Let me guess—you’ve just realized Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM) are fast approaching and you haven’t done much to polish your store. Worry not, procrastination can get the best of all of us at some time or other.
I’ll guide you through 9 simple things you can do to tidy up your store right before the biggest sales events of the year. It’s going to be okay—we’ll get through this together!
Before polishing your content or launching campaigns, make sure your store is in check. You wouldn’t invite a bunch of guests to a fancy last-minute dinner party without cleaning up the kitchen, right?
The first thing on your to-do list is to look at your store with a fresh pair of eyes. Step into the customer’s shoes, explore your site as if you’re seeing it for the first time, and evaluate how easy it is to navigate. Think of it as an audit for your store.
Ask yourself these questions:
Is it clear what I’m selling, and why?
Is my website layout simple enough to understand for new shoppers?
Are my deals and offers highlighted on the page?
Will my customers know how they can make a purchase, or how to return it?
Normally, the best way to gather this info would be by asking your customers. But since BFCM is just around the corner, you probably don’t have the time for that.
A quick solution: call up a friend, ask them to click around the page for a couple of minutes, and note down their feedback.
Learn more: Printful Policies Your Store Should Copy
Your site speed can be a make-or-break factor for new customers. Nobody has the patience anymore to wait for a page to load for more than a few seconds; it’s 2023—online shoppers expect quick loading speed and smooth site performance.
To measure your site speed, you can use Google’s Page Speed Tool or WebPageTest. Remember that around 40% of online shoppers expect pages to load in 2 seconds or less and will leave if the page takes longer than 3 seconds to load. People who abandon a website because of low loading speed will also be less likely to return.
Slower than you’d like? Here’s what you can do to speed up your site:
Get rid of plugins that you don’t use anymore
Reduce the page size—consider what’s essential and what needs to go
Optimize your images (we recommend keeping them under 200KB)
Compress all other data you can get your hands on
Around 7 out of 10 shopping carts get abandoned. And with all the holiday noise going on at the end of the year, you want to secure a spot among those 3 lucky ones that close the sale.
However, it’ll take more than luck to improve your checkout process, and here are a couple of things you can do right away:
Allow guest checkout—don’t bother the shopper with registration, or you might risk scaring them away
Remove distracting promos—help your soon-to-be customer keep their eyes on the prize (i.e. complete the purchase)
Offer several payment options like credit card, PayPal, or AfterPay—the more options you give, the easier it is for the customer to close out the shopping cycle
Be upfront about extra costs like shipping or taxes—that way, you’ll avoid turning shoppers off when unexpected expenses crop up
Provide a progress bar (like in the image below)—let your customers know how long the checkout process is going to take
The less time and energy your customer has to invest in the checkout process, the more likely they are to complete the purchase.
Now that you’ve improved the tech on your website, it’s time to get to the fun part: marketing.
If you’ve only started preparing just now, chances are you won’t be able to launch huge, elaborate campaigns. However, there are plenty of simple yet effective things you can do to attract holiday shoppers.
Having clear product descriptions enhances your customers’ user experience and helps shoppers find exactly what they’re looking for.
If you’re selling a coffee mug, why not paint the picture of a sturdy everyday mug for coffee lovers that’ll withstand wear and tear? Or if it’s a blanket, why not present it as a super-snuggly covering to keep the cold winter days at bay? Try to describe your products in a way that makes people want to experience them.
You can also go for humor—take a look at this anti-dandruff shampoo description from Dollar Shave Club.
When updating your product descriptions, ask yourself:
If you’ve managed to tick all the boxes, congratulations—you may now start spreading the word about your products!
The holidays are saturated with special offers, and that’s what customers expect from you too. Here are some last-minute offer ideas to consider:
Free shipping (either for a limited time or for specific products)
% or $ off select products
A discount code
2 for 1 deals
A free gift card when buying specific products (this is what Apple usually does)
Take a look at this example by a vegan shoe brand Avesu. When entering their website, they immediately greet me with a pop-up of their offer, giving me 10% off with a coupon code. They’re also creating a sense of urgency with a time limit: “24 hours only.” Better not miss out!
