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Black Friday Checklist: Prepare Your Store for BFCM 2023

Jul 4th, 2023 18 min to read

The aroma of pumpkin spice and cozy cool weather reminds everyone about Thanksgiving. But as an eCommerce merchant, something more exciting reminds you about Thanksgiving, and that is — Black Friday and Cyber Monday Sales.

After all, what else can hold more excitement than a discount season full of revenue-generating? I’m sure you’ve started preparing for your Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM) sales, and today I’ve brought this Black Friday Checklist to make your preparations more effective for your BFCM sale.

Ready to make your sale a BIG HIT this year? Let’s get started!

What are Black Friday and Cyber Monday?

Black Friday is a massive sale that falls a day after Thanksgiving and continues until the following Monday, known as Cyber Monday. It’s a time when online retailers offer major discounts and deals on various products.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, which originated in the USA, have now become the world’s biggest shopping days. Customers eagerly wait an entire year for Black Friday deals to avail of its benefits.

What are Black Friday and Cyber Monday Sales? Example

This can be the best example of how Black Friday Shoppers shop.

Why Online Stores Should Not Miss Black Friday Sales?

Black Friday sale matters widely for online stores. They are a golden opportunity for your online store to generate profits that you can’t make throughout the year.

In 2022, online sales during black friday skyrocketed to a record-breaking number of $9.12 billion. This shows how important they are for your online store, for earning a big revenue and building a loyal customer base that keeps returning to your store.

How Early Should You Start Preparing for Black Friday Sales?

August is the best time for online store owners to start preparing for Black Friday sales. If you’re an experienced store owner who’s successfully prepared for the Black Friday sale earlier, you can start preparations in September as well.

If you think it’s too early to start preparations, let me make it clear that it’s not. When you don’t prepare in advance, the biggest opportunity will come and go, and you won’t experience high-volume sales.

That’s obvious because when you start preparations in peak sales season, you’ll be in a hurry and have the urge to quickly complete everything before the sale starts. However, it’s important to understand that hurrying in this situation can turn things down for you.

For small business owners, it’s highly necessary to start preparing early, as they don’t have a huge team and resources available.

Best time to start preparing for Black Friday Sales

A thing to remember, starting preparations early will save you more than just headaches.

eCommerce Black Friday Checklist for Successful Sales

For making your Black Friday sale a success, you need to perform never-ending tasks before the sale starts, which is quite stressful. It’s always convenient to have a kind of to-do list that makes your process easier, just like this Black Friday Checklist.

Let’s quickly get started with the BFCM checklist.

1. Research What Your Customers Want to Buy

Research what customers want to buy

The best thing you can do is, understand what your customers want before starting any preparations. Because the more you know about your customer’s desires, the better you can cater to them.

If you ask, how to figure out products that can help attract customers? I’m explaining those criteria right below.

Analyze Site Data & Previous Sales Data

Analyze Site Data & Previous Sales Data

Reviewing analytics will help you gather valuable information about what products or services customers are interested in. You can check Google Analytics for the previous sales data, and list down products ‘that worked’ and those ‘that didn’t work’.

Moreover, if you have a tracking pixel implemented on your eCommerce, you can identify product pages that keep your customers engaged for longer. This will help you understand your users’ interests deeply and make more informed decisions.

Check What Your Competitors Are Offering

Check What Your Competitors Are Offering

By keeping an eye out for what competitors are doing, you’ll get an idea of what can help you drive more sales. Take note of the following actions.

  1. What products are they selling?
  2. What products are they focusing on most during sale time?
  3. What is their special Black Friday deal?
  4. Are they providing free shipping during sale time?
  5. How are they marketing their products during sale time?

With the help of competitor analysis, you’ll be able to beat them with better Black Friday deals.

Look for the Latest & Trendy Products

Go active on the internet, do your research, and find trending and latest products to sell on your eCommerce during sale time. People actively look to buy these products during the holiday season, especially on Black Friday, as it comes with big discounts.

If you include these trendy and latest products in your Black Friday sale, you’ll be closer to better revenue generation.

2. Get your Store Ready for Black Friday

If you feel that your store is in good condition, with enough inventory available, that’s great! However, it’s advisable to double-check your online store to avoid any uncertain risks during holiday sales.

During Black Friday weekend, your website will experience more coming visitors than usual. And I hope your store is capable enough to provide a seamless shopping experience to that large number of people. 

