Oct 24

Black Friday Prep: eCommerce Guide for the Sales Frenzy

Interface of a popular online clothing store on a Black Friday, signaling you can start putting your items in the cart.

Black Friday is just around the corner. And we all know what that means. Ready, set, shop! 

Or for eCommerce owners – stock, optimize, and secure

The annual shopping extravaganza presents a golden opportunity for online retailers to easily boost sales and connect with eager shoppers. But with great potential comes great responsibility. To ensure your Magento-powered website is a place where your customers enjoy buying on Black Friday, you need to come prepared. And that includes everything from impeccable inventory management to seamless checkout efficiency and bulletproof data protection. 

So, let’s gear up for Black Friday with a quick cheat sheet that can turn even the biggest traffic surge into a clear way to the checkout.

Inventory Preparation

We all know that Black Friday is synonymous with unprecedented customer demand. And for merchants with multiple warehouses, the challenge is not just to keep up but to thrive amidst the whole frenzy. Ensuring your place under the spotlight comes at a cost that you must be willing to pay. Luckily, with Magento at your side, that cost comes with a good ROI. Which is something not all eCommerce platforms can provide. 

With Magento 2’s Multi Source Inventory (MSI) feature, everything becomes much more manageable, no matter how hectic things will get. Thanks to its Centralized Inventory Management and Intelligent Source Selection Algorithm you can sit back and watch those orders soar. No more fear of longer delivery times, order delays, stockouts, and lost sales. 

MSI can help you prevent:

  • Inventory inefficiencies
  • Increased shipping costs
  • Poor customer experience
  • Operational errors 
  • Decision-making based on inaccurate date 
  • Various scaling difficulties 

So, let’s go through the 4 steps you need to take in order to maximize the true potential of this powerful feature.  

  1. Centralized Inventory Management

Operating with multiple warehouses requires a centralized system that offers a unified view and control over your inventory that is distributed across different locations. MSI here serves as this central hub, ensuring real-time tracking and management of stock levels at each warehouse.

Before Black Friday arrives, familiarize yourself with the MSI’s interface and functionalities. Understand how it integrates with your existing warehousing solutions, and configure it to reflect the real-world setup of your warehouses, including its locations, capacities, and the specific products they handle.

  1. Intelligent Source Selection Algorithm (SSA)

MSI’s SSA feature is crucial in efficiently routing orders to the appropriate warehouses. It selects the optimal source based on your predefined rules and priorities, like proximity to the customer, warehouse load, or the availability of products. 

Adjust these rules to cater to the expected surge in orders. This might involve prioritizing warehouses that can handle higher volumes or are strategically located to expedite shipping. By fine-tuning these parameters, your SSA ensures that the right products are sourced from the right places, enhancing order fulfillment efficiency, reducing shipping times, and ultimately improving customer satisfaction.

  1. Warehouse Staff Training

Your warehouse staff should be well-acquainted with the MSI system. Conduct training sessions where they can learn how to update inventory counts, process orders, and handle returns using MSI. 

Make sure the team understands the main principles of efficient source selection and order fulfillment. Equipping them with the knowledge and skills necessary to make informed decisions within the MSI framework will enhance accuracy, reduce errors, and improve the overall efficiency of your Black Friday eCommerce operations. Efficient use of the system will also guarantee that the inventory data is always accurate and up-to-date.

  1. Audit and Testing

Accuracy is non-negotiable. Audit your MSI system for correct product information, warehouse details, and inventory counts. Conduct stress tests to ascertain the system’s capability to process increased volumes without hiccups.

With a good stress test in place, you can pinpoint potential problems and eliminate them before it’s too late. Analyze the results, record the findings, and keep everything on file. Good documentation is what will save you a lot of time in the long run. 

For merchants who either don’t have multiple warehouses or aren’t using MSI, my first piece of advice is to maintain accurate inventory records to avoid overselling. Utilize inventory management tools or spreadsheets for real-time stock updates, making frequent adjustments during peak traffic. Organize your single warehouse for efficient order fulfillment, ensuring swift picking and packing. Train staff on your systems and processes, and develop a contingency plan for potential technical issues. 

With careful planning and organization, Black Friday eCommerce success is certainly achievable, regardless of your infrastructure’s size.

Mastering Checkout Efficiency 

A man with a credit card ready to input his payment information into the form on the checkout page of his favorite eCommerce website during a Black Friday sales rush.

