Black Friday for eCommerce: 7 ideas + checklist to sell more

We haven’t even finished putting our summer clothes away and Christmas is already just around the corner. And that means that some key dates for eCommerce are creeping up fast. It’s no joke. In the next 3 months, many businesses will generate 40% of their annual income.

But watch out, before we bust out the eggnog, there’s another very important stop: Black Friday. Are you ready for de Big Day?

At Doofinder want to add our little grain of salt to help you to control all the key points of this campaign, so you can take full advantage from this period.

How?

This checklist summarizes last minute checks that should be checked before the day. So get ready because we have a lot to go over. 😉

Let’s take a look at its history and share some ideas.

Table of Contents

Where does Black Friday come from?

Black Friday will kick off the holiday shopping in the US where stores and brands offer huge discounts.
In the American tradition it is celebrated the day after Thanksgiving, which is the fourth Thursday of Novermber.

This year the chosen day is 23 November.

Many countries have imported this custom and Spain is one of them. Our country joined in at the hands of Apple in 2010. This shopping event has not been left to just one day, it has spread over the weekend by joining with CyberMonday, the special day of sales for online purchases.
But let’s leave theory to the side and start reading about what we are really interested in: how to sell more on Black Friday.

👉 Predictions for Black Friday and Cyber Monday de 2021

The pandemic has not beat Black Friday.

Despite the exceptional situation of last year, the 2020 BFCM (Black Friday-Cyber Monday) campaign left very positive data for most eCommerce sectors (see the Doofinder post-campaign analysis here).

Specifically during this period we detected 4 trends:

  1. Online channel growth (as opposed to physical channel growth): last Black Friday online sales rose by 27% over the 2019 campaign.
  2. The sale period is growing: although in the beginning the campaign concentrated on a single Friday (which later was extended to Monday with Cyber Monday), today the Black Friday period has grown to include the entire month of November.
  3. Mobile users continue to grow: during the 2020 BFCM 40% of users made searches from their smartphones, another reminder that  m-Commerce is a trend that is here to stay.
  4. The role of the internal search engine in conversion: according to data from Doofinder clients, a total of 13 million searches were made during this period in 2020 (more than twice that of a normal day). In addition, the conversion of users making a search was 118% over that of any other day. That is because these users already know which product they want to buy, but wait to the end of the campaign to try to obtain the greatest discount possible.

4 trends that will surely be present during this 2021 BFCM, and that will to a large degree determine the strategy to follow.

Narrowing the analysis by specific sectors, we see that technology and electronics continue to play a predominant role, followed very closely (or even passed by) fashion.

However we will have to see how the electronics sector reacts to shortages due to the components crisis, and to what point this translates into a lack of stock.

7 ideas to generate non-stop sales from your eCommerce on Black Friday

While not all of these are direct strategies to sell more, they will all directly affect your shop’s performance. 😌

1. Manage the peak in traffic to your eCommerce

Black Friday means an increased number of visitors to your eCommerce.
In a physical shop they would just need to have a few more shop attendants to serve all the people that come in looking for bargains. In an online shop, however, unless you have a live chat to solve people’s doubts, this is what you need to worry about:

  • Make sure your server can handle the increase: if you use shared hosting and you or any of your IP neighbors go over the allowance, the server will collapse and the only thing you will be left thinking is “this can’t be happening today of all days”. And this situation is much more common that you’d think. The solution is to have a good hosting provider or a dedicated hosting or VPS.
  • Grab your visitors’ attention quickly: this is important every day, but grabbing their attention is especially key on Black Friday. Job well done if you managed to get them to your website—now get straight to the point and offer a quick interaction to avoid rebounds. You already know how useful an internal search engine is. Have a look at this. 😉
  • Today is not a day for experimenting: for many shops, this is the day when they really rake it in and a fortune like that is not a joking matter. Leave A/B test for a different day and don’t spend time creating content for your blog – there’ll be plenty of time for that when huge sales aren’t on the line. If you haven’t done your homework a week before Black Friday, do what you can, but don’t lose focus on what’s important.

