Shopify BFCM 2021: How to Prepare Your Store

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With BFCM 2021 right around the corner now is the perfect time to start preparing and optimizing your Shopify store. Whether this is your first time launching a BFCM campaign or you’ve done it before, these tips and tricks will help you get the most out of your budget, while staying ahead of the competition. 

Recently we’ve hosted a live webinar dedicated to all things Black Friday & Cyber Monday, so in case you missed it, you can either continue reading this blog post or hit the button below to watch the recording.

In this blog post we are going to present a full overview of last years Black Friday results as well as our top insights and tricks for making this holiday season your best yet.

Before we get into the actual tips and insights for this year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday, let’s look at the previous year’s results.

Analyzing over 400 Shopify stores from our system, and their ad accounts, we’ve found that businesses had a 143% median growth over the Black Friday weekend, compared to the previous 30 days.

revenue growth in the weekend of black friday 2020

What we also found is that 60% of businesses start advertising and running promotions in the week leading up to Black Friday. Additionally, we’ve also seen that the earliest BFCM campaign started even 30 days before the BFCM weekend. So if you still haven’t set up your campaigns but want to be ahead of the competition, now’s the time to start planning and optimizing your campaigns.

how early to start preparing for black friday promotions

Budget split before BFCM

In terms of the most used marketing channel, Facebook still remains the leading channel, since our analysis shows that businesses are putting three times more budget on Facebook than on Google.

But regardless of that, Google is still an important channel and if you have a larger advertising budget, we’d definitely suggest running ads on there as well.

pie chart - budget split by marketing channel during black friday

Now let’s look at the overall spending and purchases in the weeks leading up to Black Friday.

On the graph below, you can see that in weeks before Black Friday, the rise in purchases does not necessarily increase equally as the spend does.

And that comes as no surprise since the countdown to Black Friday and Cyber Monday starts pretty early. People are more likely to just browse through your website and then wait to make the final purchase on Friday when you will be giving discounts.

bar chart of facebook ads spend and number of orders during black friday

If you’re planning to run Google ads, you also might be interested in knowing how much of a budget goes into each campaign type

The majority of Shopify stores spend the most budget on shopping campaigns, search campaigns, and a bit on video campaigns. On the flip side, smart and display campaigns are barely used so we wouldn’t recommend investing in them.

bar chart of google ads budget split by campaign type during black friday

Pro tip: When creating your Google ads campaigns, don’t want to forget to add promotion extensions. 

Promotion extensions are a super-easy but efficient way of grabbing users’ attention by letting them know about your Black Friday discounts.

They can show below your ad with up to 2 lines of text, including details of your promotions. 

google ad example with promotional extensions

How to prepare your Shopify store for BFCM

Review your checkout funnel

Now that we’ve reviewed last years’ Black Friday results, let’s go through our tips on how to prepare your Shopify store for this year’s holiday season.

The first thing to make sure of is to optimize your checkout funnel.

If any of the steps in your checkout funnel are not working properly, you’ll risk losing a lot of potential customers and conversions.

You don’t want to have any unnecessary steps, distractions, or slow-loading pages that are going to frustrate your website visitors. The goal is to make their buying journey as easy and smooth as possible. 

If you don’t know how good or bad your checkout funnel is, we’d highly suggest taking a look at the “Funnel Analysis” feature in the Lebesgue App.

The feature enables you to see at which step of the funnel your customers are dropping off the most, while also giving you industry benchmarks numbers so that you know how you stack up against the market.

funnel analysis feature in the lebesgue app

Know the ad price in advance

Once the holiday season comes around, more and more businesses start running ads, and naturally, the CPM starts to increase. But how much is the ad price really going to increase this BFCM?

Our data science team retrieved and analyzed crucial BFCM historical data, seasonal patterns and trends for making our CPM forecast as accurate as possible.

Looking at our analysis, the CPM is expected to increase somewhere between 10 and 20% across the market, with the possibility to increase even up to 40%.

That’s why is absolutely crucial to start running ads in the weeks leading up to BFCM so you can then retarget those people on the Black Friday weekend.

forecast graph, screenshot from the lebesgue app

Analyze your competitors’ ads

Keeping an eye on your competitors can also be quite beneficial for your BFCM strategy.

Not only you’ll be able to examine how many new ads they’re launching and how often, but also which creative or ad copy they’re using, which discounts they’re giving out, etc.

And the good news is that you can get access to that and so much more within the Lebesgue app. 

competitor analysis feature - screenshot from the lebesgue app

The best BFCM strategy for Shopify stores

Send emails

So you probably know that during Black Friday & Cyber Monday, sending emails to your customers is a must. But how often should you really send them?

We’ve found that the ideal email frequency is the following one:

ideal email frequency and targeting for black friday

So on Friday, you want to send two emails – the first one in the morning at 10 AM, and the second one in the afternoon, at 5 PM.

Then on Saturday, you want to follow up only to customers that haven’t opened the email from Friday.

