Common Black Friday Mistakes

Avoid these holiday sale season pitfalls and boost your Black Friday results.

By Vanessa Loughty | November 16, 2023 | 3 minute read
Sample ecommerce homepage features a Black Friday promotion banner with a smiling woman and a wrapped gift.



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As the excitement of Black Friday approaches, coordinating all of the moving parts that go into holiday sales can feel chaotic. With so much revenue, traffic, and new customer relationships on the line, it’s imperative to dial in preparations and make sure no money is left on the table. In this blog, we’ll identify the main Black Friday mistakes which cost sellers this important year-end business.

1. Miscalculating Demand

One of the most common Black Friday mistakes sellers make is overestimating or underestimating the demand for specific products. This miscalculation can lead to overages which eat up profit margins, or shortages which drive customers to competitors’ stores.

The antidote to miscalculated stock levels is a healthy flow of customer and purchase data integrated into the ecommerce platform. Predictive inventory calculators can weigh previous order volume vs current stock levels, to let sellers know how prepared their inventory is relative to previous results. Being prepared can prevent the disappointment of stock-outs and the subsequent loss of revenue.

2. Not Being Prepared For a Surge in Online Traffic

While Black Friday began as a brick & mortar tradition in physical stores, online sales on Black Friday and Cyber Monday have taken over the spotlight, earning record-breaking success year after year.

One of the most important areas to dial in prior to Black Friday is site performance and page loading speed. Black Friday weekend is perhaps the worst time of the entire year for a site outage…if your site is not prepared for a surge in traffic, pages may load slowly or fail to load at all, costing you business and perhaps losing customers permanently. For this reason, ensuring that your ecommerce solution is equipped for high traffic and prioritizes site speed is crucial, long before the holidays arrive. We wrote more about the value of ecommerce speed here.

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3. Inadequate Marketing and Communication

Even the best deals can go unnoticed if not effectively communicated. Here's where many drop the ball:

  • Timely Announcements: Start your Black Friday announcements well in advance. Shoppers will be flooded with sales offers the week of Black Friday, so make sure they get your messages early and repeatedly. We discussed the topic of timing marketing messaging here.
  • Multi-platform Promotion: Utilize email marketing, social media, and even traditional/physical media for maximum reach. The idea is to saturate all channels where your customers spend time, and not to promote too narrowly. The more you can integrate these types of outreach with content on your ecommerce site, the more cohesive and persuasive your Black Friday campaign will be.
  • Clear Deal Terms: Ensure all promotional materials clearly state the terms of your offers, including sale end times and any exclusions. Many shoppers save marketing materials to help them organize their buying choices, so give them all the facts in every communication.

4. Setting Unsustainable Discounts

While big discounts attract customers, they shouldn't be so deep that they compromise your margins. It's a delicate balance between offering irresistible deals and protecting sustainable business practices.

A good alternative to over-the-top discounts is offering bundled deals or add-ons at reduced cost. This allows the seller to maintain profitability while providing more value to the customer. The more these offers can be personalized to segmented groups of customers, the more relevant (and successful) they will be.

5. Overlooking the Post-Black Friday Phase

Black Friday's whirlwind often leaves sellers (and inventories) drained and needing to recharge. Post-holiday fatigue can cause merchants to overlook the crucial post-sale phase. This period offers all new sales opportunities, and is great way to carry forward the momentum of sale events.

Review your sales data to understand which products were hits and which weren't. Gather customer feedback to refine future sales strategies. Also, consider extending some deals or introducing new ones for Cyber Monday and beyond. It’s all about building on the influx of traffic to create lasting new customer relationships that extend well beyond the holidays. We wrote more about the post-purchase process here.

Black Friday is an exciting and potentially lucrative event in most ecommerce calendars. With strategic planning and an awareness of common pitfalls, sellers can maximize profits while keeping customers feeling the holiday spirit.

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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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Vanessa Loughty

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