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How to prepare your eCommerce site for Black Friday

Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM) are the most significant shopping periods of the year. Prior to the term BFCM being coined, this event became popular around the 1960s in America – it marked the start of the Christmas shopping season. People would skip work to shop, and it was officially adopted in the 1980s when retailers recognised a financial benefit to this annual shopping spree.

For 2023, BFCM spans from the 24th to the 27th of November and presents an immense opportunity for retailers. One thing that should be at the top of the list for all businesses for BFCM is optimising checkouts and payments, as sales during this time can make up a significant percentage of a company’s turnover in the fiscal year.

How to optimise payments and checkout for Black Friday

During Black Friday, the influx of shoppers aiming to snatch deals before they vanish or go out of stock is immense. Consequently, the speed of transactions becomes crucial. Shoppers are on a tight schedule, looking to secure the best deals in the shortest time possible. To cater to this urgency, payment platforms need to simplify their Black Friday checkout process.

Create a simple payment page

Creating an easy-to-use payment page on your website is paramount, especially during high-traffic events like Black Friday, to ensure a seamless checkout experience. By reducing the number of steps required to complete a purchase, businesses can significantly diminish the time shoppers spend during the transaction. Ensuring that your Call-to-Action buttons, such as “Pay Now” or “Complete Purchase” are easily visible and clearly labelled to guide the customer through the Black Friday checkout process with little confusion.

This not only caters to the customers’ need for speed but also helps reduce abandoned purchases. When the checkout process is overly complex, shoppers are more likely to get frustrated and leave without completing their purchase.

small shopping cart on laptop while using payment gateways to shop online
customer paying for product online using alternative payment method

Enable a guest checkout option

Although attaining new members to your site is valuable, some customers can be dissuaded from purchasing from your site if they need to sign up for an account. Some shoppers aren’t interested in returning to your site, as they may only be buying from you because you are the only business with the item they need in your inventory, and when they get to their Black Friday checkout and find it’s members only, they may begrudgingly look elsewhere, leaving you with an abandoned purchase.

One way to avoid this is to implement a guest checkout option. This can be beneficial to both companies and customers as being able to add items to their Black Friday shopping carts and then checkout swiftly, increases revenues for your business and gets customers the items they want.

Offer various payment methods

The need to offer multiple payment methods at the checkout is vital, especially during the current economic climate. Having multiple payment methods influences the shopper’s experience and decision when completing purchases. Not being able to find their preferred payment method can lead to frustration and potential abandoned purchases.

Different demographics and shoppers can lean toward certain payment options. For instance, younger generations may prefer to use digital wallets such as Apple Pay or Google Pay as it’s more convenient, whilst ‘Buy Now Pay Later’ options like Klarna or Clearpay are preferred by those looking to spread payments over time whilst not incurring credit card debts. Traditional shoppers may prefer to pay in full via credit or debit card, which showcases a need for a diverse range of payment options to cater to all needs.

Including alternative payment methods is becoming increasingly normalised and is expected in the Black Friday e-commerce landscape, as it allows the customer flexibility and convenience. E-commerce platforms that recognise and adapt to these payment trends and preferences are placing themselves in a position to capture wider audiences better, increase purchases and reduce purchase abandonment, especially during the Black Friday period.

Support mobile checkouts

According to Statista’s Market Insights, mobile e-commerce sales reached $2.2 trillion in 2023 and now make up 60% of all e-commerce sales worldwide. Ensuring mobile-friendly checkouts is vital during Black Friday when a significant volume of shoppers purchase via smartphones. A fast-loading, mobile-optimised checkout process ensures seamless purchasing, with easily clickable buttons, readable text, and a straightforward layout, providing a hassle-free experience for users on the go.

Features like autofill and simplified form entries are essential, as they significantly speed up the transaction process, a critical aspect during the fast-paced Black Friday checkout process. Additionally, ensuring that all payment options are accessible and function smoothly on mobile devices is imperative, as it caters to the diverse preferences of the mobile shopping demographic.

By emphasising the need for a mobile-friendly checkout experience, e-commerce platforms can reduce abandoned purchases, boost purchases, and increase customer satisfaction, ultimately capitalising on the Black Friday shopping period. Implementing responsive design and testing across various devices ensures that every shopper, regardless of their device, enjoys a streamlined and efficient checkout experience.

Offer automatic discounts

Automatic discounts and promo codes are two popular strategies used during BFCM sales, each with its advantages and disadvantages. Automatic discounts streamline the checkout process by autonomously applying savings without requiring any action from the shopper. This simplicity and time efficiency are crucial during BFCM, where the urgency to complete purchases rapidly is heightened. Shoppers appreciate the hassle-free experience, as it ensures they don’t miss out on savings due to overlooked promo codes.

In black Friday planning, it is beneficial to experiment and analyse which discount method would be more effective with different customer groups. For some, the straightforward nature of automatic discounts might lead to higher conversion rates, whilst others might be more incentivised by the interactive element of entering a promo code. Finding a status quo between these two depends on the understanding of your customer base and BFCM sales objectives, making experimentation and analysis key components in optimising strategies.

small shopping cart on laptop while using payment gateways to shop online

Keeping the balance

As BCFM week moves ever closer, businesses need to prioritise and optimise their checkout and payment processes during their Black Friday planning to ensure a seamless shopping experience. 

From simplifying payment options and offering a guest checkout option to providing various alternative payment methods and ensuring mobile-friendly checkouts, all aspects play a key role in maximising sales and customer satisfaction. Pre-BCFM preparation is key to ensuring you and your company are ready to navigate the challenges and reap the benefits of the biggest shopping event of the year.

Navigate the BCFM period with confidence by planning ahead with Trust Payments and ensure you’re fully prepared to enhance customer experience.

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Security is our top priority at Trust Payments and we strive to ensure that all data is kept secure at all times We keep all customer data safe with AES256 encryption, SSL Certificates, and a minimum of TLS1.2, between your website and our datacentres.

Our systems are scanned quarterly using the Qualys PCI Platform, an independent Qualified Security Assessor (QSA) and approved vendors – Omnicybersecurity (UK) & Forgenix (US) – to ensure compliance with the security requirements of the card schemes.

We follow a number of rigorous security procedures on a daily basis including, but not limited to, continuous monitoring of our perimeter, dark web monitoring, and internal checks to ensure that CIA triad is maintained at all times.

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