This Friday, 23rd November, sees the now annual online shopping event that is known to millions around the globe as ‘Black Friday’, a day which (naturally), originated in the States and traditionally marks the start of the Christmas shopping season, although some would argue that the history of Black Friday is a little less favourable than first appears.
In today’s world, Black Friday is a day where online retailers expect their sales to eclipse any other day in the retail calendar, indeed here in the UK Black Friday is now a bigger shopping event than the Boxing Day sales, and if you are not best placed to capitalise on this day of trade, you could be loosing a significant amount of revenue.
So how do you make the most of Black Friday if you are an online retailer? Large organisations such as Amazon and eBay have pretty much got it stitched up, however there are ways to ensure your business reaps the rewards of this sales driven phenomena, whilst still maintaining your own cyber security.
Want to find out the do’s and don’ts for retailers with an ecommerce site to have a successful and safe Black Friday?
Prepare for Black Friday Do’s
Well now you know how significant Black Friday actually is in retail, and you know when it is, there’s no excuse for not being prepared. Here are some top tips for retailers and other businesses who have an ecommerce website;
- Plan which products you are going to promote and discount online. This is where your own industry expertise comes in handy, and knowing which products will be the most attractive to your online customers. Furthermore, are these products clearly visible on your website, and do they draw customers in to ‘upsell’ alternative or additional products?
- Can your website cope with the increased traffic? Make sure you liaise beforehand with your IT Support team to get your website up to scratch; are pictures optimised for example, and remember to ask them if you can make your website more ‘salesy’ for the event? Can they add a temporary countdown clock to remind people how long the event will last? Here at Bandicoot IT we regularly speak to our clients to ensure they are happy with their website design and discuss optimisation to ensure lots of traffic to drive those sales.
- Adding to this optimisation of your website and the subsequent stream of customers you are going to get, how is the actual shopping experience once they are there? Is the checkout option easy to navigate? Are you set up for different payment options? And have you remembered to add postage and packaging? In addition to this, make sure your customer service is ‘en pointe’. There is a whole load of competition out there, so make sure you get noticed, and recommended, based on your customer service before and after the sale!
Black Friday Security Nightmares to Avoid
So you are all prepared, your website is optimised to the max, your stockroom is bulging and your staff are all energised and ready to meet those increased sales demands.
There are a few things however that you need to be aware of so you don’t get caught out by the fraudsters and those intent on cyber-crime.
- First things first, criminals are not necessarily after your products. They are after data, and lots of it. With the ever increasing demand for online shopping, customer bank details are a prime target for hackers and cyber criminals. Couple this with the large amount of personal data, address details, email addresses etc. and Black Friday becomes a prime target for offenders to take advantage of unassuming business owners.
- This also potentially puts you in breach of the latest GDPR rules and you could face a hefty fine if you haven’t got a watertight database of client details!
- Another potential danger from the hackers is ‘Distribution Denial of Service’ or DDoS. Basically this means that the cyber criminals send more requests to the website server than it can cope with, flooding the particular server so that it takes genuine customers much longer to access the website or worse still, unable to access it at all. This can cause financial damage and impact on the reputation of the business affected; it can also cause a temporary interference which demands your attention whilst the hackers are busy creating more long term damage elsewhere.
How to Protect your Business
There are certain steps you can take to protect your business.
Firstly, is your SSL Certificate up to date? This important certificate is there to ensure your bank details and any sensitive information, and those details of your customers, remain secure by encrypting the information as it is sent across the internet. Crucially, your SSL Certificate also provides trust and confidence to your customers, and delivers authentication of the server your website is on.
Moreover, if you want to complete credit card transactions on your website, you can only do this by passing certain criteria to show that your website complies with the Payment Card Industry standards and meets their security demands.
As for coping with potential DDOS attacks, there are ‘traffic management’ services available which can offer one off protection for malware attacks or genuine increased traffic demands, or you can opt for an ongoing arrangement for ultimate protection against sudden increased demand.
It’s also worth remembering that Black Friday is no longer a one day event. Many businesses extend this pre-Christmas selling bonanza to before and after the actual day. So ensuring your ecommerce website is working to it’s full potential makes good business sense and is crucial to boosting your annual sales figures.
So if you are currently busy planning your Black Friday sales strategy, don’t forget the whole purpose of this event is to drive sales on line and now is the time to make sure your website can deal with increased demand.
If you want us to check how well your ecommerce site will bare up to this busy online sales period you can contact us here or call us on 01282 506 616 to discuss how we can help maximise your sales.