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July 14, 2014

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are Coming-Is Your Website Ready?

By TMCnet Special Guest
Brian Mell, Digital Marketing Manager for BannerView.com

Although many retailers wait until closer to the holidays to start preparing their website for Black Friday and Cyber Monday (News - Alert), it is important for eTailers and retailers to begin preparing for the big day now, or they may find themselves scrambling in late October or early November.  Worse yet, they may find that they lose sales on the two most important shopping days of the year. 

The things that come between an eTailer or a retailer's having successful Black Friday (News - Alert) and Cyber Monday sales are often pretty simple.  Here are a few simple steps that you can take to prepare your website now:

·         Get a security badge.  For 17 percent of shoppers, not having a security badge can be a deal-breaker.  Shoppers are concerned with the safety of sharing their personal information.

·         Enable your users to log in with their social media accounts.  Social media logins have been cited as increasing conversion rates by up to 50 percent.

·         Add more ways to pay.  Some retailers have reported an increase of 15 percent or more in sales when they have added just one more method of payment.  Not offering the ability to pay via PayPal (News - Alert) yet?  Start offering it.

·         Do your homework.  Provide your marketing and IT staff with the information that they need to plan effective campaigns and prepare for both the PC and mobile shopping experience, from articles that they may find helpful to IBM’s (News - Alert) Black Friday Report.

·         Conduct an audit of your shopping experience from the prospective of a shopper:

o   Avoid hidden charges at all costs.  Most online shoppers will abandon a shopping cart without making a purchase if they discover there are a lot of unanticipated charges. Up to 50 percent of shoppers will abandon their shopping cart when they are presented with unexpected charges.

o   Conduct testing to ensure that your page’s load time is less than six seconds, even with a high volume of shoppers.

·         Plan incentives for shoppers in advance, while you have the time to conduct a cost-benefit analysis.  With the right planning and number-crunching, you may find that you are able to offer more than just your typical post-Thanksgiving sales to entice customers—you may also be able to offer free shipping, which can result in a significant boost in sales.  Roughly 60 percent of online retailers cite free shipping offers as one of their most effective marketing tools.

·         Ensure that you have features that will get shoppers excited about your products.  If your site does not offer the ability to create wish lists, ensuring that you remedy that before the holidays is a must.

·         Plan your social media strategy in advance.  We always recommend keeping an editorial calendar for blog posts and social media.  The week before Thanksgiving is not the time to start getting people excited about your brand—you should stay at the top of their mind in the months leading up to the big shopping day as well.  Facebook and Twitter (News - Alert) are obvious choices, but for online retailers, we also recommend taking advantage of the visual feast that is Pinterest and utilizing Fancy, a Pinterest alternative.  If you haven’t heard about Fancy, it is a powerful tool for retailers, because the 10 million users who are on the platform are able to purchase directly from Fancy.

By starting to plan for Black Friday and Cyber Monday now, you will not only maximize your sales on those all-important dates, but you will also be able to save yourself a lot of stress when November rolls around.

About the Author: Brian Mell is the digital marketing manager for BannerView.com, developers of BannerOS, the software that helps companies turn their websites into powerful business tools. As Digital Marketing Manager, Brian’s responsibility covers the multitude of online marketing elements associated with the company’s online presence including SEO, SEM, content and social media marketing strategies.




Edited by Maurice Nagle
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