If you’re like most retailers, you probably see Black Friday as the perfect chance to get rid of lingering stock, build engagement with customers, and take advantage of a huge opportunity to boost sales.

But there are dangers too.

There’s a serious risk, for example, that you might become swamped with orders you can’t fulfill. Or that you won’t be able to provide customers with the usual level of customer service. Perhaps the biggest potential pitfall of all is being outdone by your competitors.

It’s essential to prepare for Black Friday and the surrounding buying period. Laying the groundwork well in advance will ensure you maximize conversions, sales, and average order value, all while delivering a value proposition that exceeds that of your competitors.

In this post, we’re going to outline a handful of practical tips that will enable you to make the absolute most of Black Friday, leveraging it fully as the revenue-driving opportunity it is.

What will you find in this article?

Key Black Friday Stats
Cover the Basics: 6-Point Checklist
How to Prep Your Store for Maximum Success on Black Friday: 19 Tips
Taking Advantage of Black Friday 2020

Sound good? Let’s dive in.

Key Black Friday Stats

Don’t worry.

We’re not going to bombard you with stats. There are a few crucial pieces of information, however, that should inform your overall strategy.

Here’s what you need to know:

In 2018, the total sales for #Thanksgiving, #BlackFriday and #CyberMonday respectively were $3.7 billion, $6.2 billion, and $7.9 billion. Because of this, it's essential to account for all three major shopping holidays. Click To Tweet

Most retailers start promotions a few days before these major dates, during which time all discounts apply.

The majority of browsing will take place on mobile devices. You need to commit to creating a seamless mobile experience for customers, applying your strategy equally to desktop and mobile. Similarly, advertising should be tailored for mobile, with social media promotion and retargeting a priority for mobile apps like Instagram.

Because the bulk of purchases will take place on desktop, you should also optimize desktop checkout processes.

Shopping is split fairly equally between genders and demographics, with a slight emphasis on “Gen X”. While you can advertise more aggressively to certain groups in your customer base, you should cater to everybody, segmenting and marketing to them accordingly.

Growth hack your ecommerce conversion rate, sales and profits with this
115-Point Ecommerce Optimization Checklist

Cover the Basics: 6-Point Checklist

Before you get started with specific optimization tips, there are a few general principles to keep in mind. These form the basis of any successful Black Friday campaign and are essential if you want to be fully prepared.

Here’s a quick checklist of the fundamentals:

  1. Site speed – Low site-speed is one of the biggest conversion killers. Make sure your site speed, for both mobile and desktop, is up to scratch in the run-up to Black Friday.
  2. Prepare for high numbers of traffic – Can your servers handle any potential spikes in traffic? Speak to your hosting company to ensure you have the necessary bandwidth.
  3. Segment your mailing lists – Segmentation is an essential part of marketing for Black Friday. Segment your mailing lists well in advance of the big day, thus guaranteeing that the best offers end up in front of the right people.
  4. Organize your email campaigns – Along with a fully segmented customer base, you should have your email marketing content ready well in advance.
  5. Make mobile your priority – As has already been mentioned, most of your visitors will arrive on your site through a mobile device. Mobile optimization (shoot us an email if you need some help with that) and marketing should be at the very top of your to-do list.
  6. Start early – Start notifying customers about your upcoming offers well in advance of the actual days (Black Friday and Cyber Monday) so that they’re prepped to buy when the time finally rolls around.

Local Heroes and CL Studio and their instastories about Black Friday
 You don’t need to wait until the actual day to start getting customers ready for Black Friday

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How to Prep Your Store for Maximum Success on Black Friday: 19 Tips

Ok, so onto the tips themselves. Here are nineteen practical ways to build and engagement and boost conversions during Black Friday.

1. Advertise Black Friday Offers on Your Homepage and Dedicated Landing Pages (and Don’t Be Shy About It)

When you send emails to customers telling them about your Black Friday offers, most will click through to either your homepage or a dedicated landing page. This is your opportunity to reiterate what’s on offer and provide any voucher codes.