Now that you’re sure that your shop won’t collapse, let’s start talking about what you can do to grab users’ attention.

2. Prepare your shop’s design

Throughout the whole week, and especially over the weekend, users are overwhelmed with shopping options. What used to be 24 hours of discounts has now become a whole week of consumer craze. It should really be called Black Week at this point.
If you’re going to get onboard, do it right.
You’ll certainly need banners to show the discounted products, but don’t make your website look like a fairground. Do you remember this post about brand image? First things first.
We have also talked quite a bit about the power of personalization in this blog.

Don’t show massive offers on the home page—unless your shop is extremely specialized in one product or niche, it will be difficult to satisfy all your customers with the same offer.

Use categories to direct traffic and if you use Doofinder, play with contextualized banners for the search.

3. Tell them in advance – the power of hype

Announcing your new prices for this day beforehand may be counterproductive. But you can announce the fact that something is going to happen.
Start a countdown, create a special video, or publish a post on your blog about what’s to come, but without saying what it is.
Another option that works really well is to try to be really visible in the weeks leading up to the big day when people aren’t talking about Black Friday yet:

  • A contest on social networks
  • Viral content
  • A colaboration with influencers…

The goal is for users to remember you when the day comes and to attract traffic remarketing afterwards.
If you see a lot of activity on social networks from different brands at the end of October and the beginning of November, now you know the reason why. 😉

4. Offer honest discounts – don’t try to fool your customers

Some years ago there was an embarrassing video about Mercadona that went viral – have a look.

The psychological impact of products on sale can’t be denied; for many customers, an offer is almost irresistible.
Numerous psychological studies say that buying a product at a “good price” postively affects our self-esteem.
This positive effect changes abruptly when consumers realize that they are being duped. It’s an all-too-common trick, especially on Black Friday – shops increase prices in the weeks leading up to it so they can then offer a huge 80 or 90% discount.

If you care about the long-term of your shop, don’t try pulling a fast one on your clients.

That’s eCommerce 101.

5. Plan your strategy ahead of time

Behind every successful Black Friday and Cyber Monday is a carefully planned strategy. Always.
It would be pointless to have a beautifully decorated shop with a Black Friday theme if nobody was going to visit it. If users don’t usually buy from your shop, they won’t do it that day either, no matter how much you lower your prices.
If you have been keeping your head above water and planning for months, you should announce your sale in the few weeks before (but remember not to tell them everything).
You can do it with a newsletter, segmented campaigns with Google and Facebook Ads, or offline actions with your potential clients.
Don’t make one massive announcement. Gauge where people are at and create different campaigns accordingly – you shouldn’t send the same message to a former client as you would to someone who may potentially be interested but doesn’t know you.
One way to stand out from your competitors is to offer very special marketing actions that may be newsworthy: every year the media devote much of their content to talking about Black Friday and CyberMonday.
The potential of your campaigns may be attractive to the media.
With this action, we get further traffic to our site, media visibility and therefore strengthen our brand.
One example of newsworthy campaigns is Green Friday, an alternative event created by sustainable fashion brands that got all sorts of press coverage with their anti-consumerism message.
If you want to go a step further, and if you can afford it, you can imitate the campaign #OptOutside from REI, an outdoor and adventure products brand.
They closed all of their shops – physical and online ­– on Black Friday. Don’t think it worked? Have a look at the incredible impact.

It’s all a matter of creativity…

6. Manage your stock

Running out of stock is not as bad as not selling enough. However, as professional eCommerce managers, we don’t really want to run into either situation.
A few weeks ago we published a detailed post about sales forecasting for eCommerce. In that post, we explained the need to foresee events such as Black Friday.
There are some situations that happen suddenly and for which there is nothing you can do. On the other hand, not properly planning your stock levels for events such as Black Friday is simply not acceptable.

So fill up your storage room, make sure the unit numbers are up to date in your online shop, and sync up your stock with your physical shop if you have one.

Anything that can be done beforehand will be a great help.
Recommended reading: Stock control: how to increase sales and decrease stock management costs.

