The countdown to Black Friday has officially begun, and consumers are getting their cards and other contactless payment methods ready, because quickest fingers to checkout, get the best deals. This year’s Black Friday comes amid the COVID-19 global pandemic and, understandably, many shoppers will opt to shop online rather than venture to overcrowded shopping malls. Social distancing and the surge in online shopping presents an opportunity for small e-commerce stores to rake in good money.

While Black Friday and Cyber Monday present an immense opportunity for businesses, it can also often be a stressful time. Companies that don’t prepare for the shopping season open themselves up to a potential disaster. Discounts, deals and sales aren’t the only things you need to consider, you also need to think about infrastructure, capacity, contingency plans, inventory, and workflows to name but a few.

Here is a checklist to ensure that your e-commerce store is Black Friday ready: 

Ensure your website can handle a surge of traffic

Big corporations make this mistake every single year because they fail to plan for the surge in traffic that Black Friday and Cyber Monday brings. Do thorough tests on our website and ensure that your site can handle a spike in traffic.

Consider your web hosting package and whether your website is equipped to handle large amounts of traffic. Opt for VPS Hosting for more control, stability and speed, if your shared hosting solution is inadequate.

 

Ramp up your marketing efforts 

Shopping season is not the time to be conservative with your marketing efforts; it’s time to turn the volume up and do more. Customers will get bombarded by communication from a lot of businesses, and you don’t want your company to fall by the wayside. Here are things you can do now to help improve your online visibility:

  • Pay special attention to your website SEO: make sure the metadata is correct, write compelling blog content, optimize your website images and formulate a robust backlinking campaign.
  • Make use of paid advertising if you have the financial resources; use Facebook’s targeting options to your advantage, as well as other paid platforms like Instagram and influencer campaigns.
  • Use your social media to engage with your customers; post more.  
  • Stay consistent with your content marketing; blog consistently, and ramp it up to daily if you have the capacity.

 

Check what your competitors are doing

Knowing what your competitors are doing will give you an edge. Subscribe to their mailing lists and conduct competitor analyses so you can learn from their shortcomings and do it better.

Click the links below for a comprehensive guide to conducting a competitor analysis:

https://www.mykpono.com/how-to-conduct-competitive-analysis/

https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/competitive-analysis-kit

 

Formulate a contingency plan

Preparing for the worst and having an action plan is essential in business, especially during shopping seasons where a lot can go wrong. Knowing what to do when things go wrong will save you a lot of time. Prepare plans for tricky situations like:

  • Shipping delays
  • Coronavirus regulations or restrictions
  • Chain of command in the event of someone being unable to fulfil their duties  

 

Be decisive about your inventory 

Decide on the products you want to push during that weekend so that you can order and market accordingly. Conduct a sales forecast of what sells around that time of year, also take into account COVID-19 trends, like social distancing, etc.

Shopify article explains how you should approach the Black Friday and Cyber Monday inventory decision:

“A-grade products are your money makers and represent the specific products that make up 80% of your revenue, whereas C-grade products are your dead stock and represent the specific products that make up only 5% of your revenue. BFCM presents a great opportunity to drive revenue by featuring A-grade products in your campaign with modest discounts, as well as an opportunity to sell off dead stock and free up shelf space.”

Implementing these tips in your business in preparation for Black Friday and Cyber Monday will set your business up for an excellent sales weekend. Also, take a retrospective look at last year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday to identify what you could have done better – experience is still the best teacher.