Last year, Black Friday and Cyber Monday both hit the UK in a serious way for the first time, with even the biggest eCommerce sites struggling to cope with traffic. Currys, Argos and Tesco all had trouble keeping their websites running on Black Friday as customers tried to beat the queues by shopping for their deals online.
The UK saw a massive amount of transactions last year, with £810m spent on Black Friday and £720m on Cyber Monday, amazingly, many expect that number to rise this year. Even at Trustpilot we saw a massive spike in visits to our site on Cyber Monday, with people checking the reviews and reputations of companies before committing to a discount purchase.
But while Black Friday is becoming a staple fixture in the shopping calendar, customers are still wary of taking advantage of the many offers available after in-store fights and late deliveries made the news last year. When so many transactions are happening in such a short space of time focus on customer experience can slip.
Fear not - here are our five top tips to ensure the smoothest Black Friday and Cyber Monday interactions with your customers.
1 - Make sure your stock is up to date
Warehouses are filling up around the world. If you’re not sure you’ll have the stock, make sure your suppliers are able to help with quick turnarounds, or update your webshop to reflect the quantities available as accurately as possible.
Research shows 25% of customers abandon their cart due to out-of-stock problems.
2 - Get your dispatch team ready
Despite knowing that businesses are under increased pressure on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, customers still want to be able to rely on being able to receive their goods in a timely manner. Many businesses are hiring extra staff for their delivery fleets and dispatch warehouses to compensate for increased demand after struggling to keep up last year.
But even if you’re struggling with the load, customers tend not to mind so long as you can keep up with their feedback. The number one reason customers abandon a brand is due to poor quality customer service, not slow service.
3 - Increase conversions through trust
Showcasing positive feedback from previous customers can be a great way to turn a window shopper into a completed transaction, and can be especially useful in helping smaller businesses compete with potentially larger companies showcasing better savings.
4 - Prepare for the worst
Last year, UK customers were tweeting companies in frustration after being locked out of websites. Many companies used their social media to respond to customers, reassuring them colleagues were working hard behind the scenes.
From a more technical standpoint, ensure customers aren’t getting kicked out halfway through their buying journey, and make sure your web developers and customer services teams are on standby to mitigate the effects of the increased web traffic, even if that means investing in increased server space.
5 - Prepare for the best
It’s not all doom and gloom - this is a chance to really show customers what you’re capable of.
If you’re a boutique online shop then this is the opportunity of the year to make sure your customers become your brand advocates. Black Friday and Cyber Monday both set you up for the Christmas season, and if your customer feels like you can handle it then they’ll come back.
If you’re one of the larger online shops, then this is a good time to show that you care about the customer experience, and that they’re more than just a number.
AO.com invested a lot of time in making sure that they responded to the fact that some sites were crashing with agule marketing , taking advantage of their google seller rating and placing themselves at the top of the page for very specific search terms relevant to the sites that were failing to meet demand.
A surprising number of people are shopping online in the small hours of the morning ; there was a steep increase in purchases per hour last year from 5am, reaching a peak at 11am before a steady decrease in sales per hour after 12 midday.
If you make it to the afternoon then your site is probably safe from the dangers of crashing on the biggest shopping day of the year, and it’s time to focus on the after care of your new customers.
Have a bright Black Friday and a super Cyber Monday!
Nail these high pressure days and you should have a big batch of happy customers who will be ready to purchase from you again.