BFCM Checklist: 15 Tips to Win Big This Year

Liam Liu | Oct 24, 2023 |Ecommerce

Black Friday Cyber Monday (BFCM) starts the day after American Thanksgiving and ends the next Monday. In 2022, U.S. online sales reached $9.12 billion on Black Friday. Shopify added that the average order was $102.10 during that BFCM period.

For 2023, we expect even more activity. Even though BFCM now stretches over several days, it's still a big deal for merchants.

So, merchants, if you're planning for this sales season, we have a checklist for you. It's designed to help you get ready for the biggest shopping time of the year. Let's make it count!


BFCM Checklist for Your Online Store

1. Create a frictionless user experience

On Black Friday, less is more when it comes to website design. Simplified layouts with a focus on direct communication can stand out amidst the shopping frenzy. Make sure your homepage unambiguously showcases the best of what you're offering.

As the festive days transition, keep things fresh. Update your visuals from Black Friday, through Cyber Monday, and into the Christmas season. And a pro-tip: let those promotions roll until the last possible shipping day before the holiday.


2. Ready your inventory 

Inventory management becomes crucial when Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM) are on the horizon. Get it right, and you're set. Make a mistake, and challenges arise.

To ensure success:

  • Analyze previous sales: If you've had a BFCM sale before, those figures can guide your expectations for this year.
  • Review social media metrics: Past social media campaigns can be telling. High engagement often correlates with increased traffic during promotions.
  • Lean into platforms: Platforms like SEMrush or Ahrefs can highlight product popularity and search volume shifts during BFCM.

By understanding potential traffic and its impact on sales, you can better estimate inventory requirements. It's about using data with a touch of forward-thinking.


3. Create an Unbeatable BFCM Deal

Ever wondered why some stores practically give away a hot item during BFCM? It's not a mistake—it's a clever strategy! Entice shoppers with a jaw-dropping discount on a must-have item, and watch as they often add even more to their cart before reaching the checkout.

Regardless of the platform you're using, here are some tricks up your sleeve:

  • Suggest complementary items or enticing add-ons (think upsells and cross-sells).
  • Aim for more 'Buy Now' clicks and reduce those abandoned carts.
  • Create irresistible discounts and time-sensitive flash sales.

Every now and then, offering a top-tier product at a reduced price pays off. When customers come for that incredible deal, they're inclined to fill their carts with additional full-priced items. The objective? Not just to sell one product at a discount but to boost the entire sale value.

Need inspiration? Here's a template to kickstart your offer: "Exclusive BFCM Deal: Get [Product] at [X% off]! Step inside for even more unbeatable deals!"

Plan your offer carefully, and brace for a surge in sales!


4. Focus on Revenue-Generating Channels

Someone's hovering over the 'Buy' button on Amazon. Another stops scrolling on Instagram because of your post. Meanwhile, a viewer tunes into a live stream featuring your brand. The question is, where's the real action happening?

Dig into your sales reports. Pinpoint that top-performing channel. Now, intensify your presence:

  • E-marketplaces: Push top sellers. Roll out bundles. Launch flash discounts.
  • Social media: Keep the feed lively. Deploy polls, drop fresh stories, partner with influencers.
  • Live video: Command attention with Q&As. Showcase products. Hand out viewer-only deals.

Don't scatter your efforts. Zero in on your top sales channels and dominate.


5. Get Ahead with Proactive Email Marketing

Email remains a powerhouse for BFCM promotions. Start planning early and unlock the potential. Here's your playbook:

  • Ramp up email sign-ups: Spread sign-up opportunities throughout your website. Consider offering a special sneak peek or first dibs on sales to new subscribers. Gather genuine email addresses, but always ensure you have their nod to send promos.
  • Personalize the experience: Generic emails? No thanks. Use platforms like MailerLite to craft messages that resonate. Incorporate recipient names or offer product recommendations based on their browsing habits.
  • Hint at what’s coming: Whet their appetites. Share glimpses of your upcoming BFCM deals. Maybe a quick peek today, a little more tomorrow. And how about exclusive previews for your loyal patrons?
  • Thank your shoppers: Once the sale wraps up, send a heartfelt thank you. But don't flood their inbox. With order confirmations already flying around, schedule your appreciation about a week later.


6. Streamline Your Shipping & Tracking Experience

When the BFCM orders pour in, how you handle shipping and tracking can make or break the experience. As you refine your checklist, prioritize post-purchase interactions.

Enter ParcelPanel. Integrate it to elevate your branded tracking experience. With a staggering connection to 1100+ couriers, it's designed to keep your customers in the loop every step of the way. But don't just track – brand it. Add your logo, messaging, and upsell opportunities. When customers check their package status, they should feel the essence of your brand.