If you’re unsure of your website’s readiness, you can follow the actions listed below.

Get your Inventory Ready

Improve your Website Speed & Performance

To make your Black Friday Cyber Monday sale a success, it’s necessary to have enough inventory. The high demand during the holiday season often leads products to quickly go out of stock. So, before the sale arrives proactively stock up your inventory to minimize the risk of running out of stock.

Add a BFCM Countdown Timer to Your Online Store

When you add a BFCM countdown timer to your online store, your customers will know in advance when sales are beginning in your store. This will help make your customers eager, excited, and engaged in your offerings.

If you’re confused about how to implement a countdown on your eCommerce store, there are several apps and extensions available based on the eCommerce platform. Moreover, you can always contact our eCommerce experts to implement a countdown timer or to add custom functionalities to your online store.

Prepare Content For BFCM Promotions

To top the race, you’ll have to start the black friday promotion on an early note. The more time you work on it, the better it will benefit you.

Start preparing marketing copies, images, and videos for sale promotion on social media posts, blog posts, or hero images. Keep your content creative, engaging, and informative, which helps you create a buzz for your upcoming sales.

For that, you can create content such as product demos, how-to videos, holiday sale offers, and more.

Give Makeover to your Product Pages

When your users visit your product pages before or during sale time, it should effectively reflect your Black Friday Cyber Monday sale. This will introduce them to your upcoming sale and leave them curious to know more about your Black Friday deals.

For giving makeovers reflecting the BFCM sale, you can implement Black Friday sale stickers or badges (e.g. “Black Friday Special” or “Limited Time Offer”), countdown timers, holiday sale offers, and more. Having them on product pages will create excitement among your visitors and help you generate better conversions.

Create the Black Friday Landing Page

The Black Friday Cyber Monday sale is a significant event for your eCommerce store. To make it successful, you need a landing page that talks only about your Black Friday sale and its offerings.

Having a sale-specific landing page will make it easy for you to share information about an upcoming sale with your customers. It will also convince them to purchase without getting distracted. Our eCommerce experts can help you build a captivating landing page for your eCommerce store.

Promote Black Friday Deals on the Homepage

Your homepage has the highest amount of visitors, making it your top priority to promote your Black Friday Cyber Monday sale on the homepage. Moreover, it will make it easier for your potential customers to get information about your Black Friday Cyber Monday sale, as they usually visit your homepage before any other page.

To do so, you can make perfect use of announcement bars and banners with engaging and creative visuals and marketing copies that attract your customers and create a sense of FOMO (fear of missing out).

3. Prepare your Store for the Traffic Spike

Website Traffic during Black Friday and Cyber Monday Sales

You’ll have huge crowds showing up on your eCommerce store during the sale time, as everyone plans on shopping online during Thanksgiving weekend.

Is your store prepared to effectively compete with the holiday rush? Rest assured, we will go through key areas you need to work on, to keep up with the sudden arrival of high traffic during BFCM (Black Friday Cyber Monday) sales.

Improve your Website Speed & Performance

During Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, excitement for both you and your customers will be at its peak. But beware, your slow website can work as the enemy of your excitement. Studies show that 90% of shoppers will abandon slow-loading websites.

Slow websites can result in an increase in bounce rate, cart abandonment, bad brand reputation, and of course low purchases during sale time. You don’t want your website visitors to face any of these or crash in the middle of holiday sales. So, test and take action against it as you can’t let your sluggish website take away your potential customers.

You can start by checking your site speed with Google PageSpeed Insights or Google Lighthouse, and work on areas required to improve eCommerce site speed.

Optimize Your Online Store

When you are getting your online store ready for Black Friday sales, you need to check if everything is functioning properly or not.

In this optimization process, you can get rid of broken links, low-quality product images, outdated products, or any out-of-stock products. Doing this will help you welcome your customers into a shopping space that is seamless and enjoyable, much like providing a clean and welcoming environment for a guest.

Make your Store Mobile-Friendly

According to statistics, mobile purchases are more than desktop purchases mostly during Black Friday sales. If your eCommerce store is not optimized for mobile users, you’ll miss out on many potential customers.

Start by optimizing your website content, including images, videos, and text, to fit perfectly within mobile and tablet screens. This way, there won’t be any blurry or pixelated elements showing up on users’ devices, helping you provide a seamless user experience and get more mobile purchases.

