24 Proven Black Friday eCommerce Strategy Tips (2023)
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24 Black Friday eCommerce Strategy Tips To Boost Sales in 2023

If you run an online store, you’re going to want to get as much out of Black Friday as possible. It’s worth a huge amount of money and could be the difference between making a profit in 2023 and not.

As we have successfully run our own Black Friday events over the past few years, we have collected some Black Friday eCommerce strategies that really work.

We use them and the online stores you know and love use them. We think you should use them too.

Here is a collection of effective, actionable Black Friday eCommerce strategy tips that really work!

A Brief Look at the History of Black Friday

The term “Black Friday” was first recorded in 1869, but it referred not to shopping, but a major financial issue at the time.

It was used in reference to when the gold market in the United States crashed. This dark beginning is a stark contrast to the retail bonanza we know today.

The story often cited about Black Friday’s link to post-Thanksgiving shopping is rooted in the tradition of retailers moving from “in the red” (operating at a loss) to “in the black” (turning a profit) due to the surge in sales the day after Thanksgiving.

However, this narrative, while widely accepted, isn’t entirely accurate​​.

The more accurate history of Black Friday as we know it today dates back to 1950s Philadelphia.

The term was used by the police to describe the chaos that followed Thanksgiving, when hordes of shoppers and tourists flooded the city in advance of the big Army-Navy football game, creating a logistical nightmare for law enforcement and the city as a whole​​.

By 1961, the term had caught on. But it wasn’t until the late 1980s that the narrative shifted, painting Black Friday in a more positive light.

Retailers reinvented the day as one signifying profit, turning a once negative term into a symbol of retail success and consumer savings​​.

This transformation was so effective that by the 1980s, the notion of Black Friday as a day of significant profit was firmly established​​.

This day has not only reshaped shopping habits in the US but also influenced broader economic trends and consumer culture across the world.

As we delve into the strategies for maximizing Black Friday sales in 2023, it’s useful to appreciate the historical context that has shaped this unique shopping phenomenon.

But first, let’s talk about why having a solid Black Friday strategy is such a good idea.

Why Setting Up a Black Friday eCommerce Strategy Is a Good Idea

As with most marketing, timing is everything. When it comes to Black Friday, early preparation is key.

Setting up a Black Friday eCommerce strategy well in advance offers several compelling advantages:

  1. Consumer anticipation and search trends: As the 2022 data referenced above shows, shoppers start searching for Black Friday deals as early as October. By establishing your Black Friday strategy as early as you can, you tap into this growing anticipation.
  2. Optimizing your online presence: Early planning allows you to refine your website and online store for the influx of traffic. This includes optimizing for mobile shoppers, who accounted for 47% of Black Friday sales in 2022​​.
  3. Inventory management: With the massive surge in sales, managing inventory efficiently is a must. Early strategy planning allows for better stock control, avoiding the pitfalls of overstocking or running out of popular items​​​​.
  4. Competitive edge: eCommerce is fiercely competitive during Black Friday. Starting early gives you a head start, allowing you to craft unique deals and marketing campaigns that stand out.
  5. Customer engagement and loyalty: An early start means more time to engage with customers. This engagement builds loyalty and increases the likelihood of repeat customers.
  6. Data-driven decisions: Early planning allows for the collection and analysis of data from previous years. This means you can make more informed, strategic decisions that can tailor offers to consumer preferences and trends.
  7. Coping with shipping and logistical challenges: The holiday season often brings shipping and logistic issues. Early preparation ensures that you have sufficient plans in place to handle these problems should they arise.

eCommerce Black Friday Trends

As we gear up for Black Friday 2023, staying clued up on current eCommerce trends is essential for a successful strategy.

