Black Friday is a marketing concept that started in the United States and, for several years now, it has become a highly anticipated sales event for consumers all over the world. More than 6 out of 10 French people (62%) make a purchase during the Black Friday event.1

And it looks like 2022 will be no exception! Following a survey, 44% of French consumers said they intend to start their Christmas shopping much earlier this year, as soon as October and November. Consumers will most likely want to anticipate possible stock shortages due to the current economic circumstances. While in-store shopping is still the norm, 88% of consumers are keen to switch to online shopping.2

Black Friday is therefore a very intense period for all online retailers and is considered a real highlight at the end of the year. On average, Black Friday generates 3.6 times more e-commerce sales than an ordinary day in November3; a month that, along with December, represents a major share of annual sales revenue.

Do you have a marketplace and want to take full advantage of this period to boost your sales? Read our tips on how to create a successful customer experience in this special Black Friday to-do-list!

Contents
Define promotional products in partnership with your vendors
Anticipate stocks and delivery
Improve your customers’ shopping experience
Be ready for increased website traffic
Optimize your products
Develop a specific marketing plan
Create a special Black Friday promotional campaign
Anticipate complaints and returns via your customer service department

Define promotional products in partnership with your vendors

To decide which products you want to include in this promotion, you need to work on a selection together with your vendors. Assist your vendors in making selections based on the most popular products purchased by your customers throughout the year. With Christmas just around the corner, Black Friday is the perfect opportunity to buy gifts. With Black Friday geared towards larger purchases, cheaper products are often less expected. So we recommend that you focus on key products with a high selling price.

Customers looking to buy expensive products often wait for special offers or promotional events, especially when it comes to larger categories such as appliances (large and small), video and audio, telephones, furniture, and so on.
Communicate key information to your vendors well in advance of the event: start and end dates, how to benefit from special offers and deals, participation conditions, deadlines, etc.

You and your vendors can offer deals in the form of special promotions, flash sales - i.e. discounts available for a limited time, or even discounted product packages. You can also set your own deals in addition to the offers agreed upon with your vendors, including free shipping, additional discounts beyond a certain amount, competitions, etc. According to Leadfox, the #1 factor that influences the decision to buy during Black Friday is free shipping (49%), followed by special offers (36%), and how easy the website is to navigate (21%).4

So, if you want to offer your customers the best products at the best price on your marketplace during the Black Friday period, you need to work with your vendors well before the event. Give them incentives and build a trusting relationship throughout the year. While having the products your target customers are looking for at the right price is a fundamental factor, being able to deliver them quickly is also a major concern.

Anticipate stocks and delivery

You should choose the products you want to promote during this period well in advance to ensure that you secure the quantities with your vendors (and that they can do the same with their suppliers). With larger order volumes to manage, make sure your vendors are able to handle shipments of promotional products and ensure that orders can be delivered.

Communicate clearly and regularly with your vendors in charge of fulfilling and delivering orders to avoid any mistakes. According to our latest study carried out with Ipsos, 85% of online shoppers said that a bad delivery experience would make them not want to order from that particular website again. Making high quality and fast deliveries is all the more challenging with Black Friday and Christmas so close together. You can opt to integrate vendors already using a Fulfillment service directly into your marketplace, thus ensuring high-quality deliveries. And that is where an e-commerce logistics service provider like Octopia Fulfillment comes into play. Its teams manage the entire supply chain, from warehousing and order processing to monitoring stocks, packaging and delivering to the end consumer.

Provide clear and regular information on delivery times and provide different delivery methods (home delivery, pick-up point, in-store collection, etc.). This is a key factor for 68% of online shoppers, who believe that having a choice of delivery methods is very important. 70% of them also think it is important to be able to arrange a scheduled delivery. During this busy period, we recommend using several shipping methods and carriers to avoid delays.

Improve your customers’ shopping experience

The buying process plays a vital role in how a customer perceives your company. Analyze how your customers navigate website, where they click, which products they look at etc. Use specialized tools to optimize their experience. Consider positioning and highlighting your Black Friday deals, both on your homepage and product pages, so they really stand out to shoppers.

According to FEVAD, of the 41.6 million French consumers who bought online in 2021, 17.1 million did so via their cell phones.5 In 2021, on the 25th (the day before Black Friday) and the 26th (Black Friday), 74% of traffic came from cell phones, with only 26% from desktop browsers. It is important to think about the shopping experience of customers who visit your website on their cell phones.6 Is it easy and straightforward to buy on your marketplace via cell phone? Is your marketplace “responsive”?

You should also test your payment process and provide different payment methods on your marketplace (credit or debit cards, gift cards, Apple Pay, PaypalPayPal, etc.) to reassure your customers and encourage them to make a purchase. Many Black Friday visitors tend to put products in their shopping cart but never actually buy them. Think about creating abandoned cart e-mails to remind visitors that they have not yet completed their purchase.

Finally, payment providers are accustomed to having their technology support multiple simultaneous purchases. They are aware of and fully prepared for the high traffic volumes during Black Friday and their infrastructure and software are designed to handle these peaks.

