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Black Friday in 2020 – The Year Of COVID!

Normally the last quarter of the year is the most profitable of the year and online stores experience the highest level of sales during this period.

However, this year is very different as many stores have experienced unexpected peaks during the lockdown.

In fact

The peak was so high during COVID lockdowns of April to May, that shopping levels were:

7% higher during these months than what retailers saw during 2019 Holiday season.

That is incredible!

One thing is certain, the effects of the COVID pandemic has permanently changed customer behaviour. eCommerce is growth is permanent and will continue to grow. The COVID pandemic has rapidly pushed a further shift to eCommerce. As John Copeland, VP of customer and marketing insights at Adobe says:

“COVID-19 has changed business forever,”

However, that means eCommerce may not follow previous expected patterns and behaviour, so don’t expect last years pattern of shopping behaviour to be repeated in 2020.

So where does that leave you as a Small or Medium independent online business? Or to put it better…

What Should Your Black Friday eCommerce Strategy be in 2020 [during COVID]?

  1. Be Prepared For Increased Competition

black friday 2020

As growth continues, the competition will continue to increase.

Competition comes from many directions, including existing eCommerce competitors, new online competitors in the shape of physical stores now forced to enter the eCommerce space to survive, energetic and innovative startups that approach your niche from a fresh perspective and of course the behemoths of the online marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay.

To compete you need to ensure that you have a laser focus on customer experience.

You need to be constantly pushing the boundaries

Keep experimenting/testing new functionality, design and ways to connect with your customer.

There are a lot of opportunities for those that are innovative, despite increased competition.

If you need additional support and development assistance to increase your ability to innovate and experiment, then you might be interested in our Dedicated Developer eCommerce Support plans.

With a dedicated developer, you have your own personal assistant developer that will work elusively on your site and build/test those new ideas quickly and cheaply. This gives you a big advantage over the competition. Contact Us if you want to talk about this service

  1. Use Smart Discounting [and segmenting].

Don’t blanket discount 40% off. That is lazy.

Segment your customers and offer discounts or offers that will appeal to a particular segment of your customers.

Just because a product is cheap does not mean that your customers will buy it. It must be a product or offer that they are interested in. We highly suggest that you use an email marketing automation tool that will help you to segment your customers and create opportunities to send your customers offers precisely targeted to their interests and past purchase history.

Here a few customers segments we suggest you target with different offers:

Seasonal Purchaser

These are not regular purchasers but they purchased during the holidays last year. Remind them of this and send them a specific offer.

VIP Customers

You know who they are – at least you should! Treat them with care and give them a unique offer. Note unique does not necessarily mean the cheapest. These people spend regular money with you, so give them

Geographic Segment

Sending customers an email with a mention or special offer related to their locality can be a very powerful way to get customers attention. Give it a try :).

Recent Openers

You know these guys are active and engaged as they have opened your recent emails. Reserve your best offers for this segment to push them through to purchase.

  1. Send “Sneek Preview” Emails

Black Friday Sneek Preview

Don’t wait until Black Friday or the day before to send out your Black Friday emails. You should start sending emails out at least a week in advance, but maybe even two weeks is better.

A good way to reward regular customers is to send a “sneek preview” email. This can be a great way to grab readers attention and make them feel valued.

If you have your email list segmented then you could send out different sneek peek emails for customers interested in different product categories.

Email is still one of the best ways to connect with existing customers.

According to WordStream, consumers who purchase through email spend 138% more than those that don’t receive email offers.

Here are a couple of tips on sending email campaigns:

Personalize your emails

Create a personal rapport with your customers, by personalizing the greeting and signing the email of with your personal name.

Did you know?

Personalized emails deliver six times higher transaction rates.

You can personalize the subject line to make it look more interesting.

Use the name of customers like “Hey Jack,” instead of just of vague expressions like “dear customer”. But use a tone that will match your brand voice and be familiar with your customers.

Include a Call to Action

The objective of your email is not just informing customers about your killer Black Friday offers, but to make them take a desirable action.

A CTA is very important. It directs the customers to take action. It could be to buy a product or add it to the cart.