Here’s a rundown of the key Black Friday ideas for eCommerce to watch:

  1. Increased spending per consumer: The average spend per person has been on the rise, with projections indicating even higher spending in 2023​​.
  2. Cyber Monday’s dominance: Cyber Monday continues to outpace Black Friday in online sales, with $11.3 billion spent in 2022. This trend underlines the importance of extending promotions beyond Friday​​.
  3. International reach: Black Friday and Cyber Monday are no longer just American events. They’ve gained popularity in countries like Canada and the UK, suggesting a need for region-specific strategies​​.
  4. Mobile shopping surge: An overwhelming 73% of sales were made via mobile devices in 2022. This trend underscores the necessity of optimizing eCommerce sites for mobile users​​.
  5. Buy now pay later as a conversion tool: BNPL options saw an 85% usage increase during 2022, proving their effectiveness in boosting conversions​​.
  6. Extended promotional period: The concept of Cyber Week is gaining traction, with significant sales occurring throughout the week surrounding Black Friday and Cyber Monday​​.
  7. Record-high discounts: Deep discounts are now a staple of this sales period. Retailers may need to offer substantial discounts to attract buyers​​.
  8. Paid search and SMS marketing: Paid search is a big driver of sales, while SMS marketing also shows significant effectiveness, indicating the need for a diversified marketing approach​​.

24 Ways To Build Your Black Friday eCommerce Strategy

With eCommerce constantly in a state of flux and consumer behavior ebbing and flowing, especially around Black Friday, crafting a successful strategy requires foresight and meticulous planning.

Here’s how to build your Black Friday eCommerce strategy for 2023 and beyond:

1. Begin Planning As Early as July or August

Starting your Black Friday strategy in the summer months, like July or August, allows ample time for comprehensive planning and execution.

This early start is vital for analyzing previous years’ data, understanding market trends, and preparing for inventory and marketing needs.

A real-life example of this is Amazon’s Prime Day, typically held in July.

It not only serves as a mid-year boost but also acts as a precursor to Black Friday. It allows Amazon to gauge consumer interest and adjust strategies for the latter part of the year.

By starting early, you can fine-tune your Black Friday strategy based on consumer response and market trends observed during these earlier sales events.

2. Decide on Merchandise and Offers

Choosing the right products and crafting attractive offers are pivotal for a successful Black Friday strategy. This can include both new and existing products.

A smart move is to coincide product rollouts with Black Friday, capturing the heightened attention and spending mood of consumers.

For example, Swatch took a unique approach by launching a line of black watches specifically for Black Friday, cleverly tying the product to the event and attracting customers seeking unique deals.

3. Black Friday Ideas For eCommerce

Developing a captivating campaign theme and innovative marketing ideas is crucial for Black Friday success.

For example, Thinkific announced their Black Friday deals early on Instagram. They intensified the urgency as the end of the sale approached, using clear and engaging language and visuals​​.

Thinkific black Friday promotion

Another great example is Knockaround, which put its product at the forefront of its Black Friday campaign.

Knockaround black friday promotion

They used high-quality images of their sunglasses combined with striking graphics and a straightforward offer, creating an engaging and visually appealing promotion​​.

These examples underscore the importance of a cohesive and engaging theme that resonates with your target audience.

4. Ensure Fast Site Speed and Smooth User Experience

A key aspect of a Black Friday strategy is ensuring that your eCommerce store can handle the increased traffic without compromising on speed or user experience.

Slow loading times or cumbersome navigation can deter potential customers and negatively impact sales.

It’s vital to optimize your website’s performance, perhaps by scaling up your hosting plan and simplifying the checkout process.

Streamlining the user experience with clear navigation, fast-loading pages, and an easy checkout process can significantly enhance customer satisfaction.

That, in turn, increases the likelihood of successful transactions during the busy Black Friday period.

5. Optimize Your Website for Mobile Users

Given the significant increase in mobile shopping, optimizing your website for mobile users is essential for Black Friday.

This means ensuring your site is responsive and offers a seamless experience on smartphones and tablets.

Mobile optimization includes quick load times, easy-to-navigate menus, and a simple, secure checkout process.

A substantial portion of Black Friday sales comes from mobile, so making your website mobile-friendly can greatly influence your sales performance.

This approach not only caters to the growing trend of mobile shopping but also enhances the overall customer experience, which is key to driving sales.

6. Simplify and Test the Checkout Process

Simplifying and rigorously testing the checkout process is critical for a successful Black Friday.

A streamlined checkout reduces cart abandonment and enhances customer satisfaction. Tools like SureCart can be instrumental in this process.