Black Friday also necessitates a seamless checkout experience for your Magento 2 website. In the midst of the sales frenzy, ensuring your customers can navigate the checkout process swiftly and efficiently is key. Incorporating Instant Purchase and the buy now, pay later service offered by Affirm can significantly streamline this process, providing an effortless and flexible checkout experience that encourages customer retention and higher sales.

Implement Instant Purchase

To capture the impulsive nature of Black Friday shoppers, Instant Purchase is your ally. This feature streamlines the checkout for returning customers, allowing transactions to be completed in a single click using saved payment and shipping details. 

Prior to the big day, verify that this feature is enabled and functioning correctly. Conduct dry runs to ensure its efficiency and accuracy, and consider promoting its use with some pre-event marketing to educate your customer base. Having a smooth, fast checkout process on our website halves cart abandonment and enhances the overall user experience, fostering customer loyalty and boosting sales.

Here are the instructions for setting up this nifty feature, but if you are in pursuit of a more customized solution, feel free to reach out. It’s still not too late to optimize your store for maximized sales. 

Integrate Affirm for Flexible Financing

Affirm’s buy now, pay later service is a game-changer for customers eyeing high-ticket items. Integrating Affirm at checkout provides immediate, clear financing options, allowing purchases to be split into manageable monthly payments with no hidden fees. Before integration, make sure your Magento 2 store is compatible with Affirm and understand the terms provided. 

Familiarize your team with its functionality to assist customers effectively. Promote Affirm’s financing options through your marketing channels leading up to Black Friday to inform customers about the payment flexibility available to them, encouraging higher spending and elevating customer satisfaction during the sales event.

You can find the Affirm extension and its compatibility info here, along with all the other information you may need before installing it. It’s fairly easy to set up and it makes a huge difference in the customer experience. This is imperative if you are hoping to ensure better average order value (AOV) and customer lifetime value (CLTV). 

Ensuring Data Protection

During Black Friday’s increased shopping volumes, you must also prioritize data protection, at least if you want to sustain and bolster trust among shoppers. Secure handling of sensitive customer data is not just a legal requirement but is crucial for nurturing customer confidence and loyalty.

Magento 2 inherently possesses strong encryption methods and secure payment processes that diligently defend customer data. With Two-Factor Authentication (2FA), accounts are given an additional security layer, significantly minimizing the risk of unauthorized access.

However, this is not enough. Consistent and regular data backups are vital. By establishing a systematic routine for backing up crucial data, you are creating a safety net in the event of unexpected data loss, allowing for a quick system restoration with minimal downtime and disruption to the customer shopping experience.

Employing security scanning tools as part of your regular maintenance and monitoring routine is also highly advisable. These tools play a pivotal role in identifying and patching vulnerabilities proactively, ensuring your e-commerce platform remains impervious to the ever-evolving landscape of cyber threats.

When dealing with extensions, careful selection and management are also paramount. Opt for extensions that are not only known for their security but are consistently updated and supported by their developers. Avoid outdated extensions since they become susceptible to security breaches over time.

While Magento 2 does facilitate compliance with stringent data protection laws like GDPR and CCPA, proactive data management and a deep understanding of these laws go a long way. Ensuring transparent data practices and strict adherence to legal standards will create a secure and trustworthy shopping environment for customers, which is especially important during the high-stakes & high-traffic period of Black Friday eCommerce sales.

Personal information popup with starts instead of letters indicating that the business person typing on his laptop needs to input his payment information before purchasing items on his favorite Magento eCommerce shop.

So there you have it. A to-do list with all the Black Friday eCommerce prep tips you’ll need this year. If you’re using Magento, of course. If not, my team and I can always help you quickly and seamlessly migrate to this robust platform. No fuss, no stress, and most importantly, no downtime.   

And in case you are already well-prepared and have all these systems in place, the only thing you’ll need now is an entrepreneurial mindset. Black Friday is just for a day, but your eCommerce should showcase the strengths of your brand all year long. 

That’s why this guide isn’t just about preparing your website for Black Friday; it’s about setting the stage for a profitable and secure eCommerce operation year-round. Which is exactly what Adobe Commerce guarantees to all its users. And with the Lobbster team on your side, you won’t just thrive in the shopping frenzy – you’ll leave a long-lasting impression on all the visitors who land on your website and ensure soaring high conversions in the long run. 

With our help and these strategies in place, you’re well on your way to exceeding customer expectations, ensuring a seamless shopping experience, and setting the stage for a successful Black Friday and beyond.

About The Author

Milos is the CEO of Lobbster and a proficient Magento Solution Architect.