Are you preparing a WooCommerce store for Black Friday in 2023? You’re not alone.
According to the latest reports, more than 4 million stores are active (in the 3rd quarter of 2023). And 9.8% of these WooCommerce stores are in the US.
And, these stores (at least most of them) have one thing in common:
What Black Friday Marketing Strategies should I follow to make money during the holidays?
There are 2 things you need to do here.
Number 1, plan ahead – make sure to have a good plan of action ready. Number 2, prepare your WooCommerce store for it.
Carrie Cousins of LeadPoint Digital had this to say in one of her blogs:
“Early preparation will ease much of that stress and ensure that you have a plan for different scenarios. Early planning also gives you time to test new concepts and ideas before launching them in front of a big audience.”
So today, we will be discussing plan number 2. We will show you how to prep your WordPress WooCommerce store for sales success!
Preparing WooCommerce Store for Black Friday: How to Make Money on Holiday
There are plenty of useful tactics you can use to prepare your website. We have a data-driven list of Black Friday strategies focusing on some of the key things:
However, to turn these strategies into success, you need to prepare your website the right way.
This includes the ability to start your sale at the “right time”.
Tip 1. Plan Your Black Friday Sale: When Do You Start?
The easiest thing to do is: Start Early!
However, some questions will pop up in your mind:
When exactly should I start?
If you indeed want to start early, there are some things you need to keep in mind:
Your WooCommerce Store Needs to be Agile
Your WooCommerce store needs to have a proper system in place that can manage and showcase the products in your store the right way. This means:
- 76% of buyers look for product descriptions when making a purchase. Also, 7 out of 10 users are “not sure” what they want to buy. So, it is crucial to write and manage product descriptions.
- Your WooCommerce product management system should help you create and manage products, run promotions, manage prices, etc. without hassle.
- Deploying banners quickly and effectively to showcase promotional offers is an excellent feature to have.
- The site needs to be scalable. It needs to handle the growing number of visitors coming to your store. There is a possibility that your site traffic will increase 2.5X during the holiday season.
- You need to have full access to the design customizations of your WooCommerce store. Otherwise, you will not be able to properly design and deploy your Black Friday or Cyber Monday Offers. This includes creating custom banners and deploying them for promotions.
Fortunately, other than the scalability, the ProductX and WholesaleX plugins can help you out here.
ProductX can help you out with your site’s design, promotion, consumer sales, and more. As for WholesaleX, it helps you with handling product discounts for both B2B and B2C online stores.
ProductX and WholesaleX can do great things together. If you’re thinking of kicking your eCommerce journey, you can get the ProductX and WholesaleX bundle at a GREAT DISCOUNT this BLACK FRIDAY.
More on that in a bit.
Since the site is “Agile”, you are now ready to know when to “actually” start the sales.
When to Start the Black Friday Sale?
In general, it is a safe bet to start reaching out to your users as early as possible – start the promotions at least 2-weeks prior to Black Friday or Cyber Monday.
Now the question is:
Why should you plan for both Black Friday and Cyber Monday?
Cyber Monday is the biggest “Online” sales fiesta in the holiday sales season. Cyber Monday alone can generate 11.3 billion dollars worth of online sales.
Also, Black Friday in 2023 will start on November 24, 2023. Cyber Monday will be close by, starting on November 27, 2023.
The sales potential can reach up to 20 billion USD!
You would want to be a part of that, won’t you?
If you have the resources, make sure to plan ahead for both sales. However, if you think you are not ready for it (you have issues with your security and scalability) you may want to start planning for it.
But when should the “real” sale start?
Note that you started the promotions 2-weeks early. But it is a safe bet to open the sales 2 days before the real holiday.
You need to be sure that your site is ready to take on the burden. If you have a somewhat lackluster hosting and no proper security measures, you may not reap the benefits of starting early.
