The holiday season is just around the corner, and you know what that means, right? It's time to dust off your festive spirit, hang up those twinkling lights, and get ready for the jolliest e-commerce shopping season of the year – Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM)! 🌟
But wait, before you break out the hot cocoa and crank up the holiday tunes, there's something every Shopify store owner needs to know: BFCM isn't just about sleigh bells and sugarplum fairies; it's a retail rollercoaster that can make or break your year.
The 2022 BFCM season set new records, with sales of $7.5 billion* from independent businesses worldwide on Shopify. A 19% increase in sales from the $6.3 billion during Shopify’s Black Friday Cyber Monday weekend in 2021.
In this blog, we'll serve up a piping-hot cup of strategies, sprinkle it with actionable tips, and top it off with a dash of inspiration to ensure that your Shopify store not only survives but thrives during the BFCM frenzy.
From optimising your Shopify store for conversions to crafting irresistible holiday promotions, here’s everything you need to get your Shopify store ready for BFCM 2023.
When is BFCM 2023?
Black Friday in 2023 falls on the 24th November, and Cyber Monday on the 27th.
As every Shopify merchant will know, preparations start earlier every year. Most e-commerce store owners will have most things in place before the end of November. This allows enough time to make backup plans and fix anything that might not have gone to plan.
Optimising your Shopify store for BFCM 2023
It’s vital that you change things up for your business throughout the holiday season to give a shopping experience that enables visitors to discover gifts, offers and ultimately shop with you.
Here are some strategies on optimising your Shopify store throughout the BFCM holiday season, from changing up your design, user journeys, product discovery and more.
Deck the store… 🎄
Your Shopify store should be a pleasure to browse, especially through the BFCM holiday season. Think of it as a section in a department store, visitors should be able to navigate easily throughout your pages and discover products along the way.
BFCM Shopify themes
Black Friday is one of the busiest times of year for e-commerce store owners. Your store should be focussed around this during the holiday season, not only does it let visitors know about your sale, it can also help new shoppers find out more about your brand, how you position yourself and that you keep up with the trends.
Preparing your Shopify theme for Black Friday:
Avoid switching themes just before BFCM: It may seem like a good idea but this should be planned and implemented well in advance. Ideally this should be done about 1-2 months before Black Friday to allow for troubleshooting to avoid any holiday mishaps. As a Shopify design and development agency, we’ve seen this all too often. Businesses decide to make the switch right before BFCM and create more work, so they spend all of the holiday season trying to fix bugs rather than promoting their sales or getting on with things that really matter to their brand.
- Customising your theme: Make sure your colours are aligned with the seasonalities but are also in keeping with your brand. This goes for banners and other on-page elements. You don’t have to go over the top and have snow on every page, just subtle changes can go a long way.
Customising your Shopify theme isn’t a small task, especially for one of the busiest shopping periods of the year.
Consider what your team’s capabilities are and keep in mind whether you need a Shopify design and development agency to move things along faster. Bringing in an agency is an additional cost to consider, but they can give their professional advice on how to optimise correctly and carry out any development work that may be needed to deliver a memorable shopping experience for your customers.
Shopify store homepage design for BFCM
Your homepage is your shop window, even more so throughout the holidays. There will be visitors discovering your site and brand for the first time, if you get this right and follow our tips you’ll be warming more new customers up that might even turn into lifetime supporters.
Best practices for Shopify Black Friday home page design:
Promote shipping: Do you offer free shipping or have a free shipping threshold? How long does it take for your products to ship? Consumers are in a bit of a frenzy at this time of year and saving them time and money can lead to more conversions. Make your shipping times and costs prominent with banners or homepage promotions.
Sales & Promotional banners: If you have a hero product or offer, this should be sprinkled over your homepage with a banner. These should be designed for conversions and have an attractive call to action to get visitors to click through.
Countdown timers: These are a great way to create urgency and push more visitors to converting quicker. If you have a limited time offer, a countdown to when your sale starts can work really well to drum up excitement.
