Black Friday is the day following Thanksgiving in the States, with the subsequent Monday known as Cyber Monday. Isn’t it amazing how such an international shopping frenzy has been adopted by South Africa? Here are some stats from Digital Fire:
- South African consumers make 266% more purchases on Black Friday alone;
- and 69% of consumers actually plan to make more purchases.
Hence it’s clear that both the Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping spree is well-accepted by South Africans. Here are four important tips about driving foot traffic or people to your site:
Number 1 – Advertise Early
According to several surveys, consumers start searching for Black Friday deals as early as October. This is the ideal time for to start enticing your consumers with discount codes, special offers, and competitions. Be sure to use all platforms to gain maximum traction in this regard:
- Social media
- Out-of-of-home and print media
Number 2 – Prepare Your Site
There’s nothing more frustrating than visiting a site on Black Friday or Cyber Monday that just hangs. We are all aware that, on these two days, the influx of online users is tremendous. That’s why we had a chat with our IT Expert Hilton Hedley from Hiltons Computer Services Here he shares 14 important technical tips to ensure your site can handle the influx of users, while protecting your site from malicious attacks:
- The server host facility (data centre) should have a contingency plan for any power outage occur. The client’s server rack/cabinet should be tested to ensure that the failover circuit works.
- There should be a main and secondary data link (a gateway to the internet) for the client. Both need to be checked to ensure they can handle a decent number of concurrent connections to the servers, and that the failover is configured on the switches providing the link to the client’s server rack/cabinet. If any adjustments are needed, follow all necessary processes to guarantee adequate bandwidth. (Scale-up during a peak period, and then scale down).
- The next step is to look at the server-farm hardware. Ensure all servers are running at least 1Gbps network connections. This would also entail making sure that the network switch / switches between the servers are at least 1Gbps and are configured correctly to ensure an even flow of traffic to each server.
- Ensure that all security measures in place are functional, such as a firewall, to prevent any unauthorised access to our site or the backend. Ensure your anti-virus software is up-to-date and that all security patches are installed (if you are running a Windows server, that is. Linux-based servers are secure, and don’t need as much attention when it comes to security patches).
- If your website is SQL-based, or has a SQL database attached to it, ensure that the server(s) running it are adequate to handle all the reads-and-writes to the database.
- Check that the website developers have made all the necessary changes – that is, updated prices and items for sale, etc. and that these changes are uploaded and running as required. These changes would also need to be tested before going ‘LIVE’ to ensure no bugs lurking in the coding. Also make sure that the webstore (Shopping Cart) and all interfaces are functional.
- Due to this being an e-commerce site, check that the link between the customer’s site and the company collecting payments (PayPal, PayFast, etc.) is functional and able to handle the number of peak payment transactions during Black Friday.
- The website should also be secured with at least a 256bit valid SSL encryption certificate. This is a critical security measure to protect your customers from having their credit card/banking details stolen.
- Test, Test, Test to ensure everything is functional for the traffic peak.
- Make backups before and after changes in case any disaster occurs. This is also invaluable if your website fails during a peak surge.
- Should the customer need to cater for non-local clients (clients visiting from far away), a CDN (Content Delivery Network) can pull a cache (essentially a mirror copy) from the local servers and distribute it to secure global servers to assist clients to access your site from locations other than the local market. This even helps with traffic distribution over long distances. A Google search can locate global CDN providers.
- Once all of the above has been considered, and the necessary adjustments made, a final test should be carried out to ensure full functionality and testing of all website components. A final back-up should then be made.
- Also ensure spare parts are available in case of a hardware failure. These are critical components such as IE network switches, memory modules, hard drives/SSD drives, network cards, and Cables, etc. These need to be ordered and stockpiled in advance.
- Standby support should be available to the customer in case of a disaster during the peak period. Arrange that the back-up support team from the service provider hosting the servers is on-call as well (preferably a dedicated team or person).
Folks, feel free to get in touch with Hilton Hedley to secure your site this Black Friday. His details are at the bottom of the page.
Number 3 – Brainstorm Your Pricing Strategy
Remember, Black Friday and Cyber Monday shoppers are looking for really attractive deals. If you not competitive in meeting your consumers’ needs, they will go next door:
- Find out what your closest competitors are offering so as to combat them.
- Offer a little extra by providing a value-added item or gift.
- Give greater discounts if larger quantities are purchased.
- Provide an attractive discount for first-time purchases, or when items tally to a certain amount.
- Get creative with your pricing to attract consumers to your store or site!
Number 4 – Prepare your Team
Preparing your team for Black Friday is important, especially if you are driving foot traffic to your store. Educate them about products, the location of items, and any special pricing. Equally vital is cross- and up-selling of products. Your team should have sufficient knowledge to reference additional items that complement each other, thus maximising revenue and ultimately keeping the consumer satisfied.
To conclude, keep these tips top of mind! Don’t forget, NGAGE is a marketing agency offering complete advertising and marketing solutions. If you require a solution for Black Friday or Cyber Monday, get in touch with us to take advantage of our special rates by contacting us on +27 11 867-7763, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to hearing from you!
Hiltons Computer Services
Contact Person: Hilton Hedley
Telephone Number: +27 84 240 7751