BFCM 2023: Lessons Learned From Previous Years To Convert Better

Doki Nguyen
Jun 14, 2024
3 min read

Near, far, wherever you are, BFCM 2023 is getting closer. When is the best time to prepare for BFCM 2023? It's now. And how to prepare for Black Friday? It's here!

Yes, we're talking about the highly anticipated Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM) shopping extravaganza!

As we gear up for BFCM 2023, it's the perfect moment to reflect on the lessons we learned from previous years’ strategies and discover how we can convert even better this time around.

So grab a cup of coffee and get ready to dive into the world of BFCM, where we'll uncover valuable insights and tips to make this year's BFCM your most successful one yet!

Lesson 1: Plan early

This is a timeless lesson.

Obviously, online merchants who started strategizing well in advance were able to maximize their sales and stay ahead of the competition. From inventory management to marketing campaigns, meticulous planning was a game-changer.

ℹ️ When is Black Friday 2023?

Black Friday is November 24, 2023. This annual shopping holiday occurs on the day immediately following Thanksgiving, which conveniently falls on the fourth Friday of November.

How early should you plan for BFCM 2023?

Let the numbers speak.

According to Think With Google, online shoppers usually search for Black Friday very early - from 10 to 4 weeks before the official day.

According to Okendo's holiday shopping report in 2022, 48% of consumers in the U.S. expressed their intention to initiate their holiday shopping earlier than their usual timeframe.

This behavior is predicted to remain in BFCM 2023 due to customers’ stringent spending habits.

In conclusion:

Since your potential customers start searching for Black Friday deals in September, you should be ready to test and run some early-bird promotions.

3 stages of BFCM

Source: Think With Google

How to plan for BFCM 2023 early and effectively?

When planning early for BFCM 2023, you are building up the expectations and anticipations for your customers.

During this period, the best-proven strategy is to run offers for EVERYONE.

At the early stage before the official Black Friday, consumers tend not to commit to any particular brand or product, and they are receptive to recommendations.

🧠 Pro tip:

Select a line among your product categories and spice it up with a sweet deal. Run, test, and adjust to collect customers’ insights.

By starting promotions early, you can strategize and identify what is the best way to excite your audience for the campaigns to be executed in October and November.

Remember, increasing your reach to a broader audience of potential customers is crucial during the early BFCM stage.

So, focus on increasing your email list, spending more on ads to target new customers, and warming up all your social media handles.

Lesson 2: What makes a good Black Friday deal?

Not all deals are good deals.

Studies showed that before BFCM 2021, 56% of consumers expressed concerns that brands tend to promote lower-quality products during the event. However, in 2022, that percentage has decreased to 48%.

In the same studies, 54% of inquiring customers predicted that the discounts offered during BFCM wouldn't meet their expectations.

👉 Lesson learned:

These numbers are the wake-up call for any retailers who want to rely on “obsolete inventory” (aka the products remain in stock for a long time without being sold) as the main promoted and discounted items during BFCM 2023.

How to determine what Black Friday deals your customers expect?

Answer: Offer your customers multiple ways to save.

Don’t limit your BFCM 2023 deals to just discounts in price.

This approach aims to attract and engage customers by providing various opportunities for discounts and promotions.

Here are a few examples of the best types of BFCM deals that work wonders on your Shopify store:

  1. Limited-time deals: Offer time-limited deals on select products throughout the BFCM event.
    These lightning deals give your customers a sense of urgency and FOMO - and - encourage them to make quick purchasing decisions to secure significant discounts.
    For example, you can offer a high-demand electronic item at a heavily discounted price for a limited time or while supplies last.

  2. Percentage-based discounts: Provide percentage-based discounts on a wide range of products across different categories in your store.
    Don’t skip this type of deal if your store has various product types or products from different vendors.
    For instance, you can offer 20% off on electronics, 30% on home appliances, and 40% on fashion items. This allows customers to explore various product options and enjoy savings based on their preferences.

  3. Bundle deals: This type of deal never goes out of style!
    Always create bundle deals where your customers can purchase multiple items together at a discounted price.
    For example, offer a "Christmas-Frenzy Bundle" with a smart TV, soundbar, and streaming device at a bundled discount. This strategy encourages customers to purchase complementary products in a cost-effective package.

  4. Exclusive coupons and Promo codes: Timeless! This way of distributing exclusive coupons and promo codes to customers provides them with additional savings on top of existing discounts.
    For example, get creative and offer a special promo code through email or social media channels that provide an extra 10% off on all BFCM purchases.

  5. Free shipping: Whoever has free shipping or a shipping discount on their site will WIN.
    You should provide free (or at least discounted shipping) on all BFCM orders, eliminating additional customer costs and further enhancing the overall value proposition.

  6. Loyalty program benefits: Not just Thanksgiving, BFCM is also a good opportunity to extend special benefits to loyal customers or members of your loyalty program.
    For example, try to offer early access to deals, exclusive discounts, or bonus reward points for every purchase made during the BFCM promo.

  7. Gamification and contests: Incorporate gamification elements or contests into your Prime Day promotions.
    For example, offer a "Spin the Wheel" game where customers can win additional discounts or prizes. This strategy adds an element of fun and engagement, increasing customer participation and excitement.

Lesson 3: Price strategy for BFCM 2023

Try tiered discount (Buy More Save More)

It’s obviously true that not all deals are the best deals for your customers. This is true for online retailers too.

We always associate BFCM discounts with the most significant discounts of the year. However, it's important to note that offering deep discounts can have a negative impact on profit margins, especially when it comes to smaller orders.