That’s where eCommerce website security comes into play:
Tip 2: WooCommerce Site Speed, Hosting, and Security: Covering up Any Loopholes
There are a couple of things to note before you start looking for a hosting company:
- Your website needs to be up 99.99% of the time
- It needs to handle the surge in user traffic (as mentioned before)
- It needs to load fast
These 3 criteria are a must-have if you don’t want to lose any customers.
Only during Black Friday, you can see a 2.5X to 3X surge in traffic. And if your website can’t handle the traffic, the effects can be devastating:
WooCommerce store downtime can be suicidal:
Depending on the business size, the industry vertical, and business models, reports indicate that a company/enterprise can lose up to $9000 for 1 minute of downtime.
If your website is down for an hour, then you are looking at around a 5 million dollar loss! Again, all of it depends on specific factors of the industry.
The question is, can you avoid it?
Can you avoid WooCommerce Site Downtime?
Unfortunately, there’s no way to avoid downtimes for your WooCommerce store. It’s because of the following reasons:
- You can’t ignore server maintenance. Hardware upgrades from the ISP (Internet Service Provider) end will result in some downtime. Fortunately, the ISPs will provide advanced notice for such maintenance.
If you’re a small business, then this applies to your situation. If you are running in-house servers, disk corruptions, upgrades, and man-made security flaws can lengthen the maintenance process.
- Theme compatibility is another problem. If you are using a “lesser” known theme, your site structure may break. This can lead to users “bouncing” away from your website (the bounce rate, on average, is already around 45-65%, you don’t want anything higher than that!)
- Then there’s the issue with the hosting service providers. “Lesser” known hosting companies do not provide the best uptime and/or customer support.
The ultimate impact of a website downtime and slow speeds can be listed as:
- Damage to the brand value – users no longer find your site useful
- Unthinkable impact on the store’s financials
- Increased bounce rates – impacting your search results
As a whole, you are looking at an angry customer base who will be reluctant to put their faith in you!
So, you need to close down any loopholes, don’t you think?
Addressing the Site Speed Issue
According to data, for a B2B WooCommerce store that loads within 1 second, the conversion rate for it can increase up to 5X.
Not only that, for a general WooCommerce store, even if it loads in 5 seconds, you can expect around 2.5X conversion rates.
So, you have some headroom to work with here.
Because if the load times go beyond 6 seconds, your bounce rate can go up as much as 106%!
So, what can you do to maintain better site speeds:
- Go with a trusted hosting provider
- Use a fast and light-weight WooCommerce theme
- Optimize images – use compression and keep them in JPEG format
- Measure site speed with speed optimization tools
- Keep it simple
Some known speed optimization tools are:
These are some of the reliable options you can try out.
Addressing the Hosting Issue
Choosing the right hosting is crucial for sales success this Black Friday. A proper hosting service provider can:
- Keep your site up and running 99.99% of the time
- Offer 24/7 support
- Provide small and large-scale solutions effectively
- Help scale your website accordingly
The safest thing to do is to read online reviews on the best hosting service providers.
Also, reaching out to the customer service representatives can help clear things out as well.
Addressing the Security Issues
WooCommerce site security breaches can happen in various ways. So, it is crucial to take precautionary measures like:
- Go with a proper hosting service provider
- Use an SSL certificate on your store
- Generate ‘hard-to-predict’ passwords for users and site admins
- Keep WooCommerce plugins up to date
- Use a CDN as an advanced security measure
- Use Security Authentication Keys for admins
- Invest in training your staff against WooCommerce security threats
- Provide strong usernames to admins
- Use a Firewall if possible
- Strictly manage access control
- Take regular backups of your websites
We have an in-depth guide on WooCommerce security, make sure to check it out:
The next section is very crucial!
Tip 3: Implement Different Discount Strategies: Laying out the Options
Discount strategies can be both beneficial and annoying for users. If you do it too much, you are destroying the user experience.
On the other hand, a lack of effort can render your whole strategy useless.
What can you do here?
There are a couple of things you can do:
Discount Coupons for Black Friday
Discount codes are a great way to let customers buy products at a discount this Black Friday.
