The holidays are just around the corner. Whether you’re preparing for the holiday selling season in general or for specific days like Black Friday or Singles’ Day, 2021 is shaping up to be a year of opportunity and change. While 2020 saw consumers shopping online during lockdowns, this year we see different experiences. People are shopping online more than ever before, having become accustomed to buying a wider range of products, yet shoppers are also revelling in the ability to shop at their local stores again.
Expectations have shifted, with consumers wanting to find the right products easily, to know their availability, to buy with confidence, and to be sure they can return or exchange items if necessary. Supply chain constraints continue to impact inventory, and the increase in flexible payment options and ways to shop provide more opportunities for merchants.
If you want to make the most of this year’s biggest shopping event, it’s critical that you start planning as early as possible. Despite an atypical climate, BFCM is still a tremendous opportunity for your business to end the year strong, whatever that looks like for you.
A checklist to prepare for Black Friday Cyber Monday
With an unsettled economic climate, supply chain shortages, adapting to demand fluctuations, and shifting consumer behavior, navigating BFCM and holiday sales may feel particularly stressful this year.
During peak season, Shopify is here to help your business achieve the best results. There are always new milestones to reach, regardless of where you are on your business journey. To help you achieve yours, we’re overhauling our annual BFCM toolbox and checklist with resources built to address the biggest opportunities and thorniest issues you’ll encounter this year.
Following this checklist can help you hit the ground running and avoid last-minute scrambles. And throughout the rest of the year, we’ll ship new features and share advice on how to make this holiday shopping season your best yet.
⏳ Planning: Start early and prepare for a longer season
1. Prepare for a longer sales period
Unsurprisingly, this year’s biggest shopping weekend will be dominated by online shopping. However, it will also see sales and promotions in the weeks and months leading up to BFCM, and in-person shopping where local conditions allow.
With fewer door-buster deals on the horizon, it’s likely that online sales will start early and extend beyond the BFCM weekend. In a 2021 holiday trends study by Justuno, 65% of US shoppers indicated they would make their holiday purchases before Thanksgiving. Globally, ecommerce spending did not decline after peak holiday sales in late 2020. In fact in July 2021, global ecommerce sales were 24% higher than pre-pandemic levels.
65% of US shoppers indicated they would make their holiday purchases before BFCM.
With shoppers starting earlier and considering whether to buy online or locally, make sure you’re communicating your offers as early as possible—and extending them beyond BFCM if financially (and operationally) feasible.
2. Test and prepare your store for traffic surges
Your online store’s speed impacts the shopping experience of your customers, your conversion rate, and your store’s discoverability. When a store improves the speed of the first page in the buyer journey by 10%, there is a 7% increase in conversion.
Surges in web traffic sometimes come bundled with a stressful downside: they can cause your website to crash. But if your store is on Shopify, you’re in luck. We’ve invested a lot of time to ensure our servers can handle huge spikes in sessions and sales, specifically for events like BFCM.
You also can test the server load capacity of your store with tools like k6 Cloud, or check and fine tune your store with Shopify’s online store speed report. We run speed tests for your homepage and highest-traffic-collection and product pages, then combine each page’s Google Lighthouse speed score into an overall score. Plus, you’ll get a sense of how your store’s speed compares to similar businesses.
Check out our seasonal sale primer for tips on planning promotions, preparing for increased shopper questions, and handling higher order volumes.
3. Double down on your top sales channels
Many businesses are moving online, so this is the year you’ll want to reap the benefits of multichannel selling. If you’re already selling on multiple channels, identify which have been most lucrative for your business and double down during the holiday season. Shopify offers sales channels to make it easier for you to reach buyers on Instagram, Facebook, Google, TikTok, Pinterest, Snapchat, and more. By getting started with these channels in Shopify, you can easily sync your products and centralize everything in your admin.
We’re hosting a series of webinars that will share how to make the most of each channel and provide effective and actionable strategies to drive qualified traffic to your store. Join live, or view the recordings after the events.
- Get holiday ready with TikTok, Snapchat, and Pinterest, October 18, 2021
- Reach buyers where they search on Google this peak season, October 19, 2021
- Drive discovery and conversion on Instagram and Facebook, October 21, 2021
Want to dig a little deeper? Take a look at Holiday Guidebooks for our channel partners.
