14 Tips to Prepare your Shopify Store for Black Friday

14 Tips to Prepare your Shopify Store for Black Friday

If you’re an ecommerce business that wants to capitalise on the 2019 Black Friday Cyber Monday sales season, read our guide and make sure you’re prepared.

Written by Matt Allen

6 min read

Black Friday 2019 Approaches!

The Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend is fast approaching once again. With over 1.5 billion dollars sold through Shopify stores during 2018’s Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend, (up from 1 billion in 2017), if you’re in ecommerce, it’s time to make sure you’re prepared.

An ecommerce business has its own hurdles to overcome, pitfalls to avoid and best practices to follow to make sure its Shopify store is visible, attracts visitors and maximises the revenue opportunity over the holiday season. We’re here to help you do just that.

Want to maximise your conversions throughout the Black Friday weekend?
Download our free Conversion checklist. >>

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When is Black Friday in 2019?

Black Friday is always the day after Thanksgiving Day in the United States, which falls on the fourth Thursday of November. In 2019 Black Friday is November 29th and marks the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. If you’re wondering when you should start to prepare, the answer is right now. At the time of writing it’s the first week in September, and already we have lots of enquiries from ecommerce businesses asking for help to improve their online presence and marketing strategies, so don’t delay!

How Should You Prepare for Black Friday?

Check out our top tips to ensure a sales bonanza for your Shopify store.

1. Ensure stock, fulfillment and support are all ready

Before you even think about your online store, you need to ensure your back of house processes are up to speed. If sales go through the roof thanks to a successful sales and marketing strategy, you need to ensure you have the infrastructure to fulfil them. Make sure your inventory, fulfilment, customer support and returns processes are all robust enough to deal with the influx of business.

If you anticipate running out of some products, use it as an opportunity! Utilise an out of stock notification app on your store like Now Back in Stock - it enables customers to leave their details if their chosen product is unavailable. They will then be automatically notified by email or SMS when their item is back in stock, and they can click straight back to the product to complete the purchase. Grow your contact database, sell more products and provide a great customer experience!

2. Assess and improve your website’s user journey

The best way to find out how people move around your website, where they click, stumble or why they leave without buying is by looking over their shoulders without them knowing...or, by using visitor recording software, such as Hindsight. This is an app we created that allows you to physically review people’s sessions on your site, seeing where they click, where they get confused and which pages they exit from. It also generates heatmaps of your pages to show how people engage with them.

It gives you so much valuable data, and enables you to identify changes you should make to your site to make it easier for your visitors to find what they want, and buy more products from you.

As a special pre-Black Friday deal to help you get your ecommerce store ready, we have a half price offer if you install Hindsight before September 30th 2019.

Use the discount code "HALFOFF" in the app store and whatever plan you choose will be half price for as long as you subscribe to that plan. You’re welcome!

3. Prepare landing pages, images and other creative to promote your sale

Once you’ve got your sale planned, you need to get your creative ready. That killer deal? It’s time to shout about it with enticing imagery, bold banners and eye-catching gifs. (People still read words too, on occasion.)

Shoppers are typically more receptive to ads during the seasonal holidays which is good, however there’s also a lot more competition for their attention, so make sure you stand out from the crowd.

We have a team of Shopify designers, web developers and marketers, ready to improve your store in time for the sales season. Need a conversion-focused landing page to draw customers in? Some eye-catching imagery to make your brand cut through the noise? A bold banner to promote your sale? Contact us and we can help.

4. Conversion rate optimisation

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Some of the tips in this blog fall under the category of conversion rate optimisation (or CRO). The art of CRO warrants a whole chapter in itself, which is why we’ve put together a free conversion rate optimisation checklist, packed with advice and guidance on improving your store’s conversion and sales. Download it now to get a head start for the holiday season.

5. Plan out your sale and discounts

With your Black Friday and Cyber Monday sale, plan out the whole weekend - will deals change as the weekend progresses? Can you maximise revenue by strategically promoting certain lines at certain times? Do you have a killer deal that you can use to launch your sale to hook people in and capture their attention?