Offering free shipping is also a powerful purchasing motivator. According to a National Retail Federation study, 75% of consumers expect free shipping for all online orders. And during BFCM especially, customers are looking for the most competitive deals they can get. Using free shipping promos can help your customers feel like they’ve found the best bargain out there.
Now that you’ve decided on an offer, it’s time to let the world know about it. Keep scrolling to learn about launching quick ads and social media campaigns.
For someone who has left BFCM prep till the last minute, a quick ad campaign can truly help turn things around.
I recommend capitalizing on your existing audiences and people who are already interested in your brand.
The most common (and easiest) way to launch ads is through social media, like Facebook and Instagram. Here are some ideas for launching Facebook ad campaigns:
Target existing customers. Gather a list of your customer emails, upload them to the Facebook Ads Manager, and start creating your campaign.
Target the curious. When creating an ad campaign on Facebook, pick “people who engaged with any post or ad.” Enter the number of days, give the audience a name, and ta-da! You now have a segment of people who’ve engaged with your brand and are likely to appreciate your holiday deals.
When creating a Facebook ad, along the setup process you’ll be able to choose between different campaign goals: reach, awareness, traffic, etc. I recommend selecting “reach” or “traffic” for these campaigns rather than “conversions,” since “conversions” tend to be more expensive for smaller audiences. With “reach” or “traffic” as campaign goals, you’ll get a bigger audience at a lower cost.
As for the visual side of your ads, remember that:
It’s best to keep the text short and sweet
Best-performing ads have an offer or a discount
The less busy your ad is, the more likely it will catch the user’s attention
Here’s a good ad example from Google: it’s short, straight to the point, and gives the offer ($300) straight away.
If you’d like to find out more about Facebook ads, check out their help section. And if you’re a Shopify user, see their guide on syncing your product catalog with Facebook ads and expanding your audience through campaigns.
Instagram has evolved and now offers the possibility to post reels, carousel photos, guides, stories, videos, and live videos. But, it’s single Instagram photo posts and carousels that still get the most engagement of all feed posts.
So when you’re short on time and want to promote your products quickly, creating promo posts with your product photos or graphics is the best strategy.
Here’s an example of a flyer Bath & Body Works posted for their Black Friday campaign:
You can create one of your own using Canva or any other graphic design platform or tool.
Include image cutouts of your products, get creative with design elements, and make your offers bold.
Posting photos of your products with engaging descriptions of what you offer on BFCM is also a great idea. Here’s how Bath & Body Works promoted their products on Facebook (this type of description works well on Instagram too):
Source: Bath & Body Works
If you can find a nice background, most of the work is already done. Arrange your products or take a photo of yourself using or wearing them and motivate your customers to take advantage of the limited-time deals.
If you’re using Printful, you can give our Custom Mockup Maker a go and create photo-studio-worthy product images without a professional camera or a studio setup. Download the mockup, add your BFCM deal promo text, and post it on your feed.
You can also create video content. You don’t need a professional camera and video editing skills, your smartphone will do.
Start a live stream: Film directly in the app and talk to your followers about your BFCM deals. Showcase new products, or talk about what you’re up to. This is an authentic and engaging way to connect with your audience and thank them for their support.
Create reels: Similar to TikTok videos, you can create fun promotional videos using sound effects, music, and stickers. They’ll be discoverable in the Explore tab and you’ll be able to expand your audience reach.
Post videos on Stories: More than half of Instagram users become interested in a brand or product after seeing it in Stories. And just like with reels, you can add filters, stickers, and text to create awesome ads. It will last 24h, but you can access them in your archive if you want to repurpose the content up until BFCM.