Beware of Frauds and Chargebacks

Black Friday seems full of excitement and profits, right? But there exist frauds, making your work challenging. They often use Black Friday sales as an opportunity to steal card information and take over customer accounts to run fraud activities.

Here are some red flags that indicate a transaction may be fraudulent:

  • First-time customers making large-quantity purchases
  • Multiple transactions in a short period of time
  • Using multiple debit and credit cards from a single IP address
  • Different IP addresses and shipping addresses
  • Unusual shipping location or incomplete location

To avoid these fraudulent activities in your eCommerce store, you can take the following precautions.

  • Use fraud detection tools
  • Manually review orders
  • Implement two-factor authentication
  • Alert customers

Showing concern towards these precautions will help you stay ahead of safety.

Optimize Your Checkout Process

If you want your customers to stay longer and complete a purchase, keep your checkout process simple and short. A difficult and lengthy checkout process will lead to cart abandonment.

To optimize your checkout process during Black Friday, you can display security badges, ask for minimal and necessary information, and offer guest checkout or one-click checkout. Doing this will help you improve your checkout process.

Test your Payment Gateways

If everything goes well and your payment gateways do not support a high amount of transactions during Black Friday, you may face a difficult time. However, there is always a way out. You should use the best payment getaways during this biggest holiday sale. 

To ensure a smooth payment experience during high-traffic periods, you can consider integrating Stripe and Paypal. These APIs are highly robust and widely used by most people.

Hire Customer Support Team

Hire Customer Support Team

You took all necessary measures to keep up with website performance. Now, the least you can do for your customers is to implement live chat options and hire a customer support team that promptly answers their queries during holiday sales.

Every customer expects an immediate response from the store they are shopping at. Any kind of delay in response during Black Friday will drive them to your competitors’ websites. That’s why it is recommended to have at least one person available to address customer queries and complaints.

4. Create a Strategy for your Black Friday Sales

Black Friday Cyber Monday sale, being the world’s biggest shopping event, requires careful planning and execution to make it work best for your eCommerce store. I’m adding a strategy to this Black Friday Checklist that can help you achieve great results.

Let’s check what this Black Friday sale strategy includes that can help you generate more sales and higher revenue.

Create Black Friday Deals, Promo Codes, and Discounts

Customers are eagerly waiting for this holiday shopping season to purchase their essentials and avail the best deals. So, start working on deals and discounts, and focus on making them more beneficial for your customers. By doing so, you will encourage them to place more orders.

Something extra you can do for your existing customers is to provide them with early access to great deals, exclusive coupon codes, free shipping, or gift-wrapping options. Your customers will appreciate this.

Create Product Bundles, Upsells & Cross-Sells

Creating product bundles, and suggesting products through upsell and cross-sell will help you increase AOV (Average Order Value) and provide a personalized shopping experience to your customers.

Doing this will also effectively encourage your customers to make additional purchases. As a result, your Black Friday sale will make more sales.

Plan flash sales

It’s great that you’re providing discounts throughout this holiday season, from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday. You can conduct an eCommerce flash sale for a limited period that has deeper discounts than usual, such as a specific sale on Black Friday that lasts for 3-4 hours.

By hosting a flash sale during the Black Friday holiday sale, you can create a sense of scarcity and FOMO among users. This strategy can help generate greater engagement and drive impulsive purchase decisions.

Give away your products to increase sales

Give away your products to increase sales

During the Black Friday Cyber Monday sale, customers are actively hunting discounts across websites. By giving away additional items as a “free gift” on your customer’s order, you can create excitement among customers. People love “free products” and they surely can increase the order value or cart items to claim it.

For your Black Friday sale, you can consider fixing a minimum order amount to provide free gifts.

Create a Holiday Season Gift Guide

Create a Holiday Season Gift Guide

Having a holiday gift guide provides numerous benefits both to customers and eCommerce store owners. For customers, it saves time and provides clarity on what to buy for friends and family members. For eCommerce owners, it helps you convince customers more easily and boost immediate purchase decisions.

You can create an exclusive holiday gift guide featuring products from your store, and share it with your followers on social media platforms. This strategy helps you reach a broader audience and increases your chances of convincing them to make a purchase.