Be ready for increased website traffic

During Black Friday, your website will certainly experience a significant increase in traffic. Make sure it performs well and that it can handle this increase.
First of all, you should check that your website is capable of handling large volumes of traffic, either via your hosting company or using traffic testing tools. You need to know exactly how many visitors your website can tolerate at once without seeing its performance decrease or crash.

You should also think about testing your website’s loading speed. If your website is fast, customers buy more easily and much faster. When a retailer improves the speed of the first page of the customer journey by 10%, the conversion rate increases by 7%.7 According to Google, 1 in 2 visitors will leave a website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load.8 So be sure to resize and compress all your images to avoid slowing down your marketplace.

Optimize your products

It is important to optimize your product data if you want to convert visitors into customers. Work with your vendors to ensure that they provide you with attractive product descriptions that include all the relevant information (dimensions, weight, colors, features, etc.). You should also feature reviews from other customers. One way to boost your sales during Black Friday is to change the look to include a crossed-out price or an exact savings percentage. Make sure that the order path is smooth and easy to navigate. Top tip: Prioritize key elements such as price, discounts, and delivery methods and times.

To get more traffic during Black Friday, you should publish special landing pages and improve their positioning on search engines. You need to prepare them early enough so that they are well indexed.
Finally, be sure to re-target your visitors and target customers who have already purchased from your marketplace. It is always easier to attract a customer who has already made a purchase and had a good experience.

Develop a specific marketing plan

If you want to re-target visitors, it should be part of a specific marketing plan for the Black Friday period. Set up a dedicated budget to promote your brand and your products. But before that, you need to define your target audience and your message. Who are your customers? What are their needs, problems and purchasing habits? Who is your target audience? What message do you want to convey to encourage people to buy your products? Target and segment your audience.

Set clear and achievable goals to define your budget: attract a certain number of new customers, sell a certain number of products during the promotion period, improve abandoned shopping cart conversions, increase sales by a certain percentage, reach a certain number of visits, products sold, new subscribers, newsletter subscriptions, and so on.

Once you have determined your goals and budget, choose decide on the most relevant channels for your target buyers in order to achieve those goals (press releases, TV and radio ads, e-mailing, billboards, social media, and online advertising such as Google ads, Facebook ads, Instagram ads, Pinterest pins). Set up multi-channel marketing campaigns to attract interest and reach your potential buyers.

Some marketing channels are better suited to short-term goals, while others are better suited to long-term customer retention strategies. Use a mix of channels to reach different customer segments. And don’t forget to keep an eye on your competitors’ marketing and promotional techniques.

Create a special Black Friday promotional campaign

To mark the beginning of this special promotional period, you should create dedicated visuals and banners for your homepage and your website in general.

Set up e-mail campaigns and advertise the most attractive offers, rather than presenting all the products on sale, to attract customers to your marketplace. Start sending out information about your deals and special offers as teasers before the event. Keep in mind that customers’ mailboxes are flooded with marketing e-mails throughout the Black Friday period. To make your e-mails stand out and get opened, you need to work on the subject line, and don’t be afraid to personalize them.
You can also provide links to share your discounts on social media or via e-mail. This is a great way to promote your products and boost conversions.

Anticipate complaints and returns via your customer service department

Your customer service department will be in high demand during and the Black Friday event. Be prepared to receive more messages than usual from your customers regarding their order tracking, deliveries, returns, etc. You might want to set up an FAQ page containing the main questions your customers might have when making a purchase from a third-party vendor on your marketplace.

Anticipate the most common scenarios you will face and how you want to intervene between the vendor and your customer, for example, if a customer’s order has not been shipped by a vendor, if the order has been lost or delayed during transit, if the package has arrived damaged, etc. Your role and position as an intermediary must be well defined with your vendors. Be prepared to respond with clear and concise answers in order to be responsive and provide prompt assistance to your customers. And one thing is for sure: customers who are satisfied with your after-sales service are more likely to recommend your marketplace.

Finally, anticipate product returns. Make sure that your return policy is clear and detailed, both for your vendors and your customers. According to our study, 84% of online shoppers said that product return procedures and after-sales service are very important to them. So you should really think about offering free returns; your customers will be much more likely to order from you if they know that they can return their product for free if it’s not quite what they’re looking for.

All in all, if you want to take full advantage of your customers’ eagerness to buy on Black Friday, you need to work closely with your vendors throughout the year, especially during the calmer periods. As you can see, planning ahead is the key to a successful Black Friday. You should aim for operational excellence in terms of delivery, but also in terms of customer experience on your marketplace. If you organize your next big marketing events early enough, you can offer your customers the best products on the day online and see your sales, and your business volume, increase dramatically.

1 BVA-Orange, 2019

2 Viuz: Christmas: 63.6% of consumers worldwide say they will spend less (ChannelFactory study) | Viuz

3 E-commerce tips to succeed on Black Friday 2022

4 Black Friday in numbers - Infographic (leadfox.co)

5 Key e-commerce figures, fevad

6 Black Friday: analysis of issues, figures and trends, le blog du modérateur

7 27 tips to help you make money and prepare for Black Friday & Cyber Monday (2022) - Shopify

8 3 seconds max to load your website via cell phone? (visibleo.co)