This article is a step-by-step checklist that covers every facet of BFCM readiness. BFCM is an acronym that combines the names of two main shopping days: Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Start in September and follow these steps to help you maximise profits before, during, and after BFCM. Need help executing this plan or left it too late? Get in touch and our e-commerce success team can still help you!
When is Black Friday?
How to Prepare for Black Friday?
Black Friday Marketing Strategy
Black Friday checklist Shopify month by month
When is Black Friday?
In order to be prepared, you need to know the dates!
Black Friday 2023 is on the 24th of November, followed by Cyber Monday on the 27th of November.
Black Friday falls on the day following Thanksgiving in the United States, the fourth Thursday in November. In recent years, Black Friday sales have expanded to a global phenomenon, and many retailers now offer deals throughout the entire Thanksgiving weekend. In some cases, Black Friday sales even start earlier in the month, making it essential for retailers to plan their strategies in advance.
How to prepare for Black Friday?
Preparing for Black Friday can be a whirlwind, but with a well-organised plan, you can make the most of this major shopping event. First and foremost, prepare your marketing strategy and decide on the discounts and special offers you'll provide to customers, setting clear goals for your sales targets.
Once you know what you are doing, you have to prepare your shop for that, our extended checklist below will guide you through specifics. Having robust customer support in place is essential for handling inquiries and issues on the big day. Test your website and discounts, and have a backup plan in case of unforeseen challenges.
Follow the Black Friday marketing strategies and a comprehensive checklist below and you'll be well-prepared to make the most of Black Friday. Happy selling!
Black Friday Marketing Strategies
A successful Black Friday marketing strategy involves a combination of anticipation-building, engaging content, and enticing promotions. The key is finding the right deals and right marketing channels for your customers. Below are three different types of marketing campaigns for Black Friday:
Flash Sales and Limited-Time Offers Campaign:
This campaign leverages the urgency of Black Friday by promoting short-duration, high-value discounts. It creates a sense of excitement and encourages immediate action among shoppers. Key elements of this campaign include:
Flash sales with steep discounts for a few hours or a single day.
Countdown timers on your website and in marketing emails to emphasize the limited time.
Use engaging and high-contrast visuals to grab attention.
Promote specific products or product categories.
Share the campaign on social media with high-frequency updates.
Gift Guides and Bundle Campaign:
This campaign focuses on helping customers find the perfect gifts for their loved ones. It simplifies the shopping process and increases the average order value by bundling related products together. Key elements of this campaign include:
Create well-curated gift guides for different recipients or themes (e.g., "Gifts for Tech Lovers" or "Stocking Stuffers").
Offer bundled deals where customers can buy complementary products at a discounted price.
Highlight the convenience and value of the bundles.
Use appealing visuals that showcase the bundled items.
Include a "Shop the Look" feature on your website for easy purchasing.
Loyalty and Referral Campaign:
This campaign focuses on rewarding and retaining loyal customers while leveraging the power of word-of-mouth marketing through referrals. Key elements of this campaign include:
Offer exclusive early access or special discounts to your existing customers as a loyalty reward.
Create a referral program where current customers can refer friends and family for additional discounts.
Encourage customers to share their experiences and purchases on social media, tagging your brand.
Implement a point-based loyalty system to incentivize repeat purchases.
Promote the campaign through email marketing, social media, and on your website.
More Marketing Strategies for Black Friday
If these campaigns sound a bit dull to you, below are a few more ideas of discounts and sales that you could potentially offer to your customers and enhance your Black Friday marketing strategy:
Early Access for Subscribers: Offer exclusive early access to your Black Friday deals for subscribers. This creates a sense of privilege and encourages more people to join your mailing list.
Mystery Deals: Create excitement by offering mystery deals where customers receive a surprise discount or free gift upon checkout. This element of surprise can drive engagement and boost sales.
Bundle and Save: Bundle related products together and offer a discounted price when purchased as a set. This strategy not only increases the average order value but also provides value to customers.
Flash Giveaways: Host flash giveaways on social media platforms, encouraging users to share your Black Friday promotions for a chance to win exclusive prizes or additional discounts.
Limited Edition Products: Introduce limited edition or exclusive products specifically for Black Friday. Limited availability creates a sense of urgency and can drive impulse purchases.
Charitable Initiatives: Tie your Black Friday promotions with a charitable cause. For every purchase made during the Black Friday sale, donate a percentage to a charity. Customers often appreciate businesses that give back to the community.
Free Shipping Threshold: Offer free shipping for orders above a certain threshold. This incentivises customers to add more items to their cart to qualify for free shipping, increasing your average order value.
