black friday on calendar

How prepared are you for this year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday?

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are just around the corner. If you run an e-commerce website, these dates are probably firmly on your radar and preparations for them will be underway. To make sure you’ve got everything covered, here is Oban’s checklist for a successful sales weekend.


When is Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2022?

Black Friday is the day after the US Thanksgiving holiday. This year, it’s the 25th of November. Cyber Monday will be the 28th.


Black Friday and Cyber Monday e-commerce checklist

#1: Is your checkout experience the best it can be?

Long and overly-complicated checkout processes are one of the most common reasons for cart abandonment. A simple check-out process makes it easier for customers to make quick purchases, especially during timely sales periods. Areas to consider include:

  • Layout and design
  • Only requesting necessary details from customers
  • Enabling one-click buying with payment options such as Apple Pay, Google Pay or PayPal. You could also offer a Buy Now, Pay Later option if you don’t already
  • Ensuring your checkout has been appropriately localised for each market (e.g. address form fields, payment options etc)
  • Live chat options – you can either create your own chatbot or can choose to integrate Facebook Messenger, Zendesk chat, or others


#2: Is your website optimised for SEO?

SEO is an ongoing, long term process of continuous improvement, not a one-off event. But a key retail date such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday underlines the need for your SEO to be as optimised as possible. You can use a free SERP checker to see how you’re ranking. SEO elements to consider include:

  • Loading speed – Google offers a free tool to check your site speed. Compressing your product images is one way to improve site speed
  • Landing pages – creating specific landing pages for Black Friday and Cyber Monday will help online shoppers find specific pages for deals they are looking for
  • Optimising product names and descriptions – so they reflect how your customers search for your product. Bear in mind that customers in different countries may understand your product category differently – and search in ways that are not merely English translations. This is why localised keyword research is essential

You may see an influx of new customers on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. It’s important to make sure that user journeys and product pages are as simple as possible, to avoid confusion or hesitation. Make sure product pages include important information, such as specs and sizing, and feature up-to-date photos and availability. If you don’t feature product reviews, consider doing so – research shows these can increase sales by 10%.


#3: Is your website mobile friendly?

According to Shopify, 79% of Black Friday and Cyber Monday purchases in 2021 took place on mobile devices. You can use this free Google tool to test how mobile friendly your website is. Factors to consider include:

  • Ensuring a responsive layout
  • Making sure the navigation menu is easy to use
  • Eliminating unnecessary pop-ups which often frustrate mobile users
  • Decluttering your web design – pages with too many elements often work poorly on mobiles


#4: Do you have a teaser campaign planned?

Numerous retailers will have Black Friday and Cyber Monday campaigns planned. To be competitive, start promoting your campaign in advance, so when you reveal your offers, you already have an engaged audience. For example:

  • Tease your Black Friday promotions in advance. Drop hints via social media and email throughout October and November to build anticipation
  • Offer exclusive early access to deals for email subscribers – this can be an effective tactic to build your email database which will pay dividends after the event. You could create a Black Friday landing page which features a data capture call to action, such as “Join our VIP list and be the first to know
  • Test your ads. If you’re running any paid media activity, start running A/B tests on your campaigns in advance to figure out what messages work best for your audience


#5: Do you have Black Friday and Cyber Monday promo codes planned?

Promotional codes and discounts create urgency and encourage customers to take advantage of the discounts you are offering. Make sure these codes are easy for customers to find – for example:

  • Use a pop-up on your website to announce the discount code
  • Ask customers to enter their email address to receive a discount code (as another way of building your email database)
  • Apply the discount code automatically at checkout – this is the simplest solution for your customers


#6: Are your discount codes competitive?

Make sure any discount you offer is competitive. According to Salesforce, the average Black Friday discount in 2021 was 24%. Black Friday is associated with serious deals so, depending on your category, a mere 10% off may not cut it with customers looking for a bargain. Some retailers choose to extend their Black Friday and Cyber Monday offers beyond the date itself, to clear more inventory before the end of the year.

You could also consider different discounts for different products, to create more options for personalisation (and profit). Use deadlines to create urgency – for example, by showing a countdown timer until the promotion ends. Test different promotions to see which ones work best.


#7: Have you implemented abandoned cart rules?

According to Statista, over 69% of visitors who load items into an e-commerce shopping cart end up not finishing the transaction. For one reason or another, they abandon the cart. Some of the earlier tips in this guide will help to avoid this – such as only asking for the minimum information required at checkout and offering a range of payment options relevant to each market. You can also:

  • Send cart abandonment emails. Some e-commerce platforms offer this as a tool in their software. By sending an email to a customer reminding them that they didn’t check out, you can often see a positive conversion rate
  • After the holiday season ends, you can email the same customers to thank them and ask if they want to stay on your promotional list


#8: Are your FAQs up-to-date and fully optimised?

If you see an influx of customers, your customer support team is going to be much busier than normal. To reduce the strain on your team and to get information to your customers as quickly as possible, make sure your website FAQs are in the best shape possible. They should be:

  • Up-to-date
  • Prominent and easy to find
  • Available in the footer for easy access
  • Answer all the obvious questions about sizing, specs, shipping, offers, availability, and returns

The more comprehensive and well organised your FAQs are, the more problems you will prevent for customers and staff.


#9: Have you created a holiday gift guide?

After Black Friday and Cyber Monday comes Christmas. With such a busy period, many retailers find it useful to create a gift guide or series of gift guides. This can help customers find what they are looking for and may also yield link-building opportunities, by providing a useful resource that blogs and media can link to. There are different ways to approach a gift guide:

  • By recipient – e.g. for him, for her, for dog lovers, for teens, for fitness addicts etc
  • By price
  • By theme – e.g. sustainability, provenance etc

A gift guide also gives you useful content to repurpose for your social media channels.


#10: Do you have a technical plan in place?

Are you confident your server can handle a large spike in traffic? That your payment system can withstand a large volume of payments? It’s important to be prepared:

  • Request an increase in server capacity with your agency or hosting provider. If you haven’t had the conversation already, speak to them now
  • Consider a code freeze on your website. This will reduce the risk of a deployment going wrong during the critical sales period. Even if you think it’s a low-risk deployment, it could still cause problems at a crucial time
  • Have your team brainstorm every potential problem you can think of and test everything in advance

. . .

If you are looking to improve your international digital marketing performance around the world, Oban can help. To find out how, please get in touch.

Oban International is the digital marketing agency specialising in international expansion. Our LIME (Local In-Market Expert) Network provides up to date cultural input and insights from over 80 markets around the world, helping clients realise the best marketing opportunities and avoid the costliest mistakes.

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