Black Friday Marketing Strategies for E-Commerce Retailers

With Black Friday and Cyber Monday rapidly approaching, e-commerce retailers are looking for marketing and sales strategies to make the most of this impactful shopping season. While promoting deep discounts and leveraging basic email marketing may provide e-commerce retailers with a boost for Black Friday and beyond, there are several other ways to maximize the potential for end-of-year blockbuster sales. Below, we’ll get into some Black Friday marketing and sales strategies for e-commerce to make the most of the opportunity to close out the year on a high note.

The last holiday season raked in a record-breaking $1.2 trillion and posted a growth rate of 16.1% year over year, according to eMarketer, and sales are expected to be strong again in 2023. This, paired with a well-thought-out strategy to supercharge conversions, can mean the difference between a lackluster year and a great one for your business.

The following marketing and sales strategies for retailers can help transform your Black Friday, and may even give you some ideas for how to run your business post-holidays and beyond.

Prioritize user behavior over their identity.

Roughly 98% of website visitors are anonymous, according to Marketo. That means that an inability to accurately recommend to these users can result in your business losing out on a ton of revenue – particularly because Black Friday sales tend to favor those who wouldn’t normally visit your site or make a purchase from you, due to deep discounts and heavy promotions.

The traditional method of personalization and recommendation is based around third-party cookies (i.e., demographic information such as age, gender, and location). Not only is this data not readily available from new and anonymous users, it’s also a mediocre way to personalize a customer experience. A user’s clicks, scrolls, cart adds, favorites, and so forth hold much more weight than who they are as a person. Most importantly, this information can be gleaned from the first handful of actions taken on the website and doesn’t require previous knowledge of a new or anonymized user’s actions elsewhere. It’s also important to consider that those shopping your site on Black Friday may not be shopping for themselves, but rather loved ones. Being able to quickly adapt to new behavior – regardless of whether they’ve previously visited your shop before or not – is critical. If your current personalization and recommendation solution or strategy doesn’t account for this, you’re putting yourself at a disadvantage.

Ensure your checkout experience is top-tier.

Another crucial tip for e-commerce businesses strategizing for Black Friday is to not underestimate the power of the checkout experience. There are steps a store can take to ensure that the checkout experience is so seamless that a customer buys even more than what they originally added to cart and that they may even return on non-sale days. This is especially true of those customers who have only landed on your site because it’s Black Friday or Cyber Monday. The following checklist can help you determine if your checkout experience is top-tier:

  • Is checkout a smooth experience? Manually audit the checkout experience yourself to ensure there aren’t any hiccups that could cause a customer to abandon the cart.
  • Is one-click buying enabled? Apple Pay, Google Pay, Shop Pay and PayPal have all become increasingly valid and widely used methods of payment. Don’t get abandoned because you don’t offer them as options.
  • Are customers able to buy now and pay later? Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) options are expected to grow 26% annually from now until 2030, according to Grand View Research. Paying less upfront might convince a customer to convert who was otherwise wavering.
  • Are you able to strategically upsell? Don’t forget that checkout is a great opportunity for you to recommend related or bundled items to achieve a greater average order value.

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Show love to your most loyal customers.

An important Black Friday marketing and sales idea for e-commerce revolves around your loyal customers. Because your most frequent customers are likely to spend the most, it’s in a business’ best interest to make those loyal shoppers feel special with added discounts or benefits.

One way to do so is to create an email to a list consisting of only those top customers, and then send them an additional discount code or offer on top of a standard discount for Black Friday. If you can leverage your store’s user data to make highly personalized recommendations in these emails, even better. According to Klaviyo, the top 3-5% of your customer base will spend 3x as much as an average customer, so the payoff potential here is huge.

Turn Black Friday into future success for your business.

Black Friday is an incredibly important sales opportunity for e-commerce retailers; however, you can use this time period to solve challenges and drive more conversions even after November ends. 

While supply chain concerns may be a source of stress for retailers going into Black Friday, there are ways to use the season to mitigate the problem and even reduce overstock at the same time. Using a personalization solution that can surface items to shoppers based on their availability as well as their relevance to a customer’s taste is a powerful combination that can help assuage inventory concerns. For example, while a traditional recommendation methodology might allow for suggesting items that are in surplus to any and everyone, more advanced approaches to recommendation and personalization would only prioritize those overflow items to users who have an interest or preference for that type of item. Similarly, less plentiful items can be deemphasized as recommendations, even in spite of a user’s preferences.

Another important Black Friday marketing and sales tip for e-commerce retailers to consider is that Black Friday and Cyber Monday shoppers can be retargeted in such a way that leverages its proximity to the end-of-year holidays. Say someone browsed your site on Black Friday but left without purchasing anything. That data can be used to retarget them elsewhere: in-app, via email, etc. to remind them of items they might rather have a loved one buy them or something they can still buy for someone else before the new year. It’s an especially opportune moment to offer even deeper discounts to convince someone to make the leap and purchase. These delayed Black Friday conversions can help you push your revenue to the next level before the year ends. 

John Calderon
Senior Manager, Marketing Communications

John has over a decade of marketing experience, with an emphasis on content creation across email, web, social, and white papers. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from UCLA.