Black Friday Checklist: 15+ Battle-tested Tips To Sell Like Crazy
After the economic recession persistent in the last three quarters, we’re now approaching BFCM, the biggest holiday shopping season of the year. This is also your last chance to make or break your Shopify store’s annual revenue targets, as BFCM is when your customers are most willing to spend instead of window-shopping as they usually do. However, without careful preparation and the right tactics, you are not likely to make any breakthrough. But don’t worry! In this Black Friday Checklist, we will walk you through the 15+ smart strategies to sell like crazy.
Here is a sneak peek:
- Start planning early
- Choose a robust eCommerce platform
- Optimize your page speed
- Segment your email for personalized offers
- Diversify your discount offers
- Retarget previous website visitors and customers
- Add promotion banners on your website
- Localize your site for global customers
- Showcase your return policy
- Add “Buy now, Pay Later” option
Let’s dive in!
Black Friday Checklist for Shopify Merchants
1. Start planning early and mark your calendar
If you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail. This means that though BFCM this year takes place from 25th to 28th November, you should start planning the game early. (ideally right after you finish reading this checklist).
Careful preparation will give you an edge over your competitors. From our experience, here is a list of what you should start planning and important milestones you shouldn’t miss out on:
- Early promotion planning (2-3 months in advance): Start brainstorming and creating your promotional strategies. Decide on the products you want to feature and the discounts you’ll offer.
- Website and Inventory check (1-2 months in advance): Ensure your website is mobile-friendly, easy to navigate, and can handle increased traffic. Stock up on products to meet the expected demand. If you are dropshipping, make sure you ask your suppliers to do so,
- Promotion launch (1-2 weeks in advance): Begin promoting your BFCM deals through email marketing, social media, and other channels.
- Black Friday and Cyber Monday (actual dates): Execute your promotions as planned, monitor your sales, and be ready to address customer inquiries promptly.
2. Get your store ready for traffic surge
Customer demand skyrockets during BFCM season. Therefore, you must get yourself more than ready if you want your store to survive and thrive throughout these busiest shopping days of the year. From our experience, here are six primary things you need to get ready:
- Inventory management: Ensure you have sufficient stock to meet the increased demand. Monitor inventory levels, and consider stocking popular items in larger quantities.
- Product listings: Review and update product listings, ensuring they are accurate and include enticing descriptions and high-quality images.
- Customer support: Prepare your customer support team for higher volumes of inquiries. Consider offering extended support hours and clear channels for reaching out.
- Shipping and fulfillment: Optimize your shipping processes to handle increased orders efficiently. If you’re dropshipping, ensure your suppliers can fulfill sudden peaks in orders.
- Security: Ensure your website’s security measures are robust to protect customer data during high-traffic periods.
Speed optimization: Conduct load testing to ensure your website can handle high traffic without crashing (we’ll discuss more in-depth right below).
Luckily, with Shopify’s powerful built-in sales & marketing features, you can manage everything in one central hub.
3. Optimize your page speed
According to the research by Bidnamic, for every second a website loads faster, its conversion rate improves by 17%. Plus, Google confirms that page speed is a crucial ranking factor.
Therefore, if you want to have more chances to convert your shoppers and rank higher in search engines, you must optimize your web store for speed.
Shopify is famous for its speed and robust CDN. However, if you have a sophisticated product catalog, lots of UI-UX design elements, and tons of apps, your page speed is likely to be affected. And here are five techniques you can apply to speed your site up:
- Image compression: Reduce the size of images on your website without sacrificing quality. Tools like TinyPNG can help.
Minimize code: Clean up your website’s code by removing unnecessary spaces, comments, and line breaks.
- Browser caching: Enable browser caching to store some website data on your visitors’ devices, reducing load times for return visitors.
- Reduce redirects: Minimize the use of redirects, as they can slow down page loading times.
- Lazy loading: Implement lazy loading for images and videos so they only load when the user scrolls to them.
4. Leverage email marketing to promote your program
If you’ve been around for some time, you must know that email marketing is a cost-efficient yet effective channel to close deals with your customers. So, make sure that you use email marketing throughout your BFCM campaign.
Here are some tips and tricks to help you use email marketing effectively for your BFCM promotion:
- Build hype early: Start your email marketing well before BFCM to create excitement. Tease your deals and build anticipation among your subscribers.
- Segment your list: Divide your email list into different segments based on preferences, purchase history, or location. This allows you to send targeted and relevant messages.
- Clear and compelling subject lines: Grab your audience’s attention with concise and engaging subject lines that highlight your BFCM deals.
- Mobile optimization: Many people check emails on their mobile devices. Ensure your emails are mobile-friendly, with responsive designs and easy-to-click buttons.