Wordstream recently found out that emails with a single call-to-action increased clicks 371% and sales 1617%.

So never never NEVER forget to add a CTA to your emails.

  1. Focus On The Mobile Experience

Black Friday Mobile Experience

It may be a surprise that despite many people now working and staying at home, sales driven by mobile has continued to increase.
This means that customers are using their devices despite having access to a desktop.

It also means that new customers, possibly shopping online for the first time, are doing so from a mobile device. This makes sense as it is the online entry point for many late adopters.

It is easy, when you spend all day in front of a desktop, to think that this is how most customers experience your site.

This is not true.

You need to pick up your phone – that is how most of your customers will see your site.

That’s not to say that desktop is not important. Desktop still makes up the majority of online sales, as opposed to site visits.

There are simple things you can do to make the mobile experience much better, such as turning on mobile payments – like Apple Pay for WooCommerce

  1. Offer Buy Online Pick Up In Store

black friday BOPIS

Buy Online Pick Up In Store is on a growth curve.

According to the Digital Insight Report by Adobe, 30% of customers prefer BOPIS as opposed to parcel delivery.

Therefore it makes sense that if you have one (or more) physical stores then you should be offering BOPIS to your customers. During Black Friday you could even incentivise this by offering a discount for BOPIS orders. This will reduce the amount of shipping you need to do and get customers used to returning to your physical stores.

Be creative and experiment.

  1. Elongate Black Friday Offers

Black Friday Season

Black Friday is no longer just about a one-day sale event.

Customers now expect offers to available for a longer period during the holiday shopping season. This is especially the case this year with many stores offering excellent discounts during COVID to reduce unsold inventory and keep turnover rolling as physical stores were being forced to close.

So as you plan your offers for Black Friday in 2020, don’t think about the one-day event.

Think about what type of offers you can give to your customers throughout the holiday season.
Keep them engaged and keep them attentive to your site. You don’t want your customers to believe that your offers only exist for one or two days, as they will simply move elsewhere.

Send seed emails ahead of your special offers – this will keep customers returning to your site and the expectation of further sales will be maintained.

You can see an example of this trend to elongate the Black Friday season by Homedepots recent announcement that they will be extending Black Friday offers to the entire holiday season.

Or Amazon’s rumoured messages to sellers that their Early Black Friday Deals will begin in October!


  1. Continue to give jaw-dropping offers and deals

Black Friday Marketing Ideas 2019

The time for great offers has not gone away!

Here’s an important reason why you should continue to provide deals and offers:

91% of people who plan to shop online compare deals and discounts.

One method that you can use to make your offers fun and interesting is to Gamify your offers and discounts.

Let users play games to win discounts.

For instance, spin the wheel to get a discount or create an easy game like simple puzzles or word games to get FREE shopping vouchers.

  1. Create dedicated landing pages for Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals

Promote your store for Black Friday 2019

It’s a great idea to have an exclusive and well-designed landing page for your Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals.

Your landing should be loud and clear. Your visitors should instantly understand what they gain when they make a purchase from your site.

You can use specialised landing page software such as Unbounce to create your landing pages, or you can simply create additional pages on your site. Using landing page software does bring certain benefits over traditional website pages.

Here are a couple of areas you should pay special attention to on your landing pages:

Loading time

According to eyeviewdigital, a second’s delay in loading time reduces conversions by 7%

Every second really does count! This is especially important during the holiday season when customers will have a lot of competing offers.

Content organization

We understand that it’s Black Friday and there may be a temptation to put a lot of offers on one page. But stuffing your landing page with a lot of content will confuse your message.

Did you know?

Showing multiple offers on your landing page can decrease conversions by up to 266%

Stick to one major offer per landing page and make it clear.

Tell your customers what they get and how they can benifet from a purchase.

That’s enough.

If you have multiple offers, it’s best to create multiple landing pages, ideally each landing page featuring a single offer. If you are following the advice to segment your customers and offer unique offers to each segment, then this will work in your favour as you can send a specific offer to certain customers.


  1. Provide free gifts with every purchase during Black Friday

The fact is:

People love free stuff.

