The most awaited day of ecommerce is around the horizon. Black Friday, together with Cyber Monday, is one of the biggest spending seasons of the year. So, how prepared are you to face it?
Black Friday is a stressful period for retailers who are about to face a huge increase in traffic and orders. And it is not the time to say, “Let’s wing it.” Rather, you have to be well-prepared to avoid any last-minute meltdown.
To help you with the hustle, we have curated a comprehensive Black Friday checklist that answers how to prepare for Black Friday and ensure your ecommerce store and website’s preparedness to face it.
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Shopify Black Friday – Why preparing ahead is important?
You can normally feel the sheer volume of sales during Black Friday. If you want to see that in numbers, here it is.
Salesforce Inc. reported U.S. Black Friday online retail sales reached $17.2 billion, up 10.2% compared with 2021.
Online shopping on Black Friday has been increasing every year, and this year will be no different. Countless online retailers will compete to get a share of the pie, so being prepared will help you stand out from this saturated market.
Websites experience a surge in traffic during Shopify Black Friday sales. If your website isn’t optimized to handle this influx, it could crash or lag, leading to lost sales and a negative user experience.
So, preparing for Black Friday in advance gives you time to find out the problems and solve them before the big day. Our curated Black Friday checklist will help you achieve exactly that.
24-Point Black Friday Checklist To Prepare Your Store
Preparing your Shopify store and your website for Black Friday involves a combination of technical, marketing, and customer experience efforts.Here’s a comprehensive checklist for your Shopify store to make the execution easier for you.
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24-Point Black Friday Checklist To Prepare Your Store
- 1. Test and improve the loading time of your website.
- 2. Ensure your site is optimized for mobile users.
- 3. Check if your inventory levels are updated.
- 4. Check your website analytics for improvement.
- 5. Offer easy and hassle-free returns.
- 6. Design an easy checkout process.
- 7. Optimize product pages.
- 8. Offer Live Chat.
- 9. Make a gift guide.
- 10. Craft compelling offers.
- 11. Ensure the stock can manage the demand.
- 12. Plan for free shipping.
- 13. Plan and Schedule Email Campaigns.
- 14. Prepare your social media campaign.
- 15. Plan your abandoned cart recovery campaigns.
- 16. Design a banging landing page.
- 17. Reward loyal customers.
- 18. Launch a referral program.
- 19. Design banners and feature images for advertising.
- 20. Plan to use countdown timers.
- 21. Strategize for upselling and cross-selling.
- 22. Prepare for Video Marketing.
- 23. Prepare to track abandoned carts.
- 24. Analyze what worked and what didn’t.
1. Test and improve the loading time of your website.
If you own a website along with a Shopify Store, you have to look out for the website loading time.
On normal days, your site can handle 3,000 visits. What if it goes up to 10,000 on Black Friday?
It is found that 74% of visitors will leave a site if it doesn’t load within 5 seconds on their smartphone.
2. Ensure your site is optimized for mobile users.
Mobile continues to grow as a major channel for Black Friday traffic and sales.
A record 48% of all Black Friday e-commerce sales were made on smartphones.
So, ensure your website has a responsive design, simple navigation, optimized opo-ups, and mobile-friendly payment options.
3. Check if your inventory levels are updated.
The worst nightmare of any retailer is overselling, which can lead to frustration and damage the brand’s reputation. That’s why checking inventory levels is very crucial, among other things, on the Black Friday checklist.
To this end, check, no double-check, the inventory levels on the store and that product availability status (in stock, only a few left, out of stock) are visible and accurate on product pages.
4. Check your website analytics for improvement.
By understanding your website’s current performance and user behavior, you can pinpoint areas for improvement to increase conversion rates during Shopify Black Friday sales.
You can track the traffic sources, bounce rate, page views, and places where the shopper is dropping off your site.
5. Offer easy and hassle-free returns
Shoppers are buying en masse due to the high-saving deals brands offer. Giving them an assurance the products can be returned beats skepticism and potential risk in their minds, leading to more purchases.
Make sure you highlight your return policy on your site and extend the return window if possible.
6. Design an easy checkout process
Many of the Black Friday purchases are impulse purchases. You have to capitalize on this; otherwise, a lengthy and complicated checkout can create second thoughts.
Black Friday shoppers want to make quick purchases effortlessly and don’t want to miss out on time-sensitive deals. Intrusive popups and lengthy sign-ups can be a hurdle in achieving that.
