3 Ways to Improve Your Black Friday Ecommerce Strategy…Starting Today

Now is the time to prepare your website for holiday business. Here are 3 important areas to focus on ahead of year-end traffic.

By Tom Wintaugh | July 18, 2023 | 5 minute read



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Year-end ecommerce spending hit its biggest day in U.S. history last year as online Black Friday receipts surpassed 9.1 billion dollars for the first time. This represents several points of growth over the previous year, despite consumer concerns about inflation—or perhaps because of them. Black Friday ecommerce shopping isn’t just more convenient for shoppers, it also affords them the ability to find the best deals in any economic times. For merchants who want to capitalize on this business, a great Black Friday ecommerce strategy can’t wait until the weather cools off—now is the time to implement plans in preparation for the increased traffic to come. Read on to discover the 3 most important areas to focus on to prepare your store for the holiday rush.  

Strong Black Friday Ecommerce Strategy: 3 Key Areas To Focus on 

Waiting until the last minute to prepare for Black Friday and year-end business is risky. Customer service needs, order management, and unexpected delays can be all be more complex and resource-draining as traffic increases, but there but there are several important steps that sellers can take now to guard against disruptions later. 

1. Supercharge Your Site Speed

Ecommerce site speed is perhaps the most important element of successful shopping experiences, and this is never more true than in the most competitive shopping period of the year, the holiday season. A page loading delay of even a single second can significantly impact conversions and revenue.   

During Black Friday and Cyber Monday, ecommerce sites typically experience a surge in traffic, with close to 90 million shoppers making individual purchases online on Black Friday alone. You can't afford to lose customers due to slow loading times—customers who visit your site should not encounter any friction on their journey to a complete purchase. 

  • Identify causes of slow loading websites: Typical speed-draining site elements include improperly compressed images, poor server performance, and flaws in page coding.  
  • Conduct a performance audit: Tools like Google PageSpeed Insights can help shine a light on technical performance issues and help you understand your website's current performance.  
  • Confirm that platform and hosting services are optimized: Bloat or inefficiency in how data resources are managed is a frequent culprit of poor site speed. Ecommerce platforms and hosting services that do not prioritize page speed with media management, caching, and API performance could result in higher bounce rates and fewer conversions come holiday time.

The benefits of fast loading websites obviously extends beyond Cyber Monday. You can read more about the year-round benefits of fast ecommerce sites here.

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2. Master Your Inventory Management

Making sure products are in stock when customers need them, and set up to be correctly managed throughout the sales and fulfillment process is a full-time endeavor for ecommerce merchants. In the high-intensity conditions of the holiday sales period, your Black Friday ecommerce strategy relies upon your ability to manage large inventories and maintain availability, be ready for spikes in demand, and have as few hiccups as possible from your warehouse through the last mile.  

Black Friday is no time to run out of stock or, worse, oversell. An efficient inventory management system is vital to ensure a seamless shopping experience during times of peak traffic. Here are a few important inventory management concepts which will help you get there: 

  • Demand Forecasting: Predicting how much inventory you will need of any given product does not need to rely upon gut feeling or luck. Modern ecommerce provides many data points to help sellers understand future demand, including historical sales data and “predictive inventory” analytics tools. Learn more about how to reduce inventory management costs here.
  • Real-Time Tracking: Integrating Warehouse Management Systems and fulfillment partners with ecommerce site admin can provide real-time visibility to inventory amounts and movement.We wrote more about how to manage supply issues here.
  • Communications and transparency: Insights into inventory availability and tracking can and should be communicated to customers. This is another important element of an effective Black Friday strategy—keeping customers apprised of stock levels, delivery times, and disruptions. Whether listing availability on a product page or confirming delivery details via email, the more you keep your customers informed about inventory issues, the less they will need to use customer service, and the lower the drain on your Black Friday operations. Alerts about inventory levels can also serve as excellent conversion drivers.  

3. Design Your Promotional Strategy In Advance

For consumers, Black Friday is all about irresistible deals. It is crucial for brands to put their most compelling sales pitches forward with Black Friday and Cyber Monday promotional content, and this is much more challenging if it is saved until just before sale events. 

  • Create unique sales events: Design thoughtful discounting and bundling offers specifically for the holiday season, with no detail left to chance. Successful holiday sales have a lot of moving parts and shouldn’t be left to October. Figure out the audience, offer, and logistical mechanics of sales far in advance (like coupon codes and variable percentage deals), leaving plenty of time to master execution of elements. Fun ideas include events like flash sales, countdown timers, doorbusters, bundle deals, or exclusive coupon codes. These can create excitement and drive more Black Friday traffic to your site. 
  • Pre-design promotional content: Graphic design and copywriting—which can be quite time-consuming—should be executed as early as possible for all relevant venues, starting with your website. As soon as your Black Friday promotional designs are complete, you free up more space to focus upon other aspects of your business during crunch time.  Read more here about how Miva’s PageBuilder allows merchants to create and manage detailed site page components in advance and then schedule them to launch at a later date. 
  • Have contingency plans in your back pocket: It’s impossible to predict all conditions six months in advance, which is why it’s a great idea to identify backup promotional ideas in advance. For example, if a featured product sells out or becomes unavailable just before Black Friday, do you have other products and promotions ready to fill in the gap and keep holiday orders flowing? Read about more ecommerce promotional tactics here.

15 Conversion Optimization Techniques for Selling More Online

4. Bonus: Black Friday is Not Just For B2C!

Black Friday is not just a B2C event. B2B sellers can also capitalize on the shopping bonanza, for this simple reason: other businesses (your B2B customers) are also looking to stock up for the holiday season, and they're keen on deals too. Clever promotions and thoughtful discounting are just two of the ways that B2B businesses are increasingly leaning towards traditionally B2C shopping experiences—read more about it here.

By pitching B2B products and deals specifically for use in the holiday season, and then supporting offers with account-based quick/bulk ordering and price quotes, you can become a valuable resource in your B2B accounts’ own Black Friday ecommerce strategies. That means more business and loyalty for you. Factor in the lead times that other businesses need to use your products effectively in their Black Friday events, and then communicate that you are here to help. 

It's Never Too Early To Start Preparing For Black Friday 

Even if summer is still in full swing, time is already running short for building an effective Black Friday ecommerce strategy for this year. Ensure that you address site speed/health, inventory management for “high-stress” seasons, and promotional strategies that have all the bases covered well in advance. Excellent preparation today is the key to handling tomorrow’s higher volume sales, and the intense conditions which often come with them.

WHITEPAPER: Learn how to leverage a B2B and B2C strategy and take control of  your sales channels.

About The Author

Katy Ellquist

Katy Ellquist, Miva’s Digital Marketing Strategist, is an accomplished writer, marketer, and social media analyst who has created sophisticated content campaigns for a broad range of professional clients. She brings to Miva a complex understanding of ecommerce trends and techniques, building upon extensive digital agency experience and a prior role as direct liaison to Miva’s top accounts. Katy is a regular contributor to the Miva blog, covering essential ecommerce topics like design & development strategy, site optimization, and omnichannel selling, with the goal of increasing the actionable knowledgebase of the entire Miva community.

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Author's Bio

Tom Wintaugh

Tom is a Content Marketing Specialist at Miva.

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