Ready to start preparing your Shopify store for Black Friday?
We hope so.
We’re here to help you prepare your store for BFCM, avoid stress and fully capitalize on all that Shopify BFCM 2023 commercial potential.
In our guide, we discuss crucial Black Friday dates and preparation deadlines, marketing strategies, and more.
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When is BFCM 2023?
In 2023, Black Friday falls on November 24th and Cyber Monday - on November 27th.
In 2022, Shopify Black Friday Cyber Monday weekend amounted to $7.5 billion in sales worldwide. That’s a 19% increase compared to 2021 and the trend dates back to, well, the beginning of Shopify. It goes to show that every year Black Friday for Shopify merchants is growing in stakes.
But make sure you start preparing early! From inventory and logistics to marketing campaigns, all needs to be in order way before the end of November.
Now, let us walk you through it and make your Shopify store Black Friday ready.
1. Plan new products to sell
If your store is running smoothly as it is, Black Friday is a great time to introduce some more variety to it. “Black Friday specials” homepage section accompanied by jaw-dropping deals can help your store stand out.
If you’re worried about handling the logistics, consider dropshipping. You won’t need to take care of the inventory and shipping, but you must find reliable sellers to ensure a smooth process.
Shopify Black Friday bestsellers
Lacking ideas on what you can add to your Shopify store for BFCM? Get inspiration from trending BFCM product categories of the past two years:
Shopify Black Friday bestseller categories 2021/2022:
- apparel and accessories
- health and beauty
- home and garden
2. Plan your BFCM inventory and logistics
This point will make or break your Black Friday period. You can have the most creative marketing campaigns or the most lucrative deals, if you run out of products or your shipment process is hindered by the increased sales, your Black Friday profit margins will suffer.
Take care of these three aspects to ensure smooth BFCM operations:
Check inventory and suppliers
You must have a solid inventory of all your best-selling products. Analyze your store’s sales reports, especially Sales by Product, as well as your Black Friday 2021-2022 hits to forecast which products are going to skyrocket in demand.
The previously mentioned dropshipping alternative can apply to your existing offers too, especially because dropshipping suppliers are extra prepared to handle surges in order amounts.
Also, take a look into Inventory Planner, an app that will help with purchase orders and seasonal trend management.
Take care of shipping and returns
For the most part, shipping is out of your control, but it will determine the success of your BFCM performance nonetheless.
Expect shipping delays and add notes about that to your product pages.
A good idea is to diversify your shipping options. Consider introducing warehouse pick up possibilities or set up same-day delivery agreements with courier companies for sales over a certain amount. Offer free gift wrapping to complement the extended shipping times.
The bottom line here is to manage customer expectations about delivery (and return) times very carefully.
Ensure top customer service
From product pricing to store design, Black Friday is a period of changes. Naturally, people will face issues and have questions, and it’s going to happen at a rate you rarely see.
To ensure your customer support is running as smoothly as every, consider taking these steps:
- Troubleshoot the purchasing process and remove potential blockers
- Introduce live chat option for that period, even if you cannot support it full time later on
- Invest into a chat bot or hire temporary staff
- Make sure you’re providing adequate support for international customers
Also, cross-border sales added up to 15% of total BFCM Shopify merchant sales in 2022, so ensure your store is localized with Shopify Markets. It wouldn’t hurt either if you provided multilingual live support to your best ability.
One last thing - if you have multiple customer support channels, save yourself some time and consolidate them for the Black Friday (and perhaps even longer) period using Gorgias Shopify App.
3. Decide on your BFCM discounts
According to Shopify’s research, 84% of customers plan to compare BFCM Shopify discounts before their purchase. So you have to be smart about how you approach your Black Friday discounts.
For starters, here are a couple of don'ts regarding your discount strategy:
Don’t introduce overly complicated voucher codes or too many steps to claim those vouchers. If people need to spend a substantial amount of time to claim their discount codes, chances are they will leave your store immediately.
Another practice to avoid when setting up Black Friday sales on Shopify is multiple discount sources and codes. If you have many discounts available at your Shopify store, how they stack and what they apply to can cause complete chaos for eager shoppers and consequently your customer support.
Take a page from one of the most successful Shopify retailers, Fashion Nova. They nailed their homepage banner offer - an outstanding discount, no code needed to claim it all presented in Black Friday colors.