Offering a guest checkout process for first-time shoppers will be rewarding if a maximum of your Shopify Black Friday deals may come from them.
7. Optimize product pages
There is no room for error in a high-intensity shopping event like Black Friday. So, make sure your product descriptions are clear and concise, and highlight the key features.
You can also highlight Shopify Black Friday deals using labels like the ‘Black Friday Deal’ badge or a ‘Limited Time Offer.’
8. Offer Live Chat
With shoppers hopping into different websites, offering live chat can minimize the chances of abandonment. So, it is imperative to figure out how to offer customer support while preparing for Black Friday.
Live Chat can handle multiple queries simultaneously, while it is harder with phone support.
9. Make a gift guide
It might be a surprise to find this item in a Black Friday checklist.
On Black Friday, shoppers are flooded with deals, making it tough to choose the perfect ones. A well-curated gift guide can help locate the gifts quickly.
Marketing and Sales
10. Craft compelling offers
Preparing for Black Friday typically would be brainstorming and landing on the deals or offers that work for you the most.
With deals decided upon in advance, you can launch your marketing campaigns like teasers and emails to build anticipation and drive traffic. Every retailer is churning out deals, so you have to make yours creative and strategic.
Here are some strategies you don’t want to miss while preparing for Black Friday.
- Focusing on the demographic that spends more gives you more returns. As the data says, millennials made up 45% of the total money spent on Black Friday.
- Offer as many deals as you can to cover more segments like best-selling products and product categories.
- Don’t use coupons, as it creates an additional task of remembering them during checkout.
- Use scarcity to create urgency. Limited-time sales are one of the major factors influencing buying decisions.
Pro-tip: Black Friday is the best way to build an email list. Offer a special discount for customers who subscribe to your email.
11. Ensure the stock can manage the demand
The last thing any retailer would want is running out of the products. You would not only lose potential sales of the day but also permanently. That’s why analyzing your stock level should be given the utmost priority on the Black Friday Checklist.
How to ensure sufficient stock while preparing for Shopify Black Friday sales?
- Engage with suppliers early.
- Maintain a buffer stock.
- Use real-time inventory tracking tools.
12. Plan for free shipping
Here is a stat implying not to consider this lightly, among other things in the Black Friday checklist.
The most dominant factor influencing buying decisions on Black Friday is free shipping (49%). This means that it could play a crucial role in gaining you conversions. You can offer free shipping, especially to the regions close to you.
13. Plan and Schedule Email Campaigns
Emails are the staples when it comes to executing your Shopify Black Friday deals.
Customers will be searching for deals and promotions early, and to capitalize on this opportunity, you need to develop an email schedule to target emails at the right time. Send your emails in line with the phases of Black Friday – pre-Black Friday, Black Friday, and post-Black Friday.
Personalization is one of the great ways to increase engagement. For starters. Email content can be personalized by including names in the subject line and greetings. By segmenting your customers, you take personalization to the next level.
You can create automated workflows to send all kinds of emails, like special offer reminder emails, VIP sale emails, abandoned cart emails, retargeting emails, and more.
Related reading: Get inspired from our curated list of Shopify Black Friday Subject Lines and create your own.
14. Prepare your social media campaign
Schedule your social media strategy at least 2 months in advance. This gives you ample time to create quality content, strategize ad spending, and gauge audience anticipation.
Start building excitement by posting teasers or sneak peeks of your Shopify Black Friday deals. You can also arrange giveaways and contests to supercharge the buzz around your brand.
15. Plan your abandoned cart recovery campaigns
According to Barilliance, the average cart abandonment rate on Black Friday 2020 in the US was a whopping 79.8%.
Because consumers often exhibit window shopping behavior online during Black Friday, they might add items to their cart as they hop from one store to another, comparing deals. So, preparing for Black Friday abandoned cart recovery campaign that helps to recapture these potential sales becomes essential.
Abandoned cart emails have proved to be the best retargeting strategy, serving as a gentle, personalized reminder amidst the noise.
Research shows that ad conversion rates for retargeted customers are 7 times higher than those of the general public.
Launch a Retainful-powered Abandoned Cart Recovery Email Campaign with pre-built, ready-to-use workflows and recapture lost sales.
16. Design a banging landing page
The landing page serves as the gateway for your customers to make purchases. It is the best place to hype your Shopify Black Friday deals and bring them into the spotlight.
