How ecommerce brands can prepare for Black Friday

Lizzie Davey
minute read
Written By
Lizzie Davey
September 27, 2022

We’re a mere month away from the one day of the year when product prices plummet and consumers go all-in trying to get the best deal.

Yes, we’re talking about Black Friday. It’s the biggest shopping holiday of the year and it’s creeping up on us very, very fast.

So, if you want to cash in and get cosy with a surge of new customers, you need to get planning ASAP.

Black Friday: is it worth it for ecommerce?

Black Friday was originally an American holiday. It takes place the day after Thanksgiving 🦃 and sees millions of shoppers hit the stores in search of a bargain. But the global nature of the internet means it didn’t take long for Black Friday sales to hit the rest of the world.

Black Friday vs Cyber Monday

Originally, Black Friday was reserved for in-store sales while Cyber Monday was the digital equivalent that took place on the Monday after Black Friday. Now, it’s a bit of a free-for-all, with brands running both in-store and online sales across the entire weekend (and longer).

In 2021, more than 55% of UK consumers bought something on Black Friday. With everyone keen to get their hands on a good deal, it’s the perfect time for brands to attract new customers that may go on to become loyal fans.

It might seem counterproductive to slash your prices for a few new customers, particularly when Black Friday shoppers are notoriously fickle, which is why it’s important to know what discounts to offer and how best to prepare for the event.

To make Black Friday worth it for your brand, you ideally need to do three things:

  1. Prepare in advance
  2. Avoid getting sucked into the frenzy
  3. Have a plan in place for after the event

Preparing in advance will stop you from getting caught up in the discount madness and ensure you’re still making a profit. Planning for the aftermath will give you a strategy for retaining your new Black Friday customers.

Do these three things, and Black Friday could very much be worth it for your brand. After all, plenty of shoppers seek out Black Friday deals from brands they’ve had their eye on for a while. This could be your chance to turn “lurkers” into long-term brand evangelists.

How and when to get ready for Black Friday

Black Friday falls on the 25th of November 2022.

That’s a couple of months away. You might have other things on your plate at the mo, like end-of-summer sales and your Xmas ads, but don’t put your Black Friday planning off for too long. The more prepared you are, the smoother things will run.

When should you start your Black Friday sales?

Black Friday is technically a one-day event (the clue is in the name), but that doesn’t stop plenty of brands from kicking off their sales days or weeks in advance. This gives them time to ramp up their promotions, get more eyeballs on their products, and ultimately make more sales.

But you don’t want to start too early.

Promoting your sales more than two weeks in advance could lose the trust of potential customers who might think you’re just in it for a quick buck. It might also annoy existing customers who paid full price for a product, only to see it at 50% off for weeks and weeks.

The sweet spot is somewhere between two days and two weeks in advance.

What types of discounts should you offer?

Some brands slash their prices by up to 70% on Black Friday, but the majority of retailers will offer around 20% off.

Sure, offering a ton off might get you a swathe of new customers, but consider the long-term impact it might have on your bottom line and existing customers. Often, shoppers looking for the cheapest deal won’t stick around afterwards. They’ll be on the hunt for the next bargain. Plus, if you discount too much, you might find you actually don’t make much extra cash at all.

It’s not just discounts you can offer on Black Friday though.

If you don’t want to slash prices, there are other ways you can join in the festivities:

  • Create bundles of your bestselling products
  • Offering a freebie with every purchase
  • Run a giveaway
Sephora Black Friday

Sephora offers a gift with every purchase on Black Friday, or you can take a leaf out of Dai’s book and reward shoppers who are more eco-friendly with bigger Black Friday discounts.

Dai Black Friday deal

8 strategies for Black Friday: your roadmap to successful sales

Once you’ve decided on your offers and discounts, and when you’re going to start promoting, it’s time to get stuck into the nitty gritty. Here are some top Black Friday strategies to get you started.

1. Custom email comms

Consumers today crave personalisation. They want to feel like brands are talking directly to them, not thousands of others at the same time.

Email marketing providers now offer powerful segmentation capabilities that help you send the right messages to the right people. For example, a customer who regularly buys men’s socks from you is probably going to be interested in the bundle discount you’ve got running on your socks, but might not be so down for the deals on women’s dresses.

Likewise, your existing customers will need slightly different messages from customers who have never bought from you before.

Create email campaigns that speak to each different segment of your audience based on past purchases, how loyal they are, and what they’ve shown the most interest in.

Chewy Black Friday

Chewy sends Black Friday promotional emails that include personalised replenishment suggestions.

2. Optimise for mobile

Smartphone shopping is on the rise, with almost three-quarters of Black Friday sales taking place on mobile. It’s no wonder, considering 58% of purchases are impulse buys – people see a too-good-to-miss deal and cash in ASAP. They could be on the bus, waiting for the kettle to boil, or killing time between appointments.

