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Preparing your Shopify Store for BFCM

7 min read Last Updated: March 8, 2021
Prepare Your Ecommerce Store for BFCM

Written by Michael Trang

Michael Trang is a Managing Partner at SKU Agency - the e-commerce agency focused on growing your business through strategy, technology & design. Michael loves fishing, playing guitar, and learning about the latest & greatest technologies.

The Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales extravaganza is a crucial financial period for e-commerce businesses. It gives your store the opportunity to make its most significant sales of the year. It can also be a wonderful way to engage new customers and build brand loyalty that carries on long after the holiday season.

But that doesn’t just magically happen. You have to put a lot of effort into preparing your Shopify store for Black Friday!

How?

Don’t worry — we have you covered.

Keep reading for a complete guide on how to ready your Shopify store for BFCM. We’ll explore the crucial steps your Shopify business should take, as well as tips to maximize sales.

Plan Your Sales and Special Offers in Advance

Your BFCM performance will reflect how well you planned. This is why retailers must start strategizing their BFCM sales early (as in the summer months of Q3).

To start the process, prepare calculations on your expected order volume. Base your calculations on your prior year’s BFCM sales, as well as this year’s quarterly earnings.

Reflecting on your financial hits and misses will also prepare you for what items you should consider promoting, as well as the structure of your sales.

Use these nifty Shopify sales report tools to make a data-informed decision about which products to promote.

Most e-commerce stores have one sale offer on Black Friday and another on Cyber Monday. You may even decide to offer two separate sales — one from Friday to Monday and a different one during the following week (aka Cyber Week).

Plan your BFCM sales around your:

    • Store type
    • Current and targeted customers
    • Sales expectations

Bespoke, high-end brands may choose to only have sales on Black Friday, while more inclusive brands may opt for several days of sales.

All e-commerce brands should consider generating VIP customer lists. This is your chance to reward loyal customers with free gifts, coupon codes, sneak-peek sale access, and other perks.

And remember:

The sooner you feel confident in your product offerings and demand forecast, the sooner you can think about implementing sale-boosting extras (which we’ll discuss below).


Check and Double-Check Operations

BFCM preparation

A successful Shopify store must meet all customer expectations, especially during the BFCM time crunch. You may have to put extra work into your backend operations to guarantee your store is running as smoothly as possible.

In other words, you must ensure:

    • Your inventory is large enough to handle an increase in sales
    • Your distribution channels are in place
    • Your customer service team is on standby
    • Your shipping and returns policies are crystal clear to customers

Let’s explore a few ways to make these things easier.

When in Doubt, Automate Tasks

If you are second-guessing if your store is up to the BFCM challenge, consider automating some of your services. Implementing the right workflow automation apps can help push your store to new heights of success.

For example, if you’re concerned about abandoned carts, an app like Buy Me – Buy Button may be just what you need. It adds buttons to your store pages that instantly adapt to your store’s theme and allows customers to check out faster.

Adding an app like Rebuy to your automation toolbox will help you upsell and cross-sell to customers. Use it to incentivize return purchases through intelligent product recommendations.

You can also use apps like Mechanic to hide out-of-stock items, send signup emails to customers, and more. It’s a simple way to ensure customer satisfaction, build brand loyalty, and communicate directly with your audience.

Planning and strategizing to fulfill customer orders and exceed customer expectations is vital to your BFCM success. Shopify e-commerce brands earned $2.9 billion BFCM weekend 2019, which was up from $1 billion the year prior. And Shopify smashed its 2019 record on Black Friday 2020 alone, with $2.4 billion in global sales, an increase of 75%.

And with the COVID pandemic’s effects on brick-and-mortar retail, it’s more important than ever to ensure your online store is primed for an increase in purchases.

Related: 7 Shopify Apps to Improve Your Business


Promote Like Crazy

Your BFCM deals are useless if potential customers are not aware of them! Even if you feel that your year-long marketing strategies are already working for you, the weeks leading up to BFCM are the time to kick it into high gear.

    • Increase your social media presence
    • Send more marketing emails to your subscribers
    • Add BFCM deal info to your store’s landing pages

Use colorful, dazzling imagery where possible, too. Shoppers just love that!

Another perk of distributing sneak-peek offers and coupons to your email list is that it adds a personal touch. That can go a long way during the highly competitive holiday shopping season.

We recommend our partners at Klaviyo if your Shopify store is in need of relevant, sales-driven campaigns to reach targeted customers on social media and email. The app analyzes and segments your store visitors and sends content to convert them into shoppers.

