It’s not too late to reap the rewards of Black Friday

Black Friday is on retail’s horizon again, and the opportunities for a pre-Christmas sales boost are plentiful – if retailers can adopt the right approach.

IMRG says a record £1.23 billion was spent in the UK during the Black Friday period in 2016. It is no longer one day of discounts and special offers – many retailers now opt to spread out their deals to help better meet demand and reduce pressure points online and in-store.

Whatever way retailers shape their Black Friday strategy, it is clear shoppers in the UK now expect the opportunity to find a bargain at the end of November. Here are some of the fundamentals to consider for a successful Black Friday period:

Think mobile

In the last few years, as the US-inspired Black Friday shopping bonanza has embedded itself into the UK retail calendar, it has resulted in the rise of the impatient shopper.

They are increasingly looking for impulse bargains and to shop on the go from their mobile devices.

PCA Predict’s data shows that 43% of Black Friday purchases in 2016 were made on mobile devices, meaning checkout must be as slick as possible to ensure customers are navigated through the website to the point of purchase as quickly as they can be.

Consider CX at all times

Black Friday’s emergence in the UK has people in offices up and down the country comparing their shopping plans, families working out tactics to secure the best deals and savvy Christmas shoppers thinking ahead. It has become a phenomenon.

With that in mind, all this shopping conversation is likely to bring new customers to retailers’ stores and websites – and they will need to use this period as a showcase for their brands.

Having an easy-to-navigate site with a great user experience that clearly signposts best deals will have a long-lasting impact. After all, retailers want shoppers for life, not just before Christmas, and they need to serve them seamlessly at a time when they are willing to part with their money.

Small changes make a big difference

As with many things in retail, small tweaks to a company’s proposition can make a huge difference to sales.

In a pre-digital retail era that would have been confined to in-store practices such as clever merchandising, store opening time changes or and relevant customer service. That is all still crucial in modern times, but online techniques can be tweaked too.

One small change to your site, for example implementing the PCA Predict address validation tool, can multiply conversions. And that’s something retailers should certainly be considering ahead of the expected busy Black Friday period.

When customers begin to insert their address at online checkout, the tool can autocomplete and validate the full address – even when typos are entered.

Retailers from across the globe use this tech, including Asos, House of Fraser and Tesco in the UK, with the aim of reducing friction, improving delivery rates by ensuring correct customer addresses, and speeding up the checkout process – especially on mobile.

Global eCommerce consultancy Salmon predicts £10 billion will be spent through mobile in November, making it the biggest ever month for smartphone ordering.

Along with IMRG, Salmon estimates that sales during the Black Friday period will increase at the same rate as they did in 2016, as more shoppers see the benefit of treating themselves or bringing forward Christmas shopping ahead of the festive rush.

The best retailers will have put their plans in place for peak season months ago, but they’ll also consider making any changes they can – right up to the last minute – if they know it will help improve the customer experience.

Is your website ready for the Black Friday frenzy? Learn how PCA Predict can help improve the online customer experience, speed up transactions and increase conversions.