SureCart offers solutions to create a smooth and efficient checkout experience for your customers.

SureCart for eCommerce store

By using such tools, you can ensure that the checkout process is intuitive, secure, and quick, which is especially important during the high-traffic period of Black Friday sales.

Regular testing and updates to the checkout process can also help identify and resolve any potential issues before they impact your customers.

7. Ensure Accurate Stock Information and Easy Navigation

For a smooth Black Friday experience, you need to have accurate, real-time stock information available on your eCommerce store.

Customers expect up-to-date details on product availability to make informed purchasing decisions.

Equally important is ensuring that your website is easy to navigate. This involves clear categorization of products, efficient search functionality, and straightforward access to essential information like pricing and product descriptions.

Accurate stock information and user-friendly navigation not only improve the shopping experience but also help in managing customer expectations.

8. Use Segmented, Urgency-Inducing Email Marketing Campaigns

Segmented, urgency-inducing email marketing is a powerful tool for Black Friday campaigns.

It allows you to target specific customer segments with personalized and timely offers, thereby increasing the likelihood of conversion.

Walmart used segmented email marketing to promote its pre-Black Friday deals.

walmart black friday sale optimization

They emphasized the urgency of their offers with catchy subject lines like “Pre-Black Friday: score AMAZING deals NOW!” and provided their audience with a holiday gift guide, making the shopping experience easier and more engaging​​.

Another example comes from Happy Socks, which added an element of fun to its Black Friday campaign with engaging GIFs.

Their email campaign was not only interactive but also informative, preparing customers for the upcoming sale with enticing subject lines like “Do you know what week it is?”

This approach helped solve customers’ pain points and made the shopping spree less overwhelming​​.

These examples show how creatively using email marketing with a focus on urgency, personalization, and interactivity can significantly enhance the effectiveness of campaigns.

9. Leverage Social Media To Build Anticipation and Engagement

Utilizing social media effectively can significantly boost your Black Friday campaign. It’s an excellent platform for building anticipation and engaging with your audience.

Bath & Body Works created a sense of urgency by asking customers to download their app to access holiday and Black Friday deals.

Posts like this incite urgency and encourage quick action from customers​

bath and body works black friday campaign example

Fear of missing out or FOMO, is a powerful psychological trigger that brands frequently use to their advantage during Black Friday.

You can create polls, ask open-ended questions, or run contests on social media platforms to engage your audience and build hype around your brand deals​, too.

10. Implement Retargeting Strategies and Personalized Messaging

Retargeting strategies paired with personalized messaging form a potent combination for enhancing customer engagement and boosting conversions.

This is particularly true during high-traffic events like Black Friday.

Retargeting leverages browser cookies to track user behavior on a website. When a customer browses products or services, a retargeting pixel records this activity.

Advertising networks then use this data to display targeted ads, which might include the exact products viewed, on various platforms such as Facebook or Google Ads.

This approach is effective because it targets “warm audiences” – people who have already shown interest in your products or services, thus more likely to engage than cold audiences​​.

Expedia is a global travel agency that uses retargeting to focus on users who have shown interest in travel accommodations.

By recording user searches, including destinations and time frames, Expedia can retarget these individuals with tailored deals.

11. Offer Exclusive Deals, Bundles, or Site-wide Discounts

Offering exclusive deals, bundles, or site-wide discounts is a powerful strategy for Black Friday and beyond. Brands have successfully implemented these tactics in a few different ways.

Known for its apparel, ABLE effectively utilized site-wide discounts during Black Friday.

ABLE black friday campaign example

Their strategy involved highlighting discounts and early access deals through emails and on-screen popups, attracting a significant customer base​​.

Sephora offers a good example of bundle promotions. This makeup giant excelled in limited all-inclusive bundle promotions.

They created a sense of urgency with limited-edition bundles, often in collaboration with major brands, promoted through platforms like Instagram​​.

12. Run BOGO Promotions and Discount Contests or Giveaways

BOGO (Buy One, Get One) promotions and discount contests or giveaways are effective strategies to boost sales and engagement, especially during high-traffic shopping periods like Black Friday.