7. Black Friday and email marketing

It’s one of the traffic sources that work best on Black Friday, so you need to pay attention to it. Avoid sending a basic spammer such as “40% off on all our products.” It will end up as just another email in the already overflowing inboxes that nobody will read.

The best way to do it is with segmentation.

Any basic tool for email marketing should already support the use of tags, so it won’t be a problem to compose different emails for:

  • Former buyers: people who haven’t made a purchase in over a year, since before the previous Black Friday.
  • People who bought on the previous Black Friday: segment clients by date so you can tag those who bought last year and you can send them a reminder with your new offers.
  • Regular clients: they already trust you and they deserve a special treat – let them know by sending them a personalized email.
  • Abandoned shopping carts: it’s probably the worst situation for an eCommerce… just when you think that everything is done, they leave the cart abandoned. An email with a special offer to recover their sale is a great idea. You can read about that here.
  • Geographic segmentation: if you have a physical shop, you can segment clients by location. People in London don’t care about your offers in Manchester.

👉 The 15 key points you must review before Black Friday 2021

Your eCommerce will face many challenges during this sales period. We summarize these as:

  • Greater volume of users navigating your web.
  • An exponential increase in orders.

Your eCommerce must be prepared for these challenges at all levels, including:

  • Logistics.
  • Promotions.
  • User web experience.
  • Customer care and experience.
  • Marketing strategy.

Let’s start with our checklist.

A. Logistics

BFCM is an authentic stress test for your eCommerce logistics system.

To successfully handle the flood of orders that enter during this brief period of time, it is vital that you first have your homework done.

Note.

➡️  1. Is your warehouse ready?

Check to make sure that your warehouse is well organized and ready to quickly fill orders.

This means that:

  • Products are placed on the correct shelves so that warehouse personnel can locate them when a new order enters.
  • Passageways between racks are clear and nothing that blocks free movement (boxes, returned or defective articles, etc.).
  • The most popular products are close to the exit, to facilitate their shipment.
  • Packing material is available in sufficient quantity and at a single site (you must not allow shipments to back up because of a lack of boxes).

Is this point under control?

Let’s continue then.

➡️  2. Have you hired the services of various shipping companies?

Because doing your own homework is not enough.

Remember that shipping companies may also let you down, either because they cannot cover demand during this period or even if they suffer some unseen problem (truck breakdowns, worker loses an order, etc.).

For this reason, during Black Friday it is essential that you count on different logistics companies, so that you always have a plan B.

This may also be a good opportunity to find an operator who offers same day delivery, an growing option in customer demand (we go more deeply into the advantages of same day delivery here).

  B. Sales and campaigns

The main axis of the campaign.

To make the most from BFCM, a well-defined sales strategy is essential.

Here are some clues.

➡️  3. Have you decided which products have a discount?

Amongst the hundreds (or thousands) of products in your catalog, which are you most interested in promoting?

Numerous factors related to your sales strategy come into play here, but here are some ideas that may serve as a guide:

On the other hand, you may decide to offer slower moving products for sale, to move them out.

➡️  4. What discount strategy will you use?

Because sales strategies include more than just the typical coupon.

As we said at the beginning of the article, the time that is Black Friday has grown year after year, so that it is now customary for sales to extend throughout the month of November.

And because of that, we can try different types of sales.

For instance:

  • Begin to launch flash sales: in the days leading up to Black Friday, you may launch brief sales to warm up buyers (and at the same time take advantage of the mental trigger of scarcity). And on the other hand, once Cyber Monday has passed you can use the same strategy to give last minute buyers one last opportunity.
  • Offer a cross sale: offer either  complementary productsmobile + case) or up selling (the mobile newer than the one that you are buying is also on sale).
  • Create product packs: bundles are another option to create sales (we talk more about this here).

One example is the Freshly web.

black friday 2021 ecommerce

This online cosmetics store has extended its campaign for the entire month of November (“Black Month”), launching a new short term sale every day.

➡️  5. Have you created a sales calendar?

