Black Friday 2023: Strategies to maximise sales for online retailers
As the holiday season approaches, it's time for e-commerce retailers to gear up for two major shopping events that can skyrocket your sales: Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM). These two shopping events have become associated with incredible deals and unbeatable offers, capturing the attention of shoppers worldwide.
So how can you prepare your store and make the most of BFCM? Below, we cover what it’s all about, what to expect, and the best strategies to help get you ready for the Black Friday and Cyber Monday madness.
What is Black Friday?
Black Friday isn’t just a retail event – it’s the retail event of the year. Originally only in the US, Black Friday follows the Thanksgiving holiday with deals only available on that one day, signalling the start of holiday shopping season.
Over the past decade, though, some traditions have changed. Today, more retailers and customers around the world take part in the shopping frenzy and the period of bargain hunting, which in some stores can last up to four weeks.
When is Black Friday this year in the UK?
Black Friday is held on the fourth Friday in November every year. In 2023, Black Friday is on 24 November.
What is Cyber Monday?
Cyber Monday is the follow up event to Black Friday that presents another chance for consumers to grab products at great prices.
Originally, Cyber Monday was an online-only event with deals strictly found only on a business’s website, and not in-store, for those that were tech savvy enough to use the internet.
When is Cyber Monday this year in Singapore/Australia/the UK?
Cyber Monday takes place on the Monday immediately after Black Friday. In 2023, Cyber Monday is on 27 November.
What’s the difference between Black Friday and Cyber Monday?
As online retail sales are increasing year on year, there’s now little difference between the two events. Instead, Cyber Monday is bundled together with Black Friday and known collectively as BFCM – the biggest shopping event of the year.
Black Friday today acts as the key date in the retail calendar that simply kick starts the weekend’s frenzy.
For some retailers, discounts and deals get better as the end of the weekend approaches and stock sells out. But for others, getting in there early sees their customers getting the best offers at the best prices sooner.
What’s on sale during Black Friday and Cyber Monday?
It’s a safe bet to say that pretty much anything and everything can be on sale during the events. But to give you an idea: in 2022, the most popular items bought were clothes, shoes, accessories, electronics and toys.
Why all online retailers need to take part in Black Friday and Cyber Monday in 2023
When looking at the numbers, it’s clear that as an online retailer, not participating in BFCM could see you losing out against your competition – and on valuable revenue.
On Black Friday and Cyber Monday in 2022:
- In the US, over 130m people visited online stores
- US consumers spent a record $9.12b on Black Friday
- British consumers were predicted to spend £4.8b on Black Friday
- US consumers spent $11.3b on Cyber Monday – that’s $12.8m a minute during the peak hour of 8-9pm! (PT)
- Nearly 13% of Black Friday searches came from Germany
- In Italy, Black Friday online sales jumped by 476%
- Australians spent $7.1b across the weekend
- Online spend was up 24% in Australia
- In Singapore, online transactions were up by 38%
What to expect for Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2023
According to Capital One, consumers are projected to spend over $12b on Cyber Monday 2023. So with that in mind, let’s look at last year’s trends to help you prepare your store this year.
Mobile phone purchases
The majority of purchases (76%) were made on mobile phones, with 10% of the sales coming from social media referrals.
Curbside pick up
An increase in purchases were made online and then picked up at a local store. Salesforce stated that US retailers using this alternative shipping method increased their online revenue by 38%.
Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL)
BNPL has taken off in the last few years as financing and lending has become more creative and accessible. Last year, Black Friday saw BNPL increase by nearly 80%.
Greater appetite for deals
While rumours of a recession last year started to dampen projections for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, consumers were driven to snap up deals instead.
Top strategies to prepare and maximise sales this Black Friday
Whether you're a seasoned veteran or a first-timer, participating in Black Friday is a no-brainer. The opportunities it brings are endless, from attracting new customers to achieving record-breaking sales. The secret ingredient? Strong preparation.
Here are some key strategies to keep in mind to help you increase your Black Friday e-commerce sales.
1. Start early
When it comes to getting started, you can never be too early in thinking ahead. Given that it’s the retail event of the year, competition for eyes and wallets will be at its peak. So put yourself in a good position by:
Making sure your website is updated
- Setting up a BFCM marketing strategy that fits with your brand and products
- Checking that you have the inventory to fulfil the spike in orders
It’s also a good idea to start marketing your offers and deals early, so that you’re not just one of many when it all kicks off.