- Google Peak Season Playbook
- Facebook Shoppable Media Playbook
- TikTok’s 2021 Holiday Guide
- Pinterest 2021 Holiday Strategy Guide
- Snapchat Holiday Guide 2021
💡 TIP: Start exploring the sales channels that resonate most with your target shopper so you can reach buyers early this holiday season.
4. Go international and sell to everyone on the web
Sound easier said than done? Well, six months ago that might have been the case—but what once required having a big brand with a big budget and a ton of resources has been completely overhauled, thanks to Shopify Markets.
With Shopify Markets, you can now reach new markets and customers in just a few clicks, creating custom buying experiences with familiar currencies, languages, domains, and payment methods—earning trust and driving conversion with your international customers, no matter where they’re shopping from.
What’s more, you can scale and optimize your international strategy with everything you need to identify, create, and manage international markets from your Shopify admin. View and control all your store settings from a single place, while understanding your global performance at a glance to make the best decisions for your business. Behind the scenes, Shopify data provides options, settings, and recommendations to guide your strategy and make selling worldwide easier than ever. Want to get started? Request early access for Shopify Markets today.
5. Create contingency plans
Being prepared means routinely asking yourself uncomfortable questions and preparing for the worst. Do you have the proper backups in place in case anything goes awry? What happens if the shipping company you work with becomes too busy? Or if your inventory doesn’t arrive when it’s supposed to? How quickly can you adjust your product plan?
We’re not looking to stir up unfounded fears, but it’s important to prepare for tough situations. And considering the well-documented shipping delays experienced during the pandemic, along with the announcements already made by shipping providers, preparing for delays is necessary.
Think about the worst-case scenarios for your business and create contingency plans wherever possible. It’s much easier to handle the planning now, versus troubleshooting in the midst of the biggest sales weekend of the year.
6. Serve shoppers in person with Shopify POS
While ecommerce sales surged nearly 36% in 2020and offset the notable decline in physical store sales, it's hard to predict to what extent consumers will embrace in-store shopping this year as brick-and-mortar retail reopens.
Will shoppers continue primarily shopping online? Will the pent-up desire to shop in-store result in higher-than-ever levels of foot traffic? The answer is likely a combination of both, which means you’ll need to be ready to meet your customers wherever they choose to shop.
Shopify POS helps digitally native brands extend their service to physical spaces and serve shoppers in-person. Whether it’s by offering flexible order fulfillment options like buy online, pickup in-store (BOPIS) or by making store inventory visible online, consumers want to shop using whichever mix of in-store and online shopping is most convenient for them. Merchants who deliver on that expectation stand to reap the rewards during peak sales season.
To get 10 actionable tips on how to blend your physical and online touchpoints and make this holiday season your best yet, read our Holiday Playbook for Retail Stores.
📦 Products: Prepare for an uptick in demand
7. Make inventory decisions early
Picking and ordering the products you want to promote for BFCM should be done as early as possible, especially if you rely on suppliers to source or manufacture that inventory. Suppliers have been operating above capacity since the pandemic started and need plenty of leeway to get your products ready.
In terms of choosing which products to order, there are many different ways to forecast demand and identify what merchandise you’ll want to re-up for BFCM. If you’re on Shopify, one place to start is with Shopify Reports. Use the Sales by product report, filtered by last year’s BFCM dates, to see which products typically sell well during the BFCM season in particular.
ABC analysis can also help you identify your best and worst performing products. A-grade products are your money makers and represent the specific products that make up 80% of your revenue, whereas C-grade products are your dead stock and represent the specific products that make up only 5% of your revenue. BFCM presents a great opportunity to drive revenue by featuring A-grade products in your campaign with modest discounts, as well as an opportunity to sell off dead stock and free up shelf space.
In addition to Shopify inventory management, explore forecasting tools and other inventory management apps to help you get inventory right this year. Shopify Capital can be a fast and effective way to secure funding to stock up on inventory ahead of peak sales periods.
Watch the video below to learn more ways to optimize your inventory investment ahead of the peak selling season.