- Don’t overdo it: It can be easy to go overboard and overwhelm visitors with too many offers that they actually just bounce. Be concise about how you display your offers. Use previous BFCM sale data to establish your homepage layout and what offers to display.
Shopify product page design for the holidays
Product pages on your e-commerce store are one of the last touchpoints before a user finishes their consideration on whether to make a purchase or not. Your product pages should provide them with enough information about your product and BFCM offer to get them ready to tap add to cart.
Best BFCM landing page layouts for Shopify stores:
Update shipping information: Like with your homepage, make your shipping times and costs clear on your product pages, especially if you have free shipping or a free shipping threshold.
Include BFCM promotions: If it’s a particular offer or product for BFCM, let visitors know. Especially if it’s a product or offer that might not be around after the holidays.
Design and layout: Don’t stray too far away from your original layout. Make sure you have the basics such as reviews, product descriptions, images and build out long-form product pages to tell the story of your product and brand.
Reviews and UGC: To help increase conversions we highly recomend displaying reviews and user generated content on your product pages. Throughout the BFCM holiday season, you'll have a lot of new traffic on your website and it may be their first time seeing your brand. Allowing current customers to submit reviews and upload images and videos of them using your products with a great review can work wonders for your conversions.
Our partners at ReviewsIO can help you drive more reviews and collect videos and images to accompany reviews to drive even more customers to checkout.
Increasing your Shopify store speed
With all of the new updates and additions to your Shopify store for your seasonal offers, it’s likely that your site's loading speed has decreased. This is natural, but if you follow our tips on optimsing your Shopify store’s loading speed for the holidays, you’ll have a fast, responsive shopping experience that your customers will love.
Having a fast loading Shopify store has so many benefits. Helping increase conversions, SEO results, user flow and AOV.
Shopify store speed optimsation guide:
- Image compression: Use TinyJPG or TinyPNG to reduce image sizes before uploading to your store. Reducing image sizes will reduce the time it takes for them to load in, meaning the page will load much quicker.
Lazy load images: Lazy loading ensures that images are only loaded when they come into the user's viewport, reducing initial page load times and conserving bandwidth. This can be achieved by using Shopify themes that support lazy loading or by adding lazy loading scripts or apps to your store.
Remove unused apps: Review what apps you’re currently using and remove any that are no longer being used or might not be relevant throughout the holidays. Keep in mind that removing uninstalling apps can leave behind code and can delay loading times. You may need a developer to remove them correctly and any code that may be left.
Migrate tracking code to Google Tag Manager: Google Tag Manager provides a convenient solution for seamlessly incorporating and removing tags on your website, completely eliminating the need for manual code adjustments. It offers an excellent method to centralise all your website's tracking code in a single location.
What sets Google Tag Manager apart is its ability to load all code asynchronously, ensuring that the code implemented through this tool won't hinder the rendering of your site's content.
This makes it a viable option for contemplating a "tag migration" to transition some of your tracking code to Google Tag Manager. Here’s how:
- Add Google Tag Manager to your Shopify store
- Navigate to Tags > New and look for built-in tags in “Tag Types” that you’re using on Shopify.
- Implement these tags on Google Tag Manager
- If you didn’t find any built-in tag, you can choose “Custom HTML” and add your tag
- Set your triggering properly. This can sometimes be set to “All Pages”
- Publish your Google Tag Manager changes
- Navigate back to Shopify and remove any apps that you added via Google Tag Manager
Navigate to your store and test that your new tags are working properly. You can do this using Google Tag Manager’s “Preview” mode
- Check your speed with Google Page Speed insights: Google PageSpeed Insights serves as Google's tool for assessing the speed of your website. This tool examines your site's performance and offers insights into its metrics while also providing valuable recommendations for enhancing its speed. To initiate a test, just head to the tool, and input the URL of the specific page you wish to evaluate. The results will be presented in a format similar to the screenshot displayed below:
Automate e-commerce flows
Automating marketing flows for your Shopify store is even easier now for brands at all levels. Whether you’re using Shopify flow or getting a bit more technical with Klaviyo, here are all the tools and flows that you should have in place to convert more customers this holiday season.
