Prepare your store for Black Friday 2021 

1 year ago

Whether you’re just setting up a website or online store to promote your business, or you’ve been selling online for a while: Black Friday is an unmissable opportunity to give your business and your sales a boost.

In this guide, we explain how Black Friday promos can benefit your business and what you can do to prepare your website or store for the big event.

How Black Fridays work

Black Fridays are an opportunity for entrepreneurs, traders, and (of course) big retailers to push their most successful products and “free” their warehouses of old or unsold stock. They do this by slashing prices across their physical and virtual stores. And it’s not just products on sale, many freelancers and business owners offer their services at a reduced price too. It’s all about drawing customers in with an irresistible bargain!

And on the other hand, millions of shoppers plan their holiday shopping around Black Friday—waiting for this day of the year to buy their first Christmas presents at a bargain price. Or to pick up something they’d not normally be able to afford.

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What is Black Friday?

Black Friday is a commercial event that originated in the USA and then spread to countries around the world. Traditionally, it takes place on the day after Thanksgiving and always falls on the fourth Friday of November. This year’s Black Friday will take place on 26 November 2021, starting at midnight on the previous day.

It’s deliberately close to Christmas because American business owners saw it as a chance to boost sales by encouraging people to buy presents early at lower prices. 

It’s said that on this day—thanks to their hefty discounts—traders would finally see their bank accounts go from red, back to black. Hence the name, “Black Friday!”

But it’s not unusual for discounts to start a few days earlier and continue throughout “Black Week,” which will take place from 22 to 26 November 2021

Black Week goes out on a high, ending with Black Friday as the grand finale! But if you missed out? Don’t worry, the black sales are quickly followed by another commercial event: Cyber Monday—this year it’ll be on the 29th of November. This day was originally dedicated to buying products online, whereas Black Friday was more about buying in physical stores. Something that’s changed dramatically over time, especially during the pandemic. 

Why participate in Black Friday? 

Statistics show that consumers tend to buy more online than in physical stores on Black Friday. In 2020 alone, partly due to the pandemic, sales during Black Friday increased by 139% globally and by 165% in Europe when compared to the level of sales in the previous month. 

Online sales also increased by 17% (US) and 30% (Europe) during the first three weeks of November, compared to the previous year. This shows that Black Friday and Cyber Monday act as a “driving force” to push sales in the weeks leading up to them.

If you’re reading this article, chances are you already know that Black Friday is an unmissable opportunity to increase your sales (or the numbers have inspired you to give it a try!). 

To help you out, we’ve put together a 6-step guide to preparing your store for Black Friday. 

Step 1: Choose your special offers and set discounts

First up, let’s define the two fundamental elements of your promotional campaign.   

  • Choose products or services to discount. You can lower the prices of your most popular or lowest selling products (to free up unsold stock). It might be useful to do a quick survey first, to find out which products are most popular with your target market and see if they match what you sell. For more tips, read our article on How to find the best products for your online store.
  • Set the discounts. Review your product pricing first. How did you calculate the final price of your products? What elements did you consider? Look at the number and work out what value or percentage you can afford to give, without risking the stability of your business. 

With Jimdo, there are two ways to set up discounts in your store:

  1. Create a discount code that matches the value or percentage that will be deducted from the product price when the buyer enters the code at checkout.
  2. Use strikethrough pricing on your products. This way, shoppers see the original price (crossed-out) and can compare it with the special Black Friday promotion price. We’re all more tempted to buy when we can see how much we’ll save!

Step 2: Adapt the design of your website or online store

When was the last time you stayed on a website that looked bad and was hard to use? 75% of consumers will judge the credibility of a company based on its website design, so this step is especially important during Black Friday when millions of stores are fighting for shoppers’ attention. That’s why we strongly recommend that you check your site is:

  • Easy to navigate. Your site should make it easy for visitors to explore and find what they’re looking for quickly. If you don’t know how to do this, use our website design checklist
  • Optimized for mobile. i.e. looks great and works well on any device, whether customers use a laptop, smartphone, or tablet. Not sure where to start? Read our article on how to make a mobile website or online store.
  • Trustworthy. If you want to compete with the likes of Amazon or eBay, customers need to trust your website. Elements that inspire trust are the same ones that make a site look professional, like a great logo and a custom domain name that’s unique to your business. We’ve made it easy to create a free logo and get your own domain with Jimdo.

Then, you can unleash your creativity and make your Black Friday deals stand out!

  • Add Banner or Cover block to your website with an image or video announcing your Black Friday discounts and showing your most popular products. 
  • Grab visitors’ attention with photos, images, or videos that match your brand. If you’re using Jimdo, you can edit your photos straight from your website, or check out these alternatives to Photoshop if you need a separate tool.
  • Create a specific category in your store, name it “Black Friday,” and list all your discounted products here so they’re easy to find.

Step 3: Manage back-office tasks 

When you’re self-employed, so much of your success is down to the hard graft you put in “behind the scenes.” Even if they’re not immediately visible to your customers, carefully planning these aspects will be crucial for the success of your Black Friday campaign. 

