BFCM & Holiday Resources Customer Experience eCommerce Best Practices Blog Optimizing the Frontend of Your eCommerce Site for BFCM Find out how to configure the frontend of your eCommerce site to deliver exceptional shopping experiences for BFCM. Danielle Bailey August 28, 2023 8 Min Read Black Friday is a lot like speed dating. Frenzied shoppers will hop onto your site, try to understand if you have what they want at the price they’re hoping for, buy (or not), and move on to the thousands of other BFCM sales. Your website is your brand’s be-all and end-all, your best shot at impressing shoppers and convincing them to come back year-round. Everything on the frontend of your site (and the backend too, but that’s for another blog post) must be configured to deliver exceptional shopping experiences. Understanding Shopper Expectations During BFCM A record 196.7 million Americans indulged in retail therapy both in stores and online during BFCM last year, surpassing initial expectations. The shift towards online shopping was evident, with 42% of Thanksgiving weekend shoppers preferring a digital purchase experience. Online shoppers in the US even set new spending records, splurging an impressive $9.12 billion on Black Friday and $11.3 billion on Cyber Monday. As inflationary pressures and threats of recession persist, consumers have become increasingly conscious of stretching their dollars, but the average spend on BFCM last year was still higher than in 2021, reaching $325.44. Looking forward, about 69% of consumers are expecting a recession to limit their purchasing power. In response, retailers have stepped up to the plate, offering buying convenience by matching sales and promotions across online and in-store channels to accommodate customers’ preferences at every interaction. In this article, we’ll delve into shopper expectations for BFCM and the on-site strategies that will not only accommodate shopper needs but also win them over in the long-term. On-Site Strategies for BFCM Success The following are best practices for the frontend of your site that will allow your brand to stand out, engage customers, and drive conversion during the biggest retail holiday of the year. 1. Streamline Navigation Coleman Furniture’s website is easy to navigate with clear labels on the menu and a photo search tooltip encouraging shoppers to level up their search experience. Simplifying the navigation menu and making it intuitive will guide users seamlessly to their desired items, enhancing their shopping journey. Done right, brands can see a significant 18.5% increase in conversion rates. This can make or break your performance during the holiday. A cluttered and confusing navigation menu can discourage potential customers and lead to high bounce rates. Shoppers expect a seamless and consistent journey whether they’re browsing on desktops, laptops, tablets, or smartphones. Last year, 48% of online Black Friday purchases took place through mobile phones. By implementing a responsive, consistent, and user-friendly design approach, brands can ensure that their eCommerce site automatically adapts to different screen sizes, preserving functionality and aesthetics. Consider how clear and easy-to-use your menu is when in its mobile-first format. Time is of the essence during BFCM – shoppers should be able to effortlessly find and access the deals they desire. Not everyone will choose to navigate through your menu: By strategically placing eye-catching and intuitive call-to-action banners or buttons throughout the website, brands can guide visitors towards their desired products swiftly. 2. Enhance Product Presentation on the Frontend Bell & Ross instills trust in customers with product detail pages that have thorough descriptions of watches available on its website. Creating a dedicated BFCM landing page for exclusive sale items is a powerful strategy that can significantly boost sales and customer engagement. By curating a dynamic and visually appealing landing page, brands can showcase their best deals, limited-time offers, and exclusive discounts, effectively capturing the attention of bargain-hunting customers. Leveraging merchandising rules, brands can strategically position products on PLPs, search results pages, and more, based on relevance, profitability, seasonal popularity, etc. By curating personalized product displays for different customer segments, including new visitors, loyal customers, and high-value shoppers, brands can cater to individual preferences and respond to real-time shopping needs. A well-crafted and informative product description acts as a virtual salesperson, guiding customers through the purchase journey and cementing the brand’s reputation for delivering value and reliability. According to a survey, 85% of shoppers consider product information crucial when determining which brand to purchase from. By presenting comprehensive details about each item, including specifications, features, sizing charts, and material information, brands can instill confidence in their offerings. 