The Ultimate Black Friday eCommerce Prep List

The Ultimate Black Friday eCommerce Prep List

Thursday, September 24, 2020Eric Zegarski

Black Friday 2020 Planning Guide and Resources 

Ahh September is winding down, the cool and crisp bite of is in the air, Halloween and horror movie season is right around the corner, and BLACK FRIDAY IS ONLY 2 MONTHS AWAY!!  

Before you start to panic and run out to Costco to pick up a club pack of RedBull planning to join #TeamHustleNoSleep, 2 months is plenty of time to get your online business ready to dominate this Black Friday.  Below you’ll find an essential get $#!T done list for Black Friday.

Marketing and Website Maintenance for Black Friday

Almost every retailer is pushing to grow their online presence this year. As a merchant you’ll have to find unique ways to differentiate yourself. Traditional marketing channels for eCommerce brands like Google and Facebook owned avenues will be crowded with competition. Many large big box retailers with an almost limitless marketing budget will be looking to make their presence known on these channels. As a result, due to the laws of supply and demand pricing for advertisements and sponsored content on these avenues will see an increase.  

Marketers need to improvise, adapt and overcome! Planning will allow you to identify channels where you can have a competitive advantage with your marketing. Your planning should be split into two categories, outbound and re-engagement. Outbound is focused on evangelizing your brand to people who might not be familiar with your product or brand.  

Re-engagement is reminding current and past customers about your upcoming promos. You should also investigate leveraging your email marketing to reach any email contacts you have captured through promo/newsletter signups as well as customers. In addition, you can market to anyone who has visited your website by using re-marketing techniques.  

Planning ahead will allow you to select the right channels for your business. In addition, you can ensure that all creative assets will be up to par with your brand. Furthermore, scheduling your campaigns ahead of time will allow you to limit potential errors that might occur due to an 11th hour scramble to get things live.  

2020 has been a challenging time for many businesses. If your business could use extra financial resources to run advertising campaigns this holiday season, then we strongly recommend reaching out to Clearbanc.

In addition to planning your marketing efforts, you should also preform maintenance on your website. A fast and optimized website helps in improving conversion rates. You should be looking at optimizing your customer’s journey, evaluating your UX, finding any deadlinks, and downsizing image files. If you’re looking to supercharge your web traffic to customer percentages, marketing solutions from Klayvio and Privy can assist.  

Logistics and Operations for Black Friday

This facet of your business ensures everything runs smoothly. From ordering products to ensuring orders are shipped correctly, this department does it all. They handle all of the behind the scenes magic. With that in mind, there is A LOT of prep that needs to be done ahead of time to ensure your holiday shopping season goes smoothly.  

Staffing and Supplies for Black Friday 
Every business has their fulfillment operations set up differently. Some manage the entire process from manufacturing to distribution, while others rely on outsourced production and third-party services. Therefore, before any planning or allocating of resources is done, you’ll need to have a deep understanding of your operational structure. 

Resource allocation is key, your inventory can be fully stocked, but if you lack the resources required to ship orders, then there will be delays. Resources can be split into two categories, human and non-human. Human resources simply relate to staffing and ensuring you have enough human capital to meet your demand. Physical resources are any materials or tools needed to get your orders out the door. This can range from boxes to packing tape. The last thing you want is to run out of packing peanuts during your Black Friday rush. 

Solutions like ShipStation make it easy to pack and ship your products. They offer various handy solutions that help you manage shipping logistics for your warehouse as well as on your eCommerce store. If you’re looking to diversifying your logistics department with regional hubs, then ShipBob is a great option.  

Shipping Deadlines and Fees  
Due to the pressing demand already put on companies like FedEx and UPS, their requirements are changing this year. It’s in your best interest to keep up-to-date with their announcements. FedEx has a handy page where they update deadlines for shipping product to ensure it gets to the buyer before Christmas. In addition, these service providers might be altering their fee structure as well.  

Solutions like ShipperHQ allow you to optimize your shipping rates and the ability to show real-time rates on your eCommerce site.  

Inventory Levels  
Every merchant’s nightmare is running out of inventory to sell. It is crucial that you have enough inventory on hand to last you through Black Friday as well as well into the holiday shopping season. Therefore, you must be able to estimate demand in an effective manner. Having your marketing planned out is crucial in this step. It will allow you to use metrics from your planned campaigns to have a rough estimate of demand. Here are a few metrics you should include in your demand forecast:  
  • Sales of last year’s Black Friday promotions
  • Average conversion rate on paid advertising campaigns  
  • Average conversion rate on email campaigns  
  • Average conversion rate of web traffic 
  • Traffic to contact percentage 
  • Contact to customer percentage 
  • Ideal security stock levels 
  • Lead times for additional orders to replenish inventory levels 

Using these metrics, you can accurately predict demand for each channel you sell on. Many merchants are looking to diversify their online sales channels, businesses are looking to new avenues to sell online. Some are looking into dropshipping options on websites like Walmart and Costco. CommerceHub can make selling on marketplaces like these easy.  

Integration Bridges Your Black Friday Commerce Strategy Together 

Having accurate data will allow you to plan for Black Friday and beyond. Integration allows you to bridge all of your commerce systems together including eCommerce platforms, ERP solutions, retail EDI trading partners and solutions like Shipstation and CommerceHub. When Black Friday strikes, you'll have all of your vital commerce systems connected. You’ll be able to have organizational wide transparency. 

Overall eCommerce, ERP, and EDI Benefits  
  • Eliminate manual and duplicate entry: Integration of eCommerce platforms such as Magento, Shopify, BigCommerce, and Amazon with ERP systems.  
  • Improve speed of data exchange: By eliminating the time-consuming manual data entry process, the eBridge Connections integration platform greatly increases the speed of information exchange, resulting in improved customer service efficiency and customer satisfaction.  
  • Improve data accuracy: Each time data is manually entered into a system, there is the chance of errors being introduced. Data passes through a validation layer, resulting in a decrease in costly errors and chargebacks.  
  • Streamline business processes: eCommerce integration will help to create an efficient workflow between departments and functionalities in your organization. An integrated flow of data will provide you with the insight you need to make strong decisions that align with your business strategy and objectives.  
  • Liberate valuable resources: Focus your resources on other high prty work, instf tedious manual data entry to and from your ERP system. An eCommerce integration solution will automatically schedule and process data without human intervention. 

Learn more about the benefits of eCommerce, ERP, and EDI integration.  

Meet eBridge's Universal Integration Platform (iPaaS)

eBridge Connections has pre-build connectors for all leading eCommerce platforms like Shopify, BigCommerce, Magento, WooCommerce. In addition, we support ERP solutions from Sage, Microsoft, SAP, NetSuite, Intuit and many more. Our platform is designed to support your scaling business as your needs change. With the rise of multi-channel our integration platform also supports marketplaces like Amazon and Walmart, as well as fulfillment solutions like Shipstation. Discover how integration can unify your commerce operations. 

In addition, eBridge is hosted on Microsoft Azure, therefore ensuring an almost 99.9% uptime and industry leading security. With an integration solution from eBridge, you can ensure that your commerce network is connected and communicating data bi-directionally. 

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