Last updated - December 1, 2021
Black Friday and Cyber Monday (collectively called BFCM) are just around the corner.
As a consumer, you’ve probably been waiting for this time of the year to cash in on some fantastic deals, offers, and discounts.
As a store owner, you’re looking at skyrocketing your sales and increasing revenues during the biggest shopping days of the year.
But, is your store ready for BFCM?
Black Friday is the Friday after Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday is the Monday following Black Friday. This is one of the major shopping weekends of the entire year.
This year, Thanksgiving is on November 25, 2021 (Thursday). So, Black Friday is on November 26, 2021, and Cyber Monday falls on November 29, 2021.
So, is your store ready to handle the sudden influx of customers? Do you have your offers and promotions ready? Have you started your email marketing campaigns?
This article has a 10 point checklist on what you should do to prepare your online store to get the most out of the big Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.
Let’s get cracking!
The Origin of Black Friday and Cyber Monday
Black Friday was coined in the 1960s and originated in Philadelphia. With crowded streets filled with motorists and pedestrians looking for post-Thanksgiving deals, Philadelphia police called it Black Friday.
Did you know that the 1869 financial crisis was also referred to as Black Friday? It’s when the U.S. stock market crashed due to speculators failing to corner the gold market.
However, in the retail world, Black Friday kicks off the Christmas shopping season.
While the term was coined in the 1960s, the concept of Black Friday dates back to the Friday after Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1924. This was unofficially the start of the holiday shopping season.
Cyber Monday, on the other hand, is a more recent terminology.
In 2005, the National Retail Federation (NRF) coined the term owing to the flurry of online sales on the Monday after Thanksgiving.
Online store owners wanted to make the sales that brick-and-mortar stores were making. And customers were more than happy to shop from the comfort of their homes.
Thus, Cyber Monday was born.
How Important is BFCM?
More and more retailers are leveraging Black Friday and Cyber Monday to draw huge crowds by offering discounted pricing. Some of them even offer better deals than those last-minute Christmas sales!
Here are some stats to show you the kind of sales achieved on Black Friday and Cyber Monday:
- BFCM sales are predicted to surpass $10 billion
- 30% of consumers purchased on Cyber Monday compared to the 24% on Black Friday
- Thanksgiving weekend drew 186.4 million U.S. shoppers in 2020
- Shoppers spent an average of $311.75 on purchases during the Thanksgiving weekend
- Black Friday 2020 raked in $14.13 billion in online sales. That’s $9.03 billion spent on Black Friday and $5.1 billion spent on Thanksgiving. That’s a 19% increase over 2019
- 2020 saw a record-breaking 100 million consumers shop online
- In 2020, retailers rolled out Black Friday sales weeks early, which resulted in 52% of shoppers taking advantage of early deals
- Amazon saw its biggest ever holiday shopping season in 2020
- The number of emails sent during the Thanksgiving weekend reached 116.5 million
- When compared to other marketing platforms, such as direct, social, and search, email marketing has the highest average order conversion rate
- 40% of the revenue came from smartphones
We could go on and on with the numbers but we think we have made our point.
So, how do you get your online store all ready for the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales?
10 Point Checklist for Black Friday and Cyber Monday Sale
Here’s a checklist of what we feel you must do to ensure your online store is on the right track.
1) Prepare Early
Customers start looking around and preparing their shopping list well in advance. Wouldn’t you like to show up in search to help these customers? Not to mention, beat the competition.
Plan your holiday sales well in advance. While you needn’t display the offer price right away, you could indicate the kind of discounts one can expect during the holiday season.
Create a dedicated page for BFCM sales and communicate the upcoming sale with your customers well in advance.
2) Craft a WOW Offer
You need an irresistible, jaw-dropping, and WOW offer to draw visitors. They can then explore the rest of your offers while in your store.
Creating such an offer serves more than one purpose.
The more obvious reason is, you get more sales. The second reason is that you can use this to get prospective customers into your sales funnel or your website, where you can promote other products and offers.
Instead of promoting all your products on the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, use your WOW product as bait to get customers to see various offers.
Once your prospects are in your store, use all the tactics in the game.
From discount offers to coupons, upsells, downsells, order bumps, and last-minute checkout offers, do all that it takes to increase your average order value.
We recommend using a sales funnel such as CartFlows to help boost sales and conversions.
3) Ready to Handle the Surge in Demand and Traffic?
During the BFCM sales, not only is there going to be a sudden increase in website traffic but also an increase in the number of products required.
With your website receiving multiple simultaneous requests, it can slow your website down and, in some cases, crash your site. While this can happen only with a massive influx of traffic, it helps to evaluate if your site, more importantly, your web host, can handle this sudden spike in activity.
Check with your hosting provider and look at options to tackle this sudden spike.
In addition to website traffic, you should be equipped to handle a surge in the number of orders. Do you or your vendor have the inventory to handle the orders? Considering it’s the holiday season, can you procure the stock on short notice?
Keep your suppliers and vendors informed about the promotions you are running and prepare them to handle the projected sales. The last thing you want is to end up in a situation where you can’t fulfill your customer’s orders!
