Whilst Black Friday once centered around eager shoppers flocking to high streets to make their purchases, the current pandemic means customers will be relying on online methods to find their deals.

As consumers shift from an offline focus, businesses must respond quickly to the increasing popularity of e-commerce transactions to remain relevant to customers and ensure they can capture the attention of the increasing number of shoppers who prefer to browse for goods online.

With traffic to the top 100 shopping sites increasing by 137% on Black Friday last year, retailers must ensure they are making the most of this surge in traffic. Getting users to convert can be difficult if you don’t have a large budget or resources, especially for retailers who are not yet household names.

With these challenges in mind, here are five top tips to make the most of the Black Friday surge in traffic and ensure you put users in the best place to convert to a sale this November.

1. Build a personal connection with customers

To compete with the likes of Amazon, you should focus on the positives which set your retail business apart. For smaller retailers, Black Friday is an opportunity to remind your

Andy Bojko, Director at Hidepark Leather

customers that you are in tune with their needs and hold a larger local purpose unlike some of your larger competitors.

Local businesses are able to meet the local needs of consumers in a unique fashion and these are the traits which will help to set your brand apart. Younger generations enjoy a more personal connection with brands and this can help to increase loyalty to your company. Coupling this with discount vouchers for “loyal customers” can be a great way to help convert consumers to a sale and ensure they feel connected to your business.

2. Use the analytics data available to you

To make sure you are equipped with enough of the correct products for your Black Friday sale, take the time to analyse the google analytics data right at your fingertips. You can use this to assess which products have sold well in previous years and which product categories saw the highest levels of traffic on your website.

This can feed into your stock forecasting but also any targeted campaigns you run to drum up engagement from consumers. Understanding which products your customer audience are typically interested in will ensure you are one step ahead of the game and will enable you to maximise sales in these areas.

3. Use targeted email marketing

Consumers begin browsing for sales before Black Friday itself to put themselves in the best position to secure a deal. For retailers, this means you must be equipped to provide your customers with a preview of what will be included in the sale and the types of discounts they may be able to benefit from.

Before the event, you should target engaged customers across relevant channels, including offering special offers through email marketing. Coupling this with paid advertising, retargeting customers who have previously engaged with your brand, is especially effective since this repetition instills loyalty in consumers and helps to create an experience which may lead to a conversion on the day.

4.  Perfect the user journey

To put your business in the best position of securing a sale, you should ensure your website provides an easy user experience for consumers. By optimising your landing pages, you can prevent slow load times and any website crashes which can typically occur with the high levels of traffic your site could experience on Black Friday.

Retailers should iron out any problem areas of the site before the big day, ensuring the checkout page is as simplified as possible and the delivery time has been streamlined. Customers also need easy access to support on the website, whether this is through a phone and email support or even a chatbox. These options should be clearly visible to customers to avoid their journey being terminated from frustration. Excellent customer service can easily create positive relationships so retailers should proactively deal with issues before they arise where possible.

5. Utilise trusted payment methods

Consumers are conscious of online security, especially if they are shopping with a retailer they are unfamiliar with. To aid customers in feeling comfortable utilising your site, you should ensure you have the latest secure financial technology to reassure customers that their money will be safe once they have paid.

Adding a section to your site, perhaps in the footer, showing the payment methods which consumers can use with your site can help to move customers to make their transaction. Customers need to see trust signals to convert and having these in place will aid any new users to feel comfortable proceeding to the checkout.