The Black Friday homepage for Pink Boutique
 The Black Friday homepage for Pink Boutique is simple, to-the-point, and visually pleasing

Black Friday landing pages should be loud and obvious. Leave visitors in no doubt about what’s going on and what they have to gain.

iKrush advertising their Black Friday promotion
iKrush clearly advertises its main promotion – up to 100% off – along with a guaranteed offer of 25% off everything. The promotion code is clearly displayed.

Your homepage will be the main point-of-entry for many Black Friday shoppers, so make sure you impress them.

2. Visibly Display Black Friday Discounts on Product Pages and Cart Pages

Many visitors will land directly on product pages without first seeing your homepage or landing page. On product pages, it’s essential they understand that Black Friday discounts apply.

Diesel with their 30% at checkout Black Friday sale
Diesel includes a visible notification that reads “30% Off At Checkout”

You should also make sure customers understand that a discount is site-wide (not just for a particular product) if applicable. Let them know that offers are part of a Black Friday promotion.

Nasty Gal including discount on the product page
Nasty Gal includes a notification on product pages to ensure customers know site-wide discounts apply: “30% Off Everything”

Finally, reiterate any discounts on the cart and checkout pages, thus eradicating customer doubt.

Pretty Little Thing with and their cart page discount reaffirmation
Reaffirming discounts on cart pages eliminates doubt at a point on the customer journey when the chances of abandonment are high

3. Guarantee a Flat Discount That Applies to Every Item

How to Take Advantage of Black Friday 2020: Complete Ecommerce Guide Click To Tweet

If possible, try to offer a flat rate that applies to all products. And include this guarantee visibly on your homepage, landing pages, and any marketing materials.

Nasty Gal guarantees a fixed discount
Nasty Gal guarantees 60% off “Absolutely Everything”

As soon as you include a statement like this, customers are more likely to engage without worrying about having to search your site to find attractive offers.
Select and their clear flat discount on their landing page
On its main landing page, SELECT leaves visitors in no doubt about which products are discounted

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    4. Show Discounts on Category Pages

    Along with landing pages, your homepage, product pages, cart pages, and checkout pages (yep, there’s a lot), you should also highlight Black Friday prices on category pages. By covering all the bases, you’ll ensure that all of your site’s visitors know about your offers.

    Pretty Little Thing displays discounts on category pages
    On category pages, PrettyLittleThing displays the discounted price beneath the original one along with the percentage of the discount in brackets
    Ensure that discounted prices stand out. Using a bright color, like red, is a good strategy. You should also consider including the percentage discount.

    Hollister showing discounted price in bold
    Hollister Co. shows the discounted price in bold alongside the original one. A Black Friday notification fits seamlessly on the right-hand side of the page

    5. Highlight Your Best Offers on Category Pages

    Including discounted prices isn’t the only strategy when it comes to category pages. You also have an opportunity to highlight some of your best offers with banners and on-page “ads”. If these ads can be personalized, even better.

    UNIQLO showing discounts on category page
    In the category page above, UNIQLO includes a page-wide banner showcasing a relevant offer. The timer also builds urgency

    6. Build Scarcity with Low-Stock Alerts and Countdown Timers

    Evoking a sense of scarcity is one of the most powerful things you can do as an online retailer. Customers that see a product is in low demand will be more motivated to buy. And Black Friday is the perfect opportunity to build urgency and scarcity.

    PrettyLittleThing with their selling out notification
    PrettyLittleThing includes a notification – “Selling Out” – on in-demand product pages along with the number of items purchased in the last 48 hours
    There are two ways you can do this on product pages: by including low-stock notifications and with a countdown timer that shows how long’s left in the Black Friday sale.

    LASULA showing a countdown timer on product pages
    LASULA includes a countdown timer underneath the main CTA on product pages

    Add Extra Discounts to Sale Items

    Build urgency by ensuring that discounts apply to sale items as well as full-price items.

    This is an excellent tactic for two reasons. First, it encourages customers to make a purchase right away rather than come back at a later date on the assumption that normal sale prices will apply.

    Second, it further incentivizes customers with the possibility of savings over and above the typical sale price.

    Gap clearly stating their discount
    Gap clearly states that there is an extra 25% off “sale styles” with no exclusions
    Furthermore, clearly indicate discounts on sale items in advertising materials and on your homepage/landing pages.

