Ready For The Biggest Retail Day Of The Year?

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By Rachel Smith
on 28/10/15

I know what you’re thinking; “Christmas cards in the shops already?! It’s not even November”. Sure, this can be annoying as a consumer, but when you’re the business owner, Christmas should have been on your radar months ago, and I mean months ago.

But before we talk about Christmas, we should really pay attention to the newest phenomenon to crash land on the British calendar; Black Friday.

This is an American tradition but it has flown across the Atlantic and very much landed/collided onto our doorstep. In fact, last year was the first year that online shopping surpassed Boxing Day. Yep, you heard me right! Black Friday isn’t going anywhere, it will only get bigger.

Black Friday 2014 was the biggest day for online sales, EVER. Sales were up 91% on the previous year.

Saying this, a lot of the Big Dogs weren’t actually prepared for the volume of traffic that hit their websites and many of them went down as they just couldn’t handle it. They then switched off their AdWords campaigns to save money on wasted clicks, and hello... What happened?

It became easier for the smaller businesses to feature more often and higher up the search results – and those businesses who had their Black Friday offers prepared in their AdWords accounts smashed it.

Image source: from Google Partners presentation. Image source: from Google Partners presentation.


Will people learn from last year? Will they heck. So this is the time to get yourselves sorted!

Google reports that consumers start their Christmas shopping as early as October (26% to be precise, and yep, I am one those people). You can certainly see the importance of planning your Black Friday deals and getting your ads prepped.

If you’re planning for Christmas (which you should be), you should also be getting ready for Black Friday. Selfridges opened their Christmas shop in August... Can you see what I am getting at?


Infographic source: Google Partners Information Infographic source: Google Partners Information


My initial checklist for Black Friday and Christmas would start off as:

  • Decide your AdWords budget
  • Decide what deals/offers you’re going to have
  • Are you going to have a checkout code? Get that sorted.
  • Is your website mobile friendly? If not, shame on you and get it sorted. Did you know that this year mobile searches surpassed desktop searches? Make the experience matter!
  • Build your ads straight away (or even better, hire a delightful award winning agency to do this for you. See what I did there?). Also, draft some good, engaging landing pages that make the most of your deals.
  • Don’t forget your ad extensions, especially the excellent new Structured Snippet Extensions.
  • Sort your Google Shopping promotions too, as these are fiddly and can take a while if you’ve not done it before.
  • Then you can flick the switch with as little fuss as possible!
  • Once you have done this, to ensure you’re not twiddling your thumbs (yeah, right) waiting for Black Friday, get your Christmas planning under way. Do the same, prep it all (as much as you can, as obviously things can change as you go). No doubt you will be prepping your stock levels and other Christmas related stuff, but the amount of online retailers that forget to include their AdWords in this strategy is astounding. Don’t be one of those people. Please.
  • The same obviously applies for Boxing Day.

Hoorah! You’re all ready and you can now forget about BF/Christmas/Boxing Day until next year, right? WRONG.

Many retailers forget about… Christmas 2.0.

Christmas gifts and the sales!


Image source: from Google Partners presentation. Image source: from Google Partners presentation.

This is another huge online event. Think of all those lovely voucher Christmas presents Grandma bought everyone. Think about your big brother’s pretty poor effort at just giving you cash. Think about refunds and returns…

This is a hugely forgotten time of year and if you’re prepared and done it right, you can set yourself up for an excellent start to 2016.

So that just leaves me with the chance to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

(Yeah. I went there. #SorryNotSorry)