Take a breath. Focus. 

You’ve been training for this moment. Black Friday is the Iron Man race of eCommerce. Are you ready for Black Friday and Cyber Monday?

Black Friday, in a business sense,  is usually a day dedicated to special shopping deals and impressive discounts. It is viewed by many as the holiday shopping season kickoff. 

This event is not only for stores in the United States, of course. Any store with a North American audience and customer base can and should participate. Otherwise, you could be leaving a lot of money on the table.  

A glance at this chart tells you everything you need to know about how global BFCM has become:

This year, it falls on November 29th, with Cyber Monday on December 2nd. This means we have just one month to prepare. 

I want to help you hit your BFCM goals. Here’s a downloadable checklist you can use to make sure your business is prepped and ready for the biggest sale of the year. 

Make Sure you have Enough Inventory

It sounds obvious, but too many businesses neglect their data. If you’re an established business you should look back on what your top-selling items are. If you were around for Black Friday last year, pay special attention to what was selling during that time. 

If you have customers willing to buy, and not enough product you’re cutting your sales potential short. 

Set Clear Shipping Expectations

A lot of what your customers will buy over these next few weeks will be intended as gifts. That means they have a deadline for when they can arrive at the customer’s home. 

Evaluate your shipping courier, times and prices. If possible, allow an expedited shipping option for speedy delivery. 

Customers don’t care if it’s the courier who is delivering slower than expected. In their eyes, they ordered from you, so it’s your responsibility to ensure they get their items on time. 

If you’re dropshipping, you need to make it very clear to your customers that they need to order by a certain date to ensure they get their packages in. You should make your shipping policies, processing times and delivery dates very clear, to avoid upset customers. 

If you know your supplier’s shipping speed is on the slow side, I strongly recommend offering free shipping to your customers. Customers are less agitated over free shipping coming a day or two later than expected than paid shipping. 

Remember, you can build the remainder of the shipping cost into the item price if needed. 

Optimize your Website

Make sure your store is ready to brave the influx of traffic you are anticipating. You don't want to drive traffic only to have customers leave when your website isn’t user-friendly. 

Test all the links on your website. Nail down your product pages

If you really want to dive into your customer behavior, consider Better Replay to understand how visitors navigate your store with session recording. You can track every click your customers make, so you can see what happened, and why they left. Use this information to identify trends and optimize your user experience. 

Build the Hype

If you want people to come to your site, you need to ramp up the hype. For you, the holiday excitement needs to start now, so you can spread it to your audience. 

Look at what other retailers are doing. Notice how early holiday-themed items come out onto the physical and digital shelves. Notice how early holiday music plays on the radio. This is intentionally done for the purpose of driving sales. 

When your customers start thinking about the holiday season, they are more likely to make the purchase. Use your abandoned checkout messages to offer a special Holiday discount or a free gift with purchase. 

Make sure to take advantage of Consistent Cart’s customizable templates to create a unique holiday experience your customers will love. 

Nail down your Marketing Strategy

Do you know which products you’ll be promoting? Do you know how you’ll be promoting them, and on which channels? Is your email list in place? Have you created your discounts yet?

Before the big day(s) consider testing out some fresh ideas. Maybe a new Facebook marketing campaign or working with an influencer. 

Preparing this information now will give you time to organize and think through the strategy. Like your holiday shoppers, we know going at the last minute can really hurt our success. You don’t want to wait until the day or week before to plan.  

Take the time to do it now, and save yourself the stress.

Set Goals

A plan without a goal is just a dream. - Dave Ramsey

Look at your audience and decide what your goals are this BFCM. Is it to boost your sales? If so, how much are you hoping to make? What’s your ideal conversion rate? What tools can you use to get there?

Consistent Cart and Sales Pop by CartKit can also give a fantastic return on investment and help you make the most out of all the traffic you’re driving to your site with your marketing strategy.  Use Sales Pop to build trust and social proof for your customers, and Consistent Cart to follow up with them through SMS, Push and Email if they do abandon the checkout. 

It’s not just Cyber Monday

Historically online, BFCM doesn’t end on Tuesday at 12 am. Those weekends and Mondays leading up to the holidays are an excellent opportunity to boost your sales and drive up your average order value. 

As I mentioned, BFCM is held as the kickoff for holiday shopping. With people thinking about holiday shopping,  you should engage your customers to keep the momentum going. 

The holiday season is not just for eCommerce giants and enterprises. Small and medium businesses can make a huge slice of their sales in these weeks. 

In 2018,  Shopify merchants processed over $1.5 billion USD in sales, peaking at over $37 million USD in sales per hour and $870,000 USD per minute during the BFCM weekend. 

Get ready to get your piece of the pie. It’s crunch time.