Reports suggest that a 30% discount coupon is the favorite of 65% of users during the holiday sales season.
Also, you can use a discount coupon with other marketing strategies like:
- Email marketing
- SMS marketing
- Influencer marketing, etc.
Now before creating a marketing strategy with coupons, you need to know what types of coupons you can use:
Types of Discount Application through Coupons
There are a couple of discount coupon strategies you can use:
Direct Discount Coupons
Direct discount coupons are applied at checkout automatically. Some folks call them automatic coupons. Both B2B and B2C businesses apply these strategies every quarter, especially during the holiday season.
Personalized coupons can be deployed easily for specific users. These coupons are very useful when offering “personalized discounts” to customers.
Coupons like these have great promise since you, the marketer can use them with multiple channels.
For example, most GenZs use mobile devices (around 60-70%) to find out about new offers through their mobile devices.
Also, the response rate through app-based and SMS-based personalized coupon discounts is greater than other marketing channels.
Early Bird Coupons
Early Bird coupons create a sense of ‘urgency’ among users. And more than 50% of users respond to such ‘urgent’ sales.
Early bird coupons work great as ‘early’ sale generators. It can work as a great motivator for users who are looking to get an “extra” discount on products or services.
Wholesale deals can work wonders if you are:
- Looking to clear out existing product inventory
- Create hype among users
- Increase the average order value
Plugins like WholesaleX have a great way of setting up Wholesale discounts. You can set up custom coupons or directly apply them as you wish.
Here’s a useful resource to follow:
***Although it’s not technically a “coupon”, store points or in-store wallet currency can be an excellent motivator to boost Black Friday sales. Users, when they buy something from your store, get points they can use later to buy something from your store.
Around 65% of users find BOGO discounts very useful. And BOGO discount strategies do perform great during the holiday season!
Among popular BOGO discounts, “Buy X Get 1 Free” and “Buy X Get Y Free” are popular. Setting these wholesale discounts requires some A/B testing from the marketer’s end.
Fortunately, the WholesaleX plugin is a great tool for this!
Users can set wholesale discounts on various criteria using the dynamic rules. For both B2B+B2C online stores, it is highly beneficial.
Here’s a useful resource on creating BOGO discounts:
Upsell and Cross-sell
Upsell and cross-sell work great together when marketers use them properly.
Unfortunately, users feel lost about upselling and cross-selling. You use them to:
- Increase your average order value
- Better customer retention
- Lower the customer acquisition cost
The general rule of thumb is to:
- Clearly state the offers
- Don’t try to do too much – customers can feel lost
- Be customer-focused, not sale-focused
Working with Banners
You can let users know about the Black Friday and Cyber Monday offers through custom banners.
Although banners have a relatively low conversion rate, you can use them in creative ways with other marketing channels.
And yes, ProductX allows you to create banner offers just the way you want them. As a matter of fact, we created banner offers for halloween 2023! You can use the same strategy:
Also, we have a bonus section for you at the end. Make sure to check it out!
Tip 4: Close or Expand: When is the Right Time to End the Sale?
This can vary depending on the industry and the product you are selling.
The general recommendation for Black Friday is to run the sales for a 3-4 day duration. Since Black Friday generally occurs after the 4th Thursday of every November (after Thanksgiving that is), you can start 1 day before Thanksgiving and continue the sales 1 day after Black Friday. That’s 4 days!
Now if you are a large WooCommerce entity, that would work for you. However, there are some things you should know before planning for a 4-day period.
Pre-Black Friday Sales
For some companies, this can start as early as the final week of October.
During this time, marketers offer “Early Bird” discounts and other relevant offers. This is beneficial since more than 50% of customers start roaming through online sale offers 14 days before actual Black Friday.
Cyber Monday is very CLOSE…
For a WooCommerce store, it doesn’t make any sense to miss the vibe of Cyber Monday.
And it’s the 1st Monday after Black Friday!
And you can expect a customer to spend an average of $500 on Cyber Monday. This should give you some idea about the average sales potential!
