Black Friday Emergency Checklist

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Here’s something that will send a shiver down the spine of any ecommerce store owner: the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend is less than two weeks away.

Ideally your store will already be well prepared for the influx of shoppers looking for the best deals. However we live in a less than ideal world and running an ecommerce site is hard and time consuming. This means that you might not have had the time or been able to implement all things you wanted to in order to be prepared for this weekend.

That’s okay, even though it might be too late to make any major changes, there’s still plenty you can do with the time remaining to get your store as ready as it can be in time for Black Friday.

With this in mind, we’ve created an emergency list of things you can easily check to see if your store is ready. If your store can't yet tick these items off the list, you can easily implement them between now and Black Friday with minimal time or financial investment.

1) Are Your Promotional Discount Codes Working?

If your ecommerce holiday offers are reliant on customers entering in a special code at the checkout, then you will definitely want to make sure that these codes are working. If someone finds that the code you gave them isn’t accepted, then they’ll just abandoned their cart and go elsewhere. Considering the sheer amount of time based offers all across the internet, they certainly won’t be taking the time to get in contact with you to try to fix the issue either.

In terms of testing your coupons, nothing beats actually completely the checkout process yourself. Open up a new browser window, add an item from your store to the shopping cart, and finish the transaction by actually placing the order and paying for it with your credit card after adding the coupon.

Replicating the customer experience is the best way to identify any problems your customers might encounter. This approach is not just limited to testing coupons. You should make testing your site from the customer’s perspective a regular thing.

2) Make Sure You’re Collecting Addresses for Email Marketing

Example of a popup

Whenever someone buys something from your site, you want to be presenting them with the option to opt-in to your email marketing. This is because email is the most effective marketing channel for ecommerce stores with every dollar spent on email marketing returning an average of $44.

As traffic to ecommerce sites increases dramatically over the BFCM weekend, you should also collect email addresses elsewhere on your site, such as with pop-ups. By taking advantage of the increased traffic to build your email list, you’ll set yourself up well for future email marketing campaigns too.

If you’re already one step ahead and already utilize email marketing well, then make sure you’ve sent about an email newsletter to your subscribers letting them know about what offers they can expect. Want to go another level up? You can also send your subscribers product recommendation emails. These emails are automatically sent to subscribers and contain products that they have been determined to be most likely to want to buy.

example 404 page

The last thing you want is for someone who is on your site and has found a product they want to purchase to be presented with a 404 page. These pages that occur as a result of broken links often act as barriers to people completing transactions. So this is not only a painful experience for your potential customers, but they will also cost you in the form of lost sales.

The only way to reduce the chance someone will encounter a 404 page is to ensure all the internal links on your site aren’t broken. You can easily do this with free tools such as Google Search Console and Broken Link Checker. If you discover that your site does contain broken links, then you simply need to replace these with a link to a live page on your site or remove the link altogether.

The other way someone can come across a 404 page is by clicking on a broken link to your site from some other website or by typing in an invalid address.

While there’s not much you can do about this, you can make your 404 page designed strategically. This could involve adding a CTA and link on it back to your homepage. You could even have a temporary 404 page for the ecommerce holidays that also includes a countdown to the end of your sale.

4) Does Your Site Look As Great on Mobile as on Desktop?

Responsive design on mobile and desktop

As you’re probably working on your site exclusively on a laptop or desktop computer, you may not have spent much time on the mobile version of your site. Making sure your site as mobile responsive is crucial as roughly 50% of traffic to ecommerce sites now comes from mobile. It’s also super quick and easy to load your site on your phone to see how it looks.

Granted it’s not as quick or easy to fix any responsiveness issues you might come across. However, most ecommerce platforms such as Shopify and Bigcommerce will automatically make sites created with them look at least reasonable on mobile. This means that there’s a good chance that if something doesn’t look quite right on mobile, it should be a relatively quick fix.

5) Have You Enabled Abandoned Cart Emails?

Example of an abandoned cart email

Plenty of people are going to be frantically searching all over the internet for the best deal on the products they want. This means there’ll be more people than ever adding products to their carts only to go searching for a better deal.

Don’t let these abandoned carts go to waste.

By automating abandoned cart emails, these become great remarketing opportunities.

For the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend, you can also include a special offer in your abandoned cart template as a part of your Cyber Monday offers. That way people who abandon their carts on Black Friday can potentially be won over on Cyber Monday.

6) Is Your Documentation Up To Date?

Keeping your website up to date is something that is easy to forget about, despite how important it is. If there’s any time of the year that you want all of information on your website to be up to date, it’s right now.

The good news is that it doesn’t take much time or effort to give this information on your site a read through. At a minimum, you’ll want to make sure you review your shipping information, returns policy, and FAQs. If you don’t already have an FAQ section, now might be the time to create too (although this will take a bit more time and effort).

If you have the time, you might also want to consider reading through product descriptions too. Obviously the more products you have, the longer this will take, but if you’re pressed for time you can limit it to your most popular items and those you anticipate will sale the best.

Hopefully most of the information on your site will be up to date and correct. Anything that needs updating should also only be a quick fix too. Given how frustrating it can be for shoppers not to find the information they’re looking for and how the wrong information can lead to issues later on, the effort involved here is well and truly worth it.

7) Perform a Quick SEO Check

Person searching Google

Search engine optimization (or SEO) is the process of tweaking your site so that when people search for the products you sell in Google, your website ranks as high as possible in the results. Achieving these higher rankings will help drive more organic traffic to your site, meaning that you’ll have more chances to make sales without spending money to bring these people to your online store.

While SEO is a deep rabbit hole where you can easily spend countless hours over weeks and weeks optimizing your site, there’s usually plenty of low hanging fruit you can easily pick. This is especially true if you haven’t done any SEO work before.

There are plenty of free SEO checkers to identify these easy changes you can quickly implement such as SiteChecker.Pro. Ideally, SEO is something you will do on a regular basis, but if you have been neglecting this, now is the perfect time to make a start.

Final Thoughts

As you’re probably under a lot of stress right now trying to get your ecommerce store ready for the Black Friday sales this might seem like a lot to do. Don’t be dissuaded however. The influx of traffic stores selling over this period is not only a great opportunity for selling products, but is also an enormous opportunity to add people to your sales funnels and remarketing efforts after the online retailing hype has died down.

Just tackle items on this list one-by-one and keep calm. You’ll be alright.

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