    8. Leverage Mobile Ads (Especially on Instagram)

    Over 50% of #BlackFriday browsing will take place on mobile devices. For this reason, it's essential to reach customers through mobile ads and posts. Click To Tweet

    Well-designed content delivered through mobile apps, especially on platforms like Instagram, will build interest in the run-up to and during Black Friday. Mobile ads are also an excellent opportunity to target unique customer segments.

    Examples of Black Friday offers on instastories
    The examples above showcase specific Black Friday offers
    It’s also crucial to be clear and specific on mobile ads. Include details about the levels of discounts, dates, and any specific items that will appeal to your audience.

    9. Extend Discounts to the Whole Weekend

    It’s becoming increasingly common to hear the term “Black Weekend” along with “Black Friday”. The idea behind “Black Weekend” is that discounts apply over the weekend after Black Friday, not just on that specific day.

    Salsa advertising Black Weekend
    Salsa advertises a 30% discount on ALL items for the whole weekend
    If it’s feasible, extending discounts to the whole weekend can significantly boost sales. It’s important, however, to maintain urgency throughout this period. Remember to display dates and include notifications about the length of the sale period on product pages.

    Black weekend instastories
    Both the Instagram stories above are for “Black Weekend” sales

    10. Show Discounts on the Checkout Page

    Checkout is one of the riskiest stages of the customer journey. A quarter of visitors will leave your site after beginning the checkout process (after landing on the checkout form).

    Lasula showing discounts alongside checkout forms
    Show discounts alongside checkout forms to reassure customers
    In order to reduce your checkout abandonment rate, reiterate discounts. Show the Black Friday discount next to the checkout form so that customers aren’t in any doubt about the low price they’re getting.

    Nasty Gal highlighting discounts in the checkout form
    Nasty Gal highlights Black Friday discounts when customers are asked to enter their details

    11. Include Elements of the Unknown

    Telling customers exactly what’s on offer isn’t necessarily the best strategy when it comes to Black Friday promotions.

    Of course, it’s important to showcase your best offers and target customers with personalized ads. But it can also be effective to advertise “general” offers. In order to find what they’re interested in, customers have to visit your site and “dig for gold”.

    Ryanair advertising cheap flights without specific details
    Ryanair advertises cheap flights but doesn’t give specific details. This encourages customers to find out what’s on offer for themselves, building excitement and engagement
    The key to this strategy is finding the right balance. You shouldn’t be too specific and destroy the element of the unknown. But at the same time, you shouldn’t be too general, thus eliminating any interest completely.

    12. Contact People via Social Media Messenger Apps

    When’s the last time you had a conversation with your customers via Instagram or Facebook messenger?

    Your first thought might be, “That’s impossible! I have hundreds of thousands of customers.”

    But you’d be dead wrong. Messenger bots now make it possible for retailers to interact directly with customers and send them personalized offers and suggestions based on an array of data-points.

    Messenger marketing by Pura Vida Bracelets
    Messenger marketing is a powerful way to reach customers
    Send curated Black Friday offers to your social media audience via messenger based on their past behavior and interests. There are many online services that enable you to do this quickly and inexpensively.

    13. Hold a Pre-Sale Event

    A significant part of Black Friday marketing is about building excitement and engagement in the run-up to the buying period.

    One excellent way of doing this is by giving customers a taster of what’s to come in a pre-sale event. It’s like a mini Black Friday for one day. Executed well, these kinds of events can whet customers’ appetites, making them eager for more.

    Perfect Locks holding a one day sale
    Perfect Locks run a one day only sale in which customers can get 20% off products
    Flash sales should only offer a taster. They shouldn?t replicate Black Friday entirely. The aim is to engage customers and encourage them to come back for more at a later date.

    14. Segment your Customers via Landing Pages

    Segment customers as much as possible on landing pages. Showing buttons that allow customers to click through to applicable areas of your site will ensure that they see relevant offers. Something as simple as “Shop Men” and “Shop Women” can work wonders.