Building your email list
Before the holiday season gets into full swing, you’ll want to start building up your email list and warming up shoppers well in advance.
Newsletter Sign-Up Pop-Ups: Use pop-ups on your Shopify store that encourage visitors to join your newsletter. This can trigger when they initially arrive on your site or can be used as an exit-intent popup with an offer. To automate this use Klaviyo sign up forms or Shopify’s newsletter signup.
Account Creation: Motivate customers to create an account before completing a purchase. This not only expedites their checkout experience but also provides you with their email contact. (Make sure you have guest checkout still enabled so you don’t lose customers that don’t want to create an account)
Lead Magnets: Present something valuable, such as a discount code, complimentary shipping, or a free trial, in exchange for an email subscription.
Social Media Campaigns: Utilise your social media platforms to promote newsletter sign-ups, engaging your audience to stay updated with your content.
Online Contests or Giveaways: Organise contests or giveaways online as an effective means to collect email addresses. Ensure that participants are aware that entering the contest implies consent to join your newsletter.
- Feedback or Surveys: Include a request for email addresses when visitors complete feedback forms or surveys on your website, fostering valuable connections with your audience.
Welcome series: 3 email series welcoming new subscribers to your brand.
Promotional BFCM warm up emails: You can use these for newsletters or set up some flows to warm new subscribers up in the run up to BFCM.
Cart abandonment series: 2 or 3 email series to draw visitors back in that filled their cart and didn’t make a purchase.
Browse abandonment series: This should be a simple email to remind visitors to pick up where they left off. Use automations to include the products they viewed within the email.
Post purchase series: Once customers have checked out, have automated emails in place to thank them and to get them to follow your socials. Cross sells should come later.
- Cross sell series: Wait around 14 days for this flow to trigger after a customer has bought and use this as an opportunity to upsell products from the same or complimenting collections. If you’re getting closer to BFCM, you can get a bit more creative with these as customers may be looking for gifts for family members and friends.
Often forgotten about during the busy sales periods as brands can be more focussed on marketing activities. Having good customer service can often lead to shoppers buying with you over your competitors and may even turn one off purchases into lifetime customers if they’ve had a great experience.
According to OnePilot, over 60% of consumers think solving an issue fast is the most important part of good customer care.
It can be quite a lot to stay on top of to monitor all of your social channels, website, email responses and that’s not to mention keeping up with all of your BFCM and regular marketing activities.
Luckily there are tools that you can use to make this process much easier for your team so your customers can get a better experience when shopping with you.
Outsourced customer care on Shopify: Using a service like OnePilot makes it pain-free to have all of your customer service enquiries dealt with. This saves you hours of time going back and forth with multiple customers on different channels and helps deliver customer care that will get your brand remembered.
- Handling customer services on Shopify: Once you’ve used Gorgias for customer services on your Shopify store you’ll never go back to the old way of doing things. Gorgias centralises all of your customer enquiries in one simple dashboard, so you don’t have to go searching high and low for John Smith who wants to exchange his new T-Shirt.
Before you scroll on, Gorgias integrates with OnePilot to make it even easier, helping speed things up and giving your customers the best experience.
Shopify returns process during BFCM
Returns and exchanges can be a nightmare in the busy shopping periods. Who’s returning what item, are the tags in check, have they returned the correct items, the list goes on.
One of the easiest ways to handle returns and exchanges for your Shopify store is using our partner Reveni. Creating a simple returns policy goes one step ahead of having outstanding customer care, helping increase customer loyalty, customer return rate and future referrals if customers have a great experience.
Reveni can be integrated seamlessly with your Shopify store so customers still have the confidence that you’re handling their returns and exchanges, without the headache of having to chase returns, following up and the rest of it.
With Reveni, your customers will have a self-serve returns and exchanges process based on what you define during the setup. You can even control the refund method such as bank transfer, store credit or via their original payment method.
