Getting your Ecommerce Store Ready for Black Friday


Paul Dwight

27th October 2021

The countdown to Black Friday has already started and thanks to our article on its importance for your business, you are ready and raring to go. The question is, how can you prepare well in order to make the most of the biggest shopping day in the retailer's calendar? 

With this guide to prepping your e-commerce store for Black Friday , you will be ready to grab the attention of the hordes of shoppers looking to bag a bargain.

Why is Improving my E Commerce Site Important?

The great news for online stores is that this year, thanks to the acceleration of the change in shopping habits last year, the traditionally, in person shopping experience is going to be even more digital. Last year in 2020 orders via desktop computers stood at 49% and smartphone orders at 43%.

With the huge number of added users hunting for deals online again this Black Friday and Cyber Monday, your online store should be experiencing a spike in traffic. It’s a good idea to have a look at your web analytics for past years in order to investigate what your previous performance has been for this period. If you aren’t seeing an increase in traffic, then it is worth asking why not?

If you do receive more traffic but no more conversions or sales, then that is also an issue. There could be any number of reasons for why you just aren’t getting the sales you would hope for. Either through issues with site performance under high traffic, poor SEO or issues with your site design which interrupt the user journey.

Here are some of our top tips to ensure your site is ready for the expected increase of Black Friday traffic.


1. Start Planning Early

It really is never too early to start planning. Some businesses will start planning for Black Friday way back in summer. Don’t panic though, it’s also never too late to make some quick changes and launch some promotions for your product ranges to draw those clicks. Take notice of how you would improve for next year as well. This way you can have a good head start when the season rolls around again. 

Areas to focus on which may take more time are: 

  • Making sure your site has great functionality on mobile 

  • Checking that your user interface is clear and intuitive

  • Assess your checkout experience

Slow loading times on a website

2. Check the speed of your website

For kids it can feel like Christmas can’t get here fast enough, but for adults, there never seems to be enough time to prepare for the holiday season! One of the reasons customers turn to online sales is because it is quicker. 

Having a website that loads quickly is essential for reducing your bounce rate, improving user experience and retaining customers. Nobody wants to sit and watch your website load when they could be getting their gift list ticked off. So make sure that your site is not getting in the way of your customers spending their money by failing to load promptly. 

You can check the speed of your site by using Google’s free tool to see if you have a problem. Simply paste your URL into the tool and google will give you the results of its analysis. You can then address the changes you need to make either independently or with some help from your friendly neighbourhood web agency

Core Web Vitals are becoming increasingly important to your overall SEO. If you need some help with a more in depth audit because you are concerned that your site isn’t performing technically, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

A woman with an ear piece for customer service

3. Make sure your Customer Service is manned. 

On key retail days it’s essential that when problems arise your customers can get help fast. As useful and immediate as online shopping can be, it doesn’t have the interpersonal interactions with employees and experts who can help out your customers in the way that brick and mortar stores do. 

This can be a huge plus for some users, however it can cause real issues when there is a problem or query that needs help directly. 

This is why customer service online is just as important as in store and is crucial to the success of your e-commerce site and your brand. 

Poor customer experiences are sadly much harder to forget then good ones and so making sure every interaction your customer has is a good one is important. 

A lot of mistakes can be forgiven or smoothed over with prompt, clear and generous responses from your customer service. This is why on high traffic days it's important that you plan to cover a possible increase in queries and requests also.

Try to make sure contact options, or ways of requesting help are clearly marked on your site and that your users can contact you in a variety of different ways. 

This could include:

  • Clearly showing an FAQs page 

  • Having both email and phone clearly marked on your site

  • Using social media effectively including facebook messenger or twitter

Having methods of contact will only work if these are manned and the person receiving the call is trained to deal with expected requests quickly and politely. They should be warm, knowledgeable and have a clear way of contacting someone with more power if a request needs to be escalated or they need further advice. 

Having a good reputation for resolving customer complaints and queries really will generate its own good publicity and trust in your brand. If you can nail it on the busiest shopping day of the year, then the rest of the time should be a piece of cake.

checking out of an online store

4. Check out your checkout with an audit

Yes I know we have mentioned the check out already but we really can’t emphasise how important this is. A clunky checkout which isn’t fit for purpose will lead to cart abandonment and whilst some may return later, the majority will not.

If your web users have taken the decision to give you their money, we shouldn't be getting in the way of that. Especially if you have invested in driving traffic to your site, falling at this last hurdle is just not an option! 

Users expect a hassle free checkout process, which is fast, efficient and simple. So test your user journey through the checkout. Try to behave as though you are completely unfamiliar with it. What frustrates you? What could reduce time spent typing, or need for physical cards and forms. 

You can use user persona in order to place yourself into the shoes of your users and remind yourself of limitations on technical knowledge or areas of specific need for customers with disabilities. 

It is worth spending some time on this, as the benefits will persist long after Black Friday and into the seasons to come. 

Here are some tips of how your checkout experience can be improved:

  • Offer a variety of payment options ( like PayPal or Apple Pay)

  • Set up automated cart abandonment notifications to attract your buyers back

  • Consider consolidating your checkout to one page to reduce load times.

  • Consider allowing for multiple recipients to reduce the need for multiple transactions.

What now?

Hopefully with these tips you will have identified areas for improvement and some easy wins for your e-commerce store. It may be that some problems areas will take longer to sort out than others, and that is ok. 

The great thing about Black Friday is that it’s clear that it is not going anywhere. You can update and perfect your store throughout the holiday season and beyond. 

Keep developing your e-commerce store and you will see the results in your bottom line in the months to come. 

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