Additionally, you can use ParcelPanel to:

  • Suggest relevant products, drawing customers back for more.
  • Present special offers or deals for their next visit.
  • Deliver instant support, resolving concerns and bolstering confidence.
  • Collect invaluable feedback for refining future BFCM strategies.

Take advantage of these features to optimize each post-purchase touchpoint.


7. Optimize for Mobile

With a whopping 73% of 2022's Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales coming from mobile devices and only 27% from desktops, it's crystal clear where your audience is shopping. It's time to ensure you're meeting them there. Here’s your action plan:

  • Adapt Your layout: Opt for responsive design. Platforms like Shopify have themes that adjust to any screen size. If your website isn’t fitting every screen perfectly, it's time for a tweak.
  • Enlarge clickables: Ensure buttons and links are thumb-friendly. Too small, and you risk frustrating your potential customers. Adjust sizes so they're easy to tap.
  • Streamline your menu: Overhaul the navigation. Consider the mobile user and perhaps switch to a simpler layout like the hamburger menu.
  • Prioritize readability: Check your font size and style. Your text should be clear and legible on the smallest of screens without zooming in.
  • Chunk your content: Large blocks of text can daunt mobile users. Break it down. Use short paragraphs, headings, and bullets to make scanning a breeze.

If you haven’t adjusted for the mobile-majority yet, now’s the moment. Don't let your business lag behind in the mobile race.


8. Design an Intuitive Checkout Experience

Optimize your checkout, especially for mobile users. Consider this: How many steps does a customer need to take before they hit 'Buy Now'? If they're squinting and scrolling too much, you're on the wrong track. 

Enter solutions like Shop Pay, Apple Pay, and Google Pay. These nifty tools are not just about payments – they're about pace. They pull up saved details, making checkouts snappy by cutting down on all that tedious typing. Besides that, consider the following elements to enhance your checkout experience:

  • Less steps: Reassess every stage. If a step isn't crucial, it's prime for elimination.
  • Responsive design: Ensure your checkout is as intuitive on mobile as it is on desktop. No pinch, no zoom, just smooth sailing.
  • Clear CTAs: Your 'Buy Now' or 'Proceed to Payment' buttons should be bold and unmissable.
  • Feedback loop: Offer a quick confirmation, visually or textually, when a user completes a step. It reassures and guides them forward.


9. Measure and Improve Your Conversion Rate

It's not enough to get visitors to your site during BFCM; you need to turn them into paying customers. Even a 1% increase in your conversion rate can lead to substantial sales growth.

Here’s how to do it:

Benchmark your rate

First, figure out where you stand. Research the typical conversion rate for businesses similar to yours. Consider factors like location, gross merchandise value (GMV), and industry vertical (e.g., toys, home and garden, clothing).

Use an ecommerce calculator

Leverage an e-commerce conversion rate calculator to:

  • Compare your performance to similar brands.
  • Receive practical suggestions for improving your rate.
  • Spot weaknesses in your conversion strategy and areas ripe for enhancement.

With BFCM on the horizon, optimizing your conversion rate is a no-brainer.


10. Plan for Brick-and-Mortar Sales 

Despite most people taking their shopping online during BFCM, you should take steps to provide in-person and retail shopping experiences. The best prepared brands are ones who have the ability to serve people wherever they decide. to shop. 

You don’t have to rent an expensive space, though. Consider organizing a pop-up to serve your audience in person. You can partner with another retailer or go solo with this idea. POS solutions like Shopify POS makes it easy to take payments in person.

Another idea is to offer convenient options like curbside pickup and local delivery. These are ideal for those who prefer to shop online but want the flexibility of in-person interactions. Clearly communicate these options on your website and during the checkout process to stand out.


11. Streamline Order Fulfillment

BFCM sales can overwhelm even seasoned sellers. The rush of orders, a cluttered workspace, and potential miscommunication are common roadblocks to efficient fulfillment. Fortunately, there are ways to address these challenges:

  • Workspace first: A tidy workspace is key. Dedicate a space specifically for fulfillment. Place high-demand items close by to speed up packing.
  • Team up: A spike in orders means you'll need more hands. Recruit temporary staff or enlist help from acquaintances.
  • Stay in touch: Regular communication can prevent many mistakes. Use platforms like Shopify Timeline to keep everyone informed.

To tackle orders effectively:

  • Cherish regulars: Send a thank-you note with orders for repeat customers. It’s a small gesture that fosters loyalty.
  • Group products: When packing, group similar items. Tools like Shopify can assist, especially if you've listed product details.
  • Think shipping: Handle premium shipping orders as a priority. Also, group orders by delivery zones to streamline the process.


12. Prepare Your Website for The Traffic Surge

As BFCM looms closer, online retailers must grapple with a double-edged sword: the promise of massive sales, countered by the challenge of unprecedented web traffic. Meeting this surge without compromising the user experience is crucial. After all, no retailer wants to see frustrated shoppers, abandoned carts, or lost revenue simply because their online infrastructure couldn't bear the weight of heightened demand.