Having a distinct landing page allows for more precise targeting in ad campaigns. Whether you’re using Google Ads, Facebook Ads, or email marketing, directing users to a Black Friday-specific landing page can lead to better engagement and conversions.
17. Reward loyal customers
This wouldn’t be the obvious thing that surfaces while preparing for Black Friday. But Black Friday is one of the best times to give back to your loyal customers, and here are some ways to do it:
- Giving exclusive early access to your Shopify Black Friday Deals.
- If you have a loyalty or rewards program, offer double or triple points on Black Friday purchases.
- Offer a free gift for purchases over a certain amount. This can be exclusive merchandise, samples, or branded items.
- Provide free shipping or even expedited shipping, ensuring they receive their orders promptly.
18. Launch a referral program
Initiating a referral program and offering extra incentives adds another layer of appeal to your Shopify Black Friday deals.
Making your customers spread the word about your brand on Black Friday is the most cost-effective marketing strategy you could have.
19. Design banners and feature images for advertising.
Banners and feature images are the staples for your marketing strategy along your Black Friday journey. So, putting in extra effort and preparing in advance saves you from the last-minute hassle.
Including this in your Black Friday checklist also gives you a headstart in your social media and email marketing campaigns – include your high-quality feature images, write compelling text, and send it away.
20. Plan to use countdown timers.
Both customers and retailers are in a race against time – the former to seize the best deals and the latter to capitalize on them.
The best tactic to instill urgency is including countdown timers in your landing pages, emails, and ads.
21. Strategize for upselling and cross-selling.
Black Friday is a great opportunity for upselling and cross-selling. You can do this by bundling complementary products at a discounted rate. For instance, offer a face cleanser, moisturizer, and sunscreen as a package deal.
22. Prepare for Video Marketing.
Want to go the extra mile in promoting your deals and add a new innovative strategy as part of your Black Friday checklist? Plan for Video Marketing this season.
According to a HubSpot survey, 72% of consumers prefer watching a video to learn about a product or service rather than reading text. This is magnified during Black Friday when consumers are flooded with information and are looking for the most engaging deals.
Analytics and Monitoring
23. Prepare to track abandoned carts.
Black Friday is not a one-day affair. You have to track abandoned carts as they happen and instantly target the customers to finish the purchase.
Before the Black Friday rush, integrate your Shopify store with an Email Marketing Automation Tool. Design a series of engaging email reminders beforehand.
There are pre-built workflows in tools like Retainful, where the customers automatically enter the workflow once the cart abandonment happens. Retainful has an in-built dashboard where you can view real-time abandoned cart numbers, average abandoned cart values, and which of them are recovered.
You can also use exit-intent popups to prevent cart abandonment from happening.
24. Analyze what worked and what didn’t.
After you have weathered the Black Friday storm, it is time to reflect upon the hits and misses. Analyzing the outcomes of your strategies can help you find blindspots and save you from repeating the same. This will make way for a more tailored approach the next time.
Perform Sales Data Analysis and identify best-sellers, products that underperformed, peak shopping hours, and any patterns in purchasing.
Use tools like Google Analytics to review website traffic, bounce rates, and conversion rates and identify any bottlenecks in the shopping process.
There you have it – our curated Black Friday checklist, answering how to prepare for Black Friday and avoid last-minute hassles.
Experience the dual strength of Automation and Segmentation with Retainful, and send personalized abandoned cart emails effortlessly.
Onward to a successful Shopify Black Friday Cyber Monday.
Black Friday is one of the biggest retail opportunities of the year, and advanced preparation is the key when the stakes are this high.
Our comprehensive 24-point checklist is designed to ensure you’ve considered every facet of your Shopify Black Friday sales strategy to give you the best shot at success.
Read more to know about Black Friday Strategies.
- The Best Black Friday Email Examples & Templates
- How to Boost Your Online Store Revenue During Black Friday Season
It’s a good idea to start marketing 2-4 weeks in advance, building anticipation with sneak peeks and exclusive previews.
Utilize Shopify’s built-in inventory tracking feature. You can also integrate inventory management apps like “Stocky” to monitor stock levels and get alerts.
Use your theme’s customization options to create Black Friday banners, pop-ups, and specialized graphics.
Dive deep into your Shopify dashboard’s analytics section to understand customer behavior, top-selling products, and traffic sources. This data will inform your decisions on product promotions, marketing strategies, and more.