How to optimize your UI, UX & e-commerce site performance for Black Friday?

We're going to cover the points of optimizing your Ecommerce platform for a Black Friday-Cyber Monday with the best possible prospects. Between the UX and UI that deserve to be as exceptional as the intense BFCM period, the technical improvements of your site, and responsiveness for an m-commerce strategy: this guide offers a multitude of tips to turn this day into a user conversion party.

How to optimize your UI, UX & e-commerce site performance for Black Friday?

Now, still in the context of preparing for your Black Friday, let's talk about technical aspects and optimizing the performance and UX of your site. Because, even if your e-commerce site responds to a strong demand, and if its Product Market Fit is well calibrated, if it is not comfortable, aesthetically pleasing and efficiently navigable, then the conversion rate will be low.

IRL, imagine entering a retail store through a door that is too small, discovering flickering lights that damage your eyes, with no signage or salesperson to guide you, and having to jump to reach the shelves, or wait for an age at the checkout to pay...It's the same principle on all e-commerce sites or marketplaces. You have to optimize the user experience to facilitate accessibility and therefore conversion.

Knowing that research shows that the UX can make you obtain an ROI ratio of up to 1/100 9900%, you should hold back when preparing for Black Friday which, if you remember, represents 30% of the revenue of e-commerce sites.

In fact, a nice and therefore effective interface increases your conversion rate by 200%, and a successful UX can increase it by 400%. Conversely, what are the effects of a bad UX? On the performance side: more than 8 out of 10 people will leave your site if it takes too long to display/load. And it’s a 39% drop if your images don't load or load poorly... Financially, this represents a total of more than 62 billion dollars in lost revenue worldwide.

Technically speaking too, you need to scrutinize your activity peaks. Black Friday is a race against time for e-shoppers, but also for e-tailers. The slightest technical glitch can result in huge losses: leads, customers and revenue. As you’ll see when we cover this in more detail in our next Black Friday topic, the SEO would also be strongly impacted.

Finally, let’s reiterate everything we just said by focusing on the mobile part, responsiveness: let's not forget that the first e-shopping device is now a mobile one! Today, 85% of adult consumers consider the quality of the mobile experience to be more important than that of the desktop.

Creation of a conversion-friendly design

Back to basics: the correlation between design, CTAs and conversion

Let's review some design, UI and UX basics for e-tailers before we focus on Black Friday. A nice, effective and well thought-out interface increases your conversion rate by 200%, and a successful UX can increase it by 400%.

Visuals: which formats create a good UX?

Quality visuals, find the right balance between quality and lightness to not slow down your site. Depending on the sector of the e-commerce platform, you can use many display features to provide a comprehensive experience that contextualizes the product:

  • Do you want to place photos of a product from every angle on your product pages? Use the 360° views or those in use;
  • If the dimensions, functionality and access are still understandable: offer a variety of colors in the different photos so that everyone can find something they like;
  • Are you selling practicality? Put it on stage!
  • The design is a bit complex? Integrate a video, it's even clearer;
  • Does the texture of your products matter to your brand message? Offer the hover zoom to see, for example, the fiber of a garment in detail.

Moreover, as regards the size of the images, make sure that they do not exceed 1600 px in width. As for the formats: favor JPEG or WebP because they reconcile quality and reduced size. As for your product sheets, you can exceptionally use PNG to allow transparency and put your products at the center of the experience.

CTAs: what messages and colors to give them?

CTAs are the Calls-to-Action that open a new page, that continue the user path with a goal: to get closer to conversion (adding to cart, confirmation), or failing that, to loyalty (login, registration). CTAs must respond to a need, and offer the answer to this need in a clear and efficient way. According to the action undertaken, you should try to respect one of the 3 following writing methods:

  • Be informative: “Find everything here”
  • Be eye-catching: “Join for free”
  • Reduce finality: "Pay now”

Be inventive by integrating dynamic CTAs that evolve according to a situation or availability. To compensate for an out-of-stock scenario (which should certainly not happen, read our article on preparing promotions and inventory for Black Friday), rather than graying out a "Payment" CTA, you could, for example, create a CTA to a waiting list sign-up form. You should also opt for a direct link to your exceptional and differentiating elements, like creating:

  • Immediacy, efficiency: "Buy here"
  • Urgency: "Buy the last X"
  • Inclusion: "Be part of the club”

As for their positioning, obviously this will vary according to the action being activated. However, if your CTA requires an essential and easily achievable conversion action, place it at the top of the page. Finally, depending on the action to be highlighted, choose your colors correctly. Opt for bright colors that stand out from the rest of the panel for an important action like:

  • Conversion;
  • A download;
  • A subscription to a newsletter...