8. Set your busy-season shipping and delivery strategy early and communicate it to your customers
Shipping isn’t just a cost of doing business—it’s a strategic lever that can influence your business as a whole. Key selling periods like BFCM and holiday shopping are a good time to revisit your shipping strategy.
A good shipping strategy doesn’t mean you need to offer every shipping option possible. It’s about finding a balance between the options that are affordable, align with customers’ needs, and are doable when it comes to your ecommerce logistics. Offering too many options can put a lot of cognitive load on the buyer and actually deter them from buying. With the right shipping strategy in place, you can create a better customer experience while improving your cart conversion and increasing your average order value (AOV).
How you charge customers for shipping is a crucial component of your shipping strategy and directly influences both your conversion rate and profit margins. Consumers expect their shipping to be free and fast—ideally a combination of the two.
“Fast” is a relative term. It depends on factors like your geographical location and your buyers’ expectations. Fast could include same-day delivery or overnight or two-day shipping.
Free shipping is never truly “free,” as it means the shipping cost has shifted to you. But if done right, absorbing this cost can have a huge payoff. Because not only is free shipping a common expectation among customers, it also can be a tool to increase your AOV and encourage shoppers to buy more. Not all orders need to come with free shipping—you can consider free shipping with a minimum purchase amount or as a promotional or marketing tool during peak periods like BFCM.
Both local delivery and buy online and pick-up in-store (BOPIS) provide merchants with effective ways to get products to their local customers. Leveraging your store or warehouse locations as pickup locations or leveraging staff to deliver to local addresses without the dependence of a shipping carrier is helping merchants avoid potential shipping delays. These are often cost effective delivery methods (local pickup is free!) for buyers as well as merchants and are good ways to extend the holiday shopping season post shipping carrier holiday deadlines.
Once you’ve figured out what your holiday shipping strategy is going to look like, you’ll want to ensure you’re communicating it to your customers. Publish the details on your shipping policy or FAQ page, emails, and other marketing channels. Communicate shipping speeds at checkout, and in confirmation emails, so your customers know when to expect their delivery, even before they’ve completed their purchase. Remember to be transparent about shipping delays due to COVID, natural disasters, carrier delays, the impact of peak volume, and whatever else might hold up your customers’ packages.
9. Benchmark and grow your conversion rate
Increasing your ecommerce conversion rate by just 1% could mean significant increases in sales for your business. Start by discovering what the standard is for a business like yours. Know how you measure up based on your location, GMV, and industry vertical (apparel and accessories, home and garden, healthy and beauty, and more).
Use the ecommerce conversion rate calculator to:
- See how you compare to other brands of the same size and industry
- Get actionable tips on how to boost your ecommerce conversion rate
- Identify gaps in your brand’s conversion strategy and find opportunities for improvement
10. Organize your upcoming sales
Look at all of your products and plan your deals and discounts ahead of time instead of putting on a sale at the last minute. Review your margins and inventory to find suitable discounts, and learn how to set up different discounts on Shopify.
One idea is to create a “planned sales map” in Google Sheets or Excel, giving you a simple outline of all your upcoming sales. Here’s a pre-made Google Sheets template you can use to plan your sales this year. Just go to File > Make a copy to save it to your Drive, or File > Download if you want to use desktop spreadsheet software like Excel.
Choose the products you want to run a holiday sale on and schedule their start dates and sale prices. This way, when the holiday sale rolls around, you can refer to your plans instead of scrambling at the last minute. You can find help to make scheduling sales easy in the Shopify App Store.
When you’re ready to implement your sales, make sure to leverage shareable discount links to make redeeming your offer codes even easier for your customers—while boosting your conversions at the same time. Learn more about all of the different types of discounts you can set up in Shopify.
And while it’s relatively simple to announce a Black Friday Cyber Monday sale, building suspense and buzz is often what turns a campaign into an outsized success.
Entice your customers with emails of what’s to come, post sneak peeks of upcoming sales on social media, and start piquing the curiosity of your customers. The sooner you begin doing this, the more momentum you’ll have during Black Friday Cyber Monday when you finally announce the sale.
