How to prepare your e-commerce store to Black Friday and Cyber Monday?

In recent years Black Friday stopped being a one-day occasion to snap high-end products at discount prices. Nowadays, it became a treasure hunt that starts weeks before the day after Thanksgiving. People look for deals beforehand, plan their purchases and go to stores looking for crazy discounts. 

As customers get ready for sale in advance, the companies should too. Because Black Friday is the start of a holiday season, a lot of people use that opportunity to acquire presents, make other big purchases and save some money along the way. Therefore companies have to prepare their both online and physical stores to make the most out of the sales weekend.

Why Black Friday is a big deal?

According to Adobe Analytics in 2018 Black Friday brought in $6,2 billion in online revenue in the United States along while 51,4% of traffic came from mobile devices. The e-commerce conversion rate on Black Friday was 4,14% in comparison to an average rate of around 2% which means that during the sales weekend customers are twice as determined to make a purchase than on an ordinary day. Black Friday and the weekend after drive a huge chunk of the yearly revenue for companies that use that opportunity wisely and strategically.

What products people are most often buy?

Usually, people are using the Black Friday deals to buy either Christmas presents or expensive tech products. That is why it is not a surprise that toys, TVs, game consoles and gift cards are the most popular choices among shoppers. So the companies should plan more carefully what products they are going to discount to make sure that their potential customers will be interested to make a purchase.

How to prepare for the sales weekend?

Plan early

People nowadays are starting to make their shopping plans a couple of weeks ahead. Already in October customers are looking for the best deals on products they want to buy to avoid overpaying and purchasing unnecessary items last minute just because they seem like a good offer. Companies as well have to plan their strategy far in advance so users can have the information about the discounts available month before the actual sales weekend. 

Aliexpress, the Chinese e-commerce giant, is a perfect example of a prep expert. Instead of Black Friday, the platform is holding a Global Shopping Festival on Chinese Single’s Day. Although the sale itself is happening on the 11th and 12th of November the discounted prices are visible on the products’ pages two weeks prior. Besides that, customers can add items to cart and play mini-games to earn coins that later could be exchanged for coupons. Such a strategy helps to encourage customers to buy more products and to actively engage with the online store even before the sale starts. On the last day of the sale, Aliexpress rewards big spenders with additional coupons that have to be used by the end of the day.

Aliexpress makes it easier for its customers to shop around and finalize their purchase. If shoppers already have all of their desired items in the cart ahead of time, all they have to do on the day of the sale is to apply earned coupons and press a button to complete the purchase.

Сheck traffic from previous years

To figure out how customers behave during the sales weekend check out the store’s traffic from previous years. Obviously, users won’t act identically year after year but analytics can show general patterns of what potential customers are looking for and what they end up buying. It helps to understand what deals were more appealing, which ones have been overlooked and why. Such insights are useful when deciding on a new discount and online promotion strategy.

Besides that, the previous year’s analytics is a perfect foundation for estimating sale volume and planning out the inventory. Last year 2,8% of users saw the out-of-stock message on Black Friday that cost sellers up to $177 million. Of course, no company can predict exactly how many items it will sell but estimates based on previous years help to minimize the loss.

Build anticipation

Numerous articles advise shoppers to look for products beforehand so the deals later won’t overwhelm them. Companies can use this to your advantage by informing potential customers about their offers and upcoming discounts. It is not enough to just post about the future sale on social media profiles. Companies should draw the attention of as many users as they can, not only of the loyal fanbase of their business pages. During the holiday season, especially Black Friday, ads are the perfect way to entice potential customers and get them interested in the annual sale. And because most companies are investing in paid advertising, it can be hard to stand out from the crowd. The company should create the story with its engaging ads and intriguing copy that would not just inform users about the discounts but also make them want to learn more and click the ad.

Social media posts allow building anticipation among the existing fans with the continuity of storytelling. Share sneak peeks of products that will be on sale or do a coupon giveaway with easy ways to enter. Make your followers exciting about the start of the holiday season and continue to communicate with them even during the sales weekend.

Another way to draw the customers’ attention is through the newsletter subscription. Emails generally contain much more information than ads or social media posts and can be used as a reminder of the start and the approaching end of the sales weekend. Besides that, companies can personalize newsletter messages for different groups of their customers or even for individual users based on their previous activity. Personalization significantly increases the likelihood of purchase because the customers feel like the company knows what they are looking for. The newsletter is also an opportunity to build a stronger bond between the company and its customers by offering exclusive coupons and discount codes.

Check your website performance

Companies for sure don’t want their website to crash because it can’t handle the jump of the traffic. Visitors won’t stop and wait for the store to start working but will move to competitors causing a massive drop in revenue. To avoid such an unpleasant situation every business should check their servers if they are capable of withstanding the increased amount of visits. Besides that, not only the traffic but also the innumerable purchases can cause the shutdown if the website is not ready to process as many operations at the same time.

One way to prep the store is to simply acquire more server space. The other is to cache all the static content using the Content Delivery Network (CDN) that helps to store data on various servers. CDN allows for the unloading of the website and as a result improving its performance and load speed.

While the website performance, in general, is very important, companies should pay special attention to mobile devices. The use of smartphones and tablets is growing year after year and it is not a surprise that a lot of users choose to shop during the biggest sale of the year using their smaller, more movable devices. When it comes to such users companies have to improve not only website load speed and performance but also optimize the purchasing process making it easier for potential customers to buy items with one click. On Black Friday people are usually chasing the deals so they don’t have any time for lengthy checkout.


Black Friday is the biggest shopping event of the year so the companies should give their potential customers the best experience they can. It includes clear communication about the upcoming sale weeks before the actual date and making sure that users indeed can successfully complete the purchase. The preparations go beyond just informing followers about the discounts and coupon codes. Companies have to think about every step of the customer journey before, during and even after the sale. Remember, by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.

Let's build Yout custom software with Moonbite

Free consultation