How to Prep Your Site to Handle The Black Friday And Cyber Monday Rush


Published: | By Yauhen Zarumba

For eCommerce businesses, the Black Friday and Cyber Monday period is both an exciting and overwhelming time of year. Approached well, Black Friday and Cyber Monday present massive sales opportunities. 

In 2021 alone, US consumers spent a staggering $8.9 billion dollars during Black Friday sales. In order to get the most out of the season, we’ve put together some top tips for Black Friday prep that will help your site to handle the rush. 

Why do businesses participate in Black Friday? 

Black Friday is a time when retailers slash prices across their online and offline stores. The Black Friday frenzy has become synonymous with increased consumer spending (especially in the eCommerce space). Businesses partake in Black Friday because, year on year, the holiday has proven itself to be a driver of sales both on the day itself and the weeks leading up to it.

graphic showing black friday sales increase by countrySource

How to prepare your store for Black Friday/Cyber Monday

If you’re planning to participate in the Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales, then it’s important to prepare for this mass event well ahead of time. These best practices for Black Friday prep will help you get the most out of Black Friday and, most importantly, increase sales as much as possible. 

Do your research & plan ahead 

The first thing all eCommerce retailers should do in preparation for the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales is to do some prior planning and research well ahead of time. Define your sales goals for the season and formulate a strategy for how you’re going to achieve those goals.

Even software and SaaS companies are getting in on the act these days. For these organizations it's important to make sure all of your software development contracts are in check ahead of time. Also consider what marketing channels you will use to build excitement around your Black Friday event and what offers you’ll incorporate into your campaigns. 

Now, more than ever, it’s important to think ahead. Shoppers tend to start searching deals way ahead of the day itself, so it’s vital that your customer communications and Black Friday marketing campaigns start well in advance (some brands will start advertising Black Friday deals from October, for example). 

Test site usability and speed

The Black Friday sales are notorious for bringing in large volumes of traffic to eCommerce websites so it’s super important to test the usability and speed of your website beforehand (around a month or two before sales begin) using a tool such as Google Page Speed Insights. 

This is the time to ensure that everything is working correctly for your customers. Research has shown that bounce rates increase by 32% when page load times increase from one to three seconds, and by 90% when that time increases to five seconds. Make sure that loading speeds are fast as a rocket if you don’t want to lose out on sales to your competitors.

people shopping onlineSource

Test your server capacity

As well as testing page load times it’s important to test your server capacity. If your Black Friday campaign does well then you should expect increased traffic to your site. It’s important that your website can handle this, otherwise you’re running the risk of a crash. You can use a simple online server testing tool to do this. 

Update web copy and SEO

In order for people to see your offers, you’ll need to make sure that your online platforms are optimized for search engines. And that’s where SEO comes in. Ahead of Black Friday give your web and social copy an SEO revamp. 

Start by reviewing your technical SEO fundamentals, considering the following steps:

  • Check for error pages on your online platforms (and resolve them)
  • Optimize metadata, captions, and alt text (try to include Black Friday keywords)
  • Place redirects on broken links 
  • Optimize calls-to-action to encourage Black Friday conversions 
  • Update your website with relevant and up-to-date contact information

Next, use Analytics and SEO software to conduct some keyword research to identify terms that will target consumers interested in Black Friday. Typically terms like “deals”, “sales”, and “gifts” tend to rank pretty high around this time. 

Feature these keywords in your holiday landing pages, web copy, and social media copy to build online visibility and encourage customers to engage with your content. 

Is your sales process a little more complex? Keyword your T&C page. If you use contracts and need e-signatures, using Proposify or Proposify competitors, there’s no harm in jazzing up your FAQ page with some relevant key phrases. 

Optimize site design and UX

To ensure that customers visiting your eCommerce site during the Black Friday event find what they’re looking for, you’ll need to make sure your site is optimized in terms of site design and user experience (UX).  

Customers want to find products within a few clicks so don’t make them search hard for what they’re looking for or wade through an unresponsive and unintuitive website or app. Factors to consider when optimizing your site include: 

Making sure your website is mobile friendly 

  • Creating an eye-catching Black Friday Sale logo and banner 
  • Improving the quality of images, videos, and multimedia content 
  • Creating a Black Friday-specific page on your online store 
  • Incorporating Black-Friday related keywords in your URLs, alt-text, and product descriptions 

Plan your fulfilment operations (and include curbside pickup)

Last, but not least, make sure that your supply chain is prepared for the influx of customers. You’ll need to plan for increased warehouse, shipping, and delivery demand for online orders. 

Ensure that you have enough best-selling products in stock ahead of time and plan to extend shipping times during the holiday season. It’s also highly recommended that retailers organize curbside and/or local pickup options for local purchasers. 

image of stuffed shelves at a warehouseSource

 

Ace Black Friday Sales

With rigorous preparation, you’ll be all set to get the most out of the Black Friday and Cyber Monday period. For eCommerce stores, Black Friday is a great opportunity to increase sales. Just remember to plan ahead, optimize your site, promote your offers, and back up your fulfillment operations for the season. 

About the Author

Yauhen Zaremba - Pandadoc

Yauhen Zaremba - Director of Demand Generation


Yauhen is the Director of Demand Generation at PandaDoc, all-in-one document management tool for almost all types of document including this PandaDoc thesis proposal template. He’s been a marketer for 10+ years, and for the last five years, he’s been entirely focused on the electronic signature, proposal, and document management markets. Yauhen has experience speaking at niche conferences where he enjoys sharing his expertise with other curious marketers. And in his spare time, he is an avid fisherman and takes nearly 20 fishing trips every year.

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