That’s when tiered discounts come into play. This is one of the most popular (and effective) BFCM strategies for online stores.

To optimize revenue per shopper during BFCM 2023, you can elevate the stakes by raising both the potential rewards and the risk of missing out.

By incentivizing customers to shop more, they can unlock sweeter deals. If customers hesitate or delay their purchase, they risk missing out on the most significant deal of the year.

For example, you can set 3 tiers for customers who buy from your store:

  • Bronze Tier: Customers who spend $100 or more receive a 10% discount on their order.
  • Silver Tier: Customers who spend $200 or more receive a 20% discount and free shipping.
  • Gold Tier: Customers who spend $300 or more receive a 30% discount, free shipping, and a bonus gift.
tiered discount example

An example of Buy More Save More (tiered discounts) on Pottery Barn during Memorial Day

🧠 Pro tip:
Don’t over-complicate your BFCM offers

If your offer becomes overly complex, shoppers will seek alternative places to purchase their holiday gifts.

Be tactical throughout your BFCM 2023 promotion timeline

You will need to understand what to focus on during different promotional stages.

  • Early BFCM (September to October):
    Your offer should focus on allowing a broad target of potential customers to shop, getting attention from these users, and ensuring the availability of desired styles, sizes, etc., while avoiding the rush.
    Your discount or offer provided during this period should be attractive compared to other times of the year but not as enticing as the official BFCM deals.

  • Black Friday week:
    It is crucial to tailor the offer specifically for this day. Don’t forget to make the offer more appealing than the Early BFCM promotion and applicable to a wide range of products.
    Many retailers run site-wide offers on this day. This is the time to focus on achieving the highest order volume.

  • Cyber Monday:
    This is the moment to present your maximum discounted offer, aiming to drive the highest sales volume and average order value (AOV).
    The goal is to encourage your customers to make substantial purchases and provide them with the best deal they can get throughout the year.

  • Post-BFCM:
    This stage is ideal for moving excess inventory, end-of-season items, or old collection SKUs.
    You can create a sense of urgency by setting a shipping cutoff date and offering a deal on expedited shipping.
    This tactic encourages your customers to make their purchases for gifting purposes, ensuring timely delivery.

How long should you run your Black Friday promotions?

Although you can test and run the pre-BFCM campaigns from September, evaluating the official time length of your BFCM promotion is crucial.

So, how long should a BFCM deal last?

Quick answer: no longer than a week.

Those retailers who buy into the idea that the bigger equals better don't realize that customers are facing weeks’ worth of BFCM bombardment. They don't like it!

Less is actually more regarding the duration of your Black Friday sale.

Instead of following your competitors, prioritize keeping your customers happy by limiting the activities to a maximum of one week.

By doing so, you'll maintain their interest for longer and have more chances to engage with them in the future. It's a win-win situation!

Lesson 4: Never sleep on your store’s analytics

Real-time analytics provide valuable insights into your customer behavior during BFCM.

You won’t want to sleep on these data to understand which types of customers responded the most positively to your deals.


Boost AI's analytics feature with detailed store's performance report

This information also helps tailor marketing efforts and offerings to specific customer segments, improving engagement and conversion rates for upcoming promotions.

Also, while ramping up your marketing efforts during BFCM, you need to take measures to strike a balance and avoid overwhelming your audience.

Excessive ads or emails can lead to user fatigue and even result in unsubscribing from your email list.

Don’t forget that you can leverage insights from past BFCMs and other promotional campaigns’ performances too.

For instance, imagine you operate an online electronics brand. Analyzing BFCM 2022 performance may reveal that brand A’s smartphones were your best-selling products.

Additionally, you may notice a significant surge in sales velocity during the early hours of BFCM, indicating heightened customer demand during that time.

By examining customer preference data, you might also discover that customers showed a strong interest in brand A’s smartphones with advanced camera features, competitive pricing, and positive customer reviews.

Armed with this knowledge, you can strategically optimize your inventory by ensuring sufficient stock levels of high-demand items and adjusting prices to remain competitive in attracting potential customers.

Lesson 5: Things you should NEVER do for BFCM 2023

When you’re working on how to prepare for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, it's important to approach with integrity and strategic planning.

Here are some essential DON’Ts to help you make the most of this significant sales event:

  • Don't increase prices to make a deeper discount: Savvy shoppers are aware of product prices or use price trackers, and attempting such tactics may harm your reputation and credibility.
    It’s very not likely that your customers will be fooled by the new skyrocketed prices and some “made-up-for-it” discounts.

  • Don't fake your reviews: While social proofing is crucial for your eCommerce during sensitive shopping times like BFCM, you must resist adding fake reviews just to make your products look legitimate.
    Fake reviews are misleading; your customers will find out anyway after opening their shipped package.
    When customers discover that reviews are fabricated, it damages the credibility of your business, and it’s ten times harder to recover from such a mistake.

  • Don’t ignore your inventory management: Proper inventory management is crucial for peak selling time, like BFCM.
    Avoid running out of stock during BFCM 2023 to maximize sales opportunities and maintain a positive selling momentum even when BFCM is over.

Bottom line: What’s next?

With all of the BFCM lessons learned above, we hope that you can be off to a good start in your preparation for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Although much behind-the-curtain work goes into BFCM strategies and preparation, you'll soon harvest what you've been pouring effort into.

Here’s to a winning BFCM!

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Doki Nguyen
Content Marketing Specialist
June 17, 2024
7 min read