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E-commerce Guide to Black Friday

Black Friday is one of the biggest annual shopping days, offering consumers deep discounts across online stores and brick-and-mortar retailers. For e-commerce businesses, it represents a major opportunity to drive sales, acquire new customers, move inventory, and boost profits.

With the right preparation and strategy, you can have your best sales day ever this Black Friday. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through key tips, ideas, and best practices for making the most of Black Friday for your e-commerce business:

What is Black Friday?

Black Friday always falls on the Friday after Thanksgiving in the US. Retailers offer some of the biggest discounts of the year, luring deal-seeking shoppers to stores and websites.

The term "Black Friday" originated in Philadelphia in the 1960s, referring to the heavy traffic and congestion from crowds of shoppers. Today, Black Friday kicks off the holiday shopping season, with many consumers buying gifts on this day.

When is Black Friday 2023?

Black Friday 2023 will take place on Friday, November 24th.

Cyber Monday always falls on the Monday after Black Friday. So Cyber Monday 2023 will be on Monday, November 27th.

Black Friday Ecommerce Tips and Strategies

Succeeding on Black Friday requires careful preparation and execution. Here are tips for making the most of this big shopping holiday:

1. Plan Ahead

Start planning your Black Friday promotions and marketing campaigns 1-2 months in advance. Analyze previous years’ performance to see what worked well. Set goals for sales, traffic, average order value and return on ad spend.

Order extra inventory of your best selling items and seasonal products to meet expected demand. Work with suppliers to ensure timely delivery.

Use SHOPLINE’s inventory management system to stay on top of stock levels and purchase orders.

2. Create Teaser Content

Build excitement leading up to Black Friday. Share teasers of the deals and discounts shoppers can expect. Email teaser content to your subscriber list during the weeks before. Post teasers prominently on your website and across social media.

3. Offer Site-Wide Discounts

Site-wide discounts are highly effective for capitalizing on Black Friday fever. Consider percentage discounts like 15-25% off sitewide or dollars off orders over a minimum spend threshold.

Easily set up site-wide discounts and promotions using SHOPLINE’s marketing tools.

4. Spotlight Top Selling Items

Highlight your best-selling products and deepest discounts on your homepage banners, category pages, and product listings. Call out savings to nudge customers towards high-converting items.

5. Launch Limited Time Deals

Limited-time deals create urgency and incite action. Offer flash sales on select items for 6-12 hours only. Display countdown timers so customers can see the deals ending soon.

SHOPLINE allows setting time limits on flash sales easily.

6. Offer Bundles and Kits

Product bundles encourage larger order values. Identify complementary items to offer as discounted bundles – like drones with extra batteries and travel cases. Or allow customers to build their own bundles.

7. Provide Free Shipping

Offer free standard shipping for all orders for the duration of your Black Friday sale. Or provide free shipping on orders above a minimum spend threshold like £50. Free shipping entices customers to buy more.

Easily configure free shipping rules based on order value, weight etc on SHOPLINE.

8. Send Dedicated Emails

Send promotional emails specifically about your Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals. Send the first email 2-3 weeks before Black Friday to warm people up. Send more emails in the final week, building urgency.

9. Run Contests and Giveaways

Grow your audience and awareness by running Black Friday social contests, giveaways and sweepstakes. Require participants to follow you and share a post for additional entries.

10. Offer Exclusive Early Access

Reward your VIP customers with exclusive early access to Black Friday promotions 1-2 days before the sale opens to the public. Send them special discount codes or links to shop the deals first.

11. Extend Your Return Policy

Ease purchase anxiety by extending your standard return policy over Black Friday and the holidays. Allow 45-60 days instead of the usual 30 days for returns. Communicate this clearly at checkout.

12. Prepare Your Operations

Anticipate a surge in order volumes before and during Black Friday. Ensure your inventory, fulfillment, shipping, customer service and returns processes are ready. Ask staff to work extra hours.

Streamline order fulfillment with SHOPLINE’s integrated system.

13. Beef Up Website Infrastructure

Work with your hosting provider to scale up website servers and bandwidth to handle the traffic spike during your sale. Test site load times under heavy traffic to catch issues. Slow sites lead to abandoned carts.

14. Offer Payment Plan Options

Provide alternative payment plans like PayPal Credit or “Buy Now Pay Later” options. This reduces buying friction and helps customers make bigger purchases.

15. Set Up Social Proof

Sprinkle customer testimonials, ratings, reviews and case studies prominently throughout your site and product pages. This provides social proof and boosts customers’ confidence.

16. Promote Through Influencers

Recruit relevant influencers on Instagram, TikTok and YouTube to promote your Black Friday sale to their engaged audiences. Offer promo codes or commission for sales driven.

17. Go Big on Social Media

Leverage your social channels heavily leading up to and during Black Friday. Post teasers, behind-the-scenes content, videos, Instagram Stories, and Facebook Live broadcasts.

18. Promote Cyber Monday Too

Keep the momentum going into Cyber Monday by offering fresh discounts and incentives like lower free shipping minimums. Send reminder emails about Cyber Monday.

19. Analyze Performance

Review analytics to identify your top selling products, most effective promotions, highest converting categories, and traffic sources during Black Friday. Optimize future promotions accordingly.

Black Friday Ecommerce Checklist

Here is a Black Friday e-commerce checklist to ensure you have all bases covered:

  • Set sales, traffic and conversion goals
  • Plan promotions, discounts and incentives
  • Order extra inventory of top products
  • Create email campaigns and ad creatives
  • Update site design, banners and messaging
  • Brief customer service on expected questions
  • Scale up website servers and CDNs
  • Recruit influencers and affiliates
  • Send early access to VIP customers
  • Share teasers and drum up hype on social
  • Extend return policy for the holidays
  • Offer free shipping and bundled pricing
  • Provide multiple payment options
  • Add social proof like reviews and testimonials
  • Send dedicated Black Friday emails
  • Monitor performance and traffic in real-time
  • Send reminder emails for Cyber Monday
  • Analyze results post-sale and optimize

Conclusion

With the right preparation and strategy, Black Friday represents a massive opportunity for e-commerce businesses to engage customers, acquire new buyers, increase sales, and clear old inventory.

The tips in this guide will help you craft a highly successful Black Friday promotion for your online store. Remember to provide genuine value through your deals rather than just discounting for the sake of it. Offer incentives that your audience will find appealing.

Focus on driving traffic, increasing order values, improving conversions, and exceeding sales targets. By implementing even some of these ideas, you’ll be well on your way to record-breaking Black Friday success.

To start preparing your e-commerce store for Black Friday, begin your free 14-day trial of SHOPLINE today.

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