How to Build Your Black Friday eCommerce Strategy

How to Build Your Black Friday eCommerce Strategy

October 20, 2021

The holidays are right around the corner, and with consumers spending $109.8 billion in November of 2021 alone, we can expect a huge portion of sales to occur online. The pandemic has not slowed the fairly consistent year-over-year holiday shopping growth rate — although the way people shop may have changed. The time to prepare for the holidays is right now.

Building the right Black Friday eCommerce strategy depends on the specifics of your business. Rather than suggest that every organization should take the same approach, we’re going to provide a list of activities that you can use as a baseline, and you can choose the most important tasks based on your team’s needs and experience.

Boost Customer Acquisition With eCommerce Sales Tactics

The secret to landing more Black Friday eCommerce sales isn’t a secret — you need to take advantage of every opportunity to encourage your customer’s journey to successful completion: a sale. In our experience, many brands aren’t fully utilizing their B2C eCommerce websites, social media accounts, and other means of communication. Others fail to convey a sense of urgency when presenting their sales or products or highlight discounts that could increase sales. By using the list below, you can think through and plan ahead so you don’t miss out on sales that may have been as simple as giving the customer one more nudge.

1. Prepare Your Black Friday eCommerce Strategy Early

Although every year looks a little different, you can use information from past years to inform your eCommerce strategy for Black Friday, especially around the time of the holiday rush. Take note of historical lead times, stocking trends, and more to predict how you’ll stock and prepare for the holiday season. Here are some other reasons to start strategizing now:

  • Consumers are planning ahead to avoid delays from supply chain disruptions.
  • Working with suppliers now can help minimize lead times on popular items.
  • You can start building up buzz through email and social media about products you think will be best-sellers.
  • The more you prepare ahead of time, the more you can focus on other things, like boosting sales, when the holidays come.
  • Some strategies will take some time to implement, so knowing what’s on the docket can help you allow ample time for working out any kinks.

2. Optimize Your Site for Mobile

Hopefully, you’ve already done this, but if not, it’s key to remember that more and more people are making purchases from their mobile phones and smart devices. In fact, in 2021, mobile shopping — or m-commerce — accounted for 43% of all holiday shopping revenue.

Share of Smartphone Holiday Spend Chart from Adobe


Mobile shoppers will not make a purchase if there is an issue with the compatibility of their phone and your site, so we strongly suggest you optimize your site for mobile as soon as possible! Here are a few ways to make your site more mobile-friendly:

  • Make sure your site loads quickly on smart devices.
  • Size text and buttons appropriately for easy use on smaller screens.
  • Use a responsive eCommerce platform for simple cross-device friendliness.
  • Take advantage of free tools like Google Search Console to quickly identify areas of improvement.
  • Ensure the products in the shopping cart stay intact if the shopper switches from their computer to their mobile device.

Mobile optimization is critical any time of the year, but if you don’t have it going into Black Friday, you’re likely giving up a good portion of sales as customers choose to shop with more user-friendly sellers.

3. Leverage SEO and Social Media

Don’t underestimate the power of a strong search engine optimization (SEO) or social media outreach for your holiday sales strategy. While getting the search engines to work in your favor is an intricate, labor-intensive task, it’s a regularly recommended tactic that could potentially yield significant results. Likewise, your social media campaigns don’t have to go viral to bring in sales or get people interested in your brand. Simple holiday-themed posts and promotions can go a long way and help you build up traction.

To make it even easier to manage your SEO, social media, and even email marketing, you can also take advantage of eCommerce marketing tools to increase your visibility and connect with your customers.

4. Countdown to the Holidays

To capture eCommerce sales in a competitive landscape, you need to drive a sense of urgency for your customers to buy. You already know to emphasize sales that are for a limited time only, but during the holidays, it’s also important to tell customers your ship-by deadlines. If they want a gift to arrive on time, they’ll know the time to buy is now.

Make sure to implement your countdown in more than one place on your eCommerce storefront:

  • Include countdown timers in your marketing collateral.
  • Create a countdown banner for your website home page.
  • Show countdowns and limited-time offers on product search pages and individual product pages.
  • Display shipping and discount deadlines in the shopping cart to encourage immediate checkout.

With prominent timers, your customers don’t need to guess about shipping times or worry that their product won’t arrive by the holidays. If your eCommerce holiday shoppers wait too long, they might give up on online shopping altogether and head to the stores just to ensure they have something on time. Countdowns are a great way to spur some action from email campaigns or social media posts when people realize how little time they have to buy their gifts.

Focus on Transparency for eCommerce Listings to Simplify the Process

Focus on Transparency for eCommerce Listings to Simplify the Process

Once they’ve arrived at your website and decided to browse, the battle is far from over. Make sure your website and content make the Black Friday buying experience as easy and trustworthy as possible.

1. Create Compelling Product Pages

Online shoppers can’t physically touch and feel every product. Your photos and descriptions are everything to the e-consumer, and you need to make them sing. In other words, you need to present the highest quality content on every single product page so that the customer can imagine how that product will solve a problem of theirs or perhaps how it would make a great gift for a loved one. Nobody wants to buy a gift for someone if it’s poorly represented with one or two low-quality photos and a lackluster description. Buying a gift online raises the stakes a bit, so holiday shoppers need confidence that the item will be exactly what they expect.

For a great product content experience, keep these tips in mind:

  • Unique, descriptive titles and product descriptions give consumers the details they need to make a purchase.
  • Images and videos substantially increase conversion rates.
  • Technical specifications are crucial to include, especially for items like consumer electronics.