3. Personalize the Shopping Experience With a Focus on Value Venca helps shoppers keep tabs on sale items in their wishlist. Personalized discounts, such as exclusive offers based on past purchases or targeted discounts on wishlist items, create a sense of exclusivity and appreciation, driving customer loyalty and repeat purchases. Additionally, providing time-sensitive promotions for items that align with a customer’s browsing history or abandoned cart items encourages immediate action, maximizing the sense of value and urgency. Brands can also send dynamic emails to entice customers to shop during this retail holiday. The contents of the email can include items off shoppers’ wishlists and carts, as well as similar items that will align with their taste. 4. Optimize the Checkout Process Helzberg Diamonds gives customers multiple options for payment and delivery. A cumbersome and time-consuming checkout can lead to cart abandonment and lost sales. By streamlining the checkout process to only essential steps and requesting minimal information, brands can reduce friction and enhance purchase likelihood. Providing a guest checkout options allows first-time customers to proceed without creating an account, eliminating barriers and expediting the process. With the heightened shopping activity during this period, catering to diverse customer preferences is crucial. By offering various payment methods, brands can accommodate individual choices and boost customer confidence in the transaction’s security. Additionally, integrating “buy now, pay later” services allows customers to split their purchases into manageable installments, easing the financial burden and encouraging higher order values. Last year, BNPL payments experienced a remarkable 78% increase compared to the week before BFCM. Brands can also instill confidence by prominently showcasing reputable trust badges and SSL certificates during the checkout process. These visual cues act as powerful endorsements, indicating that a retailer’s website is safe and reliable for completing transactions. 5. Leverage Social Proof and User-Generated Content in Unique Ways Ardene features photos from past customers in outfits they purchased. UGC is already table stakes for modern brands, from reviews and ratings to customer photos, today’s shoppers rely on their peers for decision-making. Black Friday weekend is a great opportunity to customize UGC displays and focus on the merchandise you’re trying to move. Build a customer photo gallery featuring only sale items, or create a landing page of your top-rated promo items, so shoppers can feel confident they’re getting high-quality items at a good price. With the traffic spike over BFCM, brands and retailers also have the opportunity to collect valuable UGC for the future. By providing customers with an incentive, such as discounts, loyalty points, or entry into exclusive giveaways, brands can motivate them to share their authentic experiences and feedback, and in turn, entice others to shop. 6. Make Product Discovery Seamless and Relevant Nourison encourages shoppers to create the perfect home spaces through a dedicated inspiration page. It offers a wealth of resources, including tips, an inspiring gallery, and social media posts from satisfied customers. Buying guides act as curated roadmaps as customers browse through an extensive array of products and deals. Brands can assist customers in understanding the key features, benefits, and use cases of various products, enabling them to make informed and confident choices. Organizing these based on different customer segments, interests, or categories can also ensure that shoppers receive personalized recommendations tailored to their preferences. Text-based search can be inadequate for today’s customers who don’t always know the keywords to use to describe the items they want. Visual search bridges the gap between inspiration and purchase, while also ensuring the surfacing of highly accurate results. By allowing customers to upload images or use smartphone cameras to search for items, brands can offer a more engaging and personalized shopping experience. Product suggestions that are strategically placed on the homepage, category pages, and product detail pages not only entice customers with complementary items, top-rated products, or trending deals, but they also guarantee that the customer journey isn’t interrupted by stockouts by suggesting alternate similar items instead. This strategy streamlines the product discovery process, introducing customers to a diverse range of items that align with their interests, ultimately maximizing their chances of finding and purchasing relevant products during BFCM. Brands using external channels including social must make sure the products promoted there are available and easy to find on their eCommerce site. With a custom PLP or “As Seen on Social” gallery, your promoted items will be front and center for brand fans. Unlock Your Brand’s Full Potential for BFCM With Frontend Optimization The key to success during BFCM lies in delivering exceptional customer experiences that resonate with shoppers on a personal level. By prioritizing strategies that streamline navigation, leverage social proof, personalize offerings, and optimize the checkout process, brands can create an unforgettable shopping journey on the frontend of their website.