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Black Friday 2018: How to Start Prepping for Peak?

The amount spent on UK online retail sites on Black Friday 2017 was up +11.7% to £1.39bn, according to data from IMRG. This was ahead of the original forecast of +9% growth for the day. Of that spend, 39% was completed on a smartphone, with the device taking the highest share of sales against desktop and tablet. While this is not the first time this device has accounted for the highest share, it’s particularly interesting given Friday was a standard working day (people tend to use the device of most convenience, and many would have had access to their desktops at work).

A little history

Black Friday started in America, it’s the day following Thanksgiving, and it sees retailers making the most of customers being off work for the day, and the proximity to Christmas. It was 2010 when the UK saw fit to adopt Black Friday, without Thanksgiving, and love it or hate it, the results soon proved irresistible: By 2013 it seemed to have acquired the momentum to give it almost the legendary status it has in the US. And when you consider that Americans are around 6 times more likely to buy on Black Friday than any other Friday, you get the gist of its importance. To put this into context, a Hitwise survey of 3m Brits found that last Black Friday, retail websites saw more than 28m online visits every hour, with daily visit share up by 75% from midnight to 3am on the morning of Black Friday.

For 2018, Black Friday falls on 23rd November, and is expected to exceed even last year’s record. So, what can you do to get fully prepped for one of the largest opportunities this year?

Don’t procrastinate

It’s never too early to start preparing for Black Friday. The reason for this is twofold:

Firstly, keen bargain-hunters start scoping out Black Friday deals early, and if your site doesn’t mention what’s about to go down, there’ll be no mental note made to return to your store. Customers start seeking out their Black Friday deals around early November.

Secondly, deciding on campaigns, printing assets like banners, updating products, and training employees on what’s what for the day, all take a significant amount of time.

Know your Black Friday facts

A studious approach always pays off when you’re planning your campaigns. So, here’s some Black Friday trivia (that’s actually anything but):

  • Online traffic tends to peak early, around 9am
  • Lunch time sees a significant peak with 1pm being the second most popular hour
  • 60% of users check out within ten minutes of adding items to the basket
  • while 90% of users check out within an hour

Use data such as this to plan for marketing campaigns on your social throughout the day. Have your marketers prepped and ready to go for any responsive marketing opportunities that come along too, e.g. weather-based, or news-related, and also to respond well to customer queries / comments on social on the day.