- Limited-time offers: Create a sense of urgency with limited-time offers and countdown timers in your emails.
Personalization: Use recipients’ names and tailor content to their interests to make emails more engaging.
- Post-BFCM follow-up: After BFCM, follow up with thank-you emails and encourage repeat business with special offers.
Here’s a BFCM email from Columbia Sportwear that you can learn:
5. Diversify your BFCM discount offers
Diversifying your Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM) discount offers is a smart move, and here’s why it’s essential for your BFCM checklist:
- Attract a wider audience: Different shoppers look for different deals. By offering a variety of discounts, you can appeal to a broader range of customers.
- Increase customer engagement: Diverse offers can keep your audience engaged and excited, encouraging them to explore your store further.
- Boost sales: Some shoppers prefer percentage discounts, while others like buy-one-get-one deals. Catering to various preferences can lead to higher sales.
Based on our experience, here are the seven discount types that are most likely to bring magic to your store conversions during BFCM:
- Percentage discounts: Offer discounts like 20% off, 50% off, or more on selected products or categories.
- Bundle deals: Create bundles where customers can buy multiple related products together at a discounted price.
- Free shipping: Provide free shipping on orders above a certain amount to incentivize larger purchases.
- Gift cards: Offer gift cards at a reduced price, enticing customers to return for future purchases.
- BOGO (Buy One, Get One): Encourage bulk buying with a “buy one, get one free” or “buy one, get one half-off” deal.
- Early bird specials: Reward early shoppers with exclusive discounts or access to deals before BFCM officially starts.
- Product add-ons: Offer your customers free further add-ons like name carving on mugs that meet $50 or free gift wrapping for orders above $100.
💡 Shopify’s built-in discount features are limited. So we assume you will love to check out the list of 13 best Shopify discount apps we’ve compiled.
6. Retarget previous website visitors and customers
BFCM is one of those perfect times of the year when you can give a friendly nudge to people who have already shown interest in your products or bought from you before to invite them to come back.
Here are some ideas for your retargeting campaigns:
- Email marketing: Send out enticing emails with special BFCM offers to your previous customers and subscribers. For instance, you can send gentle reminders to those who added items to their cart but didn’t complete the purchase. Offer them discounts or incentives to come back and finish the transaction.
- Social media ads: Use platforms like Facebook and Instagram to create ads that target people who visited your website recently. Show them relevant BFCM deals to rekindle their interest.
- Google ads: Invest in Google Ads’ remarketing feature. It displays your ads to previous website visitors when they browse other websites, keeping your brand in their minds.
7. Add promotion banners on your website
Adding promotion banners to your website is a must on your Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM) checklist. These banners are like digital billboards that help you grab your customers’ attention and boost your sales. When you feature BFCM promotion banners prominently on your site, you’re letting your visitors know about your exciting deals and discounts right away.
Here are some key spots on your website where you can showcase these banners:
- Homepage: Place a big and eye-catching banner at the top of your homepage. It’s the first thing your visitors will see when they land on your site.
- Product pages: Consider adding smaller banners on specific product pages, highlighting BFCM discounts related to those products.
- Checkout page: Don’t forget to remind customers about your deals even as they’re about to make a purchase. And since Shopify doesn’t allow you to make any changes to the checkout page if you’re not a Plus user, we recommend adding ReConvert so you can work around it.
- Header and footer: Include smaller banners in your website’s header and footer so they’re visible on every page.
- Pop-ups: Use pop-up banners to grab attention when visitors arrive or are about to leave your site.
8. Localize your site for global customers
According to the Can’t Read, Won’t Buy survey on over 8700 online shoppers worldwide, 46% of people claimed they never buy anything from a website if that site is in a foreign language.
Hence, if you are serious about hitting new sales peaks in BFCM 2023, translating your website should be at the top of your to-do list. However, since Shopify does not support translating your web store natively, you need to use an app. And for that, we highly advise you to give Transcy a try.
Transcy helps you translate your store into 110 other languages and 166 currencies in clicks. The best part is that the tool will auto-detect your shoppers’ location and show them the right language, and currency, helping you improve your conversions.
9. Showcase your return policy
According to the 2020 IMRG Returns Review, approximately two-thirds of online shoppers look at return policies before making a purchase, and they can abandon their carts after reading about unfavorable return policies.
Hence, another small change that can have a big impact on your conversion rate is simply showcasing your return policy prominently on your websites if you believe that your return policy is customer-oriented.
Based on our expertise, here are some things you need to keep in mind when showcasing your return policies:
- Make sure your return policy is easy to find on your website, preferably in the header or footer. Use clear and simple language so customers can quickly understand it.
