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Is your website ready for Black Friday?

Posted by Dan Berry on Monday 09 October 2017

What does Black Friday mean to you and your business? This 24-hour period kicks off the Christmas buying period and represents the biggest online opportunity for you to sell on a scale you may never have seen before.

It could also represent a lost opportunity if your website or app crashes or grinds to a halt as eager shoppers flock to your online store.

The results could be catastrophic, with reputational damage and millions lost in revenue.

Don’t assume you’re immune to the effects of Black Friday as plenty of well-known brands have failed to capitalise on this unique buying window. For example, a glitch on Amazon in 2014 meant some items were on sale for a penny and a deluge of websites crashed or buckled under the pressure last year, including Dell, GAME and Currys PC World.

More than any other day of the year, your website or app needs to be free of critical bugs to maximise your conversion rates and sales. It’s such a short snapshot in time that you simply won’t have time on Black Friday to fix bugs and patch your software.

You need to take a proactive approach. You need to make sure your site is properly tested ahead of time. You need to integrate a solid web testing strategy into your Black Friday preparation.

In the UK, an estimated £1.23bn was spent online last year for Black Friday, which represents a 12.2% increase on last year’s figures. And a total of £6.45bn was spent over the Black Friday peak period between Monday 21st to 28th November.

The Black Friday phenomenon shows no signs of stopping either with Salesforce experts predicting this year’s date, which falls on November 24th, will be the biggest online shopping day - ever.

Can your business afford to miss out on this heightened sales period? And can your website or app handle the huge increases in traffic that accompany such increased online spends?

Signs your website is struggling

To identify the issues your website or app may face on Black Friday, you need to carry out robust web testing to fully analyse its weak points. However, you may have already noticed a few tell-tale signs that your site is struggling:

1) You have a high bounce rate

If your average visitor spends less than 20 seconds on your website, then this is a clear indicator that something is driving them away. It could be a poor design, broken links and images or a more serious issue where your site does not render properly on specific devices or operating systems.

Web Testing

2) Your website is slow

A one second delay in your page response time could potentially cost you $2.5 million in lost sales every year, research reveals, with the average user waiting only 6-10 seconds before abandoning a page. If your website is slow to load under normal traffic loads, how do you think it could cope on Black Friday when you can expect a peak in visitor numbers?

3) Your website isn't mobile friendly

More than half of online sales are now made through mobile devices, according to retailer organisation IMRG. If your website isn’t optimised to work on a range of mobile devices, you could miss out on a huge chunk of revenue this Black Friday.

4) You have a flash-based site

Flash-based websites were once in demand as the moving images and text they provided were seem as cutting-edge. Nowadays, they are typically hampered by slow load times, SEO limitations and incompatibility issues across a range of platforms. What’s more, technical advances such as HTML5 and CSS3 mean you don’t need to rely on Flash anymore.

5) Poor user experience = poor conversion

How easy is it for your online shoppers to buy from your site or app? If your conversion rates are low, then they could be struggling to navigate your site and find the information or products they need.

And if your website or app is crammed with too much information, ugly graphics and fonts and an unresponsive width that leaves blank space to the left and right of the screen, then you may want to consider a user experience-focused redesign.

Simply put, if your website or app doesn’t look the business for Black Friday, you’ll struggle to do business.

There’s a lot to think about to get your business Black Friday ready - download our latest guide to ensure that you make it a successful one!

Web Testing