Yes, It's Black Friday Time!

How to prepare for sales surge?
Black Friday is coming up this week and the means, if you take advantage of it, big sales are coming your way! Last year, online sales brought in about $3.7 billion on Thanksgiving Day and another $6.2 billion on Black Friday. With over 61% of consumers surveyed saying they plan to do most of their shopping online, this time of year is the optimal time to boost your online sales. This year's Black Friday is expected to exceed $12 billion in sales, and the season's total sales are expected to exceed last year's by about 12 percent, totaling approximately $764.8 billion.

How do you make sure your online business is the first choice for customers this season? First of all, consider why a customer may abandon the site. Did you know that over half of your customers will leave a site if it takes more than three seconds to load? This is why it is extremely essential to make sure your site is quick and to minimize the amount of issues it may have. Websites can be slow for a variety of reasons. Website components or apps for a third party source or overburdened APIs could lead to a slower site. Also, servers that are not scalable are properly made to handle a lot of traffic can slow down. Since one of your primary objectives should be to increase your traffic, make sure this won't be a limiting factor in your site's loading speed. Also, consider that a website may take a while to load, because the site has more graphic components than it can handle.

Secondly, as your business enters the holiday rush, do not underestimate the power of social media marketing. Did you know that over half of customers surveyed said that social media directly impacts their buying choices? These days, a major fad is Facebook and Instagram Stories. According to the Facebook Global Holiday Study, last holiday season, 63% of customers either watched or posted videos in Stories. A study last year indicated that over two-thirds of people find these Stories a great way to learn about new products/services, and a little under two-thirds are more interested in a brand or product after having seen it in Stories. More than a third of millennials and parents stated that social media videos actually helped them decide what to purchase. Retail traffic from social increased by about 41% last year, and that upward trend is expected to continue. The National Retail Federations predicts that retail sales this holiday season will increase by about 4% from last year. Last year, small businesses received about 62% more social messages during the holidays than the rest of the year. The amount of social messages business sent and received last year rose as well, by 53% and 55% respectively, and is expected to rise. Research indicates that the average amount of Facebook messages retailers will receive during the holiday season will go up by about 45%. With social media spanning generations, social media marketing is a very important tool to reach larger audiences.

Don't let these statistics or pressure of the season limit your drive. If you plan well, this could be your best season yet!
It has been my observation that most people get ahead during the time that others waste.
- Henry Ford
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