There are two huge trends set to shape Black Friday 2020: 

  1. shoppers will shift most of their purchases online, and 
  2. Black Friday sales will start earlier than ever this year

In other words, online retailers should be ready for massive spikes in traffic at any time. Jumps in traffic will also mean more product questionsions and more customer service enquiries - the sites that are ready to handle anything could make a killing.

Before we explain how best to prepare, let’s examine these two trends in more detail:

1. Black Friday 2020: more online than ever

COVID-19 has pushed more and more purchases online, so it’s hardly a surprise if Black Friday sees that trend continue.

According to a survey recently reported in Retail Customer Experience, only 18% of shoppers say they expect to hit the high street for Black Friday sales in 2020, while a whopping 58% say they will shop online exclusively.

A primarily online Black Friday may be a bigger disruption than you are expecting, however. The day gets its name because it traditionally is the day in-person shops switch from operating in the red for the year, and into the black. Bricks and mortar retailers which rely on this model, or rely especially on Q4, may not be able to stick it out. 

This means that while Black Friday 2020 will see fewer people in the shops, there will also be fewer shops for people to be in. 

But online or in-person, shoppers will still be buying Christmas presents. Is your website ready for the surge in traffic? Is your CS team ready for the surge in inbound enquiries?

2. “Black Friday” could begin anytime


COVID-19 is also accelerating another Black Friday trend this year - it has slowly evolved from a day into an entire season with no definite beginning!

Black Friday began in America as a single day -  the day after Thanksgiving -  but since going international the tie to the American holiday has become less and less relevant. Cyber Monday began a few years ago as the online equivalent of Black Friday, but with most shopping now online the distinction between these days is barely relevant. 

Last year the average Black Friday sale began as much as a week before Black Friday itself, but in 2020, who knows?  

Like Christmas music on the radio, expect your competitor’s Black Friday sales to appear before you really expect it!

Prepare for more than website traffic

The consumer tech website Mashable is already warning online shoppers to expect problems in Q4. In an August 4th article it wrote, “Because there will be such an influx of traffic for retailers’ online shops, you can fully expect to run into technical issues. Be prepared for sites to be slower or just crash altogether because of higher traffic.”

Retailers who don’t want disappointed customers must ensure their site infrastructure, servers, and databases are in top shape and ready to go!

But increased traffic means much more than an increase in API calls. 

More traffic means more customers, and more customers means more sales enquiries and more customer service requests. Failing to respond to the customers trying to access your product is just as damaging to your brand and your bottom line as a crashed website. 

Cut your CS workload by up to 40%!

Add an Envolve Tech Virtual Shopping Assistant (VSA) to your site and cut between 20%-40% of the workload for your customer service team, while boosting sales.

A VSA can quickly answer straightforward customer service questions, leaving your CS team to concentrate on the most complicated enquiries.

VSAs are also designed to keep your shoppers in the sales funnel - 60% of online support enquiries are from customers still considering a purchase! The VSA is ready to recommend products inside the chat window, keeping your visitors browsing longer and upping your average sale value.

Installing a VSA is straightforward, and there is no setup fee, subscription, or contract. Simply get in touch with our business development team for a demonstration.

Depending on your site setup and network, the entire setup process may only take a few weeks. That should be enough time to have a Virtual Shopping Assistant on your site before the Black Friday sales hit - if you hurry!


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