Now we’ve got the meticulous back end setups out of the way that will have your Shopify store running itself, it’s time to start stocking the shelves, planning your products, sales and marketing efforts. All the fun stuff!
Plan your product sales and offers for BFCM
Black Friday Cyber Monday is a great opportunity to build on a successful year, increase conversions just before we close out 2023 and set up an amazing start to 2024.
In the rest of this blog we’ll take a dive deep into the world of BFCM planning, exploring the dynamic landscape of product promotions, discounts, and sales tactics that will not only boost your revenue but also leave a lasting impression on your customers.
Get ready to uncover the secrets to a successful BFCM campaign that will set your brand apart in the holiday shopping frenzy.
Start your marketing campaigns early
Let’s be honest, Black Friday and Cyber Monday aren't just a weekend event anymore – they've evolved into a shopping season of their own. Shoppers start their BFCM hunt well in advance, which means you need to stay on their radar throughout.
To achieve success with your marketing this holiday season, here are some of the things to consider:
Develop an all encompassing marketing campaign: From social, emails and any other channels that may be relevant to your brand.
- BFCM marketing calendar: This can include certain product launches and will help sync up all your marketing efforts to maximise the success of your campaigns.
Shopify Black Friday bestsellers
For Black Friday, you’ll want to decide your hero product or offer. This will massively depend on your brand and product offering. For example if you’re a cosmetic or skincare brand, you may want to offer a bundle that puts your most loved products together in a hamper for customers to gift to family, friends or even treat themselves to.
Take into consideration previous sales and current sales data to make informed decisions on what to promote as your hero offers.
- Create an offers on your best selling products
- Bundle together your best selling products in one simple purchase with a discount
- New product launch seasonal discounts
Deciding your BFCM offers
Your BFCM offers will come in all shapes and sizes. Again, this hugely depends on your brand and product offering. Although one thing is for certain, consumers are expecting discounts throughout the holidays.
This doesn’t mean go and slap a huge discount on anything and everything. Whilst your BFCM discounts should be appealing for your customers, they should also be beneficial to your brand too.
Here are some things to consider:
- Avoid using complicated voucher codes: These can create unnecessary steps that consumers aren’t willing to take and will just result in customers abandoning carts.
- Simplify your discounts: Use intuitive discounts that are easy for your customers to follow. One of the best examples of this is a reduced free shipping threshold. You can also make this visible to customers in their cart so they know exactly how much more they need to spend to get free shipping or a free gift with purchase.
Discount strategies to use for BFCM:
- Buy one get one free: This is tried and tested and very effective, pair items that compliment each other to increase the success.
- Flash sales: Let’s be honest, we all love a flash sale. Offering a HUGE discount for a limited amount of time will be sure to flood your Shopify store with traffic and have people checking out.
- Tiered discounts: We love tiered discounts, they’re easy to manage, they increase AOV and allow customers to get more for their money. You can build these up across different product categories but make sure you don’t have an overlap.
BFCM 2023 Marketing strategy for Shopify store owners
Social media strategy for BFCM
Your social media should play into your broader marketing strategy and be the cherry on top of the cake that visitors see to get them ready for your sale.
Social media is very focussed around brand awareness, but we’re going to give you some extra insight on how you can increase conversions and make it easier for customers to shop with you from a social media post.
Integrate your Shopify store with social media: Shopify has developed partnerships with leading social platforms to make it much easier for merchants to integrate their stores with social media pages to offer a seamless shopping experience. Within your Shopify Admin head over to sales channels and integrate all of the social media connections to enable Customers to shop directly from Instagram, Facebook and other sales channels.
Updating your social profiles: Just like with your Shopify store, hang up the tinsel, get the baubles out and decorate! Your social pages should reflect the updates that you’ve made to your theme on your site to further promote your sales and offers. Think cover images, story highlights, panoramic 3 pinned posts on Instagram.
- Promotional posts: Sprinkle in some promotional posts within your social posting strategy. Keep it tasteful and inline with your overall marketing but now is the time to start driving people to check out your posts with offers.
Loyalty and referrals
Shopify store owners should always be looking to reward their most loyal customers.
