Black Friday has always been a big deal for retailers, but following Covid-19, it’s safe to say that this year will look a little different. The classic tabloid fodder shots of crowds pushing their way through automatic doors to snap up the best deals won’t be around this year, but that’s not to say we won’t be seeing huge queues and shopping carnage…

On Black Friday 2019, more people shopped online than in stores: 142.2 million shopped online, while 124 million hit the shops.

As we quickly (seriously, where has the year gone?) approach the biggest shopping weekend of the year, we’ve asked our eCommerce experts for their own Black Friday predictions.

An empty high street?

With many still hesitant to head to the shops, we predict that this year will see many businesses shift their focus totally towards online for Black Friday shopping. Opening a store only to receive limited footfall is pointless when you can use the extra resource to help man social media channels and other online customer service points as shoppers fight to bag a bargain online. The extra bodies helping out in warehouses and dispatch centres can also help aid the expected increase in orders and delivery needs.

Ticket lottery systems

If online is the only platform for a Black Friday sale, chances are you’re going to have a lot of people turning up on the site on the day. One of the ways to get around this could be offering a ticket lottery system to secure a slot. Just like we’ve seen with in-demand theatre tickets, this lottery system keeps things fair and will also protect websites from becoming overwhelmed, which leads us nicely to…

Under pressure

eCommerce sites and servers will be placed under even more pressure than usual. Considering the precautions that webmasters take for a normal Black Friday, it’s going to be more important than ever to bolster websites to help avoid crashes or long queues. Our Head of SEO, Chris Foster weighs in with his top tip.

“I recommend that any retailers anticipating heavy traffic speak to their hosting providers about utilising elastic load balancers and/or CDNs to help cope with increased traffic. Queueing systems have long been a staple of Black Friday sales and while not ideal, it’s better to have something in place rather than risk your site slowing down or crashing”

Extra % off

Let’s be honest, although there are some fantastic deals to be snapped up over the Black Friday weekend, some retailers jump on the bandwagon offering the bare minimum. This year we predict things will be different and it’s good news for shoppers as retailers battle to offer the best deals to combat the ‘COVID Slump’. But don’t expect it all to be the latest gadgets and fashion trends…

Shifting stock

Call us cynical but we’re fully expecting a lot of the Black Friday sales to be full of stock that just could not be sold this year. Think about all of the holiday clothes, partywear and event decor that has just languished in warehouses across the globe. Retailers are going to need to shift this stock to make way for new seasonal wares so what better way to get rid than by pushing it as a Black Friday bargain.

Timing

Black Friday has already stretched into a shopping weekend, with retailers planning their campaigns to stretch all the way from ‘Black Friday Eve’ to Cyber Monday. This year, with so much competition between retailers to attract shoppers to their virtual door, we predict that online sales will start even earlier.

Tread Carefully

If retailers have learned anything from the COVID crisis, it’s to take it seriously. Black Friday marketing campaigns should reflect this too as there’s a very fine line between humour and tactlessness. Our resident content expert Kat Foster warns…

“Some brands thrive on controversial messaging but during this time it’s important to keep some perspective. It’s not the time to be pushing partywear if we’re still facing the threat of another lockdown, the same can be said for promoting holidays if the quarantine situation hasn’t recovered. Sales messaging should be solid but respectful”

There’s no such thing as preparing ‘too early’ for Black Friday, especially this year. If you want our help putting together a Black Friday e-commerce strategy, get in touch with the Acquiro Digital team today.

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