11. Optimize your order and fulfillment workflows
A high volume of sales in a short period of time can make it more difficult to fulfill and get orders to customers quickly. Here are some ways you can optimize your fulfillment workflows for BFCM:
Organize your fulfillment area. Whether you’re using a warehouse or your basement to fulfill orders, you want to make sure your fulfillment area is stocked with adequate supplies and that your most popular products are accessible for quicker picking and packing.
Get helping hands. You will likely get an influx of orders over the BFCM period, so it might be worth getting some friends or hiring additional staff to help you fulfill and ship orders to customers more quickly.
Over-communicate. Communicating clearly and regularly with your fulfillment and local delivery staff can help avoid errors and save you time in the long run. Consider using orders Timeline in your admin to share instructions internally with staff members, regarding orders, customers and fulfilment. with specific instructions to your staff.
Prioritize and organize your orders. Plan in advance how you want to prioritize your orders, and group orders by a common need so they can be processed more quickly. Some common ways to organize and group orders, include:
- Customer priority. Organize orders by customer priority and fulfill these orders first so you can show appreciation to your most loyal customers. Use order tags to identify your most important customers.
- Shipping requirements. Organize orders by shipping priority, so customers who paid for expedited shipping get their orders first. You can also organize by delivery method, so products fulfilled by local delivery or a given shipping provider are grouped and fulfilled all at once.
- Product type. Different products require different picking and packaging requirements. Group your orders by product type, so you can optimize the time it takes to pick and pack your orders. Pro tip: Define product weight and dimensions in your store admin so that when it’s time to fulfill, you can pick the most appropriate packaging and shipping options.
Streamline your fulfillment process by understanding your orders operations from order entry to delivery. By looking at order analytics, you can spot gaps in your fulfillment, delivery, or returns process, and double click to take action on critical areas.
Shopify Plus merchants can make use of Flow, an ecommerce automation solution that allows you to build customized workflows to automate tasks and processes in your store and across your apps. With Flow, you can create automated workflows to help with fulfillment tasks such as automating inventory management and reordering, gain insights on returns, track special orders, and empower support teams to manage any issues. Take a look at 10 workflows solving common business problems.
📣 Marketing: Ready your campaigns and creative
12. Craft an irresistible BFCM offer
A strategy many retailers use is to run a “jaw-dropping” sale on a popular item to attract customers to their store. Once customers are there for the deep discount, there’s a chance they’ll pick up other items on their way to the checkout. Occasionally, this product serves as a loss leader, with the difference being made up by customers adding more to their cart than they would have without the flagship product’s deep discount.
What type of “can’t miss” sale will draw people to your store? If you’re sending an email to your subscribers, consider focusing on the one sale product you feel is the most enticing, instead of promoting all of your Black Friday Cyber Monday sales at the same time.
Promotional messages flood everyone's inbox during BFCM. With all of this noise, finding ways to stand out is crucial.
Once customers have arrived at your store, there are several techniques you can use to try to get them to convert to placing an order, and to increase the size of that order. Take a look at how Shopify Apps can help in three ways:
- Discounts, sales, and limited-time offers. With countdown timers to instill a sense of urgency, and conversion-boosting tools to sweeten the deal, we’ve got what it takes to inspire holiday shoppers to buy now.
- Product upsells and cross-sells. Make even more sales with insightful product suggestions inspired by what customers already have in their carts.
- More completed checkouts. Abandoned carts are a lost opportunity. Whether they get distracted or just can’t make up their mind, sometimes customers need a little nudge to come back and finish checking out.
13. Create banners and hero images to advertise holiday sales
What better way to promote your holiday sales than with gorgeous graphics and visuals? Whether you’re planning to use banner ads to promote your holiday sales or changing the header/hero image on your homepage for Black Friday Cyber Monday, you don’t need to be a graphic designer to get things done.
If you lack graphic design chops, you could use a template from CreativeMarket, use online design tools like Taler or Canva, or hire a Shopify Expert to create your graphics.
If you’re a Shopify merchant, we’ve rebuilt our theme editor to make it easier and faster for you to set up and customize your online store. The improvements to the theme editor introduce a smoother, more intuitive editing workflow for a better editing experience with faster loading times.