If you want an edge in this category, especially if your business is managing hundreds or thousands of product lines, a product information management (PIM) solution might help you organize and optimize your product content. PIM can drastically speed up the process of generating high-quality product content and disperse it to multiple channels, so you can keep pace with holiday eCommerce demand.

PIM Product Tile

2. Supercharge Your Shopping Carts

Your shopping cart can do more than sit in the upper right-hand corner of your website. For example, an always on-screen cart option shows consumers what they’ve selected so far no matter where they navigate on your site. That’s one less thing to click when it’s time to follow through with their purchase. Considering that 17% of users abandon their carts due to a long or complicated process, it’s worth simplifying things for them. Black Friday shoppers likely have a lot of purchases on their list — don’t make it any harder for them than it has to be.

You can also use features like single-click reordering or upsell overlays to encourage larger order sizes. Does the customer have a tennis racquet in their cart? Maybe they’d like tennis balls, too. Consider add-ons related to presents, like stocking stuffers or gift-wrapping supplies. Don’t forget shipping incentives like free shipping thresholds — plenty of customers are willing to spend a few extra dollars to forgo shipping charges.

3. Calculate Shipping and Taxes Automatically

Consumers are also used to seeing their order’s shipping and taxes calculated automatically prior to or at the checkout screen. In fact, one of the benefits of shopping online is that you can see exactly how much you’re spending as opposed to grabbing items in physical stores that may or may not have reliable tags on or near them. It’s important to prevent any surprises, most of all at the checkout screen. Extra costs cause almost half of customers to abandon their carts, so use transparent selling practices to give your customers an experience that’s easy to follow.

4. Automate Order and Shipping Confirmation Emails

Amazon has set high expectations for retail platforms, and one feature that has become standard is automated order emails. Providing transparency into the order and shipping processes is an important step for establishing trust with your brand, as we’ll discuss further below. Creating a workflow to support this may be as simple as implementing the right comprehensive eCommerce platform. And while many eCommerce solutions offer automated emails, integrated eCommerce can make this process even faster by connecting your website to your backend systems.

Automated emails can also be a great way to keep customers updated throughout the shipping process. You can tell them when their item has shipped and when it’s out for delivery, so customers have full transparency into when their holiday gifts will be arriving.

  • Bonus Tip: You can also automate post-purchase emails to solicit reviews or show customers related items they may want to buy!

Enhance the Customer Delivery Experience During the Holidays

As important as it is to make sales, failure to build out your strategy beyond the sale, specifically when it comes to the customer’s fulfillment experience, creates a lopsided plan that can potentially leave buyers — and their gift recipients — unsatisfied. During the holidays, delivery is even more important because customers worry about getting gifts on time for their holiday celebrations. It’s crucial that you follow through with solid fulfillment practices to increase customer satisfaction, reduce returns, and prevent poor online reviews that might damage your reputation.

Our eCommerce Black Friday strategies for a top-tier delivery experience include the following tips.

1. Customize How You Track Inventory

Transparency is key to building customer trust. By creating the right workflow for tracking inventory in your business, you can make sure the information on your product page is accurate. This keeps your customers from thinking something is available when it’s not or unavailable when it’s actually available. It promotes good customer service and allows you to keep track of inventory sold in bundles or as gift sets without any additional hassle.

The right inventory solution can also provide real-time updates relating to:

  • Backordered items.
  • Out-of-stock items.
  • When items will restock.
  • Discontinued items.

These distinctions are important to a transparent interaction with your brand and help avoid otherwise frustrating situations. Customers can also sign up for stock email or SMS updates so they can be notified when a merchant updates their stock.

2. Keep Fulfilment Fast and Accurate

The holidays are perhaps the most important time of the year for accurate, reliable fulfillment. No one wants to purchase a perfect, last-minute gift only to receive the wrong item or find out it won’t arrive when promised. Get yourself ready to offer dependable Black Friday fulfillment.

Creating an optimally efficient fulfillment workflow can be achieved with the right shipping solution, one that allows your business to ship orders more quickly through automated processes. For example, you can fulfill orders more efficiently by auto-filling information into labels and carrier documents like advanced shipping notifications (ASNs), printing labels faster, processing large orders quickly with batch processing, and implementing standardized packing and shipping. Some solutions include address and packing verification so you can rest assured your business is making accurate deliveries, which cuts shipping lead times, reduces costs, and eliminates errors and returns.

Go Beyond Black Friday

3. Go Beyond Black Friday

Lastly, don’t overlook the momentum of the holiday rush beyond Black Friday, especially as Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday are gaining more traction than ever. Many businesses also see a spike in sales after the holidays, as people spend the gift cards they got. As you create your strategy for Black Friday, keep these days in mind, and don’t miss out on sales you could make from a bit of planning for the following Saturday and Monday.

Get Ahead of the Rush, Please YourCustomers, and Beat Your Competition

The best time to prepare for Black Friday and the holiday rush is now. With all of the tools and data at your disposal and a little bit of planning, you could make this your brand’s best year yet. If you need help getting ahead of the holiday rush with the right solutions and expertise, contact us today.

Get Started With eCommerce Call to Action

About the Author: Steve Norris is the VP of Pre-Sales Engineering, Supply Chain Collaboration, at TrueCommerce. He is responsible for helping engineer solutions that allow small to enterprise businesses more efficiently and effectively collaborate with their supply chain partners and expand their sales channels. With over 15 years of supply chain experience ranging from consulting to sales, Steve helps organizations looking to achieve growth and profitability through providing solutions that allow seamless connectivity to customers, suppliers, channels, and systems.

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