Take the following steps to ensure your site is ready to handle the surge:

  • Expand your bandwidth: One of the most common BFCM pitfalls is inadequate bandwidth. Anticipate the surge and scale up your bandwidth to handle the influx. Discuss with your hosting provider about temporary upgrades or flexible plans that can adjust with the traffic.
  • Boost your site’s speed: The thrill of snagging a BFCM deal can fizzle out if your website lags. Slow-loading pages not only frustrate customers but can also mar your brand image. Regular checks with tools like Google PageSpeed Insights can help ensure your site is up to speed and ready to handle the influx.
  • Streamline your design: As the saying goes, "First impressions matter." Ensure your website is free from digital clutter. Remove broken links, replace pixelated images, and keep your product listings updated. Treat your online store as you would a physical store – neat, tidy, and ready for customers.


13. Maximize BFCM Revenue with Upselling and Cross-Selling

Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM) go beyond mere discounts. The real winners of this sales frenzy are the merchants who embrace strategic selling techniques. Among these techniques, upselling and cross-selling stand out.

Upselling encourages customers to consider a higher-end product. On the other hand, cross-selling introduces them to complementary items. These strategies don't just boost the Average Order Value (AOV). They tailor the shopping journey to individual customer needs.

Here are some ways to upsell and cross-sell:

  • Go beyond the usual discounts: Think outside the box. Instead of a flat 20% off, why not offer a virtual makeup tutorial session with every $50 purchase for a cosmetics brand? Or a cooking class for a kitchenware store? It's about offering value that extends beyond the product.
  • Create exclusive BFCM treasures: Imagine releasing a jewelry piece with a BFCM-only design or a special edition sneaker that's only available during the sale period. These limited-time offerings can create a buzz and drive customers to make impromptu purchases, allured by the exclusivity.
  • Bundle well: Increase both the buyer's delight and your AOV by pairing products that go hand in hand. For example, if you're an electronics retailer, consider a bundle that includes headphones, a protective case, and a portable charger. For those seeking a thrill, roll out a mystery bundle filled with some of your bestsellers, offered at a delightful discount.


14. Map Your BFCM Marketing Strategy

The days before Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM) are super busy. Shoppers are excited and ready to buy. If you own an online shop, this is your big moment! 

You can sell a lot and also get new loyal customers. But, to stand out and win customers, you need a strong plan. You have to think differently and act early. Wondering how? Let’s break it down.

Craft a Clear Schedule with a Promotional Calendar 

Before you do anything, make a calendar. This will be your guide. It helps you decide:

  • What items or deals you want to promote.
  • Where you will tell people about them (like on Facebook or in an email).
  • When each promotion will start and end.
  • How much money you will spend on each promotion. 

With this calendar, you won’t forget or miss any important steps.

Spread the Word with Emails & Messages 

Everyone checks their emails and messages. So, tell people about your sales this way! Make fun and catchy messages. You can announce sales, give special early access, or remind people about items they left in their shopping cart. If you make these emails personal, like suggesting products based on what they like, they will pay more attention and might buy more.

Host Fun Contests on Social Media 

People love games and free stuff. Why not have a contest on Facebook or Instagram? When more people join, more people will know about your sale. And this can lead to more sales!


15. Enhance Customer Support and Streamline Returns

Black Friday is hectic. Amidst the rush, customers seek comfort in swift support and easy returns. Your approach can make all the difference.

Here’s what you can do:

  • Empathy first: Train your team. Equip them with tools and heart. They should feel and fix issues like lost orders or damaged items.
  • Quick guides: Draft short responses for common problems. Example: "Sorry about this. Let's make it right."
  • Show your return policy: It's not just rules. It's trust. Put it on product pages, FAQs, and confirmation emails.
  • Give more time: The season is busy. Maybe extend return times. It's a gesture they'll remember.

Each interaction on BFCM is a chance to win a customer. Make it warm. Make it count.


Gearing Up for BFCM Success!

Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM) are big days for selling. To do well, planning and starting early are very important. This checklist is your guide. Many shops will have big sales, but with this guide, you can stand out.

Want more tips? Visit our blog for ecommerce advice and tips. It has many useful resources to help you.

Is this your first BFCM? No worries! Think of it as a chance to learn. Keep your spirits high, set clear goals, and most of all, have fun doing it. Good sales are on the way!

author logo
Liam Liu
Co-Founder & CPO | ParcelPanel
Liam Liu is the visionary co-founder and CPO at ParcelPanel. Always putting customer success first, he thinks highly of out-of-the-box usability and values user feedback while sparing no efforts to help businesses achieve high ROIs, customer retention and more sustainable growth. Indeed, He's committed to helping businesses deliver the best-in-class post-purchase experience with a full-fledged solution.

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