Once you’ve created visual assets, why not consider running paid marketing activity? Learn how Shopify Capital helps merchants build their brands with marketing funding.
14. Retarget past visitors and customers
If you’ve already set up a Facebook pixel on your store, now’s the time to use it. When you retarget previous visitors, you’ll reach people who may have forgotten about your store and wouldn’t have checked out your sale otherwise.
You can also retarget customers who have purchased from your store. With existing customers being generally easier to reach and market to than brand new customers, shoppers you’ve already sold to in the past should be especially receptive to your latest Black Friday Cyber Monday sales.
To set up a Facebook pixel on your Shopify store, install the Facebook channel.
15. Start your email marketing campaigns early
During last year’s BFCM, Shopify merchants saw their highest conversion rates from email marketing.
Every business owner should have a few email marketing campaigns planned to bring customers back to your website so they can act on your holiday sale offers. And since Shopify Email lives alongside all your other marketing campaigns within Shopify Marketing in the admin, it’s easy to manage your efforts across channels from a single place. The kicker? With Shopify Email, you can schedule your emails and campaigns in advance, saving you much-needed time.
Begin planning, creating, and scheduling emails long before Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales start. Here are some tips for a winning BFCM email marketing strategy:
Build suspense and buzz around your upcoming sale. Place email collection fields and sign-up pop-ups on various pages on your store to ensure you can email shoppers that visit your site but aren’t ready to purchase. Make sure the email addresses you collect are high quality and that you have consent from customers to send promotional emails.
Personalize your email campaigns to provide your customers with a more tailored experience. During BFCM, customers’ inboxes are flooded with emails from different brands. It's important that your brand is recognized and email gets opened. Shopify Email makes it simple to customize your subject lines, preview, or body text with a customer’s first and last name, email, city, or country. This can improve positive signals like open, clicks, conversions, and engagement.
Send “warm-up” emails with hints and teasers in the weeks leading up to BFCM. Whether your BFCM offer is a discount, an exclusive product, free shipping, donations to charity, or a totally-unique-to-you promotion, start teasing it early to your subscribers so they’re on the lookout for the announcement. This includes sending exclusive offers to various customer segments, like your VIP customers. By sending emails early, service providers are less likely to treat your email as spam. You can choose from a variety of pre-built holiday templates in Shopify Email, making it simple to create, edit, schedule, and send in just a few clicks.
Thank your customers when your sale ends. A followup email to keep your subscribers warm and to thank them for shopping is always a nice touch. Keep in mind, purchasers will be getting order-related emails in the days following BFCM, so don’t over-communicate. Aim to have an automated thank you email set up five to seven days after BFCM is over.
Create abandoned cart emails. Before BFCM, ensure you are emailing visitors who abandon their carts. This will happen at a higher volume on BFCM, and an automatically triggered email will help capture some of those abandoned conversions. Find out how to get this set up.
To that last point, data from Barilliance indicates that the average cart abandonment rate on Black Friday 2019 in the US was 82%. Of course, you’ll want to try and keep that number as low as possible. One of the most effective ways of doing this is by setting up targeted abandoned cart emails. This way, when a customer adds a product to their cart but leaves your store, you can use a compelling email to bring them back to complete their purchase.
💌 Customers: Drive repeat purchases and lasting loyalty
16. Increase conversion and give customers buy now, pay later
Payments should be a seamless experience. Make sure your shop has the highest converting checkout on the web by having Shop Pay enabled. With Shop Pay, stores get a 91% higher mobile conversion than regular checkouts by prefilling customers’ information. The use of Shop Pay results in a 9% lift in checkout conversion.
A buy now, pay later service has been used by 55.8% of consumers—an increase of almost 50% in less than one year. Between 2019 and 2021, BNPL usage has increased in the US by six times for Gen Zers, two times for millenials, and three times for Gen Xers.
In the US, give customers more buying power and increase your average order value up to 50% with Shop Pay Installments, the native buy now, pay later solution on Shopify with no redirects or overselling. Your customers can pay in four installments with no hidden fees, no interest, no late fees, and no impact on their credit score. With Shop Pay Installments, you can decrease cart abandonment by as much as 28%, boost repeat purchases among first-time customers up to 23%, and reduce sales refunds by as much as 17%.
