The holiday season is just around the corner, which means the start of the busiest period for retailers. For most retailers, the holiday season brings in up to 40% of their yearly revenues and is also an excellent way to move the inventory quickly. Black Friday is traditionally the first big shopping event of the season (followed by Cyber Monday). It marks the beginning of the period with heavy promotional offers. Black Friday 2016 falls on November 25, followed by Cyber Monday on November 28. In this post, we’ll share our tips on how online retailers can prepare their product pages for Black Friday 2016 to maximize conversions and sales.
Black Friday 2016 Ecommerce Predictions
Let’s start by having a quick look at the main trends and predictions for Black Friday 2016.
Black Friday Goes International
This year Black Friday won’t be a shopping holiday exclusive to the US. The trend overspills to the UK and Europe to allow consumers to enjoy the same deals as people on the other side of the pond.
Black Friday 2016 and Cyber Monday are expected to hit a record £5 billion in consumer spending in the UK. Last year, Amazon recorded over six million items ordered on Black Friday in the UK – a record-breaking single sales day in the market.
Holiday Shopping Starts Much Earlier
As promotional offers extend to the days before and after Black Friday and Cyber Monday, shoppers start preparing early. 24% start looking for deals a month before and 51% prepare their shopping two weeks ahead of big dates.
Thanks to ecommerce, consumers have much more time on hand to plan their purchases. According to consumer polls earlier this year, 79% of shoppers search online for holiday gifts, 30% complete majority of purchases online. Over half of consumers spend 5 hours or more online on holiday shopping.
Email is expected to be the leading source of sales for Black Friday 2016. Last year it generated 25% of all online orders, followed by organic and paid search (21% and 13%) and social media (1.7%).
Black Friday Expands to Ecommerce
In 2015, both Black Friday and Cyber Monday saw 16% increase in e-commerce revenues in comparison to the year prior. Approximately 92% of holiday shoppers are expected to go online to research or buy gifts this season.
The lines between Black Friday and Cyber Monday are becoming ever so blurry. There are no more clear distinctions between online and offline sales channels during these shopping holidays. Consumers have the option to shop either way while still enjoying special offers.
Black Friday 2016 Expected Best Sellers
Black Friday is typically known for deep price cuts for consumer electronics (TVs, smartphones, and laptops being the most popular), gadgets, and home appliances.
Although most retailers prefer to keep their best deals in the dark until the big day, there are early indicators that other verticals will enjoy promotions as well. Consumers can expect special offers on children’s toys, game consoles, beauty products, fashion clothing, shoes, and sports gear.
Product Page Optimization Tips for Black Friday 2016
Most retailers start preparing for the holiday sales as early as July. That way they have plenty of time to think about holiday merchandise to reach those end-of-the-year sales goals. The earlier you start the better, because once the traffic starts gaining momentum in November, it’s becoming more riskier to experiment with product page elements.
However, there are a few things you can still do in time for Black Friday. Although most shoppers will be visiting your site on Black Friday and Cyber Monday in search for deals, low prices cannot make up for a subpar online shopping experience. After all, you’d like these shoppers to return to your store again in December and once holidays are over and choose you as their preferred shopping destination.
So, let’s have a look at some of the things you can do make sure your product pages are optimized for conversions in time for Black Friday 2016.
1. Get Your Product Pages SEO-Ready
Most consumers are savvy Black Friday shoppers and research their purchases well in advance. This is why it’s important to have your product pages optimized for the surge of search traffic before holiday sales. The goal is to show up in search results for items sought by holiday shoppers and to get them to click and visit your site.
Make sure you optimize your data feed (page URL, page title, meta descriptions, images etc) for popular and relevant search terms. Try to incorporate high volume search keywords whenever it makes sense, but also preserve common wording in your category to avoid keyword stuffing. SEO takes time, so plan your revision ahead of time to give search engines enough time to index and rank your product pages.
