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Get Your Ecommerce Site Ready for Black Friday

Are you ready to benefit from Black Friday and Cyber Monday? E-commerce sales are expected to grow by 18 to 20 percent this holiday season, according to Deloitte’s 2017 Holiday Shopper Report. While online retailers have lots of opportunity this season, they also face lots of competition. To grab your share of Black Friday sales, you'd better start preparing now. The Holiday Shopping Intentions Survey reports that 66% of shoppers are going to start before Thanksgiving — and more than one-fourth have already started.

Follow these 6 steps to get your e-commerce website ready for Black Friday and beyond.

  1. Plan your Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. (Don't forget about Thanksgiving Day, either — last Thanksgiving saw an estimated $1 billion in online sales.) Can you follow the lead of brick-and-mortar retailers and offer a "doorbuster" deal on one popular item each day? This helps get shoppers to your website, where they're likely to spend on more than that one item. Planning your promotions also helps you plan your inventory.
  2. Decorate your website for holiday cheer. If you're going to change your site design for the holidays, plan how it will look. For example, do you want to spotlight certain products on Black Friday, or highlight suggested gifts for different types of recipients? Find holiday-themed imagery to add, as well.
  3. Offer free shipping. Free shipping is a major factor in whether or not people buy from your e-commerce website. Consider offering free shipping on Black Friday and/or Cyber Monday. If you can’t offer free shipping for every order, setting a lower minimum order than normal can help spur customers to spend. For example, if you normally offer free shipping for purchases of $50 and up, lower it to $25 and up.
  4. Check your site speed. Slow-loading sites turn shoppers off. Test your site to make sure it loads quickly and can handle the additional traffic you expect for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. While relatively few customers actually buy on mobile devices, many start their shopping searches there, so make sure your mobile website is up to speed as well.
  5. Create a detailed marketing plan. Once Black Friday hits, you won't have time to plan your marketing — you'll just need to execute. Get ready by developing a marketing plan that lays out each element of your marketing, when it will launch and where. For example, will you use pay-per-click (PPC) or social media marketing? With a marketing plan in place, all you’ll have to do is refer to it daily and take action.
  6. Gear up to provide great service. Plan how you will handle the extra traffic and sales. Will you need to add employees or schedule overtime? If you don't already use live chat, consider adding it to your website now. The more ways customers can contact you to get help with orders, the better.