Black Friday and cross-border sales: 10 ways not to be unprepared

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November 04, 2021

Black Friday and cross-border sales: 10 ways not to be unprepared
Whether you sell cross-border in France, Spain or Italy, it makes no difference: Black Friday is returning to your country. Black Friday is one of those events that has been borrowed from America, and it has since established itself in Europe (and beyond). The good news is that we can take advantage of this period to grow our cross-border sales. The bad news is that if we don't have the right tools, this particularly intense event could prove counterproductive.  

First of all, let's be clear: if you want to get your cross-border sales off the ground during this period, you don't just have 'Black Friday' to do so. Experts now refer to the period between November and Christmas as ‘cyber month’ – the time of year when the highest rate of online shopping is recorded, passing through Cyber Monday and ending with Panic Saturday. This period of sales is headed by Black Friday, the day on which there is a lot of promotional activity with significant discounts on many products – which this year will be Friday 26th November. In fact, for many years Black Friday has coincided with a real period – lasting about a week and also referred to as Black Week – which causes sales to soar: compared to a normal day, the world average sales is +663% and there is no doubt that this year many sales records will be broken.

But it is not all plain sailing: the Black Friday cross-border online sales (as well as the cross-border online sales on Monday after Black Friday) can be a great opportunity for many businesses that have opened their eCommerce stores in countries other than their own; however, as this is a very busy period with a lot of orders coming in, you need to be prepared. Here are our 10 tips to help you prepare for and win the cross-border sales on Black Friday.

1. Speed

Speed isn't everything, but it is very important to improve Black Friday sales. According to the Imperva/Incapsula eCommerce survey, 62% of users only wait a maximum of five seconds for a site to load completely before abandoning it, while according to Google, two seconds is the threshold for eCommerce site acceptability. Amazon calculated that a page loading delay of just one second would cost it as much as $1.6 billion in sales each year. Bad news: that figure is undoubtedly higher now. It is only a few seconds, but it can make or break a purchase. It is therefore necessary that your online shop’s web performance is up to scratch and that pages load quickly. 

2. Free shipping

There's only one thing that matters more than page loading speed when it comes to Black Friday cross-border online sales, and that's free shipping. When it comes to cross-border, we know that shipping costs can be high and are often the main reason why users abandon their shopping carts. Free shipping, on the other hand, increases the average order value, the order volume and the gross value of the goods. A good way to stand out during the Black Friday period, therefore, is to offer free shipping.

3. Site-warehouse coordination

There is another thing that online customers don't like at all – to think that they have ordered something that, in reality, is not there. That's why it's so important to stock up, to make sure that your eCommerce is in constant communication with your warehouse – whether it's a warehouse open in the country you've chosen to sell in or a warehouse 'at home' – so that inventory is properly tracked at all times, in every buying process. This will require a reliable, scalable and fast eCommerce solution, so that even the cross-border online shop can be updated immediately when a product runs out. Otherwise, there will be trouble for your customer care!

4. Logistics issue

Once the product being sold has been purchased and is ready to leave the warehouse, the logistics issue comes into play. It is essential that the team managing this segment is prepared to ship large volumes and can do so quickly. In addition, when selling cross-border it is important to take delivery times into account very carefully as there will be a lot of 'traffic', especially when sending to different countries.

5. Payment procedures

Another thing that could interfere with the success of your eCommerce during this busy period is the cumbersome payment procedures. For a cross-border eCommerce, it is essential to have payment methods available for each country. It is then good to take the time to remove any unnecessary steps during the checkout, such as registration, and, it is also very useful to make the shipping costs clear from the start, to offer as many payment options as possible and to make everything very easy and intuitive on the mobile interface. 

6. Customisation


To be prepared for Black Friday, the key is to personalise: emails, offers, wishlists. Since we are dealing with cross-border sales, the most important thing is to develop different communications according to the country in which we are selling – but above all, to differentiate the products we want to sell according to the country in which we are doing so. Other general rules: build customer loyalty and keep them updated about the start of offers on the site; it could be interesting to give users the opportunity to create real wishlists before the start of the promotional period (but also to record the list of Black Friday online sales). Or again: make the countdown a tool to turn a visit into an actual sale. From a psychological point of view, the seller makes sure that the user does not want to 'lose' the deal.

7. Mobile first

A survey by Internet Retailing found that M-commerce accounted for 71% of overall sales on Black Friday in 2019. Mobile is, on the other hand, a key tool: it is therefore important to ensure that your IT team continuously monitors site behaviour on mobile devices during this critical period. The mobile site should be fast and easy to navigate. 

8. Customer care

You will need to strengthen your customer care team during this heavy shopping season. There will be many more questions, many more returns, and many more credit card and shipping issues to resolve than in a normal situation. All this has to be developed in the language of the target market(s). Penalty: user abandonment of our site. 

9. Site aesthetics

Black Friday will be a very competitive shopping day: consumers will not waste time looking for the promotions offered by the site – the site will have to put them in plain sight. Again: each country has its own methods and so it is good to know them and use them. 

10. Special customers

Finally, it is important to pamper certain 'special' customers – those who are present all year round and who, therefore, should be treated with special care even during this period of intense sales. This could be through Black Friday online pre-sales. Special promotions, extra rewards, or setting up a special customer service for faster returns are all good options.

To conclude

Black Friday is a hectic time for anyone with an online shop because there are so many factors to consider in order not to fail. But if you do cross-border eCommerce, you have to consider a few more factors – such as the question of multilingualism or different payments in different countries, not to mention the products depending on where you choose to sell. There are many variables, but Black Friday will reward the most attentive cross-border online sellers for all their efforts. 

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