    Hollister directs customers to sections for men and women
    Hollister Co. directs visitors to the “guys” and “girls” sections of its website through one of its Black Friday landing pages

    15. Add a Site-Wide Header to Your Store

    Customers that arrive on your site via promotional emails, adverts, or click through to a landing page, will already be aware of your Black Friday sale. But what about other visitors to your site?

    Including a site-wide header means that every visitor, whether they come to your site directly, through a Google search, or any other method, will know what?s going on.

    MissPap showing a site-wide header
    MissPap includes a site-wide header alerting visitors to Black Friday offers
    The great thing about headers is that you don’t need to make significant changes to every single page of your site. It’s usually a simple matter of adding a few lines of code.

    16. Get Your Retargeting Strategy Ready

    Your discounts will likely run on for several days, so ensure you have a retargeting strategy in place during that time. You can even offer discounts for retargeted customers after the official sale has finished.

    Just keep in mind that retargeting isn’t limited to Facebook. You can send retargeting ads on other social media and ad platforms and via email.

    In fact, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday are all ideal times to send retargeting emails – there are big discounts and a willingness to buy on the part of customers, not to mention the urgency that comes with a time-limited sale.

    Check out the following articles for some more retargeting tips:

    One of the reasons to opt for a Black Weekend sale rather than just Black Friday is because those extra two days provide ample time for retargeting.

    17. Offer Upsells and Cross-sells

    Black Friday is the perfect time to offer cross-sells and up-sells. Customers are eager to buy and take advantage of all the discounts you’re offering.

    Here are some great places to offer cross-sells and upsells:

    • On product pages – Show related products and complementary products alongside the main listing.

    Black Friday cross-selling

    • On the cart page immediately before checkout – On the cart page (immediately before checkout), list items that customers might be interested in, with an easy-to-click add-to-cart button.
    • Via email after purchase – Once a customer has purchased an item, send them an email suggesting related products that they might be interested in. The key is to ensure that extra items will be shipped with the original order.

    For more tips about cross-sells and upsells, check out our article about increasing average order value.

    18. Personalize Email Marketing

    When conducting email campaigns, personalize content as much as possible. Send customers alerts about discounts on items they’ve viewed in the past, added to their wishlist, saved for later, and so on.

    Customers are much more likely to buy when they see that substantial time-limited discounts apply to items they’re definitely interested in.

    What’s more, you should cover the basics when it comes to sending Black Friday emails. Refer to customers by their names and segment by important factors like location, gender, age, etc. wherever possible.

    In an avalanche of Black Friday marketing emails, it’s easy for customers to feel alienated. Personalization will overcome this problem.

    19. Oh…and if Customers Need a Code…Show it Clearly!

    Here’s an absolutely crucial point to round off with.

    Make sure customers can see the discount code! Display it visibly everywhere – on ads, in emails, on landing pages, on product pages…anywhere you can think of!

    Na-KD including a link with a discount code
    Na-KD includes a link that customers can use to copy the code
    Even better, include a link that lets visitors quickly copy the discount code to their clipboard. Alternatively, state that the code will automatically be applied at checkout, removing the need for customers to remember it.
    ASOS making the discount code stand out
    ASOS ensures the code stands out from the rest of the page

    Taking Advantage of Black Friday 2020

    More than anything else, making a success of Black Friday is about one factor: preparation.

    If you start early, you’ll achieve two things. First, you’ll ensure that all the groundwork is in place. There are lots of different elements to coordinate – from segmented email campaigns to personalized messenger ads – and it’s essential to prepare well in advance.

    Second, you’ll have a chance to test the effectiveness of marketing styles and promotions, and hone in on the winners in time for the big day.

    Problems always arise during Black Friday sales, but with the right plan in place, you can be confident that you’re ready to maximize reach, conversions, and sales, and overcome any issues that arise.

    Now, time to start creating your landing pages.

    Download Your Free Ecommerce Optimization Checklist

    Do you want to ensure you’re 100% ready for Black Friday? We’ve written an in-depth 117-point optimization checklist that covers everything you need to know. There are practical tips for every part of your site, from your homepage to your “About Us” page.

    Ensure that you’re ready for one of the year’s biggest shopping holidays by downloading it now.

    Ecommerce Optimization Checklist

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