If you’re not marketing on TikTok yet, this is a good time to start. There’s a big chance a large portion of your target audience is on TikTok since it has one billion active users and many are from working-age demographics.
|Ages 10-19||Ages 20-29||Ages 30-39||Ages 40-49||Ages 50+|
|25% of users||22.4% of users||21.7% of users||20.3% of users||11% of users|
Source: Social Shepherd
It’s a great platform for growing brand awareness for individuals and companies alike. With TikTok, anyone has the potential to create viral videos, including small and large businesses.
You can film BFCM-related content and promote your discounts or free shipping. If you’ve already reached 10,000 followers, you’ll be able to ask followers to click on your store link in the bio (to instantly access the sales page), create TikTok ads, and get access to other Business Suite features from the platform.
Keep in mind this is more of a long-term strategy though. If you have fewer followers, cross-promote your posts on other social channels (like Dunkin’ Donuts does on Instagram). TikTok is a fantastic place to create brand awareness and make more money, and that won’t change any time soon, so it’s worth the effort.
As for BFCM content, Tiktokers value authentic and engaging content above everything else. Take a look at some of the brands whose videos went viral:
SANI made a video of their design process and shared the final product:
DBL Jewelry shows us how you can connect with your customers while still promoting your work:
And Momentary Ink was featured on TikTok for Business as a great example of In-Feed Ads, or ads that appear on peoples’ For you pages.
Just remember to have fun. Your TikTok content doesn’t necessarily have to be promotional for it to draw attention to your store.
Here’s one last example of someone who made a video about preparing for Black Friday:
If humor fits your brand, use it.
In 2023, even though video content has greater engagement on TikTok, reach and interactions remain higher on Instagram. In fact, Instagram still produces more engagement for marketers than Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok. . Why does this matter? Higher engagement is linked to more sales.
A quick social media contest is a fast way to engage with your audience, and people will be especially interested in participating if you’re offering something for free. Deciding on a last-minute idea and drafting quick copy won’t take much time, and will bring you exposure and extend your following.
To illustrate, let’s say you’re selling pillows.
Pop quiz. Post a fun pop quiz on social media about pillow varieties around the world and give the winner a 5% discount for your products.
Giveaway. Post a product showcase on Instagram or Facebook and ask people to a) follow you, b) tag their friends, c) and share the post for a chance to win a custom pillow.
Picture contest. Publish a short social media post asking your followers to share their favorite cozy holiday picture, and offer the winner a free premium pillow case from your store. As a bonus, this will give you a way to collect testimonials.
And if custom pillows are not your jam, check out this guide to Gift-Worthy Print-on-Demand Products to Sell This Holiday Season and find what best suits your niche.
If you want quick results on Instagram, go for quizzes or story polls, because it takes one click to enter your contest. You could also post a picture of an outfit and ask your followers which one they like best. Pick a winner (or multiple, if you can afford to) and give them free merch, coupons, or anything else you want to offer.
Here’s some picture contest inspiration from an ecommerce website. They’re asking their followers to upload a photo on Instagram with a custom hashtag:
Remember that people tend to engage more with natural content that isn’t super polished. Keep that in mind when connecting with followers.
And did you know there are certain times of day that are more favorable for posting your contest promos?
According to Later’s analysis of 35M global Instagram posts, the best times to post on Instagram throughout the week are:
|5 a.m.||6 a.m.||6 a.m.||5 a.m.||6 a.m.||6 a.m.||6 a.m.|
If you’re strategic with how you interact with followers and employ these tips, your engagement will surely be up in time for peak season.
Is last-minute prep stressful? Yes.
Is it worth it? Yes.
Should you start preparing earlier next year? Also yes.
Holidays are a tense time for everyone, so the sooner you prepare, the less pressure you experience. I hope these last-minute tips will be useful for you, and even though BFCM is almost here, don’t worry—you’ve got this.
Have an awesome holiday season, make lots of new customers, have fun, and enjoy the holidays. Good luck!
Vinsenta is a Marketing Project Manager at Printful. She has a degree in Translation & Interpreting, as well as an MBA. Her passions include storytelling, business administration, and self-development.