Huge crowds, long lines and crazy stampedes are things of Black Fridays past. Nowadays, more and more shoppers are flocking to ecommerce sites for the best deals.
In fact, global ecommerce sales are expected to top $5.5 trillion in 2022 and represent 21% of all retail sales. That means the 2022 Black Friday will be even more hectic for online retailers around the globe. Ecommerce retailers everywhere are bracing themselves for a severe lack of sleep as they monitor, manage and maximize their sites during this crucial holiday.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. Retailers can prepare now to reclaim some extra sleep and rest easy this year. Here are five basic practices that ecommerce retailers can follow to enhance the shopper experience and survive the holiday rush.
1. Create context recommendations.
First, retailers should review past Black Friday campaign data. This helps them understand how shoppers filtered results during the BFCM sales period compared to other times of the year.
For example, Searchspring found that the most-searched clothing term during Black Friday 2021 was “petite,” and the most searched housewares and décor term was “wire ribbon.”
With these insights in hand, retailers can set up contextual recommendations based on user behavior. To make this process easier, retailers can take advantage of intelligent automation, which promotes and recommends products best suited for each shopper. Not only does this help customers find what they want faster, but it also increases basket size.
2. Set up merchandising boost rules.
During high-volume shopping periods like Black Friday, the last thing a retailer wants to do is promote out-of-stock or limited-stock items. This is especially the case after a year of inventory shortages and supply chain problems. Retailers need to put the right products in front of shoppers to maximize conversions.
Inventory boosting rules are a tool that can help retailers sell the products they want. Retailers set these rules up globally or as part of individual campaigns. From there, they can promote higher-margin products or products with large stock availability.
3. Pin additional or higher-value products.
Retailers can also increase the visibility of specific products during sale periods by ‘pinning’ them to the top of collection and search result pages. This puts selected products where customers are most likely to see them.
For example, if a retailer notices that ripped jeans are selling quickly during Black Friday, they can promote these products to boost average order value. Customers looking to complete their outfits are then tempted to click “add to cart.”
4. Draw attention with product badges.
Product badges are another powerful tool to highlight Black Friday sale items. These are indicators that draw customers’ attention. Whether it’s a new product, limited or online-only edition, low inventory or sold-out items, these badges convey a quick and easy message for the shopper to see.
During Black Friday, retailers can automatically apply badges to offers with a label that says ‘Sale Ends Soon.’ This creates a sense of urgency as the sale period runs out.
5. Avoid the ‘zero results’ dead end.
Shoppers don’t want to see a glaring ‘zero results’ message when they’re searching for something. They’re likely to bounce from the website with a message like that.
Instead, they want recommendations and to be pointed in the right direction — the same type of service they would get when shopping in-store.
Retailers can prevent this from happening by suggesting alternatives on the results page. Let’s say a savvy sale hunter searches for the term ‘Black Friday’ during the sales event. Unless products are specifically tagged with ‘Black Friday’ in the title, customers face the dreaded ‘zero results’ message.
In preparation, retailers can review past search data to apply redirects to terms that resulted in no-results pages. As an alternative, they can direct customers to similar results or custom campaign pages.
Reclaim Lost Shuteye by Delivering the Ultimate Shopper Experience
It’s a crowded landscape in the retail world, and the busiest shopping weekend of the year is fast approaching. Retailers need to give customers a compelling reason to shop on their site instead of competitors’ sites.
To stand out, retailers must optimize their Black Friday ecommerce strategy. They must captivate shoppers with a buying journey that’s effortless to navigate, personalized to their preferences and fueled by insights. By implementing these strategies now, retailers can get the right product, to the right person, at the right time — ensuring they can rest easy this holiday season.
Peter Messana is the CEO at Searchspring, a global leader in site search and merchandising.