17. Reward loyal customers
Black Friday Cyber Monday is an opportune time to build relationships with your previous customers and get them to come back.
Customer marketing is an opportunity to email and retarget your previous customers with your best deals. Email existing customers with Shopify Email, giving them the chance to access a sale earlier or offer exclusive sales just for being a subscriber on your email list. Exclusive deals also act as an incentive for shoppers to leave their email before potentially leaving your site.
You can check out loyalty apps in the Shopify App Store that help turn new shoppers into repeat buyers.
18. Turn browsers into buyers using chat
You’ve spent a lot of time and money driving people to your store, but now what? Converting traffic to online sales isn’t always that simple. And people usually have questions when they’re figuring out what to buy—in fact, 70% of chat conversations are with shoppers making a purchase decision. From questions about products and shipping details to getting that special discount code to work, these are the key moments that can create customer loyalty.
Now, when those key moments happen, you’re ready. Shopify Inbox gives you an easy way to connect with shoppers wherever they are—online store, mobile, or social channels like Facebook and Instagram (coming soon)—so you can turn more browsers into buyers. Inbox gives you valuable context about your customers, including message topic labels, and even shows the items they’ve added to or removed from their cart when shopping on your store.
We know that the holidays are hectic. And you and your team aren’t available to chat 24/7. So, when you’re busy or away, Inbox collects your shoppers’ emails so you can reply on your own terms. You can even add FAQs to your chat window to quickly give shoppers the answers they need to feel confident about shopping with you. Post-purchase, customers can check their order status on their own. This is how Inbox helps you free up more time to focus on the conversations that convert.
BFCM is only the beginning. The conversations you have now aren’t just about getting that first sale. It’s the opportunity to create memorable experiences that turn shoppers into loyal customers for the rest of the year.
19. Ensure you provide prompt and personal support
The holidays are a potentially hectic time for customer support, whether it’s managed by you or your team. Part of providing a fantastic experience is having a quick response time—the other part is being courteous and respectful of all of your customers.
Having a few standard phrases and replies already prepared will enable you to deliver more consistent, helpful service with minimal upfront effort. In particular, prepare for these common points of frustration:
- A customer’s order is lost or delayed
- A customer is unsatisfied with their purchase
- A customer’s package or product arrives damaged
It’s also worth brushing up on how to handle upset customers effectively and empathetically, and on what makes for genuinely delightful customer service. Getting this information out of your head and written down somewhere makes it easy to share it with your team or any extra help you’ve hired for the holiday rush.
Be memorable this year and customers will remember to come back next year.
20. Offer easy and hassle-free returns
Returns have become a key part of the buying experience. Most shoppers expect free and easy returns and often won’t make a purchase unless they have the option to return the product.
Make sure you have a return policy that is clear, fair, and well-communicated on your store’s site. It might just convince on-the-fence customers to pull the trigger, since you're showing confidence in your product and removing potential risk. Some popular places to showcase your return policy includes:
- Shipping and Return Policy page
- FAQ page
- Product page
- Order notification emails
You can expect to receive the highest volume of holiday returns in December, January, and February. Become familiar with managing returns in Shopify so you can efficiently receive and process them, while also creating the best possible experience for your customers. You may wish to temporarily extend your returns policy during the season, to give shoppers more peace of mind.
While they may feel like a hassle, an effective returns policy and process can actually help deliver better experiences. Learn how leading brands are increasing conversion, growing average order value (AOV) and building shopper loyalty with smart returns strategies.
📊 Performance: Track everything and optimize for speed
21. Think mobile first
Last year, Shopify stores saw more mobile purchases than desktop purchases across all of BFCM for the third year in a row. We should expect this trend to continue. What this means for you as a store owner is that thinking mobile-first is essential.
What's your store’s user experience like on mobile? Is it easy and intuitive to make purchases on your store? Is your website mobile responsive? All of Shopify’s themes are responsive and mobile friendly, but if you’re not using Shopify, test how your store looks on a mobile device.
