BFCM Checklist: 8 Ecommerce Experts Share Tips For Black Friday/Cyber Monday

BFCM Checklist - Cover

In 2020, Shopify store owners collectively made a whopping $5.1 billion in sales between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. That was a 76% increase in sales YoY! 

If historical data is any proof, people will spend even more during this year’s cyber week. And we want you to be prepared.

We asked some of the top ecommerce agencies, Shopify app experts, and successful store owners to share their top tips for achieving maximum sales during BFCM. Here’s what you can learn:

Tip #1: “Overprepare Inventory”

Jordan Welch

Jordan Welch

Jordan is an ecommerce veteran who teaches ecom strategies and digital marketing on his YouTube channel.

Jordan shares one of the common mistakes e-commerce businesses make during sale season: “A lot of times we try to get the exact amount of inventory we think we need and end up scaling more aggressively and selling through our quantity.” 

If you practice all the expert tips from this article, you are likely to go past estimates and sell more than you can deliver (that’s, of course, if you don’t add stock limits). 

So overprepare your inventory (and cash flow) to ensure you can scale aggressively when the opportunity appears. Otherwise, you may regret it like Jordan did: “If I had known this last year, we could have done double the revenue that we did.”

Tip #2: “Cut Off Your Cyber Monday Sales Once It’s Over”

Sebastian Ghiorgiu

Sebastian Ghiorgiu

Sebastian is the owner of Digital Wealth MB, a Google ad agency you pay only if you're profitable. He also shares e-commerce and marketing strategies to his ~250k YouTube subscribers.

Sebastian shares two tips for e-commerce brands running BFCM sales. 

The first tip compliments Jordan’s tip nicely: Ask your credit card company to increase the spending limit (so you can spend more and sell through all the inventory).

He shares his story of losing sales because the credit card stopped the ad spend: “I was running my stores. I was spending on Amex cards. And at one point on Black Friday, my spend just stopped, and I lost out on so many sales.”

Thankfully, Amex immediately increased the limit for him on asking, but your credit card company might not. So call your credit card company beforehand and let them know that it’s the holiday season and you’ll be spending more (5x, 7x) than usual.

The second tip is to stop BFCM discounts as soon as Cyber Monday is over, especially if your brand identity is of utmost importance. Contrarily, if you are running a pump-and-dump dropshipping store, you can extend the sale for as long as it’s profitable for you.

Tip #3: “Ensure You’re Utilizing Social Proof”

Luis Espinal

Luis Espinal

Luis is an Agency Partner Manager at Okendo, a Shopify Plus Certified App for customer product reviews and user-generated content.

Luis’s tip is fundamental to e-commerce success, let alone success during Black Friday and Cyber Monday: You must have social proof sprinkled throughout the customer journey. Moreover, it’s especially essential to have social proof on your store and product pages — because if it’s not there, you’ll get very low conversions, if any.

For social proof, encourage your customers to:

  • Leave reviews: Luis shares, “Here at Okendo, we’ve seen that 99.9% of customers read product reviews before making a purchase. And customers are willing to spend 31% more on brands that have excellent reviews.”
  • Create content around your brand/product: User-generated content (UGC) can highly impact conversions because people trust authentic photos & videos. Stackla report shows consumers are 2.4x more likely to say user-generated content is authentic and find UGC 9.8x more impactful than influencer content.

Besides sprinkling it throughout the store, you can also mashup UGC and reviews to create ads and organic posts that get higher engagement and CTR. In the video, Luis explains how stores are using UGC in ads: 

“We’ve seen a lot of our customers here at Okendo create UGC mashup ads where…they’ll weave them together into carousels, engaging GIFs,or even small videos to help get their click-through rate and engagement rate up.”

Tip #4: “Choose The Right Incentive”

Chase Dimond

Chase Dimond

Chase is currently a Partner at Structured — a top ecommerce marketing agency, where he runs the email team. Since June of 2018, we’ve helped our clients send over a billion emails resulting in over $75 million in email attributable revenue.

Holiday sales are as much about the incentive as they are about the product. So if you don’t choose the right incentive, you’ll lose revenue. 

Moreover, you’ll also lose sales if you don’t present the right incentive properly

Chase explains it perfectly with this example: “[Say] your brand has an AOV (average order value) of $50…So we wanna run tests showing the exact same amount off in two different ways: We do that through a 10% off and let’s say a $5 off…just how you display it actually can lead to an increase in conversions.”