Here are a couple of examples that showcase these strategies in action.

Specializing in functional and stylish handbags and purses, Mia Tui leverages BOGO deals by offering a free gift with purchase.

For example, customers purchasing a handbag could receive a free strap, allowing them to customize their bags.

This type of BOGO deal enhances the perceived value of the purchase and allows customers to feel they’ve earned something extra with their purchase​​.

An organic skincare company, Airmid Beauty Secrets, ran a giveaway on Instagram, featuring an eye-catching post with the word “GIVEAWAY” in bold.

Airmid black friday giveaway

To enter, participants had to like the post, tag friends, and share the post on their own page. This approach effectively grabbed attention and increased traffic to their website, besides building engagement.

They also announced the winner on Instagram Live, adding an interactive element to the giveaway​​.

13. Enhance Customer Service, Including Live Chat Support and FAQs

Enhancing customer service through live chat support and comprehensive FAQs is a significant step towards improving customer satisfaction and loyalty, especially in eCommerce.

You can learn a lot from brands like ModCloth in this regard.

Known for its friendly tone, ModCloth extends this to customer care through live chat.

ModCloth

The service includes photos and first names of customer service representatives, making the interaction more personal and enhancing the brand’s customer-centric reputation​​.

WhatsApp is no slouch when it comes to customer support, either.

Their FAQ resource is user-friendly, brightly designed, and effectively categorized for quick access on both desktop and mobile devices​​.

14. Utilize SMS Marketing With Opt-in Keywords

SMS marketing, particularly with opt-in keywords, is an effective way to engage customers directly and personally.

Several successful brands have used this strategy to great effect.

For instance, Hydro Flask is a sustainable outdoor kitchen gear brand that used a colorful SMS message to create a sense of urgency with a FOMO (fear of missing out) approach.

They had announced the retirement of certain colors, allowing customers to enjoy a 25% discount while stocks lasted.

This compelling offer encouraged prompt action to take advantage of the discount. Such a strategy proves highly effective in clearing out outdated inventory or specific product variants.

15. Conduct Influencer Collaborations To Extend Reach

Influencer collaborations have become a powerful tool to extend reach and engage with wider audiences.

Glossier has done this well. The skincare and beauty brand has a unique approach to influencer marketing, focusing on its network of fans and micro-influencers rather than solely on mega influencers and celebrities.

Glossier considers every customer as an influencer, utilizing user-generated content and turning loyal customers into brand ambassadors through referral programs.

This strategy has allowed the company to build a community-driven brand and maintain authenticity in its marketing efforts​​.

16. Create Dedicated Landing Pages for Higher Conversions

Creating dedicated landing pages for Black Friday campaigns is a powerful strategy to boost conversions.

These pages are crafted to focus solely on Black Friday deals, minimizing distractions and guiding visitors toward making a purchase.

EngageBay created a landing page for a combined holiday sale (Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas), offering a unified headline and a direct call to action.

engagebay holiday sale campaign example

They used bold letters to present their offer (40% off for life) and asked only for email addresses to notify customers as soon as the offer went live​.

17. Manage Inventory To Avoid Stockouts

Managing inventory effectively to avoid stockouts is a must-follow strategy for Black Friday.

Knowing the exact status and location of your inventory is critical. This might require investment in supply chain tracking software or logistics company intervention.

Enhanced visibility helps in making necessary stock management adjustments to prevent stockouts while waiting for new inventory​​.

Some retailers have started using air freight more frequently to ensure timely inventory restocking.

This approach can help fulfill short-term orders while waiting for the rest of the stock to arrive by sea, thus maintaining customer satisfaction despite the higher cost.

A leading seller of tennis products, Padel Nuestro actually used Easy WMS in their omnichannel warehouse to double their earnings compared to the previous Black Friday.

The warehouse management system optimized their order picking and stock control, leading to a 45% increase in daily orders.

So if you deal with physical inventory for your business, investing in this kind of tracking is a good idea.

18. Offer Free or Expedited Shipping Options

Free shipping is a powerful incentive that can significantly influence purchasing decisions.

It can lead to an increase in the average order value and encourage customers to complete purchases. Expedited shipping options can also appeal to last-minute shoppers or those concerned about receiving their orders in time.