Cuanto más compleja sea tu estrategia, más importante es la planificación previa.
Si tus promociones van a estar repartidas a lo largo de varios días o semanas, y además vas a mezclar diferentes tipos de ofertas, es fundamental que tengas claro:

  • Qué promociones concretas vas a lanzar y cuándo.
  • Durante cuánto tiempo estarán activas.
  • (Si hay varias personas involucradas) Quién será el responsable de activar y desactivar los descuentos.

En el caso de que ya tengas este calendario hecho, procura revisarlo antes de que llegue el periodo más intenso de rebajas para asegurarte de que lo tienes todo bien atado.

➡️  6. Are your creative graphics ready?

Sales enter through the eyes. And this is where creativity comes into play. 😊

We are referring to:

  • The graphics that you will use in your web banners.
  • in the slider.
  • Graphics showing outstanding products on the homepage
  • Those in publicity campaigns (social networks and Google Ads).

It is important to confirm that these are all ready, that they look good in all formats, that the text is free of errors, that the percentages (if any) are correct, etc.

➡️  Extra Tip: don’t forget your current clients

BFCM is not just a good time to find new clients. You can also increase customer loyalty.

You can:

  • Grant your clients access to sales before anyone else.
  • Create a VIP group where you can publish sales exclusively for them.

One example of the first idea this Fitbit email.

black friday ciber monday 2021 ecommerce

Fitbit offers its subscribers a discount that they can use before Black Friday to buy their wristbands in advance.

Remember:Your customers like to feel special.

  C. User experience

It is no secret that one bad user experience can negatively affect sales.

But did you know that during Black Friday, aspects like navigability or loading speed of your eCommerce could be affected?

Let us tell you why (and more importantly, how to prevent this).

➡️  7. Is the loading speed high enough?

This is very closely related to the last point.

Even if the web is still working, an elevated number of simultaneous visits would slow down the loading speed (and remember that 50% of users leave the site after just 3 seconds).

If your hosting is prepared to withstand high traffic peaks, this should not be a problem.

Even so, just in case, let us give you some other tips to improve your eCommerce speed.

➡️   8. Is your search engine ready to help your customers?

In Doofinder we have found that:

  • 30% of users who access your eCommerce use the search engine to find the product that they are looking for.
  • The conversion rate of those users is from 4 to 6 times higher.

If we add that, as we said at the beginning, internal searches multiple during Black Friday, the conclusion is clear: you need an internal search engine that works well and that offers relevant results to your customers.

This means that:

  • It has advanced functions such as autofill and search filters (to help the user quickly find the product that he wants).
  • Understands synonyms and typos.
  • Allows different types of searches (including voice searches, constantly more frequently used in mobiles).
  • It offers each user personalized results.

Thanks to these features, among others, customers that use Doofinder have increased their conversions by 10-20%.

The best thing?

You can prove all of this yourself by installing Doofinder in your shop, free of charge, for 30 days.

Doofinder installs in 5 minutes as a plugin, with no code, so there is no problem if you have to do so at the last minute. 😉

  D. Shopping experience

If the purchase process is not comfortable, the user will leave your shop without making a purchase (regardless of how attractive the discount offered).

So run these tests.

➡️  9. Are your product descriptions optimized?

Except in very specific cases (of impulse buys), it is normal for a person to read the product description before placing an order.

If this description is not convincing or if it does not offer the information needed, forget about that purchase.

To prevent this it is important to:

  • Use copywriting: don’t just mention the product characteristics (what it is), but also of the benefits (what it can do for your client).
  • Use images and videos: This will give the user an even clearer idea of the product (size, color, etc.). Also, in sectors such as fashion, images with a model increase conversion (as we explained in another post).

Of course, if you have a very large catalog you may not have time to review all of the product descriptions. But at least make sure to optimize those of the products that you are most interested in selling.

Note: if you would like to go into this in more detail, you can view this post with tips to increase the conversion of your production descriptions.

➡️  10. What channels can the customer use to contact you?

