BFCM 2023 Last-Minute Holiday Selling Checklist

Doki Nguyen
Jun 14, 2024
3 min read

As online retailers transform into strategizing machines for BFCM 2023 (Black Friday and Cyber Monday), strategies start flying left and right; now, let’s ensure your holiday marketing strategy shines like a star during this retail extravaganza.

Don't panic if you've left things to the last minute - we've got your back!

In our previous articles, we discussed BFCM lessons from last year and some noticeable BFCM 2023 trends and predictions. In this article, let’s run through these last-minute holiday-selling checklists and get ready to win this BFCM 🤑

The clock is ticking, and the countdown starts now!

First thing first, a quick look at your Shopify store analytics

Ever come to the battle unprepared and had your store broken down during the peak holiday traffic time?

Ever spent time and effort into a brilliant operations research strategy but had to watch it fizzle out like a deflated balloon during the festive sales?

It's time to gather your troops and embark on a daring expedition: a thorough audit of all your departments, from sales and marketing to supply and inventory management.

Dig in: How To Level Up Your Holiday Selling Strategy With Actionable Insights From Shopify Store Data

No matter how late or not ready your online store is for the approaching holiday season, it’s never too late to take quick actions - based on your store performance history.

When planning for last-minute holiday sales, there are several key Shopify analytics that you should consider to make informed decisions. Here are some important metrics to look at:

Your past holiday demand: Examine past holiday seasons to identify top-selling items and profitable products. Analyze sales data such as purchase patterns, trends, peak periods, and inventory challenges from previous years.

Your last year’s holiday traffic and recent traffic in the past 6 months: Examine website traffic analytics to identify the busiest days and times that might happen during the holiday season. It helps to allocate your resources and run holiday campaigns effectively.

Your customers’ drop-offs: Identify any drop-offs in the conversion funnel during peak holiday selling time and optimize those areas to increase sales.

Recent market trends and customer segmentation: You might be a little late to prepare your inventory for the holiday season in late September. However, you can quickly check market trends to utilize social media platforms to gauge consumer preferences and stock up on current effective marketing tactics to apply.

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BFCM 2023: What your eCommerce store should have

Smooth website

Here's a rookie mistake even seasoned online retailers tend to make: not giving themselves ample time to launch and test their site before the holiday frenzy kicks in.

The ultimate nightmare for an eCommerce retail site? It crashes (and goes up in flames) when hit with a sudden surge of traffic. Because let's face it, when your website crashes during peak traffic, there’s no quick fix for that.

⭐ The golden rule: During holiday sales, especially BFCM 2023, you CAN’T afford your site to go down, not even for a minute, at any hour of the day.

Stress testing (or load testing) your site. It's like putting your website through a hardcore workout session to see if it can handle the holiday rush. Check out our several good ways to prepare your store for BFCM traffic.

So, if this is when you start to look for some quick tips to prepare for the holiday sales time, make sure any tweaks, updates, and tests are done and dusted well before November hits.

Fault-free checkouts

All your efforts to win the holiday selling season will go up in smoke if, at the last step, your customers choose to abandon their cart due to - for example - a frozen checkout.

abandonment reasons

Source: Main reasons why consumers abandon their orders during the checkout process in the United States in 2022 (Statista)

So, til this point, you need to check if your shopping carts are feeling a bit abandoned lately. During last year's holiday season and your previous 3 months, is your checkout process smooth as butter for both guest users and registered folks? Was it easy for them to use your coupon code?

Here are 3 things to add to your last-minute holiday selling checklist:

✅ Test and check your customer’s checkout process

✅ Revise the abandon rate and find the solution

✅ Test and check your payment gate

🔥 Cool last-minute tactic: Implement exit intent trick

“Exit intent” pop-up is like a ninja pop-up that sneaks in just when a user is about to bid farewell to your website. This clever pop-up showcases irresistible deals or promotions to make them think twice about leaving empty-handed. It's your last chance to seal the deal!

Last-minute product strategy

✅ When it’s last-minute planning, always go for a holiday gift guide!

Think of the items that scream "perfect gift" or "must-have for the holidays.”

'Tis the season to give gifts, and that means expanding your product offerings to cater to holiday shoppers' needs.

You will need to identify popular gift items, create holiday-themed bundles, and highlight seasonal best-sellers. Sprinkle some limited-edition items or exclusive discounts to create a sense of urgency and excitement. Remember, a well-curated product assortment is like a gift that keeps on giving!

amazon gift guide

Amazon is the best example of personalized and creative gift guides. From thoughtful suggestions for your loved ones to curated collections for every interest and budget, you have them all.

✅ Make sure your catalog is up to date

You will need to check that all your items are in stock and properly set up with their variants. We don't want disappointed customers clicking on a product only to find it's as elusive as Santa himself 🎅.

Next, give your shop product detail pages a holiday makeover.

Why not sprinkle them with high-resolution videos and images that showcase your products in all their festive glory? Remember, a picture is worth a thousand sales, so make those visuals pop!

