{85 DAYS 'TIL BF} Get Your Game On For Black Friday 2019!

With Labor Day — the unofficial end-of-summer — in the rearview, it’s time to look ahead to the upcoming holiday season. What? Already? In the ecommerce world, it’s never too early to start thinking about the holidays.

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Black Friday & Cyber Monday with Shopify

The time-honored holiday season opener is, of course, Black Friday. The past few years, it’s been more of an “opening weekend”, with Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday.  Many sites are using the “BFCM” acronym to represent “Black Friday/Cyber Monday” and gearing all their sales and special events to hit over the entire weekend. In fact, Shopify reported that in 2018, its merchants did a collective $1.5 billion dollars in sales during the holiday weekend [1]. That’s mighty impressive.

The eCommerce Checklist for BFCM

To help get us in the game for BFCM, we’ve prepared this 27-point checklist for you to audit your eCommerce site. It covers site optimization, user experience, customer service, outreach, and stats tracking.

Now this is not everything you need or should do to prepare for what is slowly the kick off to holiday shopping.  This is to get those creative and planning juices started because when it comes to the holiday shopping weekend the more you plan before hand the better off you will be.

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Let’s talk about these categories just a bit more.

Site Optimization
This is so important! When BFCM hits, traffic online always spikes. You want to make sure that your site is prepared for an influx of visitors. One major key here is making your site mobile friendly and making sure it loads as quickly on a phone as it does on your desktop. More and more people are using their phones and tablets to make purchases online. In fact, CNBC reported that “The Friday after Thanksgiving [in 2018] was … the first day in history to see more than $2 billion in sales stemming from smartphones.” [2] While a slow site with a bad mobile experience are two large factors that impact your bounce rate there are other smaller items that impact if a visitor stays to explore.

User Experience
This area is easy to overlook, but it’s the #1 reason people leave your site without purchasing. A recent study proved that you have only a fraction of a second to impress your customer [3]. In addition to impressing customers with your design, you want to make sure people can successfully navigate your site in a logical, normal way.  It’s also important to remember that you want to decrease the number steps it takes for a visitor to get the information they need and checkout.  When reviewing your site pay attention to how many clicks and interactions it takes to find a product and add it to your cart. While you can go through the steps of locating a product, adding it to the cart, checking out, etc. yourself, it would be a great idea to have someone who isn’t quite as familiar with your store test it for you. They’ll be more likely to find issues, or have some great suggestions for you!

To check all the boxes and download our getting started list for Black Friday Cyber Monday: DOWNLOAD HERE

Customer Service
One of the biggest frustrations of online shopping is feeling like a dollar sign and not a real person. Let your customers know you appreciate and care about them! There are many ways to do this, but one key is to think through your support process. Ensure that you are ready and available to quickly answer questions or point people in the right direction during BFCM. You may even want to have a special FAQ page just for the holidays.  They key is to make sure that these resources are easy to find, navigate through, and have the information someone needs.  Nothing is worse for a visitor than navigating the labyrinth of support and help pages just to realize your question was never answered.

Preparing Your Outreach
Taking the time NOW to develop your marketing plan and ensure you have all the pieces ready to drop will save you tons of time and stress in the long run! Starting the creative process in September will give you plenty of time to solidify your offers, create stunning graphics, do the keyword research needed, and so much more. More importantly, you don’t want to be doing your first test any new assets of functions during the shopping weekend.  Little things can always go wrong and you don’t want to be in the Shopify chat support line when you should be eating popcorn watching your reporting dashboard turn pretty shades of green.

Here’s a tip: compose your email newsletters ahead of time and schedule them to be sent out according to your marketing plan. One less thing to worry about on November 27th!

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Stats Tracking
If you aren’t measuring, you can’t improve… to paraphrase Peter Drucker [4]. How will you know if this year’s sales did better than last year’s? How will you know if your traffic increased by your goal of 25%? Measure. At the very least, you’ll want to be sure Google Analytics is set up for your store. And it’s a great idea to take the extra step and enable the Enhanced Ecommerce Analytics from Google. With this enabled, you can track each and every step in your conversion funnel to better understand where people are dropping off in the sales process rather than proceeding to the checkout page.


Ultimately, a successful BFCM weekend is determined by sales. But in order to get those sales, you need to ensure that your site is ready to receive customers, that the customers know where to go to buy, that their questions are answered promptly and accurately, and that the tools are in place to track activity in order to tweak all of the above for next year!

Need help in any of these areas? WhatArmy is happy to help!

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Time to call in the ‘A’ Team?

Still have a couple lingering questions? Talk to someone on our team and they will answer your questions and point you in the right direction