22. Assess your checkout experience
While you’re looking at your store on mobile, make sure to examine your checkout process as well. Especially on mobile, filling in every field required to check out can be a conversion killer, which is why accelerated checkout options like Shop Pay, Apple Pay, and Google Pay can provide an added boost to your mobile conversions this year if you’re using Shopify Payments. These checkout methods let customers autofill saved information, reducing the keystrokes or clicks required to make a purchase.
💡 TIP: Shop Pay increases conversion and checkout speeds. Our survey found that Shop Pay increases checkout speed by four times, and that’s not all. Checkouts going through Shop Pay have an average checkout-to-order rate of 1.72 times higher than those going through regular checkouts.
23. Test your site and get feedback
What if you could mirror the experience of a potential customer as they navigate your store for the first time? There could be issues you don't notice or areas of your store where you can make simple improvements—a fresh pair of eyes is the perfect way to surface these otherwise hidden opportunities.
There are many ways to get someone to go through your store and give you feedback, but one great option is UserTesting. UserTesting lets you set parameters about who you’d like to test your store. Then you can watch a random user fitting that description browse your website so you can listen to their feedback. If you’re a Shopify merchant, consider hiring a Shopify Expert to give you feedback.
It's important to note that while feedback is valuable, you shouldn’t make major changes to your store based on a single source of negative feedback. Instead, look for common snags or areas where visitors are frequently confused or frustrated, and brainstorm solutions to make things easier or more explicit or ways to remove the hurdle altogether.
24. Get familiar with your Shopify Reports
There’s a lot you can learn from your Shopify analytics, including tracking how your marketing efforts are converting to visits and sales. Since marketing is such a fundamental part of BFCM, make sure to brush up on how you can track, measure, and improve your marketing campaigns directly in Shopify with marketing analytics. The overview dashboard shows key sales, orders, and online store visitor data, and you can dive deeper into specific reports to get more insights.
25. Set up heat maps and other tools to understand user behavior
Where are visitors clicking? How do customers read your product pages? While Shopify’s analytics tools are powerful enough for most businesses, you might want to consider using additional user-tracking tools to gather detailed data during Black Friday Cyber Monday.
You can check out store management apps in the Shopify App Store, including heat maps, activity logs, and other useful metrics.
💡 Post BFCM: Retention and reflection
26. Turn seasonal shoppers into year-round customers
Why does your relationship with holiday shoppers need to end after the holidays? Instead, take steps to maintain and nurture your relationship with new customers you acquired during Black Friday Cyber Monday.
Keep your customers engaged year-round by staying active on social media and sending out post-sale emails to your subscribers. If those seasonal one-time shoppers didn’t sign up to your email list or follow your social media accounts, then retargeting might be your next best option.
If you set up retargeting pixels, one-time shoppers can become customers you advertise to year-round. Bring them back to your website with enticing ad copy and continue to expose them to your latest or most-relevant products.
27. Reflect on what worked and what didn’t
BFCM and the holiday season are excellent times for your business to learn from its mistakes as well as its successes. The lessons you learn have their own distinct value outside of revenue earned. That’s why it’s important to track everything and reflect on what worked and what didn’t.
As you implement new strategies and tactics this year, make sure to take notes (and screenshots) to document your decisions and the outcomes. These records will give you a benchmark for next year’s holiday season, while also letting you see what’s working for your business, so you can do more of it.
To help analyze and compare performance, Shopify will share a personalized view of how your store did during BFCM 2021 on key metrics. Keep an eye out for your BFCM data story in your Shopify admin. 2021 BFCM-based data stories to merchants, to help analyze performance during the season compared to 2020.
Here’s to a successful BFCM and holiday season
Preparation, planning, and starting earlier are the keys to a successful Black Friday Cyber Monday. This checklist should cover most of what you need to know for this year’s upcoming sale events. Hopefully, it puts you in a better position to succeed during this holiday season.
Make sure to check out our Black Friday Cyber Monday resource page for tools, webinars, resources, and tips.
If this is your first Black Friday Cyber Monday, treat it as a learning experience. Stay motivated and ambitious, set realistic expectations, and remember to enjoy the ride.
Illustrations by Isabella Fassler