2. Add Product Review Videos
According to Adobe Digital Insights, this Black Friday ecommerce stores will invest in the use of videos to increase conversion rates. Videos are especially effective at persuasion. YouTube videos are used by 25% of mobile shoppers in the US to help them decide what to buy.
Having the review, tutorial, how-to or unboxing videos will give online shoppers more persuasive argument to buy than just a reduced product price. In fact, product pages with videos see up to 80% more conversions. They also enjoy 340% more visitor engagement. Videos also make your product pages more memorable and stand out from the competition. This will give shoppers an incentive to return to your site in the future once the holiday craze is over.
You can also include user-generated content such as video reviews made by YouTube vloggers with an expertise in your product category. 72% of consumers share Black Friday and Cyber Monday-related content online, most of which includes photos and videos of their shopping hauls and gift reviews. Include this content into your product pages to make your shopping experience more engaging.
3. Optimize Product Images
This might sound a tad too obvious, but don’t forget to make sure product images used in your holiday ads match the photos on your product pages. You don’t want visitors to bounce from your product pages because the product suddenly looks different than what’s promoted.
Go over your product images to make sure you’re following the best practices. Whenever possible, use images that showcase a product in a context (e.g. if it’s a blender, show it on the kitchen island, instead on a non-descript white background). If a product comes in multiple colors and fabrics, make sure there’s a photo for each option. Allow shoppers to zoom in on the details or have 360-degree of the product. Also, make sure the alt tags on your product images include relevant keywords to make contribute to your product pages’ ranking.
4. Make Prices More Attractive
It comes as no surprise that most Black Friday and Cyber Monday purchases are driven by the desire to save money on popular items. Discounts drive conversions and sales. But even if you’re not offering deep price cuts on your ecommerce store, there are a few things you can do to make your offers appear more attractive.
Show “before” and “after” prices on your product pages to allow shoppers to visualize the savings they’re making. Add the percentages that show how much shoppers are saving on any given deal at your store. Play with the color contrast on your pricing details to make sure the reduced price is easily spotted.
If you’re a multi-channel retailer, make sure your online and retail prices match, to avoid any consumer confusion or complaints.
5. Create a Sense of Urgency
When it comes to Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, you want shoppers to act quickly. Make sure your pages communicate the urgency to act fast to make the most out of the special deals. People tend to be more decisive when there’s a limited amount of time or quantity of items available.
Your product pages should include scarcity elements, such as how many items are left in stock and how many people are viewing the product at the same time. Some stores include timers with countdowns to the days and hours left to big sales days. However, his can be counter-productive if you want to convert visitors who visit your site before the holidays and might decide to wait to place an order at a reduced price.
6. Make Your Value Proposition Clear
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are days when most retailers compete on price. To stand out from the competition, you need to create a distinct value proposition. Your pages should communicate clearly why visitors should place an order on your site.
If you’re offering free shipping, easy returns, price-matching, or money back guarantees, make sure this information is clearly displayed on your site, including your product pages. You can opt to place it in sticky headers or to include relevant badges close to your call-to-action button. This communicates to shoppers the reasons to convert, so make sure they are displayed prominently.
7. Test Page Load Time
Online shoppers have a very small threshold of tolerance when it comes to site load time, especially if they’re browsing on mobile devices. If it takes more than a few seconds to load your pages, they’ll just abandon your site.
So make sure there aren’t any glitches with your product pages ahead of the big days. Schedule page load tests ahead of time to prepare for traffic surge over Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Review third party scripts that might cause delays in your page load time. Assess whether you need to make any changes. However, avoid making any radical modifications to your store structure that might affect your site’s speed and performance in critical holiday days.
8. Set Up Remarketing Pixels
Many shoppers will start doing their research weeks before Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Now’s the perfect time to get your retargeting campaigns in place. Re-market to people who have visited your product pages right before the holidays. Add a retargeting pixel to your site and set ads on Google and Facebook to remind shoppers of the products they’ve explored before. You want to get them to return to your product pages and convert. Pay special attention to the audience who has visited your site days before the holidays, as recency plays a big role in the likelihood to convert.
