95 days until Black Friday: How eCommerce merchants can prepare

Jordan Owen, UK Country Manager, Mollie
By Jordan Owen, UK Country Manager, Mollie

August 22nd marks exactly 95 days until Black Friday – one of the biggest sales events of the year.

It provides a golden chance for businesses to drive growth and power through to the end-of-year holiday season. Past data has shown that smaller retailers see sales increase by as much as 500 per cent in a single day.

So as the countdown begins and consumer expectations rise, here are five top tips to help eCommerce merchants prepare themselves.

1. Re-evaluate your tech stack

Whether its payments, analytics, or shopping, software as service (SaaS) tools are changing the game in eCommerce. Ahead of Black Friday, take a step back to look at your core eCommerce platform and make sure your eCommerce tech stack delivers for merchants and customers.

State of the art tech is readily available to ‘rent’, giving businesses access to cloud-based ERPs, effortless payment solutions and AI-driven data tools at a fraction of the cost of buying the technology outright. Not only does this offer businesses a more cost-effective way to innovate, but also makes using conversational commerce or email marketing easier to integrate.

When choosing a new tech tool, make sure you consider your current tech stack, what you and your customers need and if it is scalable in the long term.

Now is the perfect time to re-evaluate, make changes and ensure everything is settled in time for Black Friday.

2. Start selling internationally

Experts say direct-to-consumer cross border sales will grow by 17 per cent a year until 2026 when they will total around €2 trillion. Yet over half of UK eCommerce SMEs only sell domestically.

However, new markets not only represent new opportunities, but also challenges. If a merchant is targeting specific European markets, for example, they must consider local payment methods. European payment methods such as iDEAL in the Netherlands, SOFORT in Germany and Cartes Bancaires in France, are popular with consumers but are under-appreciated by UK-based merchants.

Research and partnerships are key. Research the markers you want to sell into and run tests to see what works, where. Partnering with the right firms can also make this expansion easier, with the security of activities like storage, shipping and managing cross-border payments managed by companies with local expertise.

3. Offer Buy Now, Pay Later

Our data shows that buy now, pay later (BNPL) has rocketed in popularity, with BNPL payments more than doubling between Black Friday 2020 and 2021. It’s an excellent way for merchants to increase conversions and average order values, though of course BNPL has to be implemented responsibly.

Consumers expect to see BNPL payment options at checkout, so if merchants don’t offer BNPL, or make it clearly available at checkout, consumers can be less likely to make a purchase.

4. Checkout conversion optimisation

Checkout conversion is one of the most important metrics in an eCommerce business and requires constant attention. Mollie’s data shows that cart abandonment rates are around 50 per cent in the UK.

If you haven’t thought about checkout optimisation before, here are three easy things you can start with: are you offering the payment methods your customers want and need? Are you displaying their preferred currency and language? Have you stored their details for one-click payments?

Providing a seamless, on-brand experience that makes it as simple as possible for a shopper to pay is critical for conversion.

5. Spread it out

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are a great way to boost sales, but it’s important not to rely solely on one or two big days of sales to deliver success. It’s a high-risk strategy that can put a strain on your business. Sudden peaks in orders to deliver, changes to stock levels and the potential influx of customer queries can all drastically disrupt the status quo.

To avoid intense periods of strain and panic, consider offering earlier discounts and targeted marketing to attract shoppers over the whole Black Friday period. Doing this will help you manage your order and stock levels, keeping customers happy with high-quality service.

A stress-free Black Friday? It’s possible, I promise!


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