Clint Eastwood's Tips for Maximizing E-Commerce Revenue This Black Friday
Clint says: “It takes tremendous discipline to control the influence, the power you have over other people’s lives.”
Even on Black Friday.
This year the day after Thanksgiving it’s expected that shoppers will make 44% of their purchases online, which is more than ever before. Web retailers could almost be forgiven for thinking they’ll lap up rivers of gold as online spenders blaze through over a billion dollars in e-spending alone. Much of it on mobile.
However, they’ll be unforgiven.
Oodles of digital gunslingers are hoisting their bandoleros with cutting edge web design, analytics and optimization. With so much competition, it’s not enough to live through Black Friday. You have to be disciplined and control it.
“A man’s life in these parts often depends on a mere scrap of information.”
Product information will affect how much people buy. Remember these dated statistics (2007) that are even truer today:
- 79% of online buyers “rarely or never” will buy when a product is lacking full information.
- 76% think your content won’t be enough to help them research a product anywhere from “some of the time” to “always.”
- 76% of your would-be buyers will go to your competitor when you haven’t provided all of the information.
When you’re not in a physical store you lose 4 of the 5 senses that you can potentially use to analyze a purchase. Online you arguably have one – your eyes. The e-commerce retailer needs to fill the sensory gap by providing rich information and a sensual experience.
Lush zooming pictures, benefits, features, reviews, social proof and help in multiple formats makes you more likely to live to see a product close.
“Get three coffins ready…My mistake. Four coffins.”
Optimize for Page Traffic. You don’t want to make a mistake about how many people are going to stroll through your site. For example, back In 2012, Black Friday put a traffic spike through Kohl’s coffin.
Customers couldn’t access the 500 early bird specials on offer because Kohl’s didn’t have enough bandwidth. The website effectively shut down and created not revenue but thousands of angry customers.
Smaller e-commerce sites won’t face a disaster of such proportion, but here are some things you can do:
- Improve your database connection
- Optimize, compress and uncache your site’s images
- Get better performing servers to handle traffic. Basic hosting packages only give 10 gigs of bandwidth, so look for higher – even unlimited.
“Every gun makes its own tune.”
Be Mobile Ready. The National Retail Federation says this year 55% of smartphone users are expected to shop with their mobile devices. Of those, 35.8% will use them to do product research, and 19.1% will actually buy using their phones. E-commerce sites selling via smartphone have to compose a distinct melody their mobile consumers long to hear.
People think of their phones differently from their computers, or even their tablets. According to the book Multi Screen Marketing, authors Natasha Hritzuk and Kelly Jones write that we project unique personalities into each of our screens. The computer is our sage – purveyor of knowledge.
The mobile phone is a lover; you may actually feel jealous when somebody takes your phone, and e-commerce that targets the mobile screen should be sensitive to that relationship. Not being a sage, the phone isn’t the place for a lot of information. It’s the place for enough information, special treatment and a dead easy checkout.
- Video that works on mobile devices
- Mobile-only deals
- Personalize the experience for mobile – that includes an app (they’re more personalized than HTML5) and your advertising campaign with content that is designed to be shared fast, on the go.
“We’re not just going to let you walk out of here.”
“Who’s we sucker?”
“Smith & Wesson and me.”
Offer multiple payment options. You never know how your customer will discharge a purchase. Increase your sales by offering as many ways to pay as possible. Many buyers have no problem typing in their credit card numbers. Others will want to use paypal. But you can offer even more, such as BPay, bank transfers and post paid.
“You did two things wrong. One is you asked a question. And two is you asked another question.”
Offer telephone support. You’re online, mobile, responsive even – does that mean you do away with your landline? No, because people ask questions.
- 83% of customers need human help to buy something.
- 89% of customers will leave you after receiving bad customer service.
Don’t lose your would-be customers by failing to answer their questions live and on the phone. You’ll help them clear away confusion, give them confidence in your reality, reliability and worthiness to collect their private information.
And do place your company’s phone number plainly on each page.
“I don’t think it’s nice, you laughin’…”
The Long Checkout. Have you ever stood in a single line of bag-toting shoppers when the checkers start laughing about something, unmoved by your pain?
When you’re stuck in line at a brick and mortar store, you’re stuck. But when you’re stuck online at a multi-step checkout – you get going. On Black Friday the problem of keeping your buyers in line at checkout is compounded.
Your site may already be on the slow side with a high volume, just when you need it to be fast.
- Delete steps to checkout
- Annihilate registration on Black Friday
- Scuttle ads that get in the way
- Remove content that isn’t relevant to getting people what they want
- Create a shopping cart with tax and postage calculation
“Everybody’s got a right to be a sucker once.”
Learn from 2013 statistics. Look over your analytics and e-commerce data from last year. Refresh yourself about what worked and what didn’t, about the deals and discounts you offered and the amount of merchandise you stocked.
“It’s what people know about themselves inside that makes them afraid.”
Strategize Your Email Marketing. When you think carefully about what you have to offer and how to put that information in front of buyers, you’ll have a lot less to fear as you approach your potential customers.
With the help of good writers, designers and marketers, you’ll also be able to take throw that information tastefully to the consumer via email, which according to Monetate is the best way to win hearts and minds.
- 46% of shoppers receive retail news of deals by direct email.
- Compare with 38% of people who get their deals by visiting a website themselves.
“You want a guarantee? Buy a toaster.”
Give your customers a money-back guarantee. When the shopping is fast and loose, keep your customer’s trigger oiled with a no strings attached, money-back guarantee. It will help keep people on your site longer, and get you a greater number of total conversions.
Kissmetrics collated the following guarantees:
- Money Back – the best guarantee
- Risk Free – best with high cost buys
- 100% Satisfaction – offer an exchange or more service
- Forever Guarantee – ongoing replacement rights
- Low Price – lowest price available or price matching
- Free Trial – develop leads, customers
Keep your guarantee in full view, and not buried next to the legalese.
“Now you’ve got to ask yourself one question. Do I feel lucky?”
Ensure the security of customer data. Data theft blasts your e-commerce site like a 45. caliber handgun that you can’t see or hear. Before Black Friday, here are steps that you can take to protect yourself and your customers. Because according to CIO.com, hacks are up by over 30%.
- Get hefty authentication for your Secure Sockets Layer (SSL)
- Build security layers: firewalls, contact forms, logins and search boxes
- Jettison customer data – despite the loss of convenience. That means credit card numbers, expirations and the CW2 codes.
- Emplace an address verification system (AVS)
- Make mandatory card verification value (CVV)
- Raise your minimum standard for strong passwords
- Establish alarms to alert you of potentially nefarious users
- Educate your staff about security, including laws and company regulations
- Track every order with a number
- Ensure both you and your site host monitor analytics, with applications like Clicky and Woopra that show you how visitors act on your site.
- PCI scans can inform you how permeable your site is to being hacked.
- Keep updated with patches the moment they appear.
- Get protected against assault via Distributed Denial of Service – cloud DNS hosting can help.
- Have a catastrophe recovery plan.
- Finally, don’t be left with a smoking gun in your hands…patch the holes in your data backup.