5 Stand-out Black Friday Strategies For Your Shopify Store

Despite the attempt to keep Black Friday a brick-and-mortar only event with the creation of Cyber Monday, US shoppers dropped $6.2 billion in online shopping in 2018. What eCommerce store wouldn’t want a piece of that this year, right? Black Friday Cyber Monday is now a single event.

Of course, it’s a challenge to break through the noise on Black Friday. So many other stores are running promotions and in the weeks leading up to Black Friday, shoppers are blasted with so many names and discounts that it’s hard to stand out from the crowd.

What can you do to stand out on Black Friday? Here are a few ideas to inspire you:

1. Make instant gratification possible.

Or as possible as possible. For eCommerce stores, providing as close to instant gratification as possible is a phenomenal way to set yourself apart. It’s rare for stores to be able to do it and do it well. Some options for you:

  • Offer free same-day delivery. This is obviously logistically extremely difficult, but you may be able to pull this off, if only in a very confined geographic location.
  • Offer free shipping on your fastest delivery method.
  • Offer in-store pick-up (if you have a storefront).

Real Life Example: Back in 2014, Everlane, a clothing company focused on transparent and ethical sourcing, partnered with Postmates for a few months to deliver online purchases within an hour to people in the San Francisco area during business hours. Logistically, this is a lot of work, but it could be just the thing to help you stand out this Black Friday.

2. Reward your loyal customers.

Rather than competing against every other store to flag down new customers this year, focus on rewarding your loyal customers. They’re easier and cheaper to reach. Run your promotions aimed exclusively at your loyalty members.

Real Life Example: Sephora runs only two sales a year (one in the spring and one in the fall) and both are available only for their loyalty program members. The Sephora loyalty program has three tiers, so they actually have different discounts for each tier: 10% off, 15%, and 20%. The best part of this promo? People who haven’t already joined the loyalty program are incentivized to join because they can immediately get 10% off, too!

3. Create a gift guide.

Many, many shoppers are shopping for holidays gifts on Black Friday rather than for themselves. This means two things.

  1. Your regular customers very well may be shopping for gifts on your site.
  2. You will likely have an influx of customers who have never been on your site before (and are unlikely to come back unless it is to purchase another gift).

Either way, both sets of shoppers are going to be a little less certain of exactly what they’re looking for. Why not help them out and direct them right to a gift guide landing page that tells them what to get? You even could offer a gifting promo to sweeten the deal if you wanted.

Real Life Example: Check out this gifting guide page that The Grommet created for wine lovers. They share 7 items they are selling that any wine lover would want (as a wine lover myself, I can assure you they’re correct) and tell you what the product does and even give you the price. Steal this idea to place front and center on your site for Black Friday with a gift-giving discount and you have yourself a stand-out idea.

4. Give the percentage of the sale you would take off to charity instead.

Instead of offering a typical Black Friday promo, consider running an event where you give the amount you would have taken off to a charity that brand supports. IE, if you were going to offer 50% off purchases, you would give 50% of all purchases that day to the charity instead of giving the customer a discount.

This event is especially ideal if your target audience is Millennials or Gen Z. Both generations tend to be very ethically conscious and many young people find Black Friday distasteful as a consumer holiday, so turning Black Friday into a giving event should attract their purchases.

Real Life Example: The company FEED has built their business model around giving a certain amount of meals to people in need for each purchase. They actually tell you how many meals will be given for each item. For instance, one backpack on their site gives 40 meals. This specificity really sets them apart from other brands who may claim to give 2% of total profits each year away. It’s much easier for a customer to understand exactly what they are contributing with their purchase the way FEED chooses to do it. And while FEED runs this all year ‘round, there’s no reason why you can’t replicate their success for a Black Friday (and maybe #GivingTuesday) event.

Bonus Real Life Example: This year, Everlane will be donating their Black Friday profits up to $150,000 to build an organic farm for their factory workers in Vietnam. Check out this absolutely incredible landing page they’ve made to tell the story!

5. Sit Black Friday out.

Be the cheese that stands apart. Don’t run any Black Friday sales. It may even be wise for your brand – data shows that 75% of Black Friday shoppers remember their experience as being “less than positive.” If you’re going to go with this strategy, though, you should be should to still make it clear that you’re choosing to sit Black Friday, that you didn’t just forget. Consider including your reasoning on your homepage. Perhaps you’d like to sit Black Friday out for ethical reasons? Share those with your customer. Chances are, your audience will connect with those reasons and choose to purchase with you that do to take a stand with you.

Real Life Example: In 2015, REI skipped Black Friday, and encouraged all their would-be customers to go spend the day enjoying the great outdoors instead (a message which is very on-brand for them). Impressively, they even paid their entire staff to take Black Friday off! The move generated a ton of press and social media buzz, with over 290,000 customers signing up for REI’s #OptOutside Challenge. With such success, REI has continued to shut down each Black Friday since.

Learn from last year’s data to guide this year’s decisions

No matter what you decide to do, you should consult last year’s data before making any decisions. Honing in on what worked last year can help you shape the perfect game plan to make you stand out this year.

So, what's next?

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