Black Friday is traditionally an American pastime, where businesses drop prices to record lows for one day only, and consumers flood shopping centers, street-side stores and mini-markets. It’s cottoned on around the world, with millions of buyers lining up hours before stores open – just to bag a bargain.
But with the massive rise in online shopping and a global move towards ecommerce, consumers no longer have to risk life and limb to benefit from Black Friday savings. And, with so many buyers now comfortable with the online space (post Covid lockdowns), this year promises to be the biggest online Black Friday yet. Add to that the chance to skip insane queues and hours spent in poorly-ventilated areas, and it’s safe to say we’ll see an influx of online buyers.
In South Africa, we’ve already noted the trending behaviour of consumers moving their Black Friday buying to popular sites like Takealot and Zando instead of lining up outside their local stores – and that was before the days of having everything delivered.
So, what does this mean for sellers?
Whether you’re a small merchant, a medium-sized entity or part of a massive franchise or conglomerate, you need to be prepared for Black Friday demand in South Africa this year. And, if you don’t expect high demand, now’s the time to make the most of this chance to gain new business.
- Greater brand reach: Whether the whole country knows about your brand or you’re a small business, just starting out, you have the opportunity to gain massive exposure for your brand. Capitalise on Black Friday as a chance to advertise, in line with what your customers are interested in.
- Consumer value: The perception of value for money can make new customers out of potential ones. Now’s your chance to offer real value while gaining returns in other ways, i.e. exposure, relationship building, product testing and establishing credibility.
- A competitive edge: In a noisy digital marketplace, making the most of Black Friday opportunities can mean getting ahead of your competitors. Great deals, exciting marketing material and incentivising consumers to try out your products could mean new customers in the long term.
But, it’s not as easy as simply running a campaign and offering great deals.
Make sure you’re prepared!
South African sites are notorious for failing on Black Friday in terms of performance. How often have you tried to cash in on a deal only to see that the site has crashed or that stock’s running out before you can buy it? These are just two of the challenges SA shoppers face when trying to make the most of the day, but any mishap can put new and existing customers off buying from your business. Here’s how to prepare, stand out among the competition and ensure you’re ready to handle the potential flood of business coming your way.
Streamline your checkout process
On Black Friday, customers are in a hurry and won’t hesitate to leave your site without checking out if the process is too difficult or they don’t have payment options. Test your checkout process with heavy user load and make sure you have quick and convenient ways to pay (hint, hint, nudge, nudge – add Ozow for instant EFTs).
Make sure your site is backed-up
Optimise your site and products
Optimise your site and products: SEO matters when it comes to standing out and that means you want to have specific keywords in your product names and site content, as one example. It also takes time for search functions to kick in so make sure you have a strategy beforehand to give Google enough time to index your content. Other ways to drive traffic and draw attention to your store include:
- getting third-party sites to link to your content online
- driving people to your store through social and paid media
- putting the most searched for keywords (in relation to your business) in the headings of your content
Drive sales with small site changes
Drive sales with small site changes: In South Africa, we haven’t fully tapped into the power of creating great users’ experiences to encourage customers to buy. Small changes can make a big difference and Black Friday is the perfect time to experiment with some of them. For example, you can add a countdown timer to your homepage driving urgency and excitement around specific deals. You can also add the best discounts to the homepage for better visibility. These tactics make a huge difference in how customers behave on your site and how much they buy.
Don’t forget Cyber Monday
Don’t forget Cyber Monday: The Monday after Black Friday is Cyber Monday which was first created to get people to shop online. In America, it falls after Thanksgiving and it’s kind of like the Black Friday of the Internet, so just as important to start thinking about. As it swiftly becomes a major shopping day in South Africa and other parts of the world, and because it’s specifically geared towards online shopping, you’ll have to start strategizing well in advance for how you’re going to benefit from this day. For the most part, you can apply the same tactics as you would for Black Friday and consider creating an integrated campaign for both days, seeing as they’re so close together.