Are you ready for Black Friday?

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Is your site optimised for cyber weekend?

Black Friday (24 November) may be fast approaching, but retailers needn't miss the boat in the bid to grab customers’ attention.

The time has arrived for brands to fully embrace the biggest shopping weekend of the year, with consumer anticipation for deals reaching unparalleled levels. Black Friday and Cyber Monday see online spending hit record highs, making the weekend a prime opportunity to move end-of-season product before the festive period.

Thanks to America’s influence, Black Friday has become the unofficial beginning of the Christmas shopping period. So how can you ensure your site is ready to fully maximise on this huge opportunity to generate revenue and reach new audiences?

Create a dedicated home for offers on your search-optimised site

A Black Friday landing page can be simply and quickly set up while providing the perfect opportunity to capture traffic, and hopefully give users what they are looking for.

In order to be fully effective, the page should include functionality to enter email addresses in return for providing more information – so the sooner the page is live, the better, in order to build as much interest as possible. Discounts should be clearly marked, with the original price alongside to showcase the appeal of a bargain. Strong calls to action are also a must, with straightforward navigation and user experience guaranteeing a smooth path to conversion.

Simplify the checkout process as much as possible

Capturing data is important, but strip it down to the essentials for Cyber Weekend, temporarily taking down anything which slows down the purchase. The likelihood is that customers are shopping on multiple sites, both for the best deals on a certain product and for a range of items they’ve been looking to purchase (as well as impulse items they are open to being sold).

With so many options to grab a bargain available to the customer, combined with the user’s time-limited mindset, it’s vital that you don’t draw out the process by asking for information which isn’t absolutely necessary.

Make sure you remarket to customers who don’t complete the purchase

There will of course always be customers who don’t make it to checkout for one reason or another, but abandoned basket campaigns ensure that hope is not lost. You can still drive sales by reminding shoppers of your offers as they continue to browse, staying at the front of their mind even after they leave.

There is plenty of opportunity to do this via various platforms, whether customers continue on to Google, Facebook or Twitter – indeed, many will be present on all three over the course of the weekend.

Time may be of the essence, but creativity shouldn’t slip across your paid marketing channels

On the contrary, Cyber Weekend is the time to cut through all the noise with standout imagery and messaging. Your deals should be given the best platform with a high standard of creative and ad copy, which captures interest immediately and makes it clear what you have to offer. Paid search campaigns must be more aggressive than usual in order to compete against everyone else bidding for customers’ attention.

Calls to action must be strong, with customers readier than ever to receive marketing messages. Ad extensions are also a highly effective way of sending customers straight to product pages and discounts after viewing standard brand adverts.

Don’t ignore the mobile-first generation at any point of the customer journey

Optimising your site for mobile is crucial, as the figures prove. Last year, PayPal confirmed that a third of all Black Friday payments were made via mobile.

Customers are looking to purchase at all times of the day and are constantly searching for deals on the go, in the office and at home. This is particularly pertinent in the UK, where Black Friday isn’t a public holiday as it is in the US. This means the mobile-heavy commuting period is even more valuable. Ensure that your site is mobile-ready by performing user testing in advance of Cyber Weekend, so that you are fully prepared for all eventualities.

Read more about how retailers can drive sales on 24 November in Return’s Black Friday whitepaper.

Return are based in Manchester and specialise across e-commerce and digital marketing, from SEO to CRO, PPC and paid social.