Whatever the case, it’s crucial your mobile site is optimised and ready for Black Friday. As well as ensuring it looks good on a small screen and can be navigated easily, include clear directions to your Black Friday sales.

3. Optimise your website

Just like you should optimise your mobile site for Black Friday, you should also make sure your website is up to the job.

You might find you get an influx of traffic during the event (score!), but this might also slow down loading times and, in the worst-case scenario, make your site go down completely. Ensure your site is ready for an increase in traffic and is set up so that shoppers can quickly and easily find the deals you have going on.

Top tip: use Google’s PageSpeed Insights to analyze the load speed of your site and identify areas for improvement.

Did we mention a lot of Black Friday purchases are impulse buys?

If a new shopper lands on your site hoping to find what they’re looking for immediately and they don’t… well, you can probably wave goodbye to them forever (they’ll be hanging out with your competitor for the foreseeable).

Muddy Bites Black Friday deals

Muddy Bites includes a header on its website that reminds shoppers they can get 20% off for Black Friday.

4. Get your assets ready

Here’s a fun fact: 93% of consumers consider photos to be the key deciding factor in a purchase.

People are making snap decisions on Black Friday. Team that with the fact they might never have heard of your brand or products before, and it’s pretty clear why you need to have good visuals. Photos could be the cincher between whether someone buys from you or a competitor.

Get your visual assets ready in advance. These might include:

Use Dash to store your assets in one easy-to-manage place and ensure all your team members have access to what they need. This will make it super easy to find images quickly (because everything needs to happen quickly on Black Friday) and keep branding tight across all your campaigns. You can also get your freelancers like photographers and graphics designers to upload assets for your approval. Remember, shoppers might be seeing your brand for the first time, so you want to keep your visuals consistent and memorable!

5. Plan your promotional channels

Get the most eyeballs on your brand over Black Friday by using an omnichannel approach. The more channels you’re visible on, the more sales you can generate—but here’s the catch: don’t try and be everywhere. Instead, handpick the channels you have the best engagement rates on and focus your energy on those.

As well as your email list (which is a 100% must-do on BF!), make sure you plan to promote your sales on social media, like Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook. If you want to supercharge your strategy, try using paid ads in tandem with organic content.

6. Have a plan if products sell out

There’s a chance your products might sell out during Black Friday.

While this would be amazing, it’s not so amazing for potential customers who want a product only to find it’s sold out. It can cause huge disappointment and, at the very worst, lose you a customer for life.

As well as keeping a close eye on your stock levels, make sure you consistently update shoppers on the status of your products. Even better, let them know when a product is about to sell out–this also provides added incentive for them to buy now.

If a product does sell out, grab the shopper’s email address so you can get in touch when it’s back in stock.

7. Don’t forget your existing customers!

You wouldn’t be where you are now without your existing customers. And, while Black Friday is a great opportunity to attract new shoppers, don’t forget about your old faithfuls. As well as hot deals for everyone, give your loyal fans something extra, like added discounts, a reward scheme, or a freebie when they make a Black Friday purchase.

The last thing you want is to turn off existing customers by slashing the prices of products they bought full-price just weeks or months ago without giving them something extra to show how much you value them.

DASH - Linkedin  social graphics ideas  (37)

Cupcakes and Cashmere give their VIPs early access to Black Friday deals and extra discounts.

8. Plan your exit strategy

Black Friday will be over quicker than you think – then what? If you’ve landed some new customers, it’s time to nurture them. Show them why they should buy from you again and give them a reason to stick around. You’re not a one-hit wonder!

While Black Friday is a great way to boost your revenue in a short space of time and increase brand awareness, it’s also the perfect opportunity to spark new relationships with potential long-term customers. When the event is over and everyone’s suffering from a purchasing frenzy hangover, think about your next steps.

You can:

  • Create personalised email campaigns for new customers
  • Remind new shoppers who you are and why they bought from you
  • Serve product recommendations based on their Black Friday purchases
  • Use the data collected from Black Friday to inspire future marketing campaigns

Ready, set, prepare: Get ready for Black Friday

Black Friday is a great opportunity for ecommerce brands to get new customers and increase brand awareness. You can convert on-the-fence shoppers with cheeky discounts and spread the holiday cheer with all sorts of fun deals, discounts, and bundles.

But to get the most out of the biggest shopping holiday of the year, it pays to prepare. Make sure you map out your discounts in advance, prep your website and mobile site, and get your assets ready well in advance (a.k.a. NOW!).

And, once the event is over, don’t forget to nurture your new customers. Prepare ongoing campaigns once the frenzy is over to turn one-time buyers into long-term loyal customers.

Use Dash to store and organise your Black Friday assets in one central place. Don’t make the holiday any harder than it needs to be! Give your team access to consistent visuals that might just be the cincher for more sales.

Lizzie Davey

Lizzie Davey writes for ecommerce and marketing SaaS brands. She helps create B2B content strategies and is the Founder of Copy Revival and Freelance Magic.

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Lizzie Davey

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