Don’t forget the power of the upsell and cross-sell. Try installing an app like Cart Convert which suggests additional products to your customers based on what they’ve shown an interest in. Buying a hat? Perhaps they’d also like the matching gloves? Or maybe they could be tempted to spend an additional few pounds and hit the threshold to take advantage of free shipping? It’s a great way of easily increasing your average order value. Give it a go!

6. Wish upon a wishlist

Implement a wishlist on your online store in the approach to the Black Friday Cyber/Monday weekend. This allows customers to save products for later if they’re not quite ready to buy, as well as letting them share the list with friends and family on social channels - free marketing!

7. Utilise emails to promote your upcoming Black Friday sale

Build up a sense of anticipation with your email database. Let your subscribers and past customers know a sale is coming with a series of teaser emails; perhaps give them a sneak preview of a deal or let them know when your sale is launching so they don’t miss out.

8. Implement abandoned cart emails and make use of discount codes

If you don’t have an abandoned cart email series, now’s a good time to set one up. These can be utilised as part of your email marketing strategy, utilising an email service provider such as Klaviyo. If you don’t have an ESP, you can still send a single follow up cart abandonment email via your Shopify store.

The idea is that if a visitor gets part way through purchasing a product but doesn’t actually buy it, a series of emails is sent to entice them back and make it easy for them to return to the basket and complete the purchase.

These emails can incorporate incentives like discount codes or free shipping to increase the chance of a sale. With an average ecommerce cart abandonment rate of 69.57%, Black Friday is a great time to implement these emails and capture those lost sales.

9. Use retargeting to capture past visitors and customers

Capitalise on the increased browsing activity of bargain-hunting customers by using retargeting. This enables you to ‘follow’ people who may have added products to basket, looked at a particular item or made a purchase. It really just means that you’re able to remind them of something they looked at on your site recently, on other forums like Facebook, to give them the opportunity to come back and finish the purchase or buy something else.

10. Quick - instil a sense of urgency today!

Create a sense of urgency around your sale in your ad copy and onsite content. Limited stock or an imminently ending sale: these factors help nudge your visitors towards hitting the ‘add the basket’ button. Try adding a countdown timer on your product page that tells people how many minutes they have left to qualify for for next day delivery. Bear in mind that Black Friday purchases are often impulse buys and not as considered as normal, and a little bit of persuasion helps get those items into shopping baskets and through the check out. If you need help installing apps or making improvements and changes to your site, get in touch.

11. Increase your email subscriber list

Encourage people to sign up for your newsletters by incentivising them with previews of upcoming sales or exclusive discounts. This will help them engage with your brand and make them easier to contact when your sales are launched.

12. Build customer trust

While Black Friday buys are more impulsive, people still need to trust who they’re buying from. Adding customer reviews to your site helps reassure potential customers that you’re a reputable brand, while listing trusted payment methods like PayPal and major credit cards builds that feeling of reassurance. A well written ‘About Us’ page also helps build a sense of trust and familiarity.

13. Make it easy for people to buy

You want to make it as easy as possible for people to buy from you. Services like Klarna enable your customers to spread their payments, making it more likely they will buy. You get the money up front; Klarna collects the money from the customer over the agreed period. It’s win-win!

14. Track your performance

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If you’ve followed our advice in this article and our conversion checklist, you should be on track for a great Black Friday weekend. However, it’s important that you track your metrics through Google Analytics and your store’s analytics, plus your email provider and any other channels that you use like Facebook.

Once the sales weekend is over and the dust has settled, you’ll need to understand what went well and what could have been deployed differently so that you can make your next sale even more of a success!

If you need support getting your online store ready for Black Friday, remember here at Eastside Co we’re the Shopify Experts. Our passion is helping online businesses achieve their goals through superb design, web development, UX, marketing strategies and app functionality. Get in touch and we can talk about how we can help you scale your business.

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