Simplistic's Shopify Black Friday & Cyber Monday Strategy Guide

Simplistic's Shopify Black Friday & Cyber Monday Strategy Guide

November is officially upon us, which can only mean one thing: the biggest month on the e-commerce calendar is here. Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM) are the holidays we celebrate and the preparation starts now (turkey optional).

Last year, merchants on Shopify generated more than $1.5 billion in sales during the BFCM weekend. And 2019 should be even bigger — last year there were over 600,000 merchants on Shopify, this year, there are over one million.

Knowing there are more than one million other Shopify stores out there, your initial question is likely, “how do I make my store stand out from the rest?”

It’s an understandable reaction, however, we’re here to take the stance that success on BFCM is more about execution than differentiation.

Targeted Discounts and Promotions

The reality is that almost every Shopify store is going to offer some combination of discounts and promotions for BFCM. In almost all cases, the strategy around discounts and promotions for BFCM should not be trying to “out-discount” or “out-promote” your competitors.

The focus should be on creating a few well-thought-out discounts and promotions that reflect the unique spending habits of your different customer segments. Then, deliver those promotions to the right person, in the right place, at the right time.

The Right Person — here are a number of common customer segments when it comes to Shopify store visitors:
  • Power User/VIP: these are the customers who order from your store frequently and often at a higher than average purchase value.
  • Repeat Customer: customers who ordered from your store more than once
  • One-and-Done: customers who ordered from your store once
  • Window Shopper: store visitors who engage with your content on-site, in emails, on social, etc. but have yet to make a purchase
  • First-Time Visitor

    While your store might not have all of these different customer segments, it’s more than likely that you have at least two distinct customer groups. The discounts and promotions you create for BFCM are far more likely to succeed if they are targeted towards activating a specific segment.

    The Right Place:
    • Email tends to have the highest conversion rate during BFCM and works particularly well when targeting returning customers
    • Paid advertising costs on both Google and social tend to increase during the month of November, especially the closer you get to BFCM
    • Social is a great place to tease promotions and drive traffic in advance of BFCM


      Email has the highest conversion rate of all marketing channels during BFCM.

      Source: Shopify


      The Right Time:
      • Make sure to take a look at where your store visitors live (more on this in the next section) and ensure that their made aware of your promotions in advance of BFCM
      • For the US in particular, ensure that you remind your east coast customers on Black Friday and Cyber Monday before it gets too late in the day

        Make Data Your Best Friend

        The engine that powers most successful BFCM strategies is data. Digging in to your Shopify store’s analytics well in advance of BFCM is the best way to ensure that your strategy is destined for success.

        A great place to start is looking at how your Shopify store performed during BFCM last year. From the “Analytics” section in the Shopify dashboard, you can navigate to the “Reports” sub-section and select a report such as Traffic (Sessions over time). 

        Click the date range and select the days of BFCM from last year (11/23/18 - 11/26/18):

        Using Shopify Analytics to look at the data from your store's BFCM performance last year.


        Here are just a few of the cuts of data we suggest you look at from last year:

        Sessions (and sales) over time by hour
        • Knowing the peak (and lull) hours to your site during BFCM can inform when it could be the best time to send a day-of promotional email or flash deal.


          Average purchase value by day

          • Understanding how much the average customer to your store spends over BFCM can set the foundation for spending thresholds on promotions such as “spend $X, get Y


            Referral source by day

            • Having a clear picture of where your traffic came from on BFCM last is key to knowing where to double-down on your marketing efforts this year


              Device source

              • Chances are a majority of your store traffic comes from mobile (more on this in a second), knowing the device breakdown (90-10 mobile to desktop  vs. 60-40) is important for informing where you spend the majority of your optimization efforts.

                Mobile Matters

                In Shopify’s most recent earnings report, the company announced that 81% of store traffic and 71% of orders on Shopify stores came from mobile devices. Despite a consistent trend towards mobile dominance, many merchants have yet to take a mobile-first approach to designing and optimizing their stores.

                Any merchant who hopes to maximize their sales during BFCM should ensure that their site is user-friendly on mobile. And moreover, make the hand off from mobile to desktop as seamless as possible. 

                E-commerce shoppers tend to browse and add to cart on their phone, but some wait to checkout on desktop. Putting automated abandoned cart or abandoned checkout emails is one way to compensate for this behavior. If you store has user accounts, the cart should be saved for a user between their phone and their desktop.

                Let’s Crush BFCM Together

                Here at Simplistic we love helping Shopify merchants prepare for BFCM. Whether it’s through our analytics and optimization services or designing beautiful, responsive stores that drive sales across both mobile and desktop, or all of the above. Shoot us an email if you want to get your store BFCM ready before it’s too late.

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