Also, don't forget to include descriptive product information with catchy names and titles, added with holiday keywords if needed, such as “gift for family.”

Think of it as the wrapping paper that entices shoppers to tear it open and discover what's inside. The more accurate and up-to-date details you provide, the merrier the shopping experience will be for your customers.

✅ Choose a hero product - the bestseller in your eCommerce store

If you have no clue what products will be trending this holiday season, the safe bet will be your “hero” products.

These hero products hold the key to maximizing your earnings during the upcoming holiday season.

Once you have identified your hero products, prioritize their promotion and sales efforts. Allocate resources to ensure their availability, visibility, and prominence in your marketing campaigns as well as your online store.

By focusing on these hot items, you capitalize on their proven appeal and capitalize on the existing demand.

Well-prepared customer support

As the frenzy ensues, it's essential to recognize that your customer support team will be in the eye of the storm, facing a surge of inquiries that may differ from the typical ones they handle.

To ensure a smooth and efficient customer support experience, it's time to roll up your sleeves and start mapping out potential problems and corresponding troubleshooting strategies.

✅ Take a moment to anticipate the atypical queries that may arise during this bustling period. For example:

→ Will customers have questions about specific deals or discounts?

→ Are there potential issues with payment processing or order tracking?

By identifying these potential pain points, you can proactively develop troubleshooting strategies to address them.

Once you have mapped out the potential problems, gather your customer support team for a comprehensive discussion. Always remember to share your insights, provide your customer support team with the necessary information, and allocate enough time for them to study and prepare.

Last-minute holiday selling checklist: What else?

Be clear on the delivery policy and cut off

If you haven't nailed down your logistics game, get ready for a flurry of unhappy customers fleeing to your competitors.

Don't be a Grinch when it comes to shipping and fulfillment. Make sure your customers receive their packages on time and in perfect condition.

holiday shipping time

You must set clear expectations for delivery times and when you stop receiving new purchase orders on your store (your cutoff date), offer expedited shipping options for last-minute shoppers, and provide order tracking to keep them in the loop.

Why so? With everyone jumping on the BFCM bandwagon, shipping carriers and logistics teams will be working around the clock to keep up.

Pro tip: Consider partnering with reliable shipping carriers to spread the holiday cheer far and wide!

Prepare for stockouts and overstocks

What to do when your product is out of stock during peak selling time?

As an online merchant, it's crucial to have a plan in place to cater to customers who miss out on fast-selling items. And since you’re planning this at the last minute, we assume that you are more likely not to have an adequate quantity of the best-selling items in stock.

Consider creating a strategic plan to offer bonuses or discount codes to customers who missed out on the out-of-stock goods.

This gesture not only shows goodwill but also provides an incentive for customers to explore other options within your product range. By offering these perks, you can turn disappointment into delight and foster customer loyalty.

What’s more? You need to ensure that your customer support agents are prepared to step in and assist.

Alternatively, you can provide customers with information on when a particular product will be back in stock while offering other similar options based on their interests.

This way, you not only manage expectations but also keep their shopping journey alive by presenting them with appealing alternatives.

What to do with overstocks after holiday selling time?

Retailers, including start-ups, often face the challenge of excess inventory. One primary reason for this is the failure to forecast demand accurately.

Inaccurate predictions can lead to overstocking or understocking. As a new retailer, one may lack sufficient sales data or the necessary methods to navigate market complexities. Additionally, factors like seasonality and the overall economic situation are often overlooked, further impacting demand.

Unlock the potential of your merchandising team and maximize the visibility of your overstock products with a robust product search and discovery platform.

By utilizing this platform, your team gains the ability to manually establish rules that ensure overstock items appear prominently in search results and are boosted on Browse pages.

Update return policy for holiday selling

Reminder: Watch out for a higher return rate during this year's BFCM, as predicted in recent BFCM 2023 statistics.

Rather than viewing returns as setbacks, consider them opportunities to dazzle your customers with a seamless and impressive experience.

To start, you must prioritize convenience when it comes to initiating returns.

Make the return process as frictionless as possible, allowing shoppers to request returns through user-friendly channels easily. By removing obstacles and streamlining the return process, you demonstrate your commitment to customer satisfaction.


A Last-Minute Holiday Selling Checklist

Review your last holiday analytics and recent data:

  • Your past holiday demand
  • Your last year’s holiday traffic and recent traffic
  • Your customers’ drop-offs
  • Recent market trends and customer segmentation

Review your site performance:

  • Stress testing (or load testing) your site
  • Test and check your customer’s checkout process
  • Revise your abandonment rate
  • Test and check your payment gate

Revamp product strategy:

  • Update products with holiday keywords, the latest images, and holiday visuals
  • Create a holiday gift guide with your products
  • Choose your hero products for promotion


  • Ensure customer service to work around the clock
  • Update shipping, return policies, and cutoff time
  • Prepare for stockouts and overstocks
Doki Nguyen
Content Marketing Specialist
June 17, 2024
6 min read