Many well-known retailers have successfully incorporated free shipping into their Black Friday campaigns.

hugo boss black friday sale popup example

For instance, Hugo Boss, known for its fashion apparel, enhanced its Black Friday event by providing extended returns and free shipping — alongside significant discounts.

19. Extend Deals Beyond Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Extending Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals can significantly boost sales and customer engagement.

This strategy not only caters to customers who may have missed the initial rush but also maintains the shopping momentum.

This approach is not just about accommodating shoppers. It also provides flexibility for people to shop at their convenience, regardless of their location or time constraints.

It’s a strategy that takes into account the varied schedules and availability of customers, making it easier for them to participate in the sales event.

For instance, the beauty brand Sephora continued offering deals and promotions after Black Friday, including a “12 Days of Beauty” campaign in previous years.

20. Create Holiday Gift Guides To Assist Customer Choice

Creating holiday gift guides is an effective Black Friday marketing strategy. It helps customers navigate their choices and makes their shopping experience more efficient and enjoyable.

Wool and the Gang, a company specializing in craft and knitting products, organized its holiday gift guide around various crafts, skill levels, and creative ideas.

wool and the gang

Designed like a physical magazine, it offers a visually engaging and easy-to-navigate experience.

The guide features various categories, making it simple for customers to find the perfect gift based on their specific needs, whether it’s for beginners, crafters, or gifts under a certain price point.

21. Promote Deals Through Social Media Ads

Black Friday is a prime time for businesses to maximize their outreach and boost sales through social media ads.

This strategy has been widely adopted across various industries, each tailoring their approach to fit their unique audience and product offerings.

For their Black Friday strategy, Gillette focused on their Gillette Labs Exfoliating Razor. They chose a unique approach by partnering with Instagram influencers who primarily appeal to the millennial male demographic.

gilette

These influencers, hailing from lifestyle and parenting niches, showcased the razor in action, sharing their personal grooming routines.

This approach not only highlighted the product’s features but also directed potential customers to Amazon, where they could take advantage of special Black Friday offers.

22. Prepare Backup Plans for Issues Like Website Crashes or Shipping Delays

In the frenzy of Black Friday shopping, businesses must be prepared for unexpected issues like website crashes or shipping delays.

Let’s dive into some strategies to tackle these challenges:

  • Increased server capacity: Before Black Friday, boost your website’s server capacity to handle the surge in traffic.
  • Load testing: Conduct thorough load testing to identify potential bottlenecks.
  • Fallback landing page: Have a simple, static landing page ready to inform visitors if the main site crashes, possibly with an email sign-up to notify them when the site is back up.
  • Customer service readiness: Ensure your customer service team is prepared to handle inquiries and provide updates.
  • Transparent communication: Clearly communicate potential delays on your website and through order confirmation emails.
  • Alternative shipping options: Offer a variety of shipping options, including expedited shipping, to accommodate different customer needs.
  • Real-time monitoring: Monitor website traffic and shipping status in real-time to quickly address issues.

23. Strengthen Customer Relationships Through Engagement and Rewards Programs

Strengthening customer relationships through engagement and rewards programs is a crucial strategy.

Encouraging early shopping can be beneficial.

For instance, Target provided its loyalty program members with early access to discounts and additional rewards, motivating them to start their shopping ahead of the general public and earn extra points.

Amazon grants early access to Black Friday deals exclusively to its Prime members. This exclusive perk enables members to unlock discounts and offers ahead of the general public, resulting in heightened sales and customer loyalty.

In 2022, the Prime Early Access Sale Day generated 27% higher sales, which is higher than the sales rate on Prime Day, held in July of the same year.

24. Conduct a Post-Sale Analysis for Insights and Improvements

Conducting a post-sale analysis after Black Friday is crucial for businesses to gain insights and identify areas for improvement. This involves evaluating various aspects of the sale, from marketing effectiveness to customer satisfaction.

One noteworthy example of a company conducting a thorough post-sale analysis after Black Friday is Landingi, a platform specializing in landing pages.