Interactive Content: Create interactive content such as quizzes, polls, or contests related to your Black Friday deals. Interactive content not only engages your audience but also helps in gathering valuable customer insights.
Thank You Discounts: Show appreciation to your existing customers by sending them exclusive thank-you discounts before Black Friday. This gesture can foster loyalty and repeat business.
Local Business Partnerships: Partner with local businesses for cross-promotions. This collaboration can expand your reach to a new audience and create a sense of community support.
Virtual Shopping Events: Host virtual shopping events via live streams on social media platforms. Showcase your products, answer customer questions in real-time, and offer exclusive discounts to viewers.
Post-Purchase Offers: Implement post-purchase offers where customers receive a discount code or a special offer immediately after making a purchase. Encourage them to come back for more Black Friday shopping.
Remember to tailor these ideas according to your target audience and the products or services you offer. Creativity and personalization can go a long way in making your Black Friday marketing campaign stand out from the competition.
Black Friday Checklist for Shopify
September is the perfect time to cover your bases and start strong with your BFCM planning. The plan below is prepared for larger Shopify Plus stores, but it can be applied to any large e-commerce business!
Identify weak points in your current e-commerce
Check on your key stats in Google Analytics
Install heat mapping & session recording software to view customer interactions
Compare your Google Analytics with Shopify’s backend to spot any data leaks
Test & optimise your site speed
Plan your sales strategy
Products to feature
How much inventory is needed
When to start and end your sales
Determine what pages you need - landing pages, product pages, blog pages, collection pages
Segment your customers into groups and determine strategies for each
Set goals for orders, revenue, and conversion rates
Contingency planning: what to do if your products sell out, what happens if orders or returns exceed expectations, what happens if your shipping provider is over capacity or loses orders
Optimise based on data
Analyse browser and page performance data
QA test across multiple browsers and devices to identify any bugs or usability issues
A/B test key pages:
Test mobile, tablet, and desktop performance
Focus on pages with highest page value
High bounce rate and low conversion rate browsers
Find the least intrusive and most effective pop-up design
Explore extra apps needed such as upsells, cross-sells, promotional banners
Have a dress rehearsal sale to ensure readiness
Run a sale to test the key parts of your BFCM strategy
Use Hotjar and Google Analytics to measure results
A/B test different pages, products, and ads
Collect email addresses for Black Friday marketing
Planning and prep is out of the way, now we can focus on marketing and automation in October.
Plan your BFCM marketing strategy
Choose optimal marketing channels
Plan timings and audience for your marketing flow
Start teaser campaigns to build anticipation
Buy traffic early, before CPC costs start to rise rapidly, and use this traffic during BFCM
Plan your email marketing strategy and use the power of segmented emails
Continue building your newsletter list
Prepare creative assets
Make sure you have product and lifestyle photography for all of your products
Arrange photo and video shoots if necessary
Create graphics and copy for posts
Plan, draft and schedule all social posts with a tool like Hootsuite
Implement site changes
Create landing pages according to offers like discount ratios, product price, best sellers, and BFCM Special Edition offers to help boost your paid campaign performance. Our Shopify developers can offer you assistance with that!
New imagery or any new copy needed
Any discount codes or sales messaging to be clearly displayed
Create and prepare any automatic email flows
Make sure your abandoned cart, browser abandonment, and back-in-stock flows are working
Make sure your shopping feed is working and all items are approved
Shopify Plus merchants can use Launchpad to automate and schedule sales, promotions, and content changes
The big day approaches. November is all about implementation, agile course correction, and of course - making mountains of sales.
Begin lead-up campaigns
Launch your Black Friday campaign messaging on social media just before and during the event
Announce offers via email campaigns right before and during the event
Use a countdown and messaging to encourage immediate action
Make sure you recover abandoned carts
Turn the traffic you bought earlier into conversions by using remarketing and email campaigns
Make sure you don’t spend too much budget on broad or irrelevant keywords on Google. Since there will be high volume and high competition that day, it is important to check Google Search terms and optimise the campaigns
Check your paid and organic social media posts regularly to answer customer questions
Touch base with your brand’s values around BFCM, such as letting your audience know you care for the environment, and steps you’re taking for sustainability at this high-consumption time of year
Verify all automation is ready
Send a test email for any automated email flows you will be activating
If using software such as Launchpad, set up a test time to temporarily change an element of your content
Test any discount codes ahead of time to ensure these are configured correctly, and stack up or don't stack up the way you want it.
Verify your site and customer experience
Do a final QA test of your website
After Black Friday is over
Analyse performance and sales, what went well and what didn't and prepare takeaways for the next year, as you won't remember finer details in a year's time.