Last year, the Black Friday / Cyber Monday weekend was the biggest in Australia’s eCommerce history. Aussies are embracing this American tradition with open arms, and here at Balance Internet, we’re excited to see what happens this weekend – with early data suggesting Australians will spend $3.9 billion.
So what is Black Friday, and what do you need to know to make sure your eCommerce site makes the most of the sale weekend?
Why is it called ‘Black Friday’?
Black Friday lands on the day after US Thanksgiving, which always falls on the fourth Thursday of November. The first known use of the term shows up in the early 1950s, where it was referring to workers calling in sick the day after Thanksgiving … nabbing themselves a four-day weekend.
It then crops up again in the 1960s in Philadelphia, where it was being used by police officers to refer to the increased traffic (pedestrians and vehicles) out on the day.
The Oxford Dictionary also suggests that it gets its name because retailers’ accounts go from being ‘in the red’ to ‘in the black’.
Consensus? Maybe not. All we know is that it’s big, it’s exciting, and it’s growing in popularity globally.
Why is it the biggest shopping day?
Black Friday has consistently been the busiest shopping day in the United States since 2005. It marks the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season – the Thanksgiving dishes have been put away and it’s time to put up the Christmas tree and start shopping for the gifts under the tree.
2005 also welcomed the debut of ‘Cyber Monday’, created by retailers to encourage eCommerce purchases. Cyber Monday always falls on the Monday after Thanksgiving. (The theory behind this one goes that people preferred to do their online shopping once they were back at work; where the internet speeds were usually faster).
The shopping weekend of Black Friday & Cyber Monday can be collectively known as ‘BFCM’ and is a big landmark in the retailer calendar. In saying that, with the increase in eCommerce flexibility and with retailers wanting to make the most of the sales, the boundaries are starting to blur: with some sales already started; and it will be interesting to see how the sale weekend evolves over time.
How do I get my eCommerce site prepared for Black Friday?
We’re glad you asked! It’s not enough to offer big discounts and create a marketing campaign. You’ve got to make sure your website is ready for the increased traffic and attention. (We know, we know, this is a good problem to have).
Performance & scaling
You can’t just cross your fingers and hope that your site will perform well under pressure. 88% of online consumers are less likely to return to a site after a bad experience. It’s not just your sales figures that will feel the impact, it’s the long-term health of your brand.
It’s vital that you do thorough performance testing in preparation for a large campaign. Doing it right means testing all components of your website – not just refreshing the homepage! Set up groups of “virtual users” to mimic the behaviour of different customer segments. Does your website hold up under the pressure?
“Pre-scaling” is important to make sure your website can handle the expected load. This is important even if you have an autoscaled environment, as it will minimize the impact during any traffic spikes.
If you run out of product in a bricks-and-mortar store it’s easy to show the customer the empty shelf and come up with another solution for them. It’s harder to do this online.
One option is to sync your eCommerce solution to inventory so you don’t continue to sell items that are out of stock. Integrating your online store to your ERP/product management system it will save you unhappy customers and extra effort.
Check out our blog on the 10 questions to consider when managing your eCommerce Product Inventory Management (PIM) to make sure you’ve considered all your options.
Australia Posts’ 2019 eCommerce Industry Report shows that Australian consumers are using diverse payment methods online: with younger generations increasingly using BNPL (Buy Now Pay Later).
The average rate of shopping cart abandonment (customers who expressed a clear intent to buy, and then didn’t) is 70%. You’re already fighting a tough battle in converting – don’t make it worse for yourself! Reduce friction for your consumers and give them the option they want.
(And to grab those abandoned shopping carts back, you can find out more about an effective email strategy in one of our latest guest blogs: 5 Marketing Tactics You Need to Survive the Holiday Season)
Finally, we do want to make sure you’ve got your bases covered in promotion – to get that spike in traffic your site will be ready for. We recommend considering these four options:
- Email marketing: 25% of Black Friday sales start with an email promotion. We love email marketing: it’s one of the best ways to reach customers at a low cost.
- SMS marketing: in this guest blog by dotdigital they share that SMS has an 98% open rate within the first five minutes of receipt – great for those last-minute deals.
- Mix it up: vary your offers across products and across the holiday season to keep your customers coming back.
- Influencer marketing: 82% of customers are likely to follow the recommendation of an influencer, and including this in your marketing mix builds consumer trust and variety of content.
Does your website need help to get through the holiday season? As the most experienced Magento Agency and Magento Enterprise partner in the Asia-Pacific region, Balance Internet is the choice of many Australia’s leading brands. We enable digital transformation through innovative eCommerce solutions. You can trust us to drive the performance of your eCommerce strategy. Get in touch with us today to have a no-obligation discussion.