Converting existing e-commerce customers is estimated to be 60-70% easier and costs about 5-25 times less than acquiring new ones according to Research by Frederick F. Reichheld of Bain & Company, in his Harvard Business Review titled "The Loyalty Effect”.
Offering loyalty and rewards can be very enticing for new customers that are considering shopping with you but is also a great way to keep customers coming back.
That’s the great thing about loyalty and referral marketing. Very quickly you can start to build a community of loyal customers that get rewarded for referring to their friends and family.
BFCM loyalty and referrals to increase e-commerce conversions:
Acquire and encourage users to join: Having a partner in place like Loyalty Lion for loyalty is crucial. This makes it easier for consumers to sign up to your loyalty programme and simply see what benefits they get. The various loyalty tiers help you drive customers and customer lifetime value.
Branding your loyalty programme: As a design and development agency, we naturally put extra emphasis on this. But having your loyalty programme branded inline with the rest of your store helps more visitors sign up. That was it doesn’t just feel like an afterthought that you’ve just installed to the end user and they’ll actually feel a part of your community.
Align loyalty with the rest of your marketing: All of your marketing should feel like it’s coming from your brand. Aligning your email flows that you created in the first part of this blog is crucial. You don’t want two welcome series emails going out to the same customer, one for your loyalty programme and then another signing up for your newsletter.
- Keeping your loyal customers warm: Once you’ve done the hard work of getting people to join your community, keep them warm and make them feel as though they’re part of a tribe. Encouraging them to engage with your on socials, birthday rewards and regular emails can go a long way.
Emails offer an exceptionally personal channel to connect with your customers, making them a potent tool for maximising your BFCM potential. Leverage the power of email marketing, and watch it take the lead in driving your Black Friday conversions.
Here are the best BFCM newsletters to send out:
Initiate the BFCM excitement with a creative, pre-Black Friday email: Consider spicing it up by sending a brief survey, asking your customers which of the three featured products they'd most love to see discounted. This approach not only promises impressive open and click-through rates but also provides first party data into your customers' expectations and preferences.
One day before BFCM: Send out a newsletter the day before BFCM. Be creative with your subject and what you’re including in your email. You’re going to have to cut through the noise here of the thousands of other brands that will be hitting inboxes.
Reduce cart abandonment rates: Don’t forget to make sure you have browse and cart abandonment email series in place, along with your welcome series. These automated flows will do all the hard work for you and keep potential customers picking back up where they left off.
- Flash sale newsletter: Once the buildup and frenzy of the first BFCM email rush has finished, be strategic with a flash sale and hit subscribers when the inbox might not be as congested. Going against the tide can work wonders here.
Best email subject lines that get opened in BFCM:
Over 47% of email users decide to open or not open an email solely based on its subject line. On the flip side, using an ineffective subject line can lead to as many as 69% of subscribers marking your email as spam.
We’ve put together a range of different subject lines that you should take inspiration from for your BFCM email campaigns. Make sure your subject lines are inline with your brand’s tone of voice, going against the tide and making your copy compelling enough to stand out.
You only have around 60 characters so make them count.