Now let’s discuss how you can leverage discounts to your advantage.
Examples of BFCM sales you can run
Struggling to come up with an effective BFCM sales strategy? Apply one of these tried-and-tested approaches to Black Friday discounts:
- One deal an hour. We cannot recommend this Black Friday sales strategy enough, but you have to be prepared to handle consistently increased website traffic. Offering deals on different products every hour creates a sense of urgency and people return to your Shopify store many, many times.
For example, Steve Madden went that direction with a flashy banner:
- Order value discounts. Shopify promotion research has shown that giving discounts based on order value gives BFCM profit margins a good boost.
Take a look at Partake Foods promoting their 25% discount on orders over $35 with a flashy homepage banner:
- Buy one get one free. This type of approach is extra effective when you pair one of the best selling items with something cheaper and relevant, yet not as popular.
- Flash sales. Running huge 70-90% flash sales for a few hours will have people flocking to your Shopify store for exceptional Black Friday deals, but be prepared to handle massive traffic spikes.
- Multiple discount tiers. Group your products into several categories with different discounts using an app like Unlimited Bundles & Discounts. Have clear cut boundaries between the categories though to avoid previously mentioned offer overlap.
For example, United by Blue did something very smart - they created two discount tiers and featured them on their homepage. Customers can start with the more discounted items. If nothing strikes their fancy, they know they can always go back to the smaller storewide discount option.
How to change the price for Black Friday in Shopify?
Not sure how to introduce discounts to your Shopify store?
Let us help you change your product price for Black Friday:
- Click Products and select the products you want to discount.
2.Click Edit products and adjust Price and Compare at price. Compare at price will show up as the original one while the amount under Price will be the amount offered to your customers as Black Friday discount.
3.Click Save. This is how the price change will show up on your website:
Do you want to apply the same discount to the entire store? Save yourself time with a Shopify discount app such as Bulk Discounts Now and quickly apply store-wide discounts.
4. Prepare your Shopify store Black Friday design
When it comes to eCommerce stores, people indeed judge the book by its cover. Use that to your advantage by turning your Shopify store into a Black Friday shopping powerhouse with effective BFCM design.
Here are some general tips about visuals and design to prepare your Shopify store for Black Friday:
- Customize your Shopify theme for Black Friday
- Make sure all visuals are optimized for fast website speed
- Troubleshoot navigation and other UX-related aspects
Now let’s dive into each visual aspect of your Shopify store in more depth.
BFCM Shopify themes
If your store does not scream “Black Friday”, one of the biggest sales periods of the year might not go that well. To remedy that, start with your BFCM Shopify theme.
Think about Shopify theme’s preparation for Black Friday this way:
- Don’t switch themes right before BFCM. If you don’t think your Shopify theme represents your store well, plan a switch to a new one months before Black Friday. This allows for sufficient troubleshooting and a smooth transition process.
- Customize your theme. Adjust colors, banners and other on-page elements across the site to support your Black Friday effort.
Remember that theme customization is oftentimes not a small task. Here you have to take into account how much work you can do by yourself and how much input you need from professional developers.
There are costs involved in both, time and money-wise. Plus, if you pay a developer to do some heavy customizations, you will need their help after BFCM as well. Yet it’s a good investment if you want to see those BFCM sales rolling in.
BFCM store homepage design
As the face of your store, the homepage deserves extra care and attention for Black Friday period. It is also one of the easiest ways to ensure conversions.
Here are some best practices for BFCM home page design:
- Use a countdown timer to create urgency
- Mention free shipping on all orders if you offer it
- Introduce sales banners designed for conversions
- Have bold and well-visible CTAs
We recommend using the Add Announcement Bar app to showcase your best offers quickly and effectively.
BFCM product page design
This is where Black Friday magic happens. You can have the most creative and effective ways of getting people to your product pages, but if they’re not designed for Black Friday conversions, it will be empty traffic.
We recommend to organize your BFCM product page design this way:
- Update your product pages with Black Friday product photos that are well optimized
- Include BFCM banners or widgets
- Use promotional copy in your Shopify product descriptions
- Update shipping information with notes about possible shipping delays
- Consider including Black Friday-related questions into your product page FAQ
For example, Secret Lab amped up their product page with an impressive BFCM discount and a standout urgency widget to feature it:
Install TinyIMG and take care of image optimization and automatic compression on all your product pagesOptimize your store images now
Make your BFCM design mobile-responsive
73% of 2022 Black Friday Shopify sales were made on mobile devices.