Today, omnichannel retailing is the norm. Your customers expect to be able to contact you through:

  • Web chat (it would be interesting to include this in the checkout process to solve any last many questions and therefore minimize abandoned shopping carts).
  • Social networks.
  • WhatsApp.

It is also important to use this because the more facilities that you give your clients and the better you satisfy their expectations, the better the possibility that they will buy from you.

Of course if you want to go even further, you can use a chatbot to help your clients assistance 24/7.

➡️  11. Is the check out process comfortable for the user?

Remember shopping carts are mostly abandoned during checkout, because:

  • It takes too long
  • You don’t allow purchases as a guest.
  • The user is not sure that the process is secure.
  • You offer few payment options.
  • You add shipping costs at the end of the process.

Be very careful with this.

Make some test purchases to confirm that everything is working well and to detect any possible last minute improvements.

If you need a guide, check out this post with tops to optimize your checkout.

➡️  12. Are your shipment and return policies obvious?

Remember many users review this information before purchasing, so it should be easy to access.

You can include the polices in:

  • A specific section on the navigation menu.
  • The FAQ section of your eCommerce.
  • Product information pages.

It is also important for the user to be able to access this information through the internal search (known asno product searches).

  E. Marketing strategy

During BFCM, marketing efforts are doubled.

Your competition is pulling out all the (budgetary) stops to attract the greatest number of users possible to their stores.

Of course you have planned the campaigns that you will launch and the channels to be used, but are you sure that you haven’t left any loose ends?

Let’s check.

➡️  13. Are your publicity campaigns ready for launch?

Online announcements play a key role in attracting clients to your web during Black Friday.

For your campaigns to work well, make sure you review:

  • Announcement text and creativity. 
  • Google Shopping feed: are the products that you are most interested in selling already loaded?
  • The bids: during this period bids normally skyrocket. Review how much you are paying for your campaigns to make sure that your announcements are seen.

Let’s keep going.

➡️  14. Have you reviewed the organic contents of your social networks?

Many of your clients will be looking at your social networks to find out the sales that you launch.

This is what you should check:

  • Are the publications scheduled?
  • Do you have special contents prepared for launch? (for example, if you are going to make direct offers, make sure the scripts are ready)
  • If you are going to collaborate with an influencer during the campaign, have you created a specific discount code to distribute amongst their followers? Has it been sent?

As always, it is important to have all of these social network activities scheduled.

➡️  15. Have you automated your email marketing?

During BFCM,  email marketing may satisfy various functions:

  • Generate expectation: give advance notice of the promotions that you will offer.
  • Advise the promotions launched by you:  you can periodically send emails during the campaign (including daily) so that your followers do not miss a single offer.
  • Recover abandoned shopping carts: of course, emails are also a vital tool for customers who have abandoned their order halfway through the purchase process(we explain here how to draft one of those emails).

Before starting the campaign, review the automations and make sure they are well configured.

➡️  Extra: Take advantage of the power of the Telegram groups

What if you could always have your customers “in your pocket”? 😉

That is the magic of Telegram: this instant messaging app allows you to create communications channels. That is, a type of group where you publish the sales that you are launching.

This formula is interesting because only the administrator can public messages in the channel. Consequently there is no risk that your promotions will be lost in a sea of conversations.

If you think of it, it’s like a type of message board that is always in front of your customer.

Here we explain to you the advantage of Telegram as a capture channel.

How Doofinder can help you sell more on Black Friday

Doofinder helps you tackle Back Friday in a more proactive way so you don’t leave results to fate.
How?
The Doofinder control panel has sales tools such as ‘custom results’ and ‘banners’. A combination of these tools allows you to better serve users who reach your website looking for Black Friday deals.

The ‘custom results’ allows you to define the results for some search terms, so you can show your special offerts depending on what the user write in the search engine.

Statistics will allow you to monitor the most used words in searches on your website so you can focus your campaign on those products. You’ll discover which words and therefore which products are seen as a consequence of those searches (double check your product cards).
You can also combine the custom results idea with a default banner that appears for any search term and that links to a special landing page for that day (which we recommend creating).

>>> Click here for your 30-day free trial.

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