  • Organize your warehouse or storage area. Identify your best-selling products and make sure you have enough in stock to accommodate all those Black Friday purchases. If you’ve set up your store with Jimdo, update the information in your virtual warehouse so customers can see when a product is available, almost sold out, or out of stock.  
  • Plan for shipping and delivery. Keep in mind that delivery times might be longer during Black Friday and Black Week, due to the large volume of online purchases and shipments. Choose reliable services and make sure you‘re prepared to get all orders you expect to receive delivered on time. 

Local customers might prefer to collect their orders in person so you can set up the Local Pickup option in your store to make this easy. For buyers further afield, we recommend offering free shipping (either on all orders or on totals over a certain amount) to encourage customers to buy and really maximize your sales.

For more on this, check out our tips on setting shipping strategies and costs for your online store

Most of the features we’ve mentioned so far (adding products, category organization, inventory management, setting discounts and shipping options) are available with Jimdo’s premium store plans. If you haven’t created your store yet or you’re still on our free Play plan, just upgrade to start selling.

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  • Prevent returns. Returns are never great news, especially during Black Friday when the risk of being overwhelmed with orders is high. That’s why it’s best to draw up a clear Returns Policy (if you have a Jimdo Dolphin store based in the EU, you can use the Legal Text Generator to do this for you) and follow best practices like writing detailed product descriptions and using robust packaging to reduce returns.
  • Offer helpful customer service. Make sure it’s easy for customers to contact you if they have questions before buying. If you have a Jimdo website, add a clear call-to-action button in your top navigation menu, like “Call Now” or “Contact Us,” and link it to your phone number or WhatsApp. And remember to check that your Contact Form is working.

Worried about receiving a mountain of messages? Prepare your most important replies in advance and save them for quick copy and pasting later. For example, you can write reply templates that tell customers about a delivery delay or requests to return an incorrect or damaged product. 

Step 4: Test your website or online store

You’ve probably created your site yourself, or at least see it regularly, so you might not notice when something’s wrong. We recommend doing a usability test on your website and making a test purchase in your store, to make sure everything’s working correctly. Especially when it comes to the shopping cart page and receiving automatic emails.

Finally, check the loading speed of your pages: one second is an eternity in the virtual world and potential customers are likely to jump ship if they have to wait. Using Jimdo? Then you’re already ahead! Website ToolTester found that websites and stores built with Jimdo have the fastest page speeds.

These first 4 steps cover the more general phase of planning and organizing your campaign. The aim is to set up a successful promotional campaign and give customers a shopping experience they’ll want to do all over again! So it’s best to get these steps done as early as possible, at least 5 or 6 weeks before Black Friday. 

Step 5: Promote your offer

Next up, communication! Ideally, you should do the bulk of your promotional work 2-3 weeks before Black Friday. Here’s a list of the best tools and channels you can use to shout about your Black Friday deals:

  • Social media. Your social strategy doesn’t have to be complicated to be effective. Prepare a series of posts—complete with a short text and an image or video clip for each—that you can publish at regular intervals in the run-up to Black Friday. Include teasers about which products or services you’ll be discounting and when your offers will start. Try to make them as appealing as you can! Not sure where to start? Check out our social media marketing guide for tips.

TIP: If you’re a Jimdo customer, use our Facebook integration to automatically sync your store products to your Facebook and Instagram, create hassle-free paid ads, and seamlessly set up Facebook pixel (the tool that lets you track the success of your Facebook ads). It’s the easiest way to sell where people shop and turn your followers into customers!

  • Newsletters and email marketing. Plan to send regular emails announcing your upcoming discount campaign at least once a week. Remember to include all the customers (and potentially interested people) you have permission to contact. 

To collect more email addresses in advance, make sure you highlight your Contact Form and include it on all the important pages on your website. You can even offer a discount code to everyone who agrees to receive your newsletter. For more on this, read how to create an effective newsletter

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO). With Black Friday approaching, more and more people will be searching Google for deals on products and services they’re interested in. Make sure that you optimize your website! Use targeted and effective keywords: the ones you think your target audience will type into search engines. Run a small local business and want to turn that into an advantage? Here’s how to do local SEO and give your small business the power to compete with Amazon!

TIP: Check out competing businesses and get inspired! Look at their website, social media accounts, and subscribe to their newsletters. What do they do well? What could you do 10x better? 

Step 6: Track and analyze your campaign

This important final step takes place during and after Black Friday. Tracking the performance of your campaign will help you see what worked well and what didn’t, so you can drive even more traffic to your website or store in future, and maximize sales in upcoming events. 

Here’s what we recommend:

  • Monitor your website traffic in Google Analytics. You’ll see data like how many visitors come to your site, how they found you, and what actions they take. You can use this data to tweak your marketing efforts and future special offers to reach even more of your target audience.
  • Track your best sellers. Which discounted products or services sold most? Keep a list of them and you’ll quickly be able to see which sales strategies worked and what didn’t, like percentage discounts and free shipping over a certain value. 
  • Get insights from social media. If you have a business page on social media, use the built-in statistics functions like Facebook and Instagram Insights to see how your posts and ads are performing.

We hope this 6-steps guide will inspire you and help you take advantage of Black Friday 2021. Remember, you don’t have to do everything at once! Schedule time for each step and you’ll have no problem getting sale-ready in good time and maximizing the benefits of the holiday season!

All the best and good luck for Black Friday!

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