On the other hand, choose colors that are more in keeping with your tones for secondary actions such as:

  • Learn more;
  • Log off;
  • Join us...

Colors:

As an essential element of your UI, colors play a key role in the user's decision making. Specifically, similar to CTAs, choose a bright color that stands out from the rest of your usual palette. Stick to it so that it stands out in an obvious and immediate way.

For example, use color wheels to select a color that differs from the ones you primarily use, but still works with them. Then use one of the following matching rationales:

  • Analogy: use colors that are close by on the color wheel. But for Black Friday, this is not the best option, as the colors will logically be close and similar.
  • Monochromatic: Same as with analogy, use different shades of the same color.
  • Chromatic Duo: This method contrasts well, as you will be using colors that face each other on the color wheel.
  • Chromatic trio: this is the second recommended method for Black Friday, as you will be using three distinct colors that cut the color wheel into thirds.

Use red to create and make people think of urgency. For your banners and other onsite promotional spaces, red will correspond to this exceptional period. If this color is too far from your corporate style guide, turn to the color wheel mentioned above, because do not lose sight of the fact that the goal is to make things look appealing.

CTAs, colors & messages to make an impact on your UX
CTAs, colors & messages to make an impact on your UX

The home page, menus, banners and breadcrumb trail

What elements should you change to highlight your Black Friday products?

Your homepage is your Black Friday showcase:

Let's start with your homepage. As the gateway to your site, the homepage must reflect the seasonality, in this case, "Black Friday". Customize it to this period, without letting your brand identity drown in it. This should always be done in accordance with your corporate identity: improve the size and color visibility of your menus, headings and thematic CTAs for Black Friday. You need to highlight an exceptional even as much as possible.

Breadcrumb trail, one-click path control:

The breadcrumb trail makes it possible to offer the most fluid and readable navigation experience possible. With a goal of the lowest number of clicks in mind, the breadcrumb trail can bring the user back to the homepage in one click. Imagine the user on a product page that he reached from homepage > men > shoes > sneakers > leather sneakers. A simple click and they're back on their way. Do everything you can to facilitate and accelerate navigation on your Ecommerce site. By the same principle, propose an efficient filtering menu to pave the way for people who know which product category(ies) they are looking for, or even for users whose purchases are determined by the scale of the promotion (-20%, -40%, -60%, etc.).

Don't confuse minimalism with smallness

Your style guide may be about sobriety and minimalism. But don't be fooled into thinking that this is synonymous with smallness. Moreover, for Black Friday, your menus and other action buttons are there to be seen and used. Visually, of course, it has to balance with the entire on-site experience.

This is again all about ease of access on the user path. If a user already knows why they are on your site, don't make it harder for them to find what they are looking for instantly. Offer them a visible and easy-to-access search bar. Their shopping journey will then only take 4-5 clicks.

UX writing: words that make sense

Now let's talk about copywriting. Words, words and more words. During Black Friday, words are important to your visitor conversion strategy. Let's start with form, namely typography, case and font size. Again, think about being impactful and visual, and about differentiating from your usual strategy. The objective here is to be seen more than usual to highlight your exceptional Black Friday-Cyber Monday promotions. As for the font, take the same approach as the colors: be constant and consistent, but exceptional. So, use a font dedicated to your special events: bigger, more striking. The objective is to be eye-catching, because the texts must respond to exceptional rules (just like the Black Friday period). In terms of case, an emphasis on capital letters is useful to highlight a special element.

On the content side, be concise, clear and don't forget the goal of your messages: to convert your site visitors to convince them of the quality of your products. So, what should you display? We talked about it here with customer reviews, which are a great tool for acquiring new customers and improving retention. Highlight the reviews of your existing customers. They can generate an increase in revenue through better consideration of visitors. Remember that 52% of consumers will only use a business with at least 4 stars. In the same vein, get your customers talking with well-presented quotes on your site.