Buy an iPhone and get a designer iPhone case absolutely free!

This offer may pique the interest of consumers who are planning to buy an iPhone. Because they are getting additional value for free.

Providing gifts is a way of bringing more value to your customers.

So providing unique FREE gifts could be a good bet here.

Provide gifts that matter.

For example, give a pair of socks if a customer buys a pair of sneakers from your site. Or give a free gift voucher with each purchase.

Unexpected surprises are a sure way to build loyalty and help customers to remember your brand in a sea of marketing bombardment.

  1. Display your best deals and offers on the home page

Deals on Home page

A home page is often the first page that a new user sees when he or she visits your website.

However Only 50 % of store owners use their website’s home page to promote their Black Friday and Cyber Monday offers. You should aim to make effective use of this prime space. You can link out to specific Black Friday landing pages or you can use it to gather email addresses if you are using coupons as a Black Friday strategy.

Your homepage should be geared towards new potential customers – you have email addresses to communicate with existing customers. So we would suggest that you use the home page to communicate offers specifically geared towards new customers.


  1. Hourly Deals on Black Friday

Provide your customers with killer hourly deals. A deal an hour!

Hour deals and offers are an effective Black Friday marketing ideas used by eCommerce store owners.

In hourly deals, you’re offering a huge discount on a limited number of products for a specific period of time.

For example:

You might be giving a discount of 20 % on all items for the whole month. But at peak hours on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, you can change your regular offer and provide a 50% flat discount on a specific product for an hour.

Hourly deals allow great flexibility when it comes to the pricing of your products. You can change it every hour and it will help maintain customer interest and attention.

Hourly deals are a good option if you want to sell more items in a short span of time.

Here’s how you can do it right.

Create countdown timers

Add a countdown timer to your hourly deals’ page to push more sales. This naturally creates a sense an urgency among users and helps push customers towards a purchase. Countdown timers constantly remind people that they are running out of time.

Identify your target audience

Again, this comes part to customer segmentation. Segment your customers and send emails alerting a particular segment to an hourly deal that will be of interest to them. This is also a great way to customers to view products outside of their main interest category and cross sell products.

Promote hourly sales on social media

Take your business to social media. Give people a teaser of your Black Friday Hourly Deals. During the sale, share periodic posts about offers on your social media profiles. This is a good step to help maintain your brand awareness and maintain customer attention to your site.


  1. Offer coupon codes for Black Friday Deals

Coupon codes

Surprise your customers with a coupon code!

Offering coupon codes is an effective way to increase sales to both existing and new customers.

For your existing customers, you can send a coupon code to their emails and invite them to make them purchase from your online store. You can send the coupon as a loyaltity reward for high value customers and also as an incentive to customers that are unengaged. There is a lot of flexibility as you can send coupons for different amounts (and with different conditions) to different customer segments.

Here’s why you should definitely include a coupon code in your emails:

Emails with a coupon code have a 14% higher open rate and a 27% higher transaction completion rate compared to those without coupons or promo codes.

A survey by Inmar found that 83% of consumers said that coupons change their shopping behavior.

So get ready with your coupons to get more customers on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

  1. Create a Facebook event for your Black Friday Sales

Facebook is the third most-visited website in the world, and you probably know that your customers ARE on Facebook.

Why don’t you go there and notify your Facebook fans about your Black Friday Event?

It’s good way to create a buzz around your Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales on Facebook. So people will understand when your offers go live.

Give a “behind the scenes” glimpse, share a video of your warehouse and packaging station.

Post a Facebook Live video.

After creating the event, you should promote it actively among the target audience using Facebook Ads.

One of the cool things about Facebook Events Ads is you can create a custom audience. If people show interest in your Black Friday Sales, you can use that information to build a custom audience.


Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the holiday shopping season are a hugely important part of the year for any store, including eCommerce. This year is untested waters, no-one is sure what Black Friday will look like.

Preparation will be key to success as will the willingness and ability to experiment and try new strategies. Keep innovating and finding new ways to connect with your customers and build brand loyalty.

We offer the above suggestions to help stir your imagination and give you some new ideas to try in these difficult times.