Also, some companies prefer to run sales after 1-week of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
So, what is the right course of action?
Unfortunately, you need to figure that out for yourselves – understand what works for you.
Some companies like to tease Black Friday deals 2-3 weeks ahead of time. You could try that. And there’s the “Early Bird” Discount aspect you can explore as well.
The plan that works is to start as early as possible and end 3-4 days after the period ends. You can start your “Early Bird Sales and promotions” 14-21 days before the actual date. Then plan your campaign and discounts as you progress.
Tip 5: Evaluate the Performance: Take Notes and Plan for the Next Sale
This section deals with the calculation of important performance metrics during and after the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.
Here are some important metrics you need to track:
- Your total number of sales equals the total revenue. You need to monitor it throughout the campaign period
- The Average Order Value (AOV) is an important metric to consider
- The Cart Abandonment Rate (CAR) is another important metric. It measures how many customers left after adding items to the cart (More on it later!)
- The Conversion Rate needs to be tracked. It is a measure of the percentage of people who completed a task on your website
- Keep an eye on the Ad campaign outcome.
What is the formula to calculate the Average Order Value?
To calculate the average order value, divide the total order value (in USD) by the total number of orders placed:
(Total Order Value/Total Orders Placed) = Average Order Value of your store
We have a guide on ways to increase average order value, you can go ahead and check it out:
How Do You Calculate the Conversion Rate?
To calculate the conversion rate, you need to divide the total number of sessions on your site by the total number of purchases made through the website.
(Total number of sessions/Total purchases) in site = Conversion Rate
Bonus Section: Cart Abandonment and Store SEO
Cart abandonment and WooCommerce Store SEO are 2 important metrics that can help make your conversion rates better:
Cart Abandonment Rate: How to Deal with It?
During Black Friday, in 2022, the cart abandonment rate was around 78%.
That’s not a small number by any means.
So, how do you address this issue?
Before that, you need to know how to measure the Cart Abandonment Rate (CAR). Here’s the formula:
- First find the value of : (Number of Completed Purchases/Number of Created Carts in Store) – let’s call it the “Shopping Ratio”
- Then find (1-Shopping Ratio)
- Finally, find the total percentage by dividing it by 100
The final equation looks something like this:
(1 – Shopping Ratio)/100 = Cart Abandonment Rate
Now the question is: What can you do about it?
Here is a list of the best course of action:
- Cart abandonment emails are a great way to keep the bounce rate down. According to data, cart abandonment emails have a 69% chance of success compared to regular emails
- Be clear about your discounts – you shouldn’t confuse the customers
- Keep the checkout process as simple as possible
- Make sure your site accessibility is top-notch
These are some of the things you can do. However, with the “accessibility” aspect, the SEO factor plays a role as well.
WooCommerce Store SEO: Things to Manage
WooCommerce SEO depends on a couple of things. Here are the key things you need to keep into account:
- Site load times need to be in check. Site load times should be ideally within 2 to 5 seconds.
- Keyword research strategy should be leak-proof
- Product descriptions should be clear and concise
- Site navigation should be simple for the customer
- Call-to-actions should be clear
- Discounts and Offers should not confuse the user
If you can manage these 6 things, you don’t need to worry about anything else!
Key Takeaways for Preparing a WooCommerce Store for Black Friday
With the 5 tips on preparing a WooCommerce Store for Black Friday, you should be able to create a killer site with high conversions and low bounce rates. Let’s recap the things you need to keep in mind:
- Plan your Black Friday Sale EARLY.
- Site load speeds are super important
- WooCommerce website security is another key measure of performance
- Implementation of different discount strategies requires planning and testing
- Creative banners can be a great way to share WooCommerce store discounts
- A/B testing is required to know when to start the sales promotion
- Ideally, sales promotion should start at least 14 days early
- Evaluate important metrics like AOV, CAR, and conversion rates from the start
- CAR emails can help get better conversions
- Make sure the site SEO is proper
At this point, we want to hear from you. Did we miss anything? Do sound off in the comments below.