Then on Sunday, you can send one more email to everyone, and then again on Monday, we recommend sending out two emails. The first one to everyone, and then at 5 pm only to non-openers.

P.S. This isn’t just an assumption on how you should be sending emails. We tested this with multiple Shopify businesses, so we strongly suggest you try this out.

Intuitive offer – Sitewide sale

Cascading discounts versus sitewide offers? Which one would you go for?

After testing this out, we’ve seen that the average conversion rate when giving up cascading discounts is around 3.5%, while when doing a sitewide offer where everything is discounted, you can expect the conversion rate to be 2 times higher.

conversion rate comparison - cascading discounts vs sitewide offer

Accelerated delivery 

Using accelerated delivery is not something we usually recommend, but in cases like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, where there are so many advertisers competing in the auction, we do like to use it.

When using accelerated delivery, Facebook makes sure to deliver your ads more quickly, which then results in you spending your daily budget in just a couple of hours. So, essentially, the whole idea is to get as many impressions and conversions, as quickly as possible.

facebook ads accelerated delivery - screenshot from Ads Manager

Pricing psychology

In this section, we now want to show you how psychology is used in displaying sale prices and how you can put this trick to the test this holiday season. 

Based on the subtraction principle, it is considered good practice to always place the original, non-discounted price on the left and the new price on the right since it’s a smaller number.

Customers can then easily subtract the two numbers, which makes the difference seem larger. 

Similarly, you should also put the sale prices below the original ones so that they are again easier to subtract.

pricing psychology for black friday illustration

Another useful trick in pricing psychology is to use smaller fonts for smaller prices. 

For example, when customers see a big font, they’ll perceive the price as a bigger one too. And that’s because your brain confuses visual size for numerical size. 

So it’s always better to display prices in a smaller font so that they seem numerically smaller.

pricing psychology illustration

Should you show a number or a percentage?

When communicating your Black Friday sale, always display the value that is higher.

For example, if the price of your product is $200, and you’re giving out a 20% discount, instead of showing the discount, show the actual number ($40) since it’s a bigger number and therefore customers are going to perceive it as a bigger discount. 

Source: Nick Kolenda

how to price the product on BFCM

Follow good ad examples

Whether you’re creating a Facebook Ad or an email, make sure that the discount is somewhere in the centre, clear and visible.

Go with a simple and short ad copy, combined with a little bit of urgency. In terms of the call to action, always make sure to use “Shop Now” as it’s the most intuitive one. 

As for the price, always emphasize savings and use a smaller font size as we mentioned above.

facebook ad example for black friday

Use urgency

While we’re talking about urgency, let’s not forget about the countdown timer on your website. 

If you haven’t thought of implementing one, we’d highly suggest that you do since it will help create additional urgency and scarcity that will drive more clicks and increase the conversion rate.

conversion rate comparison between no countdown timer and with countdown timer

Estimated impact on sales

Now that we’ve shown you our top tips and tricks on how to prepare for BFCM, you’re probably wondering how big of an impact will these tips have on your sales?

If you decide to follow all of the insights that we mentioned, you can expect to see a +863% increase in overall sales during the BFCM weekend. But as we mentioned, it is extremely important to start on time and go through all of the tips that we mention in our app and this blog post.

black friday preparation checklist and expected impact on sales

What to expect during the Black Friday weekend

Returning vs. new customers

Let’s start by explaining how many returning customers you should target and why.

Our analysis has shown us that businesses see the biggest revenue increase when they are targeting around 20-40% of old (returning) customers.

And that’s simply because returning customers have around a 10% higher average order value (AOV) than your new customers. So it’s extremely important to stay in touch with those customers, not only through email campaigns but also by targeting them with your Facebook ads. 

bar chart representing the increase in revenue broken down by number of repeating customers during black friday

Facebook spend over the weekend

In terms of ad spend and purchases during the weekend, even though you’re most likely going to see a slight drop in purchases from Friday to Saturday, on Saturday and Sunday we are expecting to see similar purchasing behaviour.

The purchases are then again going to increase on Cyber Monday but not as much as on Black Friday (-6%).

bar chart of facebook ads spend and number of purchases during black friday

Increase in number of orders vs. AOV

And lastly, let’s see which Shopify stores can expect the biggest revenue boost this Black Friday & Cyber Monday.

Our analysis shows that while all stores generally see a 140% revenue growth during the BFCM weekend, stores with an AOV between $50 and $75 or over $100 can expect the highest increase in revenue.⁠

bar chart of expected increase in revenue vs. AOV during black friday

Your Turn

And that is a wrap! We’ve gone through all of our predictions, insights, tips, and tricks for this Black Friday & Cyber Monday. Now it’s time to put some of these tips to the test and crush this holiday season. 

If you have any questions or need help with your Facebook or Google Ads campaigns, feel free to drop us a line at [email protected].

We are always happy to help and discuss the best ways of optimizing your campaigns. 

For more blog posts on Facebook and Google Ads, visit our blog and make sure to subscribe to our newsletter to receive key industry trends and insights straight to your inbox.

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