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20 Tips to Prepare Your Store for BFCM

More people are online shopping this holiday season. Preparing your store in advance is vital to a successful BFCM sale. Use these top tips to make most out of the biggest shopping event of the year.
Jon Cogan
October 13, 2021

Over the past few years, consumer spending has shifted online and away from in-person shopping during Black Friday Cyber Monday (BFCM). We can expect this trend to continue through the upcoming holiday season and beyond. Small and medium-sized businesses can be particularly vulnerable to subsequent challenges caused by inventory and shipping constraints during this time. These top tips will help your business finish the year strong by making the most out of BFCM. 

1. Prepare for a busier Cyber Monday. 

This year BFCM will be dominated by online shopping, communicate your offers as early as possible and extend them beyond BFCM if possible. 

2. Utilize your top sales channels.

With the competitiveness of eCommerce, you will want to take advantage of multichannel selling. Identifying the channels that have been the most lucrative for your business will help you determine which channels will provide the best ROI during BFCM. Some sales channels have a longer lead time, determining the best timing for optimal performance will make the most out of the opportunity. 

3. Monitor the competition.

Subscribing to newsletters or setting up google alerts is a great way to see what type of campaigns your competition is trying out. Paying attention to your competitors marketing efforts can inspire your BFCM sales. 

4. Prepare for the worst. 

Preparing contingency plans in advance is much easier and less stressful than troubleshooting during the biggest shopping event of the year. Think about the worst-case scenarios for your business and create contingency plans wherever possible

5. Make inventory decisions early. 

Deciding which products you will promote for BFCM should be done as early as possible. Use your sales reports to forecast demand and identify which products need restocking for BFCM. Filter the reports by last year’s BFCM dates and see which products typically sell particularly well during BFCM. 

6. Sell gift cards.

Preparing your inventory is an important part of making sure you can meet your customers' demands. However, gift cards are a great way to capture sales that would otherwise be lost to sold-out items. 

7. Organize your upcoming sales.

Plan your deals and discounts ahead of time. Not only will it be easier to manage your inventory, but you can also create momentum for BFCM by enticing customers through emails and sneak peeks on social media.  

8. Optimize your order and fulfillment workflows.

Hiring additional staff for BFCM will help you fulfill and ship orders to customers more quickly. Communicate clearly and regularly with your fulfillment and delivery staff to avoid errors. 

Organize your fulfillment area to make sure your most popular products are accessible for quicker picking and packing. Plan in advance how you will organize and prioritize your orders. Some common ways to group orders include:

  • Customer priority
  • Shipping requirements
  • Product type 

9. Craft an irresistible BFCM offer. 

Inboxes are flooded with promotional messages during BFCM, having yours stand out is crucial. A common strategy is to run a great sale on a popular item to attract customers to the store. The goal is that customers will pick up additional products on their way to the checkout. Other popular promotional techniques include:

  • Product bundles 
  • Gamifying promotions 
  • Daily deals 

10. Create banners and hero images to advertise holiday sales.

Graphics and visuals are a great way to promote your holiday sales. With many easy-to-use design tools like Taler and Canva, you don’t need to be a graphic designer to get this done.

11. Retarget past visitors and customers.

Retargeting past visitors will reach people who have shown interest in your products but who may have forgotten about your store. Customers who have purchased from you in the past will also be especially receptive to your BFCM sales. 

12. Start your email marketing campaigns early.

Create, plan and schedule emails long before BFCM, building buzz, and suspense around your upcoming sale. Also, remember to thank your customers when your sale ends with a follow-up email 5-7 days after BFCM is over. 

13. Leverage your best advertising channels. 

Your promotion is only effective if potential customers hear about it. Announce it across all your channels to reach your target audience. Investing in your best advertising channel with paid ads will increase visibility during big holiday sales. 

14. Reward loyal customers. 

Build upon existing relationships with your previous customers by retargeting them with your best deals. Offer existing customers exclusive deals or early access to sales. 

15. Integrate live chat.

Don’t lose sales because potential customers can't get the answers they need fast enough. If your business is unable to commit to having live-chat staffed 24/7, consider using live chat strategically: 

  • Right after sending emails or launching promotions 
  • On the product pages featured in your BFCM deals 
  • During key purchasing moments - like when someone is viewing their shopping cart

16. Ensure you provide prompt and personal support.

Quick response time is an essential part of providing an excellent experience. Having your team brush up on techniques for handling upset customers effectively and empathetically will help prepare them for the upcoming holiday season. Common points of frustration to prepare for are:

  • Lost or delayed orders 
  • unsatisfied customers
  • Damaged products/packages 

17. Offer easy and hassle-free returns. 

Make sure your return policy is clearly communicated on your website and is fair to your customers - offer refunds where feasible. By removing risk for the customer and showing confidence in your product, a generous return policy may help an on-the-fence customer decide to purchase.

18. Think mobile-first. 

Last year was the third year in a row Shopify stores had more mobile purchases than desktop purchases, and we expect this trend to continue. Make sure your store is mobile-friendly and test how your store looks on a mobile device. 

19. Assess your checkout experience.

An extensive checkout process that requires filling out multiple fields can deter customers from making the purchase. Offering options like Shoppay and Apple Pay that fast-track the checkout process can boost your conversions. Before the start of BFCM, make sure to test your checkout experience-especially on mobile. 

20. Test your site and get feedback.

A fresh pair of eyes may see issues you don't notice or areas that to be improved. One way to get feedback is UserTesting. You can set parameters about who you’d like to test your store and watch as they browse your site and provide feedback. 

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