2. Update your products and online inventory
With so much on offer, you want to make it as easy as possible for customers to make the purchase. It’s crucial that your website and marketplace is up to date with all your products and their inventory counts.
3. Optimise your website for mobile
As we’ve seen, an increasing number of customers prefer to shop online using their mobile devices. That's why ensuring that your website is optimised for mobile has become an absolute necessity – so you can provide a seamless and convenient shopping experience for your mobile-savvy customers.
Here are some top tips to consider:
- Make sure your navigation menu is easy to use, so customers can easily find the products they’re looking for
- Have clear call-to-action (CTA) buttons, such as ‘Find out more’ and ‘Buy now’
- Remove any sidebars, banners or pop-ups, which can distract your customer from purchasing
- Ensure you have a smooth mobile payment process in place
4. Optimising your checkout process
Making your checkout process as easy and seamless as possible is the difference between multiple abandoned carts and achieving new sales numbers.
At over 85%, mobile users have the highest cart abandonment numbers. So you should test the whole process a few times – in slightly different ways each time – to observe first-hand how your customer will experience it. This way, you’re accounting for as many scenarios as possible.
5. Enhancing your product descriptions
Getting clear, concise descriptions that truly reflect your products helps customers trust your brand and store more quickly – and therefore purchase at a faster rate. Keeping the descriptions in sections, such as ‘Product information’, ‘Measurements’, or ‘Materials’, is a great way to let the customer navigate to the part they’re most interested in.
6. Leveraging loyalty programs
Loyalty programs are increasingly popular, particularly as the economic climate has become more uncertain. Antavo’s Customer Loyalty 2023 Report showed that 94% of respondents – which included companies with loyalty programs and independent consultants – said that in light of the inflation crisis, the focus should be on loyalty programs. The report also found that 93% of companies with a loyalty program have a positive ROI.
As both new and existing customers come to your online store, giving them the extra bonus of getting involved in your loyalty program can encourage them to seal the deal. For example, fashion retailer Old Navy offers an extra 40% off for 6 hours to loyalty membership holders.
7. Utilising social media platforms effectively
Social media has a big influence on your website traffic and general brand awareness. It’s a great way to promote your product and to build a community and bigger customer base around your business ahead of BFCM.
Take the time to create eye-catching content for your social media profiles, and make it easy for customers to interact with your team via direct message on social media platforms, so they don’t have to leave the app.
8. Setting up limited time offers
It may be a well-known strategy – but that’s because it works. Keeping your products relevant and irresistible to customers with time limited offers can encourage them to buy something they’ve had their eye on for a while.
9. Offer curbside pickup and Buy Online, Pick Up In-store (BOPIS)
As this delivery method is becoming more popular for its ease and convenience, it’d be hugely beneficial for you to offer it to your shoppers. Even if you don’t have a brick-and-mortar store, you could consider using partner shipping companies that offer lockers for customers to pick up their orders from.
10. Offer free shipping
Paying for shipping during BFCM can get expensive for your customer, and ultimately put them off completing check out. In fact, it’s the number one reason for many customers abandoning their cart.
By offering free shipping, whether it’s over a certain amount spent or with a promo code, your conversion rate can improve as well as your customer satisfaction levels.
11. Add more payment methods to your online store
As mentioned above, Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) is becoming a popular way to pay – particularly for Gen-Z, where nearly one in four won’t buy if this method isn’t offered.
Check that your website and marketplace has this set up as well as other popular payment methods, including:
- Credit/Debit Cards
- Apple Pay
- Google Pay
The more flexibility you offer your customer in making payment, the more likely it is that they’ll complete the purchase.
12. Set up your abandoned cart email automation flow
For e-commerce sites, the abandoned cart rate sits at over 70% on average, which means you’re likely leaving a big chunk of potential revenue on the table.
A gentle email to remind a customer of what they’ve left behind in their shopping cart can help to recover 10% of lost revenue. Your automated abandoned cart email can either be a series of two or three emails sent over the following days, or just one that’s triggered a few hours after the cart is abandoned.
