaps to be expected given that Cyber Monday was introduced specifically for internet-only deals. Last year 77% of Black Friday & Cyber Monday sales in the UK, occurred online

But this year is set to be a little different, particularly for retailers selling ‘non-essential’ items. As a direct result of the second UK lockdown, 100% of Cyber Weekend sales will have to be made online. Meaning the online competition will be higher than ever! 

In this blog I highlight a few marketing tips and website tricks, to help you stand out amongst your competitors and get the online sales you need to weather the storm that is 2020. 

Engage your existing customers with personalised emails

Email your existing customers ahead of the big weekend to promote your Black Friday deals. And if you have the data to do so, personalise those offers. Look at the past purchases your customers have made and use this insight to recommend similar products. 

Utilise social media and invest in digital advertising

It’s easy enough to promote your Black Friday deals to your existing social media followers but think about the potential new customers you aren’t reaching. Take this opportunity to invest in digital advertising and get in front of those customers you may otherwise miss. 

There are plenty of channels to choose from and the best way to identify what works for you, is to test a few of them. If you’re new to the digital space and don’t have the time or resource to do any testing, then there’s plenty of third party research out there that you can learn from. And if you were asking me, I’d say focus on Instagram and Facebook advertising as well as remarketing to past website visitors.

Consider competitive pricing 

As I mentioned earlier, the online market is set to be more competitive than ever this year, thanks to lockdown 2.0. So make sure you do your research ahead of the event, especially if you know you have a number of competitors selling similar products. Customers will shop around for the cheapest deal so it’s worth spending some time making sure you’re pricing is right. And consider a ‘price match’ offer if your customers find a lower price elsewhere.

Make sure your website is optimised for ecommerce 

There’s no point driving traffic to a website that isn’t up to the job. Customers will soon give up on completing their purchase if your website is slow and difficult to navigate, or your checkout process is clunky and confusing. Use any time you gain from the closure of your high street store to make sure your website is top notch! Think of it as if it were your physical shop. Is everything in order and easy to find? Can payment be made easily? Is there someone on hand to help if a customer has a question, or is having trouble finding what they’re looking for?

If the answer to any of these questions is no, it’s time to make some changes. Look into how you can improve your website speed. Have a bit of a ‘refit’ so things are easy to find. Review your checkout process and ensure your customers can complete their purchase in as few steps as possible. And invest in live chat so  your customers can ask you questions in real time. 

And don’t forget about mobile

On Black Friday last year 67% of online sales were made on mobile, so if anything, you should be thinking mobile first. Optimise both your website and advertising to be delivered and used on mobile. 

Manage expectations when it comes to delivery times

With an increase in online purchases comes an increase in demand for home deliveries. If you expect to struggle with this increased demand, and can’t invest in more your delivery service, then manage your customers expectations. People understand the stress a second lockdown is putting on businesses, just make sure you keep your customers informed about how long you expect deliveries to take. And remember, although you can’t open your high street store, you can still operate a click-and-collect service.

Remember, it’s more than just a 2 day event

Some retail businesses have already launched their Black Friday deals and others run offers all the way up until Christmas. Decide what you want to offer, and make sure you stay on top of your inventory so you have the stock to go with it. But, be wary of running any offers for too long – a short, sharp deal will be more powerful.

And that’s it from me… I hope you found the content of this blog useful, please feel free to reach out to with any questions you may have. Wishing you and your team all the best for the month ahead.

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