The countdown of the holiday season has started, and it will mark the onset of enormous traffic and sales. Before it is too late, optimize your store with the 2021 Black Friday Marketing sales strategy.

As per Shopify Analytics in 2020, Shopify store owners collectively made a whopping $5.1 billion USD in sales between Black Friday and Cyber Monday globally, up 76% from last year.

There were almost 151 million customers who purchased items from online and offline stores on Black Friday. And, we are certainly sure that this trend of online shopping will continue to flourish in 2021.

Today in this article, we will talk about the best Black Friday Marketing tips, plans, and ideas for all kinds of big and small eCommerce stores. 

But, before we move, let us dive into the history of Black Friday and discover how to prepare your eCommerce store for Black Friday. 

History of the Black Friday

The term “Black Friday” dates back to the 1950s when a large crowd of customers gathered in the high streets of Philadelphia a week before the commencing of the Army-Navy football game. 

Philadelphia Police were limited in number and the crowd was pretty massive. So, they worked day and night to cope with the traffic, and this whole event of chaos was known as “Black Friday.” 

By 1961, everyone in Philadelphia knew this term, and by the late 1980s eCommerce, merchants used shoppers psychology to reinvent its meaning. They related it with their profits, claiming that their stores would be “in red” for the entire year up until holidays begin with Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving eliminates the losses and turns their balance sheets from “ red” to “black” where they start making profits.

With time, the concept of coupons, discounts, sales caught on, and now Black Friday is considered as important as other American Holidays.

Due to its widespread popularity and a high spike in demand, many giants across countries started offering theirs deals on their eCommerce stores. (online and offline)

Black Friday VS Cyber Monday

After the achievement of Black Friday, more eCommerce concepts and events emerged, one of them being Cyber Monday. Generally, they look so similar that a couple of individuals know their differences. Along these lines, how about we start by examining Black Friday. 

The day after Thanksgiving customarily falls on Friday immediately following the Thanksgiving occasion. So, this year Black Friday will fall on 26 November and will formally denote the start of the Christmas shopping season. 

Originally Black Friday started as an offline holiday where merchants gave in-store offers. But, with time, this occasion widely flourished in online stores.

On the other side, Cyber Monday happens primarily in the eCommerce stores. It was invented in 2005 to assist more modest retailers to participate with giants giving offers on Black Friday. 

Cyber Monday falls on the coming Monday after Thanksgiving, which means in 2021, it will fall on 29 November.

Why is Black Friday important for your eCommerce store?

For any eCommerce store owner, retail owner, or businessman, Black Friday marketing is very much important. Because this day not only signifies the shopping season but also dramatically boosts store sales.

In 2019, stores saw a sudden rise in their sales, nearly around $7.4 billion, and in 2020, the growth seemed to be 30%.

Year on year, Black Friday marketing and sales continue to increase- and this signifies why this day is crucial for an eCommerce store! 

In light of this year’s challenges followed by coronavirus pandemic and social distancing guidelines, many offline store owners have pivoted their traditional Black Friday activities. Certainly, it’s not good for them, but it’s good news for online stores and small businesses! Eventually, they can capture more customers and boost revenue.

But, that doesn’t mean the path is clear. You must focus your marketing efforts on SEO optimization and prepare your store for driving sales.

So, let’s follow the below section and you’ll be on your merry to Black Friday 2021 success.

How to Prepare for Black Friday

Evidence from the previous year’s statistics indicates that sales will drastically spike in 2021 too. But, it does mean that your store will face a reduction in loading speed due to heavy traffic. So, before you make any further steps, be ready for the inevitable traffic rush in your store.

Here are a few tips to consider to prepare your store for the Black Friday sale:

Plan early for Black Friday

Half of the shoppers start buying a week or month before the great day – Black Friday. Hence you must be ready with your plan; which must include:

  • An initiative and user-friendly website
  • Frequent remarketing
  • Paid and organic campaigns to generate leads
  • High level of mobile functionality 
  • Quick checkout 
  • SEO friendly 

Not just this, you need to pace your promotions throughout the festival days. Here are a few key dates to remember while making a plan:

  • Single’s Day
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Black Friday
  • Cyber Monday

These dates are crucial if you have a North American and Chinese customer base.

Your plan should include similar tactics as the strategy above:

A Black Friday buzz-building campaign including a countdown, deals, offers using ads, email, and social leading up to the event.

Sneak peeks on door crashers and other amazing sales that will go live during the weeks leading up to and on Black Friday.

A coordinated promotional strategy across all online channels—websites, emails, and social—to maximize sales on the day of your sales.

An influencer and micro-influencer engagement strategy to boost word of mouth about special offers.

Post-Cyber Monday deals (e.g., extended sale offers) for last-minute shoppers emphasizing shipping dates and gift wrapping throughout December.