Early Access Subject Lines:
- "Unlock the Vault: Early Access to BFCM Bliss! 🗝️"
- "Exclusive Invite: Be a BFCM Trendsetter 🌟"
- "VIPs Only: Your Golden Ticket to BFCM Delights 🎫"
- "Secret Sale: Early Birds Get the BFCM Worm 🐦"
- "First Dibs: Dive into BFCM Bargains Before the Crowds 🛍️"
- "Shhh... Sneak Peek at BFCM Savings Starts Now! 🤫"
- "Get Ahead of the Game: BFCM Early Access Unleashed 🚀"
- "BFCM Fever: Shop Like Royalty with Early Access! 👑"
- "Open Sesame: Your Key to BFCM's Hidden Treasures 🔓"
- "Early Birds Rejoice: BFCM Exclusives Await! 🌄"
Ecommerce Subject Lines:
- "Black Friday Blitz: Unleash the Shopping Storm! 🌪️"
- "Cyber Monday Mayhem: Get Ready for Digital Deals! 💻"
- "BFCM Bonanza: Dive into Discounts Galore! 🎉"
- "The Ultimate Shopper's Paradise: BFCM Edition 🛍️"
- "BFCM: Where Savings and Style Collide! 💃"
- "Countdown to BFCM: Brace for Bargain Overload! ⏳"
- "BFCM Extravaganza: Score Big on Savings! 🏆"
- "Shop 'Til You Drop: BFCM Deals That Won't Quit! 🛒"
- "Cyber Savings, Black Friday Thrills: Let the Games Begin! 🎮"
- "Get Your Wishlist Ready: BFCM Savings Are Coming! 📜"
Urgency-Driven Subject Lines:
- "Last Chance! BFCM Deals Disappearing in Hours ⏳"
- "Hurry, Before It's Gone: BFCM Savings Ending Soon! 🏃♂️"
- "Final Countdown: Grab BFCM Discounts Now! 🕒"
- "BFCM Frenzy: Hours Left to Snag Epic Deals! 🛒"
- "Act Fast: BFCM Extravaganza Ends Tonight! ⌛"
- "Don't Miss Out: BFCM Flash Sale Ending in Minutes! ⚡"
- "Last Call: BFCM Discounts Vanishing at Midnight! 🌙"
- "BFCM Alert: Time's Running Out on Unbeatable Savings! ⏰"
- "Seconds Ticking Away: Grab BFCM Bargains Now! ⏱️"
- "It's Now or Never: BFCM Deals About to Expire! 🚨"
Inventory and logistics for Shopify brands on BFCM
Inventory and logistics holds the key to the success or failure of your Black Friday season. Regardless of how innovative your marketing strategies are or how attractive your deals may be, running out of stock or disruptions in the shipping process due to heightened sales can significantly impact your Black Friday profit margins.
Here’s how you can ensure a seamless inventory and logistics process.
Check inventory and suppliers
All of your best selling products should be stocked up well in advance. Check your Shopify analytics or other reporting tools that you may have to determine your most in-demand product and be sure to stock enough to cover the busy shopping period.
You can do this by checking out the sales by product report within Shopify. Another thing to keep in mind is having enough packaging for the expected surge in sales.
2023 Shopify Store BFCM New Tips, Trends & Tools
Throughout this blog, we’ve touched on every aspect of running a successful BFCM for your Shopify store. Follow these tips and processes and you’ll have an incredible holiday season that will keep customers coming back in 2024 and beyond.
Looking to get the edge over your competition? Here are some more BFCM e-commerce stats, tips, trends and tools for 2023.
Backing up your store is crucial for the holiday season. If your store goes down during the BFCM period you could be losing 10s of thousands while working to get your store back online. The quickest and easiest way to reduce downtime is by using Rewind Backups for Shopify.
Rewind automatically backs up your store and lets you quickly restore anything from a single image to your entire store in just a few clicks. With Rewind's Protection Suite for Shopify, you can also proactively prevent holiday mishaps by testing changes on a staging site and getting alerted to suspicious changes or disruptions.
Shopify mobile optimisation: Thankfully, Shopify is already heavily optimised for mobile. If you’re adding in any of the parts from this blog, make sure it translates well to the mobile experience. In 2022, mobile shopping through Shopify dominated the online sales landscape during the BFCM period, capturing a substantial 69% share.
Mobile commerce is poised to claim an even more substantial share of the ecommerce market, with expectations that it will encompass 42.9% of total online sales by 2024.
- Steer clear of introducing new store features to your website during the BFCM period. This is a time when technical glitches are more likely to occur, and it's not ideal for testing new functionalities.
Use Shop Pay for a seamless checkout experience
- Test your website with Shopify Store Speed Report - This is a crucial one to ensure that your store doesn’t crash with the surge in traffic.
At this point, you should be fully prepared to embrace any challenges that Black Friday and Cyber Monday may bring and ensure that your store is ready for the busy shopping period.