As we approach the end of the year, significant dates for eCommerce businesses are on the horizon, such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Boxing Day sales, and the January sales.
Over this period, Brits are expected to spend an estimated £3 billion, so it’s important that online retailers understand how to prepare for these key shopping events. If done correctly, this preparation could contribute to a boost in revenue.
Looking ahead to important eCommerce dates leading up to the start of 2024, be sure to mark these in your calendar:
- Black Friday (Friday 24th November 2023) – Black Friday is a major shopping event in the UK, usually on the fourth Friday of November. Retailers offer significant discounts, and shoppers flock to online and offline stores to take advantage of deals.
- Cyber Monday (Monday 27th November 2023) – Cyber Monday is the Monday immediately following Black Friday, and it’s known for online sales and deals. Many UK retailers participate in Cyber Monday, offering discounts on various products.
- Boxing Day Sales (Tuesday 26th December 2023) – Boxing Day is celebrated on December 26th and is another significant shopping day in the UK. Many retailers offer post-Christmas sales and discounts, making it a popular day for shopping.
- January Sales (Monday 1st – 31st January 2024) – In January, many UK retailers hold clearance sales to get rid of excess stock. These sales often start on or around New Year’s Day and can last throughout the month.
With these dates in mind, here are some tips for eCommerce businesses to ensure they’re prepping properly to maximise sales during this peak period:
1. Start now before it’s too late
Whether it’s Black Friday or Christmas, planning for this time of year should begin in the Summer to ensure you’re well-prepped for the busier seasons. Planning ahead involves various aspects, such as stock management, website optimisation for increased traffic, and aligning your marketing strategies to make the most of these key shopping days.
When brainstorming marketing ideas, like activity for social media and digital PR, it’s crucial to create campaigns that not only captivate customers during this busy period but also establish trust, encouraging their return beyond these significant eCommerce events.
Implementing ideas that genuinely reflect your brand identity may require some time and thought, making it essential to get ready for these important shopping dates in advance. If you haven’t started doing this, now’s the time to step it up!
2. Optimise your website
Optimising your website ahead of these shopping days could benefit you in several ways, including:
- Increases traffic to your site
- Enjoyable shopping experience for customers
- Increases competitive advantage
- More likely to convert visitors into customers
- Increases customer trust as suggests a secure site
- Supports search engine visibility
But how exactly should eCommerce businesses optimise their site? If you’re an online retailer, consider the following:
- Load time optimisation
- Mobile responsiveness
- User experience enhancements
- Optimise product descriptions, meta tags, and URLs for relevant keywords
- Improve security measures such as implementing SSL certificates
- Consider scalability for increased traffic loads
- Set up analytics tools to monitor website traffic and sales
- Streamline checkout process
- Publish helpful content
By implementing these strategies, businesses can better prepare their websites for the increased traffic and demand that key shopping dates bring, ultimately improving the customer experience and boosting sales.
3. Ramp up digital PR and content marketing
You can generate awareness, anticipation, and trust around your brand by ramping up digital PR efforts and creating engaging and informative blog content ahead of key dates like Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Engaging in digital PR activities can help you achieve the following:
- Increased brand visibility and awareness
- Engagement and anticipation among audiences
- Information and education for audiences
- Improve SEO and website visibility
- Trust and credibility surrounding your brand
- Opportunity to connect with audiences through storytelling
- Uplift in lead generation
If you currently have limited resources to engage with larger-scale digital PR campaigns, we’d really recommend aiming for product placements in relevant gift guides and roundups during the festive period. Although this activity must still be well executed and involves various development stages, it should take slightly less time than creating a digital PR campaign and can generate great coverage for your brand.
4. Review your social media strategy
Before these crucial shopping dates, reviewing your social media strategy is vital. Ask yourself if there are any improvements you can make to better cater to your audience. Inform them about how your products can solve their needs and why these deals are too good to miss.
Consider your content plan carefully during this period. Ensure you’re not just sharing promotional content; mix in educational and engaging content as well. Being overly sales-focused can deter your audience. While it’s essential to highlight your discounts and deals for these important eCommerce days, avoid overwhelming your audience with excessive promotional messages. They might become indifferent to them, potentially missing out on good offers because they’re tired of repetitive posts.
This could also be a good opportunity to ramp up your user-generated content (UGC) use. UGC is often perceived as more authentic and trustworthy by consumers. It serves as social proof, demonstrating that real people enjoy your products or services. For instance, if you run a skincare brand, you could share ‘before and after’ photos of your products in action, illustrating how they’ve enhanced customers’ skin. You might also consider offering a discount on the same product. Additionally, look into whether any of your customers have created TikTok content sharing their experiences with your product, which you could feature on your own social channels.
During these busier periods when you’re trying to promote your discounts, it’s important to be responsive to your followers. By promptly monitoring and responding to comments, questions, and feedback, you will instil trust in your audience, potentially making them feel more confident in purchasing from you.
Bonus tip: Share an exclusive offer on your social media channels just for your followers to make them feel extra special and more valued!
5. Check how you’re operating
It might be that your operations are already running the way you’d like, but as important shopping dates approach, there’s no harm in seeing if there are any areas where improvements can be made. Here’s a quick checklist of essentials to consider:
- Ensure sufficient stock of popular products
- Optimise website speed, navigation, and functionality
- Ensure that your website is fully responsive for mobile user
- Scale up customer support
- Streamline the checkout process, offer guest checkout, and ensure clear calls-to-action for higher conversion rates
If you can get through these busy eCommerce days with smooth operations, you will feel happy and organised, and your customers will feel satisfied with their experience; it’s a win-win!
If you’re looking for new eCommerce tools to support you during this busier period so you can enhance your website’s functionality and capabilities, we recently delved into the best tools for eCommerce businesses to increase revenue.
6. Get your customer service in order
A really key part of your operations is ensuring that your customer service is up to scratch. Retail events like Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Boxing Day sales, and January sales are known for causing brands to see an uplift in enquiries.
To ensure you’re there for your customers during this time, you might consider some of the following:
- Train employees – Whether through formal training or internal meetings, have a chat with your team to ensure everyone is on the same page. Ensure they know how to handle increased enquiries and are well-prepared to respond to various questions and issues.
- Be quick to respond – It’s worth assigning someone to continually monitor enquiries to ensure you can respond as quickly as possible. If you’re perceived as being speedy to help a customer, they’ll feel reassured that you’re doing everything you can to help. If feasible, consider using chatbots to speed up this process even further.
- Multi-channel support – Ensure your customers can reach you on various channels. There’s nothing worse than when you want to get in touch with a brand, and you’re finding it difficult to contact them. Consider being available to contact over the phone, via email, live chat, and on social media.
- FAQs – Update your frequently asked questions page on your site to ensure you’re covering regular enquiries – if you don’t have this on your site, now’s the time to implement this!
- Customer feedback – Ensure you’re banking all customer feedback you receive during this busy time. If you do this, you can be sure that when it comes to the next round of important eCommerce shopping dates, you’re doing all you can to prevent any issues arising.
Remember that your specific tactics and strategies should align with your business goals, target audience, and product offerings. Tailoring your approach will help you maximise these key shopping days.
If you’re interested in seeing your product in some of the UK’s top media outlets but lack the resources or time to do it yourself, contact the Wild PR team, or book a 30-minute introductory call with Katrina Cliffe.