While Black Friday has its origins in the US, in recent years, an increasing number of Canadian retailers are getting in the action (us included – stay tuned for more details soon!). Customers are already in the shopping frame of mind, why not try to capture extra sales in the lead up to the holiday season?

With COVID-19 especially hitting small businesses hard, there are many things you can do to prepare in the lead up to the Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping bonanza to maximize your sales:

Create buzz early

Every year it seems the holiday promotions start earlier and earlier and it’s not just your imagination. A recent survey has found that this holiday shopping season is starting even earlier this year. Let your potential customers know early that you’ll be having Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. Don’t wait until the days leading up to Black Friday to begin your promotion. You can start teasing and hinting at your Black Friday sales at the beginning of November – we mean right now!

This year especially, you want to give your customers time so that they can plan out their shopping so they can avoid the crowds in person or shipping delays when purchasing online. Talk about your upcoming promotions on social media and then use ads to amplify your message. This can have the added benefit of building on your social media presences as well.

If you have a brick and mortar store consider extending your sales beyond just the weekend of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. This can allow you to adhere to social distancing protocols while allowing your customers the time to make their purchases.

Prepare your store

When your Black Friday sale comes, you’ll want to update your website so that your Black Friday deals are front and centre when they arrive on your homepage. Customers don’t want to be digging around your website hunting for deals. The easier you make it for customers, the easier it will be for you to get sales. Think about how you want to feature your products that are on sale. Are you able to move them to the top of the page, highlight them differently, or perhaps create an entirely new Black Friday landing page?

As the old adage says, a picture is worth a thousand words so you’ll want to start preparing by getting all your graphics and hero images ready for your website. If you’re not a graphic designer, you can purchase a template to customize or design your own using online design tools like Canva.

Add delivery deadlines

With most in-person celebrations cancelled, it’s even more important this year that purchases and gifts are delivered on time. The pandemic has caused delays in shipping and you’ll want to be transparent about when you can realistically have items arriving. Consider having cut-off days for guaranteed shipping so that customers have a clear timeline of whether or not their purchases would arrive in time.

Think mobile

Increasingly consumers are making purchases on their phone. See what your customers are experiencing when they visit your website on a phone by testing it out yourself. Is your website mobile responsive? Are there too many popups? Is your website intuitive to navigate? How about the check-out experience? Make note of anything that interrupts the flow of purchasing and make changes to your website to minimize those annoyances.

For example, many consumers find filling out shipping details and billing addresses as the most inconvenient aspect of mobile online shopping. Having address verification and autocomplete on your website can help ease this potential frustration and create a positive customer experience.

Test your website

With more and more customers doing their shopping online this year, make sure your website is ready for them. Before the launch of your Black Friday campaign, test your website to make sure it can handle the influx of shopping traffic. The last thing you want is your website to crash because it overloaded. Work with your web hosting provider to ensure that your website has all the resources it needs.

If you’re hosted with Canadian Web Hosting, we can help you get started with testing the capabilities of your website. Get in touch with us!

Get analytical

If you haven’t already, it’s time to set up Google Analytics for your website so that you can understand your shoppers. With Google Analytics you can see where your shoppers are coming from, what webpages they visit, and whether or not they end up making a purchase. All of this information is important for planning your future promotions.

You can also consider using heat maps and other tools to further understand visitor behaviour. You can see where visitors click, how far they go on the page and much more.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are on the horizon and now is the time to get your small business website ready for the holiday shopping season. With some preparation and planning, you too can have a profitable Black Friday and Cyber Monday.