- Emphasize the advantages of your return policy, such as “Hassle-Free Returns” or “Money-Back Guarantee“. Let customers know that shopping with you is risk-free.
- Visual cues like icons or symbols can grab attention. Consider using a “checkmark” or “100% satisfaction guarantee” symbol to make your policy stand out.
- Include return period: Specify the number of days customers have to return items. Whether it’s 30, 60, or 90 days, be clear about it.
- Provide clear instructions on how customers can initiate a return or contact your customer service team.
- Include the return policy in your FAQ section
10. Add “Buy now, Pay Later” option
According to statistics brought to you by Adobe, during Cyber Week 2022, Buy Now, Pay Later orders increased by 85%, and revenue from this payment option increased by 88%, compared with the prior week.
Hence, if you sell high-ticket products from $100 and above, we highly advise you to offer the Buy Now Pay Later option for your customers. This will help them buy your products without worrying about big upfront costs.
When it comes to offering Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) options on your Shopify online store, you have several choices to consider. The right one for you depends on factors like your location, customer base, and pricing. Here are some popular BNPL options and who they might be suitable for:
- Suitable for Shopify merchants in the United States.
- No additional fees for customers or merchants.
- Allows customers to split their purchase into four equal payments.
- Available in multiple countries, including the United States, Australia, and the UK.
- Customers pay in four installments over six weeks.
- Merchants pay a small fee per transaction.
- Offers flexible payment plans in various countries, including the US and Europe.
- Customers can choose to pay in installments or delay payments.
- Merchants pay a percentage fee per transaction.
- Available in the United States and Canada.
- Customers can split payments into four interest-free installments.
- Merchants pay a transaction fee.
- Mostly used in the United States.
- Offers longer-term financing options.
- Merchants pay a fee per transaction.
#5. PayPal Pay in 4
- Available in the United States.
- Allows customers to split payments into four equal installments.
- Merchants pay a fee per transaction.
Other Tips To Include In Your 2023 Black Friday Checklist Shopify
Apart from the ten tips and tricks above, we’ve compiled other tactics that you might love to adopt for your Black Friday Shopify 2023.
- Optimize your checkout process: As an unnecessarily long and complicated checkout process that scares your potential customers away, ensure you improve your shoppers’ checkout experience. For instance, consider offering them accelerated checkout options like Shop Pay, Apple Pay, or Google Pay.
- Expand your sales channels: If you want to improve your product visibility and maximize your reach, expanding to other channels like Facebook Shop, Instagram Shopping, or global marketplaces like Amazon, Etsy, and eBay can be a fantastic idea.
- Provide live chat support: Adding live chat support to your website can improve its conversions by 12%. Hence, make sure that you provide live chat support to enhance your customers’ on-site experience and, most importantly, your sales.
- Track your analytics: Since you cannot improve on what you don’t measure, make sure that you record all your money ins and outs and your performance on all the channels you promote your BFCM campaign. This will help you make more educated decisions for next year’s BFCM campaign– scaling up what’s effective and cutting down on channels or initiatives that don’t work.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does BFCM mean?
BFCM stands for “Black Friday, Cyber Monday”. It refers to the popular shopping weekend that encompasses Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving) and Cyber Monday (the Monday following Thanksgiving). During this period, retailers offer significant discounts and promotions, making it one of the busiest and most anticipated shopping times of the year.
How do you prepare for Black Friday?
If you don’t know how to prepare for black Friday eCommerce, start by setting clear goals and budgeting for promotions. Stock up on inventory, optimize your website for increased traffic, plan marketing campaigns, and create enticing discounts. Ensure your customer support is ready to handle inquiries and have a strategy for post-sale follow-ups.
What sells the most on Black Friday?
Electronics, particularly smartphones, laptops, and gaming consoles, tend to sell the most on Black Friday. Additionally, clothing, home appliances, and toys are popular choices. However, the best-selling items can vary each year.
What should I offer on Black Friday?
On Black Friday, offer significant discounts, limited-time promotions, and bundle deals to attract shoppers. Consider exclusive early-bird specials, free shipping, or gift cards to incentivize purchases. Tailor your offerings to match your target audience’s preferences and what makes sense for your business.
What do people usually do on Black Friday?
On Black Friday, people typically shop for discounted items both online and in physical stores. They often wake up early to take advantage of doorbuster deals, check online stores, and engage in a day of intense holiday shopping. Many retailers extend their hours or open early to accommodate the rush of shoppers.
Ready To Jump-start Your Sales With Our BFCM Shopify Checklist?
2023 has been a rough year. However, with early planning, proper preparation, and the right strategies, you will be doing perfectly fine. That’s because, unlike other merchants starting blindly, you have all the practical tips and tricks needed in this checklist.