A useful black friday ecommerce checklist we have compiled based on our experience of managing ecommerce stores during black friday since 2002.
Start this planning in June of the same year. Start with a retrospective look at what you did last year and what worked.
Set your KPI’s and targets for this year and then build a plan around these
Split your list up into selling channels
- your online store
- your online market places
- your affiliates
- your bricks and mortars, we wont cover this
- your popup shops, we wont cover this
Then split into marketing channels
Social – Online – Press – TV – Radio
- Book social media ads 2-3 months early – get them approved 1 month before and then turn them off until the go live time. Too lat looking for approvals in the weeks running up to black friday.
- Book traditional advertising in 6 -3 months early. Radio and TV only have a set number of slots. When they are gone they are gone.
- Booking online advertising – banners, book 3 months early as they will need to be created and approved. Publish in advance to make sure they will work and then un-publish until the time to go live.
- Price adjustments need to be planned in advance – else you end of reacting to competitors and giving product away. Know what you are going to do. Educate your shoppers on what is going to happen and then carry it out.
- If there is a possibility of stock shortages on popular product – create lotteries and control the rush – creates lots of good publicity and happier customers and less manic rushes.
Black friday ecommerce Hosting Checklist
- Check hosting capacity – make sure there is enough memory – disk and CPU to cope with surges
- run load testing on hosting – run simulations on loads and see where the breaking point is.
- upgrade hosting 2 weeks before the event. Upgrades can break things – 2 weeks allows for fixing time
- tune and cleanup your databases
- remove all but vital tracking tags and plugins from the site – speed is optimal now.
- check DNS backup works .
- have a backup downloaded and ready to restore in case of a disaster
- test all payment processors – and have more than 2.
- make sure all domains are renewed and up to date
- make sure there are enough funds in the hosting accounts to cope with over runs.
- test your hosters response time to support tickets. Too late in the middle of an outage to discover there is no support after 17:30 mon – fri and all weekends are email only tickets that wait until monday. You may need to buy priority support.
- understand the difference between 99.99% up time and 99.999% – its huge when your site is down at the busiest time of the year
- make sure all SSL certs are paid for and in date
- have the direct dial numbers of your hosting and IT support for black friday weekend. Test they ring through !
- Make sure all stock levels are accurate on all sites.
- Make sure stock updates are running
- Mitigate for short selling in high demand
- if there is a lead time – state this clearly as customers get very annoyed to bag a bargain an then get it on the 27th of december !
- If you have extra stocks make sure your insurance covers you for these levels.
Black Friday Logistics checks
- Check Order sending processes are running.
- Check logistics tracking codes.
- Make sure you have enough shipping labels and printer ribbons.
- Make sure you have enough packing materials and access to more if required.
- Staffing levels are important – a. you have enough an b. you get their holidays and days-off organised in advance and not call them in at the last minute.
- Support lines , live help and ticketing systems should be fully staffed to cope with responses – put up extra messages for customers to expect delays at peak times.
- Make sure live chat is turned on and staffed adequately. Customers will expect instant replies.
- Have some “staff discount codes” ready for live help to bring the big purchases across the line.
- Reduce the abandon cart auto response time – the sooner the abandoned cart is addressed the better the chance of a recovery.
- Make the discounts easy to read and filter. Its bargain time.
Willows Consulting has been designing , building high volume online stores since 2002. Speak to the professionals and benefit from our experience.