They have actively participated in Black Friday since 2015, experimenting with various approaches. However, it wasn’t until they implemented a more focused strategy that they saw significant results.

Prior to Black Friday, Landingi had 975 people subscribe to their notifications, achieving a conversion rate of 26%​.

The average cost of generating leads through social media channels during their Black Friday campaign was $2.24.

They observed that their primary clientele, mostly companies, don’t typically engage in weekend shopping, which explained lower sales on Saturday and Sunday.

However, they sold almost a third of their Black Friday deals on the following Monday, indicating that many customers took time to decide on their purchases.

Landingi’s experience underscores the value of detailed post-sale analysis in understanding customer behavior, assessing marketing effectiveness, and planning future strategies.

How to Prepare for Black Friday: A Checklist

Here’s the same information presented above in a more condensed checklist. Print it out and have it on hand as you prepare your store for Black Friday:

  1. Begin planning early (July/August): Start your preparations months in advance to strategize and organize effectively.
  2. Decide on merchandise and offers: Choose which products to feature, considering both new and existing items.
  3. Create a campaign theme and marketing ideas: Develop a cohesive theme for your marketing campaigns to attract and engage customers.
  4. Ensure fast site speed and smooth user experience: Optimize website performance to handle increased traffic and enhance user satisfaction.
  5. Optimize the website for mobile users: Ensure your site is mobile-friendly, catering to a growing number of smartphone users.
  6. Simplify and test the checkout process: Streamline the checkout process for ease and efficiency; test it to prevent any hiccups. Incorporate SureCart, a reliable and efficient shopping cart solution, into your sales strategy.
  7. Ensure accurate stock information and easy navigation: Keep your stock information updated and make your website easy to navigate.
  8. Use segmented, urgency-inducing email marketing campaigns: Segment your audience and create emails that evoke a sense of urgency to prompt action.
  9. Leverage social media for building anticipation and engagement: Use social media platforms to generate excitement and interact with your audience.
  10. Implement retargeting strategies and personalized messaging: Use retargeting techniques and tailor your messages to individual customer preferences.
  11. Offer exclusive deals, bundles, and sitewide discounts: Provide special offers, bundle deals, and discounts to attract a wider audience.
  12. Run BOGO promotions and discount contests or giveaways: Engage customers with Buy One Get One (BOGO) offers and contests to boost interest and participation.
  13. Enhance customer service: Include live chat support and a comprehensive FAQ section for better customer assistance.
  14. Utilize SMS marketing with opt-in keywords: Adopt SMS marketing strategies to reach customers directly on their mobile devices.
  15. Conduct influencer collaborations to extend reach: Partner with influencers to tap into new audiences and amplify your campaign’s reach.
  16. Create dedicated landing pages for higher conversions: Design specific landing pages for Black Friday deals to improve conversion rates.
  17. Manage inventory to avoid stockouts: Keep a close eye on your inventory to ensure you have sufficient stock to meet demand.
  18. Offer free or expedited shipping options: Make your shipping options more attractive by offering free or faster delivery.
  19. Extend deals beyond Black Friday/Cyber Monday: Consider prolonging sales to capture more customers and increase revenue.
  20. Create holiday gift guides to assist customer choices: Develop gift guides to help customers find the perfect products more easily.
  21. Promote deals through social media ads: Utilize targeted ads and email campaigns to reach a broader audience effectively.
  22. Prepare backup plans for issues like website crashes or shipping delays: Anticipate potential issues and have contingency plans in place.
  23. Strengthen customer relationships through engagement and rewards programs: Develop loyalty programs and engagement strategies to build stronger customer relationships.
  24. Conduct a post-sale analysis for insights and improvements: After the sale has ended, analyze the results to gain insights and identify areas for improvement.

Put These Black Friday eCommerce Strategy Tips to Good Use

Preparing for Black Friday requires meticulous planning and execution across various fronts, from selecting the right products to optimizing the customer experience.

By following the outlined checklist, you can ensure a successful and smooth Black Friday event.

Don’t forget to leverage tools like SureCart to streamline your checkout process and enhance the overall shopping experience for your customers.

Get started with SureCart and set the stage for a memorable and profitable Black Friday.

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