Optimize your store for Black Friday

You’re certainly aware of the fact that during the holiday season or Black Friday, your site will face huge traffic. So, be ready to optimize your store. If customers face site loading issues or if your store page or functionalities are slow to load, they will find another place to buy products.

Despite SweetLeg’s best efforts to make its eCommerce site bulletproof, spending thousands extra each month on better servers, a Black Friday crash cost the company six figures in lost sales. “There was just an error page: Try back again later,’” says Chris Pafiolis, founder of SweetLegs. “Too many requests. Too many people. It just choked.”

After re-platforming in just 30 days, SweetLegs had its best Black Friday and Cyber Monday ever. The company launched a 50% off promotion for the duration of the sale, and the site stayed up the entire time.

It won’t only reduce customer retention but will create a negative impact on your store among customers. You can find a plethora of easy and free tools online to make sure your site is top-notch. Hence you can easily optimize your store, analyze its performance, and can deliver better results.

Audit your checkout process

Shoppers who make online purchases during festival season are mostly pressed for time. They expect the checkout process to be smooth, super-fast, and efficient.

On a day like Black Friday and even other holidays when customers are eager to make purchases, you want to make as much as sales possible. Hence, your checkout process needs to be seamless and transparent.

A web performance expert Tammy Everts discovered through a client experiment that a two-second page speed decrease could boost your conversions by 66%. 

If shoppers face difficulties while checking out then no matter how much money you’ve spent on marketing and driving sales- it will all be nothing. 

Hence, it’s crucial to test your checkout process beforehand and this won’t only affect your sales on Black Friday but will also benefit you throughout the year.

Below are some ways through which you can improve your checkout process:

  • Allow automated cart abandonment notifications
  • Provide multiple payment options
  • Enable Multi-currency payment gateways
  • Consolidate your checkout process to one page
  • Take advantage of using Google Autofill
  • Enable mobile responsiveness
  • Offer Multi-channel support 

Be ready to support

Customer support holds a key place while running an online store successfully. Perhaps, all it takes is one single poor customer service experience to damage your brand reputation and lose customers and sales.

Because it’s going to be a peak period and an increase in sales is expected, hence you must be ready to witness an increase in customer service requests. 

For shoppers, the most important aspect of customer service is getting all the inquiries solved in a minute and in a single interaction. So, you must have a well-trained team familiar with all the general issues.

Providing good customer support will promote your store reputation and will build your brand loyalty. 

Black Friday ideas for eCommerce

Here are some Black Friday marketing strategies designed to assist you in boosting traffic and sales so you can capitalize on the busiest shopping day of the year. The time to implement them is NOW so that your online store is positioned to reap the profits beforehand.

Create a marketing strategy in advance

Streamline your Black Friday marketing digitally. Create a strategy by preparing and making a few customized advertising efforts for your holiday promotions. 

Black Friday and Cyber Monday both depend on time-sensitive deals. If you hit your customers at the right time and with the right strategy, you won’t lose any sales. Your banner and pop-up missions ought to stir a desire to move quickly with headings that raise interest and urge individuals to pursue shopping. 

Start arranging, making, and scheduling your digital campaigns about a month prior to Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Also, you can add personalized subscriptions to your store and market them using various strategies.

Add a touch of personalization to everything 

Adding personalization to your store, emails, and SMS will increase your brand loyalty and will ultimately boost sales. Sending custom-made messages that are customized to your clients will improve your sales, your AOV (Average Order Value) and will have a positive impact on your conversion rate.

Almost 89% of advertisers revealed that utilizing a touch of personalization brought about expanded income, while 63% of customers anticipate that their purchase history should coordinate customized experiences from brands. 

Why? Since they would prefer not to feel like they’re one out of many or that they’re getting a message from you that you’ve sent to many others. They need to realize that they make a difference to you. 

“The more segmented and targeted your emails, the higher revenue per recipient you’ll generate. You’ll also see higher open rates, and higher click-through rates—helping you build and maintain a strong sender reputation,” says Alicia Thomas from Klaviyo.

Say you are sending a feedback message to your customer, then try to add a store or customer name and specify his current orders. Make sure you don’t use a similar email pattern every time you send a message because this will certainly impact your Black Friday Marketing.

Here are a couple of various ways you can offer a customized insight: 

  • Offer various deals to different client groups (eg., new clients versus VIP clients) to customize your messages depending on their shopping behavior. 
  • Enable recommendations on product pages- based on each customer shopping behavior.

Make your site mobile responsive

U.S. consumers now spend more time on their mobile phones than watching TV. If your mobile site experience isn’t up to par with your competitors, they’ll be spending that time elsewhere.