9. Make Delivery Terms Clear
Number one reason why shoppers opt to go online to make their purchases on Black Friday is to avoid big crowds, queues, and traffic. Delivery and shipping methods are very important for them. 58% of online shoppers would order more items to qualify for free shipping and 83% will wait additional 2 days for the items to be delivered if the shipping is free. Consumers will readily make tradeoffs in order to get the best deals at the greatest convenience.
If you’re offering free shipping or special delivery offers, make sure visitors can spot them easily on your product pages. For shoppers who are using Black Friday and Cyber Monday to get good deals on Christmas presents, list clearly estimated shipping and delivery time. The same applies to any other free perks your store offers. Add this information close to the call-to-action area to make it easier for shoppers to convert.
10. Add Additional Payment Options
Lack of trust in the online retailer is among the top reasons why visitors don’t convert on ecommerce sites. You need to assure visitors that it’s safe to do business with you.
One way to tackle this is by adding additional payment options (e.g. PayPal) and making them known all across your site, including your product pages. Add badges and icons that shoppers recognize and trust. This will increase the chances of conversion even for the pickiest and most sensitive shoppers.
11. Upsell with Bundles and Recommendations
The paradox of shopping holidays such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday is that while shoppers are looking for the best value-for-money bargains for individual products, they are prepared to spend overall more money on their holiday orders. In fact, average order value increases 17% between holiday and non-holiday periods.
To maximize sales and revenues, offer shoppers on your site the opportunities to expand their orders while still getting good deals. For example, add product bundles (e.g. grouping similar or complementary products) and pay special attention to the recommended products section on your product pages.
Consumers who are in the holiday shopping mood are more inclined to purchase additional items and spend more per order if they are getting something extra in return. The sale logic works if they can purchase more products at a greater price reduction.
12. Optimize Product Pages for Mobile Screens
Shopping on mobile devices is not a novelty. In 2015, 32% of all Black Friday purchases online were done via mobile. On Black Friday 2015, £495 million was spent via smartphones and tablets in the UK. This year, the figure is expected to reach £2.55bn. Consumers are turning to their smartphones and tablets to research deals, products, and reviews before the big shopping days while at home, commuting, or even when they are visiting physical stores.
Small screens don’t mean smaller wallets, so be prepared to accommodate the shopping habits of consumers on the go. According to comScore, mobile shopping increased by 59% in November and December 2015, bringing in $12.65 billion of sales. Mobile also influences what and how consumers buy. 76% of mobile shoppers have changed their mind about what and where to buy, and 50% have discovered new products and brands when browsing on their smartphones.
This means that your mobile experience needs to be optimized to convert those who prefer to shop from their phones and tablets. Create a simplified interface for your product pages for mobile visitors. Make sure your font is easy to read on small screens. Check that your images and product videos display correctly on mobile devices.
Pay special attention to videos, as mobile shoppers refer to this content when deciding on their purchases. For example, 68% of shoppers for consumer electronics turn to YouTube on their phones when researching what to buy, so they’ll be expecting high-quality videos on your ecommerce store as well to convince them to convert.
Ensure your call-to-action and scroll buttons are compatible with “fat thumbs” and easy to spot and click. As mentioned earlier, make sure you page load speed is optimal for shoppers who visit your pages on mobile devices.
Love them or hate them, but Black Friday and Cyber Monday are gaining more popularity each year with retailers and consumers alike. The stakes are higher, as more online and brick-and-mortar retailers compete for consumer attention and share of the wallet. To stay ahead of the game, do an audit of your product pages ahead of time to spot any friction points that might negatively affect visitor’s journey to convert. Pay attention not only to the depth and breadth of price reductions on your site but also to the overall experience on your product pages. Remember, holidays come and go, but you want to have customers who are returning over and over to shop on your ecommerce store. Invest into smart conversion optimization tools to help you ring in record sales this holiday season.