Build a Customer Loyalty Program

“It’s always great if you can give a little extra love to your loyal customers. To do so, you can launch a loyalty program and reward your existing customers with additional and exclusive benefits. Doing this makes your customers feel valued and increases repeat purchases.

In your loyalty program, you can introduce a referral bonus program that attracts new customers and a membership program to offer exclusive perks to VIP customers.”

Plan a pre-launch sale

To stand out from competitor crowds, you can plan a sale before Black Friday. This will help you create excitement and generate early revenue.

The end of October or the beginning of November would be the ideal time for you to conduct your pre-launch sale. Moreover, you can also organize this pre-launch sale for your loyal customers or VIP customers who’ve taken the membership to foster strong customer loyalty.

5. Plan Black Friday Marketing Strategy

BFCM sales are a great opportunity to attract loyal customers by increasing visibility on search engines and social media platforms. And only effective marketing strategies will help you do that.

Every eCommerce store owner tries their hands on marketing, but for you, it should always be about thinking out of the box. Here the key is to start preparing early and getting the sale news out early.

So, have you already thought of any Black Friday marketing ideas for your holiday sales? Let’s check how you can plan and execute BFCM marketing campaigns. 

Create a Promotional Calendar

Create a Promotional Calendar

Staying organized and strategically scheduling your promotions will have a significant impact. Therefore, before implementing any marketing efforts, create your promotional calendar that outlines ways to promote your online store during BFCM sales.

To effectively track your promotions, you can include the following information.

  • What to promote?
  • Where to promote?
  • When to promote?
  • How much to spend on promotion?

and more…

Doing this will make sure that you are not missing out on any opportunities.

Start Working on Emails & Text Messages

Email marketing and text messages are the best way to reach more people and spread the news of your upcoming sales. So, start planning your email marketing campaigns and text messages by creating engaging and creative marketing copies.

You can include sale announcements, early access, deals and discounts, loyalty rewards, bonus gifts, abandoned cart reminders, thanking them, and more in your email marketing campaigns and text messages.

Additionally, you can make your email marketing templates and text messages personalized and relevant to users’ interests and behavior. This will help you improve engagement and increase sales numbers.

Run Contests on Social Media

People love to participate in social media contests and win free gifts. During sale time, you can also plan to run contests on social media, as social media contests get much more engagement than regular posts.

And, More engagement = More people getting indulged in your Black Friday deals!

You can run these social media contests on platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Youtube, and Twitter to your audience and inform them about your BFCM sale.

Contact Influencers

Contact social media influencers

Earlier I mentioned that word-of-mouth marketing is incredibly necessary to include in your marketing strategy. And influencers are the best medium to get people talking about your Black Friday sale. As they have dedicated followers who trust their recommendations.

When you’ve relevant influencers from your niche talking about your sale, on social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube, you can reach a wider audience and make your deals go viral.

To make this happen, connect with bloggers and influencers who have thousands or millions of followers. Even a single post from different influencers can create a buzz and drive attention to your Black Friday sale.

Set Up Retargeting Ads

With retargeting ads, you can bring website visitors, previous customers, or abandoned cart users back to shopping. This strategy is highly effective as it targets people who’ve shown interest in your products, making them your ideal audience. Inviting them back with your Black Friday deals will definitely attract them to place an order.

You can display retargeting ads on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, or search engines (i.e.Google) with a personalized touch based on the customer’s previous activity.

To recover your abandoned cart users, you can apply some of the most effective retargeting strategies. However, it’s necessary to solve the issue that your customers abandon your shopping cart. Otherwise, there are no chances to convert these abandoned cart users.

Plan Post-Sale Activities

We know BFCM (Black Friday Cyber Monday) to be the holiday shopping season with huge discounts. But it is also a big chance for small business owners to attract new customers and boost brand awareness.

Not each of your website visitors will buy from you during this holiday sale, but you can collect their data and contact them later through retargeting strategies. This will help you create a loyal customer base that keeps making repeat purchases even when the sale is over.

Last Words

The checklist ends here. The Black Friday sale strategies that I described above are more than enough to impress your customers and convince them to be on the list of repeat customers, helping you in future sales.

Make sure you use them for your holiday season sale. And lastly, don’t ignore the fact to start preparing early, as that is key to success.

Moreover, if you need any expert hand throughout your Black Friday Cyber Monday sales, you can anytime contact our eCommerce experts.

Dhruvi Master
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