Every December and January while everyone’s celebrating the holiday season, I have conversations with frustrated eCommerce store owners around the world.
These owners are disappointed or even upset that their Black Friday has been a failure. The reasons are varied. Some stores are hosted on servers that can’t handle the traffic surge, while others discovered last-minute bugs and it was too late to get a decent web developer to fix them. Other stores had clunky navigation and customers couldn’t find the stuff they wanted or didn’t like the check-out process.
It’s bad news for eCommerce when tech and marketing are misaligned
Of course, this failure to perform in the biggest shopping season of the year doesn’t just leave founders or managers feeling disappointed or even angry. The lack of sales has serious financial implications. Most of these businesses are now in the red after spending huge amounts of money on ill-defined or poorly executed tech projects, along with big marketing campaigns. Their marketing, tech, and finance were so misaligned that the owners and founders of eCommerce stores that failed on Big Friday are now undertaking some serious strategy revisions and spending to get their online stores back on track.
Your Black Friday prep needs to begin six months in advance
I say this over and over again during these sad conversations: In today’s complex and fast-paced world of eCommerce, your Black Friday preparation needs to begin six months in advance. Here’s why:
- Some underperforming eCommerce stores have complex problems that take time to uncover and repair.
- A conscientious developer won’t disappear after repairing your site or installing a new feature. Instead, they will want to follow best practice. This means the web developer will test, retest, and retest again. They’ll then make all the adjustments necessary to get things just right before signing off the project.
- Testing may also include following the customer journey through your store from various product pages to favorites to check-out and more to make sure the journey is smooth and easy.
- As well as their own testing and retesting, a good developer may want you to test their solutions, particularly if an in-house team is going to take over site management once the developer’s work is done.
- New features added to a store can occasionally impact other parts of a website’s coding. This fact underscores why multiple tests must be completed to rule out coding conflicts and ensure that repairs are solid and durable.
Web developers get busy ahead of Black Friday
In addition to the reasons above, an early start to your Black Friday prep work is vital because many of the best web developers have limited availability in the run-up to November and December. We’re talking about the top ten percent of web developers who bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to any and all projects. These are the ones who are in serious demand for the big shopping seasons of the year.
You’ll most likely be stuck working with an average or poor web developer if you don’t secure a good web developer well in advance for your Black Friday preparation. This kind of developer could throw together quick fixes for your store that could in fact do more harm than good. With this scenario, there’s no guarantee that your eCommerce shop will be running at peak performance in time for Black Friday.
Black Friday requires long-term planning, not a tune-up a week in advance If your store is slow or buggy your customers will bounce. And your pocket will feel it, times two. You’ll lose sales and spend money fixing problems.
At Saucal, our process is built around testing, collecting feedback, improving, and repeating. We need to understand how your customers respond to changes and integrate feedback. We’re all about continuous improvement, both for your business and your customers.
We want to ensure you own a store that won’t go down when people are placing their orders on Black Friday, or any other day of the year, for that matter. One that will bring customers back time and time again to buy from you!
The facts on failing to prepare for Black Friday
Sometimes, the frustrated eCommerce founders and store managers I talk to will become customers. When they do, we start by auditing their eCommerce sites. Often, we discover one of the following.
- Their eCommerce store is slow! A slow store means customers will bounce! According to Google, the probability of bounce increases 32 percent as page load time goes from one to three seconds. Want to learn more? We’ve written a detailed and informative article about the importance of fast page load times and good hosting..
- The checkout isn’t optimized for high sales. Research shows that when the checkout flow is just right, sales increase!
- Customers can’t find what they are looking for, and when this happens they become frustrated and head to another store. Optimize search and add filters so it’s super easy for customers to find what they need.
- The site is buggy or there are coding issues. If your site has bugs, doesn’t display products properly, or is hard to navigate, you’ll lose customers.
The Saucal approach to getting your eCommerce store ready for Black Friday
As we’ve already said, Saucal strongly recommends beginning Black Friday prep in the first half of the year. Why? Depending on what problems your store is experiencing, the process can take up to six months. Even seemingly simple solutions need to be tested a number of times to make sure the coding works and that there are no conflicts.
Here’s how Saucal will have your eCommerce site ready in less than six months.
- Tell us about your last few Black Fridays: What went well? What went wrong? We want the details and the outcomes.
- If you have an issue with your store’s coding, you may already have a report on the problems. We’ll want to read the report and we’ll let you know what we think.
- If necessary, we’ll move you to solid hosting: Hosting is the foundation for any website’s success, and for eCommerce it’s super important. and the most crucial piece for eCommerce stability and security. At Saucal, we recommend WordPress VIP, which is the best option for WooCommerce stores that want to scale quickly.
- Remove nasty bugs: We’ll detect and remove any bugs on your site. This will guarantee a smooth experience for your customers
- Improve site performance: A slow website, bloated coding, bugs, or any other issues can all impede your eCommerce store’s performance. We’ll identify the issues and solve them so that your customers stay and buy.
- Site improvement: When your site is finally stable, anything you do on top of this will be beneficial. These actions could include improving the purchase experience, implementing better filters and search capabilities, or creating a subscription/membership program.
Why Saucal’s Invisible Advantage gives you maximum value
All customers have access to Saucal’s Invisible Advantage. It’s invisible because you don’t see all the experience and knowledge our team has accumulated in its 11 years in business. But you do experience this advantage as soon as you begin working with us. And you’ll know it and feel it when your store is finally giving you the results you want and running at peak performance! Jump to the end of this post to read more about our Invisible Advantage!
This Invisible Advantage means that Saucal:
- Has perfected its processes so that projects are managed smoothly.
- Is absolutely committed to full transparency, making sure you know where you are with a project and budget spend.
- Can integrate quickly and easily into your team.
- Uses the latest technologies or SaaS and can either provide or create the solution you need for your eCommerce store.
- Responds quickly to urgent requests.
- Offers guidance and speaks up if something isn’t going to work or seems like it could be a bad idea in the long run.
- Responds quickly to urgent requests.
- Find a way to deliver what you need, whatever the problem.
- Is valued by existing customers and has produced strong case studies with outstanding testimonials!
Saucal provides these services
We work with start-up and enterprise-level clients. We’ve built official WooCommerce integrations for Salesforce, Amazon, and Pinterest. Our services include:
- Building WooCommerce stores from scratch, tailored to meet your business goals.
- Auditing, repairing, redesigning and improving existing stores.
- WooCommerce hosting management and migrations.
- Custom plugin development, including official WooCommerce extensions.
- Updating and maintenance of stores and plugins.
You need to begin soon, not next month, August, or in October. We’re ready to help you get maximum sales this Black Friday. That’s why we prepared a free Black Friday checklist to help you prepare your eCommerce store for Black Friday. You can download it here.