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Black Friday Is Coming—Is Your Ecommerce Store Ready?

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By Miva | October 11, 2011
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With Halloween still a couple of weeks away, Thanksgiving and Christmas may still seem like events far into the future for some of us. Ecommerce merchants, however, know that these holidays, and the subsequent increase in consumer spending that goes along with them, are right around the corner.

Black Friday, or the day after Thanksgiving is traditionally the kickoff of the holiday shopping season and as such, is a point of focus for many online and brick-and-mortar retailers. Followed closely by “Cyber Monday” or the Monday after Thanksgiving, sales from both of these days are seen by many merchants as a predictor for overall online ecommerce sales during the holiday season.

How can you make sure that your store is ready for Black Friday and Cyber Monday? Here are some tips that can help.

Onsite Promotions

When customers come to your site, will they know that you are gearing up for a Black Friday promotion in a few weeks? Adding banners, graphics, and other visual elements to your site’s pages to inform shoppers of your upcoming promotion is essential, and will also help to put them in the holiday shopping mindset when shopping.

Make sure that your paid search ads have Black Friday and Cyber Monday text and images as well. Not only will this help to visually reinforce your promotions, it will also help with keyword rankings as well.

Email And Social Media Marketing

Sending out email notifications to your subscribers is a must. Make sure to send out the first email early, and send out subsequent emails as the date of the promotion gets closer. Including coupons that are clickable and take customers to a specific Black Friday/Cyber Monday landing page is also a good idea, since this allows customers to view the promotion and redeem coupons with ease.

In terms of social media marketing, there are many things that you can do to promote your business without sounding like a commercial in your tweets and updates. Try sharing interesting facts about the history of Black Friday, creating lists of your products by category, price, and usage and sharing them online, and of course, tie everything back to your upcoming promotion.

Preparing For Increased Traffic

Can your site handle a sharp increase in traffic? What about your customer service and support departments? If your pages load slowly now, they will load even more slowly in the event of a sharp traffic increase. Likewise, if your customer service response is slower than you’d like it to be currently, or if terms of your return policy are unclear, you are setting yourself up for a less-than-profitable holiday shopping season unless you make some changes.

Removing large, high resolution images and replacing them with smaller images is one way to increase your overall page load time, as is removing unnecessary flash movies or animated gifs, and using clean code.

Making sure that your return policies are clearly identified, easy to find, and easy to understand is crucial. During busy shopping seasons, shoppers tend to be more impulsive than usual, and more likely to purchase an item that may need to be exchanged for another size or color later.

When your customers do have questions about your products, will they be able to find answers quickly and easily, even during peak traffic periods? If not, now is the time to increase your customer service staff, extend hours, etc. to make sure that your customers don’t turn into former customers due to order-related frustration.

Additionally, Miva Merchant ecommerce store owners should check out Miva Merchant Optimizer 5 from Phosphor Media. With this module, you can easily improve site and server performance, and improve overall site optimization.

Have any other great Black Friday and holiday shopping preparation tips to share? Feel free to leave a comment below and let us all know about them.

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Author's Bio

Miva

Miva offers a flexible and adaptable ecommerce platform that evolves with businesses and allows them to drive sales, maximize average order value, cut overhead costs, and increase revenue. Miva has been helping businesses realize their ecommerce potential for over 20 years and empowering retail, wholesale, and direct-to-consumer sellers across all industries to transform their business through ecommerce.

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