13. Think about sustainability
While BFCM is the time of year where many retailers boost their revenues and sales, it inevitably has a big impact on the environment as shipping, packaging and infrastructure energy is stretched.
Sustainability in retail is front and centre in many consumers’ minds as climate change and environmental factors are becoming an increasingly urgent concern. To show that your brand is making an effort to move towards more sustainable retail, consider offering a month-long discount or donating a percentage of your BFCM profits to environmental organisations to help offset the environmental impact.
How to maximise conversion rates in your Amazon store
- Ensure product descriptions are up to date two weeks before BFCM. Adspert found that conversion and clicks started to increase two weeks prior to Black Friday as customers began looking at offers.
- Plan and schedule your promotions in your Amazon account ahead of the weekend. Whether it's a 7-day deal, a 4-hour Lightning Flash sale or a Prime Exclusive discount, make sure it’s implemented and checked before Black Friday.
- Monitor sales and performance over the weekend. While all the deals are in place, keeping track of your sales over the weekend itself is crucial so you can make adjustments to inventory, products and listings to hit your sales target.
How to maximise conversion rates in your AliExpress store
- Check that your product listings show as much detail as possible. Use clear and concise wording in your product descriptions and include explainer and in-use videos as AliExpress customers appreciate interactive visuals.
- Add coupons to your store. Starting from the week before, AliExpress encourages customers to start spending ahead of BFCM and to add items to their cart ahead of the weekend. In exchange, they’ll receive various coupons to use against their next purchase.
- Get creative with your deals. While customers are primarily looking for discounts and deals during BFCM, another way to share the spirit of the weekend is through free gifts with certain purchases or a higher rate of discount with more spend.
How to maximise conversion rates in your Etsy store
- Utilise your mailing list and social media. If you already have a small following through previous customers and social media followers, schedule a sales announcement via email and on your accounts to let them know your BFCM offers.
- Show the discounts and savings first. Make it as easy as possible for customers to know how much they’re saving right away, so they know they’re getting a good deal.
- Offer complimentary special packaging and notes. A personalised touch goes a long way towards building customer loyalty. Using different wrapping, gift tags or including a thoughtful hand-written note are some ways to keep customers coming back for more.
Boost your Black Friday sales with WorldFirst
Black Friday and Cyber Monday is a retail bonanza like no other. By following our tips, you’ll hopefully see a spike in your sales.
One problem you might encounter during the sales period is in being able to efficiently manage all your sales income from different sites and marketplaces – and in multiple different currencies – in one place. Here’s how we can help.
Meet the World Account: a business account designed for trading in multiple countries. The World Account allows you to open 10+ local currency accounts and connect to 100+ leading market places and online payment service providers including Amazon, Etsy, AliExpress, Shopify and PayPal.
With local sort codes, account numbers and iBANs, you’ll be able to set up local bank details with us in minutes, and for free – without having to set up and manage several foreign bank accounts. This means you’ll have a hassle-free way to receive your Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales income in your customers’ local currencies. You’ll pay zero transaction or currency exchange fees on your sales income, so you can keep more of your hard-earned profits.
In order to save more of your Black Friday and Cyber Monday income, you’ll need to open your World Account by 17 November so that you have sufficient time to switch your business account on Amazon, Shopify and AliExpress to WorldFirst. (That’s because it takes 3-5 business days to make the switch.) It costs you absolutely nothing to receive funds or to hold balances in your accounts with the World Account, so it’s easy to switch over.
Once the funds are in your account, you can choose to keep them there, use them to pay for goods, services and taxes, or withdraw them.
Get started by opening your free World Account and get paid in major currencies, fast – so you can boost your profits from Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Open a World Account for free
- Open up to 10 local currency accounts, with local sort codes, account numbers and IBANs
- Collect secure payments from 100+ marketplaces, overseas buyers and payment processing gateways
- Pay suppliers, partners and staff in 40 currencies without hidden fees
- Pay and get paid easily with local bank details on your invoices
- Lock in conversion rates to manage your currency risk
Businesses like yours trust WorldFirst
- Almost 1,000,000 businesses have sent $150B around the world with WorldFirst and its partner brands since 2004
- Your money is safeguarded with leading financial institutions