Want help building content for your marketing campaign? We may be able to help! Learn more about our Shopify email marketing services.


Make It Easy for Your Customers to Shop

Easy ecommerce payment options

During BFCM, it’s crucial to make shopping in your store convenient, safe, and fun. There are a few features you can add to your Shopify site to do that:

Multiple Payment Options 

Increase the likelihood of a sale by accepting several forms of payment. In addition to credit and debit cards, you should take Google Pay, Amazon Pay, and PayPal.

Don’t forget about accepting installment payment providers, such as Klarna and Sezzle. This can take the pressure off shoppers who want to buy but need flexible options.

Trust Badges

Add trust badges to your site’s landing pages to instill confidence in your visitors. Trust badges are visual seals that let your customer know their information is safe.

For instance, you can add a badge verifying that the site contains extra layers of security to protect payment information. This simple step can go a long way in building credibility.

Offers and Exclusions

Be transparent about sales. Let your customers know what they include and exclude, start and end dates, and if your store’s gift cards are valid during BFCM.

This will put the kibosh on any confusion or post-purchase dissatisfaction your customers may feel. It will also put less stress on your customer service team.

Related: Should You Outsource Shopify Customer Support?

Implement Wishlists

If your store doesn’t have a wishlist feature, add one now.

You may be thinking, “But do I want customers to have the option to walk away from a purchase when they’re interested in my products?”

Yes, yes you do. And we’ll tell you why:

Offering a wishlist is a good way to get customers to create an account and sign up for your mailing list.

It also increases the likelihood they’ll come back to your store and commit to a purchase.

And finally, wishlists can generate free marketing.

They include “share” buttons that allow the creator to send their wishlist to family and friends. That means new potential customers become acquainted with your brand and, considering someone close to them is promoting it, will be more likely to shop with you.

Proudly Display Reviews

Apps like Loox can help you show off rave reviews from satisfied shoppers.

This leads to social proof marketing, which is a seriously effective tool that offers customers-to-be evidence for why they should buy from you.

Your Contact Information

Make sure it’s clear how your customers can reach you if they have any questions or comments.

This may already be on its own contact page. But, a sticky contact form makes it easier for your customers to reach out to you or your support team.

Ultimately, it’s another way to build trust and help customers feel safe shopping with you.

Need help building out your online store? Learn about our Shopify Design and Development Services.


Ensure Post-Purchase Satisfaction

How to get ready for Cyber Monday

The days following BFCM may feel like a whirlwind, especially since Cyber Monday has turned into Cyber Week in recent years. But even after you fulfill the last order, you still have work to do.

This is the perfect time to build brand loyalty with both new and returning customers.

How do you do that?

With Smile.io, one of our favorite apps for ensuring post-purchase satisfaction.

This app offers a point system that rewards customers for shopping with you, a key retargeting strategy. It also has referral and VIP programs that can be segmented for target customers.

On top of that, make sure to stay on top of any returns and exchanges. Even if someone is unhappy with their product, you want them to have a positive interaction with your brand. Processing returns and exchanges ASAP will help you maintain a good reputation.

A high-volume season is certainly stressful for Shopify store owners. But if you keep pushing until you’ve ensured every holiday buyer is happy, it’ll pay off in dividends.


Assess Your Black Friday/Cyber Monday Performance

Once the dust settles, it’s time to take a look at your:

    • Online sales figures
    • Customer service feedback
    • Website traffic metrics

Take a hard, honest look at your store’s BFCM performance.

    • Did your overall sales meet your forecasted figures?
    • Did you have more satisfied customers than unsatisfied ones?
    • How high was cart abandonment?
    • How did your customer care team perform?

Answering these questions can take some time, but it’s very important. It’s how you learn from your mistakes, discover your business’s weak points, and, ultimately, develop new strategies to increase conversion rates.

Yes, the BFCM season is a great time to skyrocket sales and attract new customers during this time. But on top of that, it’s a superb learning opportunity for all e-commerce brands.

And it’s never too early to start thinking about future BFCM sales periods. Your endless hustle is what makes you a successful Shopify retailer, after all.


Conclusion

The Black Friday/Cyber Monday week may only happen once every twelve months, but how your store handles these holiday sales can affect your business for the rest of the year.

It takes a lot of work and the right resources, but by following our guide, your BFCM campaign will no doubt be a success story.

Concerned your Shopify store isn’t quite ready for BFCM? Our trusted Shopify Experts can help you make this Black Friday season your best ever!

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