I’ve just learned that I live in the state with the worst record of Black Friday violence. Yes, beautiful Arkansas is the state with the highest chance of shootings and tramplings on Black Friday. Being trampled by shoppers is the most likely way to get hurt, followed by shootings. The place where you are most likely to get wounded on the day after Thanksgiving? Walmart. It is a coincidence that Walmart’s corporate headquarters is just up the road from me. The reason Walmart has had the largest number of Black Friday incidents, researchers say, is probably because it is the largest brick and mortar retailer, so it has the greatest opportunity for Black Friday violence.
What does this have to do with your website? It’s really just a reminder that Black Friday isn’t just about shopping.
If you sell things online, you probably have been planning your Black Friday-ish sales for some time. With Black Friday week specials, Black Friday itself, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday coming up, your sales and discounts have been top of mind for some time.
If you’re not a retailer, though, there are some things you could jump in and do today before you head out for your own Black Friday fun.
- Make sure your hours are prominent on your website. If you’re not in retail, you may feel that people won’t really care. Consumers aren’t going to camp out at your non-profit to make sure they don’t miss their chance. (They’re not even going to do that on Giving Tuesday.) But Black Friday is a great day for restaurants, coffee shops, and other places where shoppers rest and recover. It can also be a day when people suddenly need healthcare. And the term “Black Friday” comes not from businesses going into the black (profitability) after being in the red all year, but from the tough day retail workers and police officers have with all those crazy shoppers. If someone stops by and you’re closed, they might be upset.
- Got a special? Put it on your website. If you have a WordPress site, it’s not too late to add an announcement about your special soup lunch or post-Thanksgiving workout class. It’s better to promote early and often, but the internet is made for last minute changes. Use the sitewide announcement feature of Woo Commerce and promote with social media. Many people will be checking in often to see the latest super deals.
- Look ahead. Not everyone finishes shopping on Black Friday. In fact, Cyber Monday outstripped Black Friday last year, and December 23rd is usually the biggest shopping day of the year. But 41% of Americans begin to do their Christmas shopping in November and 20% hold off until December. If you offer something that could be reframed as a holiday gift, go ahead and add it to your website. Again, a WordPress website is a help. Your web team can add WooCommerce and set up a few products in plenty of time for fourth quarter sales.
- Get festive! Christmas creep means that some of your visitors are already tired of hearing “The Little Drummer Boy.” But you can add a festive look to your website and get some positive emotional responses, too. Even if your primary message at this time of year is “Be sure to use up your health savings account!” or “You’ve met your deductible so now’s the time to have those extra procedures!” you can add holiday visuals. Research shows that holiday shoppers increasingly buy things for themselves, too, so a sparkly “Treat yourself!” can be just right.
- Plan for next year. If this is really your slow time, you owe it to your website to take a good look at it and see if it’s time to update your look and optimize your text. Get started now and you’ll be ready for the new year.