Prepare your online shop for Black Friday and Cyber Monday - your compact guide for 2019

The American shopping days Black Friday and Cyber Monday are known for ringing in the Christmas business and are playing an increasingly important role in e-commerce. The popularity has also increased in recent years in Europe. Last year, German web shoppers spent around 2 billion euros on Cyber Monday alone, and according to forecasts this figure is set to rise even further in 2019. This year the BFCM-weekend goes from 29. November to 2. December and offers online merchants the possibility to start the Christmas business with a lot of momentum and to boost sales. Online shops that want to achieve this successfully face a number of challenges during the preparation:

  • Planning marketing campaigns
  • Increased traffic on their website
  • More sales and shipments
  • Increasing support requests

We have written a compact guide for you with 24 practical tips from successful companies, which will prepare you best for the probably hottest phase of the year in the cold season.

1.Set a focus for your goal

Don’t make the mistake of trying to achieve everything at once – many merchants have already failed pursuing that strategy. For example, decide whether you want to focus on new customer acquisition or rather on the activation of existing customers. Set yourself a specific goal, which is SMART and determines the strategy to be followed.

2.Optimize your online shop for mobile use

Even though you are certainly aware of this and you have heard it several times – this aspect is still underestimated by many online shops. The m-commerce market now accounts for 41% of the e-commerce share in Germany and will play an important role this year for the BFCM weekend. According to a study, consumers under the age of 40 primarily use mobile devices for shopping on the Internet. It is also interesting that Shopify Shops last year recorded more mobile purchases than desktop purchases for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. A trend that will continue this year. For this reason, the prioritization of mobile is very important for online retailers in preparation for Black Friday, but also in the long run.

Especially during the checkout process, there is the greatest danger of more cancellations due to a lack of mobile optimization. In this context, online merchants must also introduce user-friendly payment methods.

3. Addressing the right age group

Addressing the right target group is one of the basics when you open your online shop. With regard to the Black Friday-Cyber Monday weekend, however, it is interesting to know that especially younger buyers, between 18 and 29 years, take the opportunity to go bargain hunting. 49% of 18- to 29-year-olds also said in a survey that they specifically looked for offers online last year. For e-commerce shops, this means that they can work even more precisely when it comes to targeting in order to display the offers to the right target group and thus reduce coverage loss.

4.Setting up remarketing campaigns

Although these “shopping holidays” have gained in importance in recent years, many Germans still tend to spread their Christmas shopping over a longer period of time. This also allows them to do research on the Internet to compare products and prices.

For this reason, if you haven’t already done so, you should install tracking pixels in your online store to build remarketing lists when people interact with your website. You can then target them with remarketing campaigns and get them to make a purchase.

5.Offer alternative delivery options

More and more young online shoppers prefer not to deliver the ordered goods to their homes, but to their workplace or to a parcel station or to pick them up using Click & Collect in the store. This offers retailers who also have a physical sales location new opportunities to interact with customers.

It is also a fact that 41% of consumers make their purchasing decisions based on the delivery options offered. Therefore, by offering multiple delivery options, you can positively influence your conversion rate.

6.Install push notifications on the website

Push notifications give you the opportunity to contact people directly and to inform them about discounts, deadlines, etc. With tools such as Subscribers you can implement Push Notifications without much effort and bring people back to your website with just a few clicks and convince them to make a purchase.

Push notifications website

7. Plan charity actions and cooperations

Especially at Christmas time people are willing to donate to charity and support people who are not doing so well. As an online retailer you can also do something good for society and the environment and benefit from it at the same time. One way is to donate a portion of your income to a charity. However, your online shop could also plan to cooperate with an organisation and thus attract even more attention, which will also have a positive effect on your brand.

This way your online shop can also contribute to making the world a better place.

8.Replenish stocks in time

Stocks are like cookie jars in the Christmas season – empty too quickly. To prevent this, as an e-commerce retailer you need to replenish the stocks of bestsellers in particular and order deliveries from the producer in time. A functioning supply chain management system and clear communication with suppliers and logistics service providers are essential factors for a successful Christmas business. Communicate your sales plans with your business partners, so that they can adjust to it in a stressful time when facing increased demand. In this way you can prevent popular products from being completely sold out after the BFCM weekend and, in the worst case scenario, being not in the position to restock again before Christmas. This would lead to many webshop visitors not being able to order the desired product and consequently sales losses for your business.

9.Creation of product bundles

With product bundles you can combine well matching products and offer them at an attractive price. This also increases the perceived benefit from a consumer perspective. Moreover, you can achieve higher shopping baskets and the conversion rate increases.

10.Target gift buyers

You can target people who want to buy Christmas gifts for friends and family by adding a section on your website called “Gift Ideas”, for example. This makes it easier for users to search and will inspire people to buy some gifts.

christmas presents ecommerce

11.Customize visual designs

With adapted visual designs you can draw people’s attention to special promotions for Black Friday and Cyber Monday in your online shop. Just come up with a creative design that you can then adapt for different social channels and platforms (e.g. as a cover image on Facebook). A useful tool for creating graphics without professional design skills is Canva.

