Blog Post - James Webster, Nov 2 2018

Getting ready for Black Friday – the ultimate retailer checklist

Getting ready for Black Friday – the ultimate retailer checklist

Black Friday used to be characterised by long queues on the high street, with consumers camping out overnight to be first through the doors the next day. However, Black Friday 2017 saw a record number of online transactions, as well as record online revenue, indicating that Black Friday is now a truly digital-first event. £1.39 billion was spent online in 2017, up from £1.23 billion in 2016.

Mobile activity also soared as a key Black Friday trend last year with the majority of browsers and buyers taking action from mobile devices. Given the changing landscape of Black Friday – and the potential and challenges it brings – preparation is essential. We have comprised a checklist to help retailers and brands make this Black Friday their best yet!

The Black Friday 2018 checklist

1. Review performance from 2017

Ensure that any recommendations made internally after Black Friday last year have been implemented and you’re not going to be making the same mistakes, or missing the same opportunities.

2. Forecast your figures for 2018

Base your figures on performance from the year before. You can use a wide range of metrics, from ‘orders per day’ or ‘users per session,’ The idea is to use the figures to set goals for the business to drive towards.

3. Make mobile a priority this year

According to our research, 53% of orders during Black Friday 2017 were placed on mobile – and 66% of Black Friday traffic came from mobile devices. So, it’s essential that eCommerce platforms are optimised for mobile and that both web apps and websites have been stress-tested to ensure they can cope with potentially heavy loads. If not, customers will swiftly go elsewhere.

4. Give your customers more options

While it’s highly likely that Black Friday is going to be a digital, and largely mobile driven event; this year it’s important to maintain your other channels too. For example, if you have a bricks-and-mortar store, use this as a point of differentiation from digital-only Black Friday retailers, for example by offering a click & collect service.

5. Dedicate resources across the business

The retailers who get the most from Black Friday are those who take it seriously and work towards it across the business throughout the year. It is worth having a dedicated project manager to coordinate a shared peak period strategy between key teams such as marketing and operations. This will enable your organisation to be focused and agile when it comes to capturing Black Friday customers. The ideal person will combine in-depth operational knowledge and advanced technical understanding.

6. Make sure you have the capacity to cope with potential demand

In particular, ensure that your operations teams will be properly staffed so that breaks etc can be taken and everyone is working to their full capacity – but not over it and into a place of poor performance.

7. Be prepared for peak traffic rates

Make sure your website can maintain optimum load speeds. Test everything thoroughly beforehand to ensure that front end applications and back end servers will be able to cope with predicted traffic spikes.

8. Use personalisation and segmentation

The more individually targeted your deals are, the more chance of success they have – especially if you can schedule them to arrive at exactly the right moment.

9. Ensure there is a contingency plan in place

What happens if there is an emergency and who has to make the key sign-offs?

Black Friday is a huge event for retailers and brands, and it pays to be as prepared as possible. That’s why many of the UK’s leading retailers call on our support and take advantage of our Peak Operations Centre over the Black Friday period. Visit our resources page for more tips, insight, and actions to take.

Download the Black Friday Playbook