Prepare your site, as things are going to heat up!

Did you know that your Ecommerce site can increase its conversion rate by 7% by improving the speed of the first page of the purchase funnel by 10%? This is now the case, so think about it to maximize your sales. To do so, let's review the technical aspects that you need to scrutinize to ensure that your sales platform is optimal before BFCM.

Audit of your activity peaks for better anticipation

Before anything else, start by auditing your site's traffic. Why should you do this? To anticipate the time slots where demand should be highest on your e-commerce site. The best strategy is to make a precise audit of your traffic one week before Black Friday. Watch and analyze carefully the behavior of your users, and specifically look at:

  • Time of peak visits;
  • Peak shopping time;
  • If your visitors are logged-in members or if they are simple visitors;
  • On which devices all this is done.

In addition, don't forget that it's best to always have your technical experts ready to handle an error. The same goes for your marketing teams, so that they can answer questions related to a possible technical problem.

Security: how to lock your e-commerce site for Black Friday?

For all security procedures that can be shown on your site, display badges to reassure your users. Then, let's remember the following tips that will help you improve your search engine optimization:

  • Update your plug-ins, software and applications connected to your site. This way, you will benefit from the latest advances in computer security and stay ahead of hackers.
  • Use the HTTPS protocol. It will grant your e-merchant site the SSL certificate.
  • Make your back-office entry doors more complex, for example, by creating a complex password.
  • Encrypt sensitive data such as passwords, credit card numbers. Once the time limit has passed, delete this data, because if you don't possess sensitive data, you'll stay off the radar of malicious people.
  • Install multi-factor login. So, yes, the conversion funnel has an extra step, but this step can reassure the user that the data is safe, and protect you from malicious bots.
  • Make backups of your site, and of your various related data.
  • Make sure your site is locked down for Black Friday-Cyber Monday.

Hosting, log-in and optimization: the steps to follow

Talk to your website host and your Ecommerce CMS to find out how things work in case of peak activity and cover all eventualities. You will then be able to ensure the security of your customers, guaranteeing losses in case of a crash. Furthermore, you can ask that your site be spread across different servers so as not to "put all your eggs in the same basket". Obviously, check if your contract does not include certain guarantees, so as to have advance warning. And also check if your contract is not due to end during this period to avoid any connection problems. Verify the connections with your CRM, ERP, etc. as well, because a poor connection with them could lead to a drop in performance and conversion.

Finally, to optimize your site and gain speed onsite:

  • Reduce heavy resources like JavaScript and CSS;
  • Get rid of your outdated or unused scripts.

Test your devices for reliability

What's the point of setting all this up if you don't check the reliability of devices? Check the speed of your website with tools like Google PageSpeed Insights or SpeedCurve.

Testing, security, hosting and auditing of the Ecommerce site for Black Friday
Testing, security, hosting and auditing of the Ecommerce site for Black Friday

Think about mobile, the most used method for Ecommerce!

Now, let's talk about mobile! The top e-shopping method requires an ultra-responsive version for better conversionand - once again - and SEO optimization.

As we mentioned earlier, 85% of adult consumers now consider the quality of the mobile experience to be more important than the desktop experience. In addition, if the loading time is more than 3 seconds, 50% of users will leave your site. So, let's focus on m-commerce.

If your desktop site is already ultra-optimized as is: duplicate, and start from this base. Do not use Flash, which is no longer compatible with browsers, because it stopped being developed by Adobe at the end of 2020. Opt instead for a format like HTML5 or WebGL.

On the responsiveness side: think about all screen format variations: desktop, tablet, mobile portrait, mobile vertical, or according to smartphone models (page template by page template). You could leave out a header, a footer, a product page or something else that does not offer a beautiful and effective layout.

Regarding CTAs, buttons and other banners: review the size you assign to them. Again, think about your users’ thumbs. Finally, activate AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages): this framework automates the optimization of your site. Depending on your CMS, the integration of the AMP plug-in may be suggested.

Finally, use tools like Google's Mobile-Friendly Test to analyze whether your site is mobile-friendly, or GTmetrix to ensure overall site display performance.

- Published
January 23, 2023
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