While most customers still check out on their desktop and use mobile to browse, last year during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Shopify merchants saw mobile transactions account for 66% of all sales, compared to 39% for the rest of the U.S. industry.

Before the beginning of the holiday season, make your website mobile-friendly so that users can smoothly and quickly make purchases at their fingertips.

You must remember the fact that most of the customers use their mobile phones to do shopping. According to data, nearly 79% of mobile users make an online purchase using their smartphones. So, if your site isn’t mobile responsive you’ll lose such valuable customers.

The time for mobile eCommerce is now and is growing rapidly. Every day if you’re not implementing strategies well or not following eCommerce trends then you’ll potentially lose thousands of dollars. 

Enable important apps for your store

People who are shopping online, especially during the holiday season, need to be attracted by eye-catchy banners, pop-ups, and offers. The main reason for doing so is because a plethora of online stores will be offering maximum discounts- and it’s all that customers really want! 

So, you must have decent apps to attract customers at a pace. These apps won’t be only helpful in the holiday season but will also benefit you throughout the year. 

Additionally, having upselling and cross-selling apps will offer customers to purchase related products; thus maximizing sales. 

In addition to the apps, before the holiday rush, find a predictive search tool that offers:

  • Real-time analytics: To help you understand trends and performance with unlimited real-time analysis.
  • Instant, accurate search results: To retain customers who are almost twice as likely to convert when using the site search.
  • Storefront customization flexibility: To use search as an extension of your brand by controlling overall search styling.

If you’re looking to boost traffic, consider offering a BOGO promotion where customers can purchase one item and get a similar one.

Launch new products

Certainly, Black Friday weekend is a great time to launch new products, but, to make the launch successful, you’ve to undergo exciting and impressive marketing methods to engage new customers.

CNBC reports that consumers spend $5,400 a year on impulse purchases. While the food was identified as their biggest splurge, 53% claim to spend it on clothing, 33% also bought household items, and 28% bought shoes.- So, you can prepare accordingly!

The main idea behind launching new products during Black Friday is that it’ll draw customers towards your company and brand. This extra attention can drive more sales, boost revenue, and will capture new sales for new and existing products.

In order to increase awareness, you can create blogs, partner with media influencers, run Google campaigns, etc. Here are more things to consider while introducing new products to customers:

  • Be ready with all the preparations
  • Make the suspense as long as you can
  • Audit and test before launching
  • Accept pre-orders
  • Collect reviews after the launch 

Please your loyal customers

Particularly in a year that has been challenging for many, doing extraordinary and pleasing, your clients can go far. Regardless of whether it’s taking your customer service to a higher level or creating a customer loyalty and rewards program, conveying an impressive client experience tells your clients, you’ll generally go the extra mile for them — even on a busy day. 

Giving unexpected rewards and benefits to clients can reestablish their trust, restore their loyalty and lift your sales. An incredible method to amaze your clients is to personally contact them. 

Connect through digital platforms or even make a special effort by sending manually written cards to thanks them. This will cause them to feel exceptional and appreciated, showing them that they are essential to you. Additionally, make certain to draw in with clients via social media with customized direct messages to the individuals who have shared your content or enjoyed your posts. 

This ability to connect with clients on an individual level can likewise give you a strategic edge against large-box retailers.

Go beyond Black Friday

The shopping extravaganza following Thanksgiving is just a single day during an extended vacation end of the week where clients hope to collect marvelous deals and offers. Think about your approach and have a marketing methodology for every one of the five days of Cyber Week, like Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday. 

Urge your clients to not only take benefit of your holiday deals but drew them as regular customers. To do this, you must use the best Black Friday Marketing plan followed by email advertising, draw in new customers via social media platforms and send abandoned cart notices. 

Tilt towards Social Media Platforms

Social media is an incredible spot for brands to offer engaging, high-quality content that captivates clients to make a purchase. In addition to marketing blog posts through social media, you should also be making informative content that is important to your crowd. 

While arranging your social media marketing strategy, this Black Friday make sure to create a sense of urgency and build FOMO (fear of missing out) in your content — but remember not too hard. 

Add Trust icons in your eCommerce store to build trust and boost sales. Additionally, offering them ample Payment badges will allow a smooth and quick checkout. 

Wrapping Up

Is your clock ticking away in the hope for Black Friday to show up? Provided that this is true, you’re unquestionably not alone.

With a little planning, you can place yourself in an ideal form to acquire some new clients this winter holiday season. 

Customers are still shopping, searching for better offers, and the coming months are expected to be the same. 

The solitary change is one that benefits you – clients are inclining towards online shopping now like never before previously. They chasing ideal deals and looking for exclusive offers so if your site is SEO optimized and functions pretty well then you hold a good chance that they’ll find your store. 

All the chances are in support of yourself. If you do your best and plan strategically, your holiday sales could be more than you can ever expect.