Black Friday is arguably the biggest single e-commerce event of the year, generating over £7.5 billion in 2020 alone. With COVID-19 restrictions lingering across the world, Black Friday 2021 is expected to be similarly lucrative as customers return to the safety and convenience of online shopping.

Read on to find out our top tips and tricks to optimise your e-commerce store ahead of this year’s Black Friday date and learn how to increase your conversion rate and average spend.

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Optimise your customer experience

Start early

The biggest e-commerce event of the year also requires the largest amount of preparation. With the date set for 26th November 2021, begin to plan the logistics to make sure your product offers, prices and information are all ready to go on the day.

In particular, prepare your product listings in advance, and make sure that they display the correct prices, and that they include important features and brand names.

Demonstrate your value

Customer expectations around Black Friday are extremely high. With 87% of consumers hoping for 10-50% discounts, and with an average spend of just over £250 for Black Friday alone, consumers are keen to see genuine offers of value.

Particularly savvy spenders will compare prices and watch price listing changes to ensure they’re getting the best value for money. Because of this, make sure your prices aren’t artificially inflated (increasing prices only to discount them to appear to offer a better offer) or lowered (omitting costs like VAT).

Offer low shipping costs

Continuing on from the previous point: don’t fall at the last hurdle. Managing customer expectations around delivery is a vital element in the conversion process: in 2019, 49% of consumers ranked free shipping as an influential factor in their Black Friday purchasing decisions.

To cut a long story short, if you have an independent ecommerce website and you can’t offer flat delivery rates — or free delivery — for all customers, it may be worth dispatching orders to customers as cheaply as possible anyway.

Facilitate a broad range of payment methods

Black Friday happens towards the end of November, falling in between many customers’ paydays at the start or end of the month. Because of the timing, the high spend value and the additional purchase protection available, many consumers use credit cards.

Similarly, modern buy now, pay later (BNPL) credit providers like Klarna or PayPal Credit can help customers make their purchases more manageable in advance of the Christmas period. If you haven’t done so already, you should aim to diversify your accepted payment methods to capture more revenue.

Test your site performance

High traffic volumes can render many websites useless as servers become overloaded. Black Friday shoppers create a surge every year, and some ecommerce platforms end up struggling to load site data. Optimise your site for quick loading in advance to make sure your website stays accessible to customers.

Be available to customers

Online retailers, like brick-and-mortar retailers, should offer excellent customer service. With the Black Friday-related increase in your workload, you might need to hire help or automate processes as much as possible in order to be available to your customers.

You may find that your social media or email inbox explodes during Black Friday as customers try to contact you with questions and amends to their delivery information.

Increase your online visibility

So far we’ve focused on internal factors on your website or marketplace of choice, including product information and website loading speeds. Now it’s time to consider external factors — namely, how you can drive more traffic to your site.

Your product information, customer experience and site might be ready to go on the day — but you can’t sell anything unless customers find you in the first place. For this reason, you should take crucial steps to increase your online visibility, such as optimising your listings for search engines, increasing your Amazon ranking and marketing your store through targeted advertising methods.

Taking this step early on can help your business even more as customers begin to plan purchases days or weeks ahead of time. For example, better and earlier visibility can help your business join consumers’ saved list of Black Friday deals.

Maintain your stock levels

Don’t forget about Cyber Monday

In recent years, the sales period beginning with Black Friday has grown to encompass the following days, with ecommerce platforms continuing to promote special offers on the following Monday. This has earned the date the title of ‘Cyber Monday’.

As an e-commerce platform, you should aim to extend your offers and maintain your stock levels throughout this entire period as customers return to vendors after Black Friday.

Too late for Black Friday? Take a look at how you can still take advantage, as well as get ready for Cyber Monday with more tips and tricks.

Work with your suppliers

You might find that a particular deal is highly successful and that your business stands to do exceptionally well. Unfortunately, your financial success depends in large part on the key limiting factor of stock availability.

Working with your supplier to ensure flexibility can help your business grow, but you’ll have to curry favour with manufacturers and give them as much notice as possible for larger or bespoke orders. This is why — returning to our first tip — it’s important to start the preparation process early.

Make payments easier and faster

Unless you create a plan in advance to pay your suppliers, you might be caught out by expensive transfer fees and delays caused by foreign exchange rate fluctuations.

You can save money on international transactions and enjoy faster transfers with WorldFirst. WorldFirst offers flexible transfer solutions for small businesses, handles 68 currencies and has transferred over £87 billion since 2004.

With a maximum FX fee rate of 0.6% and same-day payment options available for international collections you can avoid expensive per-transaction fees with a simple flat rate. As your business grows and your transfer amounts increase, we’ll even lower our rates to make sure you always get the best deal.

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