Besides, you can also try tiered incentives to increase AOV. 

Continuing with the previous example, Chase explains tiered incentives: “For any item that’s $60 & less, someone gets 10% off. For any items between $61-$99, maybe offer $15 off. And then for any items over a $100 in purchase, you can offer 20% off….that’s a way we increase the AOV.”

Tip #5: “Accelerate Your SMS!”

Evan Romano

Evan Romano

Evan is the technical partner manager at Postscript, the ultimate SMS marketing platform for Shopify. With over 5 years in the ecommerce industry on both the brand side and the platform side he has developed a deep understanding of ecommerce strategies and the technology needed to support them.

As Evan shares, SMS has a 99% open rate and high click-through rates. So if you aren’t doing SMS marketing already, well, start!

He goes over four themes in the video:

  1. List growth: There are two sides to list growth for Black Friday/Cyber Monday:
    1. Before BFCM: Collect as many phone numbers as possible before BFCM to send SMSs during sale days.
    2. During BFCM: Thanks to all the ad spends and other marketing initiatives, you’ll attract a lot of relevant traffic during the sale weekend. Likely, most of them won’t convert, but it doesn’t mean they won’t buy from you in the future. So get them to sign up to the SMS list. For example, as Evan suggests, offer an extra incentive (like an extra 5% off sitewide) to customers in exchange for their numbers. Then, nurture them for future sales. 
  2. Segmenting: “Blasting one message to your entire list isn’t the best way to go about it. We wanna make sure these messages feel as personal as possible.” So segment your SMS list and prepare relevant messages. For example, you can segment out your top/VIP customers and give them access to the sale prices 1-2 days before Black Friday.
  3. Automation: Automatically trigger welcome messages, abandoned cart SMSs, post-purchase promotion, keyword-based messages, etc., at the right time for maximum impact.
  4. Conversational commerce: Prepare your customer support team to respond to SMS replies for the large increase in volume during the holiday season.

Tip #6: “Consider Messenger”

Nicholas Romaya

Nicholas Romaya

Nick is a sales and ecomm lover hailing from San Diego, CA. Currently, he is the Head of Partnerships at Recart, a popular Messenger marketing platform for Shopify.

Compared to email marketing and SMS marketing, Messenger marketing is less popular. However, it can turn out to be equally impactful for you during BFCM.

With Messenger marketing,

  • You can have two-way communication with potential and current customers.
  • You can use click-to-messenger ad flows to nurture the cold audience.
  • Then, you can send sponsored messages to your Messenger subscribers during the sale weekend. (These get 8-60x ROAS!)

Overall, Nicholas has seen a “10.5% total revenue increase (for Shopify stores)” as someone who’s on the Messenger marketing platform side of things.

Tip #7: “Add Post-Purchase Upsells To Your Checkout Flow”

Katie Hughes Olson

Katie Hughes Olson

Katie is Head of Business Development at Carthook, an app that helps boost your revenue and AOV by allowing you to make real post-purchase offers to your shoppers

Want an easy 10% bump to your revenue during the BFCM weekend or in general? Add post-purchase upsells! 

With a post-purchase app like Carthook, you can show your customers offers on relevant products after checkout and before the thank you page. Then, as Katie adds, “Your customers can accept or decline that offer with just one click…and because these offers are shown after your customer checks out, there is zero risk of cart abandonment.”

Katie shares some numbers too: “On average, our customers are seeing at least a 15% acceptance rate on offers and a 10% increase in their total revenue.”

P.S. Katie has one more nice, cute tip for you. Watch the video for that 🙂

Tip #8: “Make Your Customers Your Affiliates”

Noah Tucker

Noah Tucker

Noah is the CEO here at Social Snowball. Social Snowball is a Shopify app for automated affiliate marketing that helps Shopify merchants convert customers into affiliates who bring new customers.

The last expert tip is from our CEO, Noah. The tip? “Make sure all of your customers have the ability to be an affiliate for you, to be part of your sales team, to be going out and promoting your products.”

During the BFCM holidays, everyone is buying, and people are eager to share good products and deals with their friends & family. By making such people affiliates and incentivizing them to share your products, you increase your chances of getting positive word of mouth and, of course, more sales

Social Snowball users have seen up to 30% increase in revenue by adding an automated affiliate program to their store. So…launch your affiliate program today with Social Snowball.