Whether you’re implementing BFCM urgency widgets, adding product photos or revamping your page, think mobile first. Otherwise, you’ll fail to capitalize on the majority of the incoming traffic. Also, make sure you’re using a mobile-optimized Shopify theme like Booster or Flex and take a careful look at the overall state of your store’s mobile SEO.
5. Start your marketing campaigns early
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are more of a shopping season than a weekend. Customers begin their BFCM research early and you want to be in the back of their mind at all times.
To achieve this, follow some general best practices:
- Organize a 360 degree campaign, meaning make your social media, banners, email marketing campaigns and store design work hand in hand.
- Make a BFCM marketing calendar. Organize when your banners need to be live, when you need to send your BFCM emails and push your first discounts live.
- Send email reminders. Let your existing clients know regularly that you have juicy BFCM deals prepared for them.
Now let’s look at tips for a couple of most effective BFCM marketing channels.
Being one of the most personal ways to get in touch with your customers, emails are an extra powerful BFCM tool. Use them to your advantage and email marketing will be at the forefront of your Black Friday conversions.
We suggest a four-step BFCM email marketing strategy:
- Send out an early email regarding Black Friday. Get creative with it. For instance, you can send a quick survey asking your customers which of the selected five products they would like to see discounted the most. Not only will you have good open and click-through rates, but also gain insights into your customers’ expectations.
- Send an email with an exclusive deal one day before Black Friday. Have a timer element to create a sense of urgency.
- Reduce cart abandonment rates with well-crafted cart abandonment emails.
- Send out personalized notes of gratitude for those who make a purchase.
Use Firepush to set up smooth email push promotional campaigns. Plus, we can offer you an awesome Black Friday Shopify app deal - 20% off on all Firepush plans.
BFCM social media
When strategizing for Black Friday, social media is your not-so-secret weapon. The way you handle social media BFCM marketing will determine your visibility and people’s interest in your Shopify store.
Some tips to make the most out of your BFCM social media effort:
- Integrate in-app checkouts. Shopify found that in 2021 social integration sales tripled compared to 2020, and those numbers keep increasing. Provide your customers with the level of convenience they expect.
- Update cover photos and descriptions. People notice them, so this is the way to give your discounts that well-deserved spotlight.
- Pin messages. Having messages pinned to your profile on Twitter will help you get your promotions across.
- Create enticing promotion posts. Reach big audiences and inform customers about upcoming deals.
- Provide social media customer support. After you share your deals and promotions, people will message you about them on your social media accounts. Reply to comments and messages in a timely manner.
How to balance marketing and inventory for Black Friday Shopify?
Your Black Friday marketing campaigns will have a wide reach. We have some tips to ensure your marketing and inventory are working hand in hand:
- Plan based on trends. Marketing and selling trending products will help you gain traction during Black Friday.
- Market what you stock up on. Running out of inventory during Black Friday sales because you marketed limited goods too heavily is a misuse of marketing effort.
- Put emphasis on last years’ leftovers. Do you have some items piling up that you can’t seem to sell out? Calculate minimal profit margins, discount them heavily and turn them into your Black Friday bestsellers.
6. Make use of additional apps for Shopify BFCM
Shopify is famous for helping sellers with, well, everything. And if there is something you feel like you lack, there will be a Shopify app for it.
Take a look at our top list of BFCM Shopify apps:
- PageFly - an invaluable solution to improve conversions, PageFly is an affordable app for product and sales landing page creation. They have an extensive Element Library, numerous content display options topped off with 24/7 live support.
- Reconvert - checkout and post-purchase upsell and cross sell app to fill up those BFCM carts to the top.
- TinyIMG - long store load times can easily ruin all of your Black Friday effort. Achieve up to 70% faster loading times with image compression using TinyIMG. Plus, the app will help you improve your Shopify store’s SEO.
- T:Trust Badges, Features Icons - introduce trust badges and product labels for a more trust-inspiring website and increased BFCM sales.
- LAI Reviews - with mobile-responsive layouts and rating-based auto publish, LAI Reviews is designed with dropshippers in mind. It allows importing reviews from AliExpress, Amazon, Oberlo and Eprolo straight into the store.