4) Have Your Creatives Designed and Ready Well in Advance
Ad copy – check
Banner ads – check
Hero image – check
Newsletter design – check
Swipe Copies – check
If you’ve got an eye for detail and settle for nothing less than the best, you should consider getting your creatives ready well in advance. You can either do this by hiring a graphic designer, or use a graphic design tool and do it yourself if your funds are limited. Leaving these for just before the sale begins may end up you hurrying through and missing out on those essential details.
Whether it’s the ad copy required on your sales page or squeeze page, the banner ads you plan to use for your promotions, or even the hero image on your website, have them designed in advance giving you (and maybe your team) time to refine and get it perfect.
Additionally, you could even get the creatives and swipe copies designed if you have an affiliate program. This could, in turn, help your affiliates promote your products and offers.
5) Build Suspense and Create Urgency
Announcing a Black Friday Cyber Monday sale is easy.
Want to make the BFCM sale a runaway success? Start building suspense and curiosity well in advance. To top it all, create a sense of urgency too.
Start your campaign well in advance by talking about the biggest discount sale ever.
However, don’t reveal the percentage discount as yet. Add a countdown timer for when the discount would be announced. During this period, build your email list by collecting leads.
Send daily reminders, either via email or on social media.
And on THE day, announce the percentage discount.
Also, you could create a sense of urgency by having the best discount on day one of your sales, i.e., Black Friday, and reduce the discount as you head to Cyber Monday.
By running your promotions early, not only are you building an email list and collecting leads, but you are also reducing advertising costs.
As you get closer to the BFCM sale day, the cost of online advertising gets higher. By starting early, you can build a very potential email list on lower ad costs and choose whether to continue advertising on the sale days or not.
After all, email marketing does have the highest average order conversion rate compared to any other marketing platform.
Promote all your offers via ads, have banners and popups on your website, send an email, or even post it on social media.
There are multiple ways to make an announcement. Use all of them!
6) Create Abandoned Cart Emails
Did you know that nearly 75% of online shopping carts are abandoned? During the Black Friday sale, this jumps to as high as 85%. This means, 8 out of 10 don’t end up converting into sales.
That’s a lot! Even converting 50% of that can increase your sales revenue immensely.
An effective way of increasing sales is by sending targeted cart abandonment emails. This way, the next time a customer adds a product to their cart and leaves without completing the purchase, you can send targeted emails to get them back.
You could even send a follow-up email with a discount coupon or a limited period offer.
7) Optimize for Mobile-first
Currently, more than 50% of website traffic is coming from mobile devices. Data indicates that in 2021, the mobile eCommerce market will rake in more than $3.5 trillion.
This trend is only headed up. This is also a clear indication that if your website is not optimized for mobile devices, you’ll miss out on a lot of sales.
When you are creating a WooCommerce site using WordPress, consider using a WordPress theme that not only loads fast on desktop and mobile devices but is also fully mobile responsive.
One such lightweight and responsive WordPress theme is Astra. It’s used on over a million websites and online stores.
8) Install Tracking Pixels and Google Analytics
Have you noticed some ads that follow you across every website you visit?
You know how it works. You may have checked out a product online, and then you see ads related to that product on just about every other website you visit.
Well, that’s called retargeting.
Want your ads to follow your customers? Install retargeting pixels on your website!
If you are running ads on Facebook or Google, you should have these pixels installed on your website. This way, you can retarget your past customers when you launch your ad campaigns.
It’s easier selling to a customer who knows about your product or service than a stranger.
While you are at it, consider installing Google Analytics too.
By installing Google Analytics, you have precise data indicating where your customers are coming from, how long they spent on your website, how they navigated through your site, and many more valuable metrics.
This way, you exactly know what is working and what is not.
9) Start Your Email Marketing Campaigns
Email marketing has the highest conversion rate when compared to any other platform. This mainly works if you’ve been nurturing your list for a while.
Start your email marketing campaigns in advance and let your audience know of the upcoming Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. Start building interest well in advance.
You could send an email to your existing subscribers about when the sale officially begins. You could also send them a last reminder before the sale ends.
Any limited period offer? Send out an email!
10) Reward Loyal Customers
Holidays are an opportune time to reconnect with your existing customers and clients and build on the current relationship. Thank them for being with you by offering unique discounts or extra reductions only available to existing customers.
You could also open up the sale earlier for your loyal customers or offer exclusive previews before anyone else. Everyone loves to feel special and this kind of promotion works exceptionally well!
Black Friday and Cyber Monday bring in some of the most significant sales numbers compared to the rest of the year. Retailers leverage the holiday season shopping to make serious profit.
By preparing and planning early for the BFCM sales, you leave no stone unturned and will be ready to take on the sudden surge in traffic and orders.
If you were struggling preparing for the sales season, we hope we have helped. This checklist should help you cover most of what’s needed for the upcoming Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.
Prepare in time and there’s no reason why you couldn’t be making a profit too!
Happy holidays and happy selling!
Also check out Black Friday Deals on WooCommerce plugins and tools.