12.Planning marketing campaigns carefully

In the last quarter of the year, the cost of online advertising is known to rise as companies become more active and competition increases. Especially in the days before and around Black Friday and Cyber Monday online merchants have to consider in their budget that the costs are much higher than usual. In order to keep the expenses within limits, not only the target group must be cleverly chosen, but also the advertisements must be designed particularly creatively. This applies to both the text and the graphics. In the E-Commerce Funnel you should therefore not start at the top with interest groups and demographic variables, but address people who have already interacted with your brand and therefore have a higher purchase probability. In particular, people who are price-sensitive can be convinced with discounts in this way.

13.Inform customers about upcoming promotions early on

A study from America shows that more than half of buyers plan their BFCM purchases in advance. Online retailers should therefore inform potential buyers a few weeks in advance in order to be considered by customers when the time comes.

Black Friday Cyber Monday purchase planning

14.Build up excitement

With small teasers and announcements for upcoming promotions, you as an online retailer can provide insights that arouse interest and build excitement.

15.Plan your email marketing

A good email marketing plan leads to the best conversion rates for online merchants. You can orientate yourself on the following plan:

  1. Announcement of Black-Friday and Cyber Monday promotions. Tip: Add a link that can serve as a calendar entry and remind the customer in a timely fashion
  2. Preview/teaser for upcoming promotions to build excitement
  3. Kickoff with exclusive offers for subscribers: exclusive/limited products, discounts, free shipping, donation campaigns, etc.
  4. Last reminder for still available offers incl. countdown

16.Optimizing the technical infrastructure of the website

Make sure that your webshop can handle many sessions at once and that the loading speed does not suffer in order to avoid purchase cancellations. You can test the server load with the following tool: Even a short time-out can lead to a big loss in sales and mean that you can’t win back some website visitors in the long run. With PageSpeed Insights from Google you can analyze the performance and get useful tips for the optimizationof your website.

17.Convert people who abandoned their shopping cart personalized via e-mails

According to a study from 2018, last year on Black Friday the cart abandonment rate amounted to 73.78% . In order to persuade prospective customers to make a purchase, e-commerce companies should prepare convincing e-mails which, in such a case, are sent automatically and personalized.

marketing planning BFCM 2019

18. Check the usability of the website

Besides the mobile optimization, you should generally check the usability of your online shop. You can use tools like Google Analytics or Hotjar. This allows you to observe how users interact with your web shop via different devices and uncover possible problems.

19.Use loss-leaders

Get people to your website with highly attractive offers to increase traffic, build retargeting lists with tracking pixels and then make other matching product suggestions. A popular method among e-commerce companies is to convince people to buy more products according to their preferences in order to increase the value of the shopping cart.

20. Creating scarcity

Use a countdown timer or a stock level indicator to create scarcity and encourage customers to buy with hesitating too much.

21. Optimize the customer support of your online shop

Many online merchants do not consider that more orders also lead to more problems in general. For this reason, it is necessary to optimize processes and, if necessary, increase the workforce in order to ensure customer satisfaction. The following actions can help to overcome those challenges:

  • Integrate live chats in the web shop and be there for the customer in time when questions arise. This is especially helpful in the checkout process and has a positive effect on the conversion rate.
  • The Customer Support team is trained to react quickly, politely and respectfully in communication – especially during the stressful Christmas season.
  • Set up standard answers, that are still perceived as personal, for recurring problems.
Parcel delivery

22. Simplify returns

Simple and free return shipping is an important factor for consumers when shopping online. Studies show that 51% of online shoppers would not shop online if the return conditions were unfavorable to them. Customers are concerned above all with the trust and security of being able to return the product in case problems arise. Especially on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, where you are more or less under time stress, consumers find this aspect very important. For online merchants who are fair about return policies and communicate them transparently, this behavior can have a positive impact on their business.

23. Retaining new customers for the long term

During the BFCM weekend you will certainly win new customers. Now you have the opportunity to bind first-time buyers to your brand and build a relationship with them. As a first step, you can use retargeting pixels to reach people who have not subscribed to the newsletter or do not yet follow you via social networks. This way you as an online retailer can be closer to the end customer and won’t be forgotten.

24.Ensure timely shipping

Sufficient stock is not the only logistical challenge. E-commerce fulfillment is a critical success factor for online shops and fast shipping has become a standard for today’s consumers. For this reason, you should communicate clearly with your fulfillment service provider whenever promotions are planned and a higher shipment volume is to be expected.


The Black Friday – Cyber Monday weekend can be a huge success for online retailers. However, as an e-commerce company you have to prepare in time and wisely to take the right measures with a good strategy and appropriate tools. Also, you should not only pay attention to marketing, but also to logistics, fulfillment and customer support to make the best out of it.

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