- BON Loyalty Rewards Referrals - loyalty programs and referrals are bound to help with post-BFCM customer retention.
- Loox - another top tier solution for gathering photo and video reviews from satisfied shoppers with customizable email campaigns.
- Wiser - offer personalized recommendations based on your shoppers’ browsing history. It’s an invaluable tool for bringing relevant product suggestions to your customers.
- UpPromote - You can unlock and utilize the potential of affiliate marketing to boost your business sales during BFCM with UpPromote. They offer a variety of features for you to manage and build your own custom programs including a coupon feature, multi-level marketing and 24/7 support to assist your every need.
7. Analyze your store performance
Make data-driven BFCM planning by analyzing the performance of your store during previous Black Friday periods.
Let’s take a look at performance aspects you can turn into actionable BFCM strategies:
- Understand your most profitable channels. While overall organic traffic and email marketing tend to be the most effective marketing channels, analyze how the best converting customers come to your store specifically. Consider investing more into those marketing channels for the Black Friday period.
- Use the Shopify discount report to make conclusions on how effective your BFCM discount strategies were. The discounts that brought in the most sales throughout previous years are probably worth re-implementing for 2023 BFCM as well.
- Analyze your inventory. If specific items have not been selling despite good discounts and effective marketing, invest your Black Friday effort somewhere else.
Shopify Store BFCM Additional Trends and Tips
We covered quite a bit of aspects that will help any Shopify store make the most of Black Friday.
Here are a few more BFCM insights to help you go the extra mile:
- Optimize mobile version to perfection. 2020 vs 2021 mobile sales grew from 67% to 72% of total BFCM Shopify sales made. The mobile version of your Shopify store should be at the forefront of your preparation.
- Test your website performance. While Shopify has made sure your store is prepared to handle increased website traffic, double check your Shopify Store Speed Report to avoid any seller’s worst nightmare - an unexpected website crash during Black Friday.
- Use the opportunity to get new email subscribers. Getting notified about BFCM discounts on your Shopify store might entice quite a few people to sign up.
Take a look at Terre Bleu using this strategy with their BFCM popup banner:
- Show the person behind the store.Don’t be yet another discount, show your customers that there is a person behind these Black Friday sales. People want to support small businesses, independent sellers and brands with a strong storyline.
- Avoid releasing new store features. Technical difficulties are bound to happen and the BFCM period is the worst time to test them.
- Accelerate Black Friday check out. Use Shop Pay to create a seamless check out experience.
- Follow the best sustainability practices. People care where their Black Friday goods come from, how they are made and shipped.
- Make use of the Thank You page. Don’t let people leave your store right after they make a purchase. A Thank You page is a great way to cross sell or suggest social media shares about the purchase, all of which extends the customer's Black Friday journey in your store.
- Personalize your suggestions. To ensure every visitor is seeing just the BFCM deals they need, use one of Shopify’s personalization apps.
- Position your brand as eco-friendly. Even the most rigorous local shoppers will find themselves browsing international stores during BFCM. Make sure they know what your store is doing to reduce carbon emissions involved in long-distance shipping and help them shop with peace of mind.
Shopify Black Friday Checklist Every Merchant Needs
We’ve covered a handful of strategies and tips to capitalize on BFCM with your Shopify store. Wouldn’t it be nice if you also had a simple and actionable list of steps to follow?
We got you covered.
Get our BFCM Shopify checklist and execute your Black Friday preparation with certainty.Download BFCM Checklist
Preparing your Shopify store for BFCM 2023: Takeaways
There you have it - strategies, tips and ideas to help your Shopify store reap the benefits of Black Friday.
- Black Friday inventory and shipping
- Effective BFCM store design and marketing strategies
- Top Shopify BFCM apps
- Black Friday performance analytics
By now you should be ready to tackle any challenges Black Friday and Cyber Monday bring and make your store shine. Download the checklist above, start at the top and in no time your store will be BFCM-ready!
Curious to read more? Check out these articles:
Frequently asked questions
Overall, the best-performing Black Friday discounts on Shopify start at 50%. However, the effectiveness of your Black Friday campaigns depends just as much on your conversion strategies and marketing effort as it does on the actual discount.
While technically Black Friday lasts only one day, it’s wise to have various sales running for around 2 weeks in that time period.