Is your eCommerce store ready for the busiest sales week of the year?
Black Friday is often a weeklong holiday shopping extravaganza full of discounts and heavy traffic immediately following the Thanksgiving holiday.
It has become a favorite time for shoppers to get good deals and for retailers to land great sales.
Let’s take a look at some facts:
Raring to go? Here’s what this blog will cover:
Black Friday Promotion Ideas: 27 Ways to Boost Sales (With Examples)
When you’re exploring Black Friday marketing ideas, you’ll have to keep a lookout on what’s most easily implementable—in this list, we bring you the ones that have worked consistently for our clients.
1. Play on scarcity with hourly deals
If you reduce the supply of a product to a certain time period, its value automatically increases.
This is the scarcity principle and can be an effective tool during the holiday season.
Offering one deal per hour is a great way to boost spending as well as keep your Black Friday marketing ideas fresh.
Let’s say you start with 40% off on everything in the first hour, you can increase it to 50% off on everything in the next hour.
Check out how SportsDirect.com does it.
Don’t forget to use it carefully though so that customers don’t wait for you to increase your discounts.
One way to keep this in check is to announce a not too high sitewide discount, but offer an additional discount when people subscribe to your emails.
This way you can even get to grow your email list.
2. Run as many offers as you can
While segmentation is valuable during Black Friday marketing strategies, the idea is to be able to appeal to as many segments as possible.
So, even if your competition is focused on offering a sitewide discount, you can call out discounts based on:
- Separate categories
- Personal interests
- Best Selling products
- Products that have received massive social proof
Check out how Wayfair calls out their deals as part of their Black Friday promotion ideas:
Don’t hesitate to call out additional discounts and take the opportunity to push out your membership program—shoppers will believe you when you say “earn an additional 15% on any category when you join our FREE membership program.”
You might like: Limited Time Offer: 20 compelling examples + how to copy them
3. Create a gift guide
Black Friday is the ideal time for customers to give and receive gifts.
It’s a great way to highlight specific products to customers. You can also divide your products into gifting categories such as Gifts for Him and Gifts for Her.
You can either promote it by creating a gift guide collection or writing a blog post on gifting ideas.
This is how Converse creates an irresistible gift guide for its customers as part of their Black Friday campaign ideas.
You can highlight your gift guide on your homepage or create a separate landing page to get more traffic.
4. Incentivize every purchase with a gift
Want to encourage your customers to purchase more?
Adding gifts for every purchase is a great way to make customers complete the checkout process.
You can make it even more irresistible by adding scarcity to the offer.
See how Sephora does it for their Black Friday campaign:
You can add a bit of challenge by creating a purchase limit for availing the gift.
To nudge them a bit more, add to every product page “Add to cart and find a surprise gift waiting!”
5. Build curiosity with mystery savings
Add an element of surprise in your Black Friday marketing with mystery savings options.
Scratch cards are a great way to do this. This not only builds anticipation but also makes the shopping experience interactive.
Like Forever 21 does as part of their Black Friday marketing ideas:
You can use this sort of gamification option to reduce your cart abandonment.
6. Create value by offering donations
Donations can touch upon the personal values of your customers and build stronger brand credibility during Black Friday.
At this time, many shoppers are acutely aware about the plight of the less privileged.
This is how Chatty Feet makes their Black Friday promotion ideas donations fun and true to their brand ethos.
Bring in the tiered discount concept to create tiered donations: for example, “Buy for $200 and we’ll donate $30, buy for $500 and we’ll donate $100.”
7. Discount your gift cards
Another way to offer a great Black Friday deal is to provide a discount on gift cards.
For example, if you were offering a $60 gift card, you can reduce the price of it to $50 (while keeping the value intact at $60).
This Black Friday marketing idea can help you both take advantage of the gifting season as well as land loyal customers in the long run.
Here’s an example of gift card discounts offered by Visa as part of it's Black Friday promotion ideas:
You can also extend this offer in the form of printable gift cards.
8. Don’t forget your VIP customers
A Black Friday sales idea you can use to attract your loyal customers is by offering VIP discounts.
This especially works if you have a loyalty program or a VIP club. Offering exclusive VIP discounts will make it exclusive for your customers.
This will entice them to buy more from you. It can also set off repeat purchases for the rest of the year—improving the customer lifetime value.
This is how Cupcakes and Cashmere offer early bird access and discount to their VIP customers as part of Black Friday campaign ideas:
You can promote your VIP discount through a Facebook announcement or a landing page—alternatively email your VIP members well in advance to stay true to “early access.”
9. Flex your return/exchange policy
The good news is that Black Friday is a time when people feel primed to buy.
But many are also unsure about how well they’ll like their purchases.
So they may not buy from you if they find you have an inflexible returns & exchanges policy.
What you can do to fight this:
- Clearly mention what is eligible for return
- Limit what you offer as an exchange option
- Increase your otherwise X days return window (while an extra month might be too much, two extra weeks isn’t that bad a deal)
- Offer more options for refund (include options like forwarding the amount to a gift card or store credit)
Announce this flexi approach to returns & exchanges across popular channels by saying something like: “Our return window is extended to 60 days for BFCM—it’ll last from <date> to <date>”
You might like: 14 Brilliant Examples of eCommerce Return Policy (+ Proven Tips)
10. Experiment with sitewide discounts
If you think sitewide discounts are passé, you may not be using them right.
Coupled with early bird access, attractive product photography, and compelling copy, it can work wonders.
See how Able does it as part of it's Black Friday marketing strategies:
Promote your big-ticket items more as you draw closer to the sale—across eCommerce, these items bring in conversions during Black Friday.
11. Consider conditional free shipping
Free shipping is a very important consideration customers make when purchasing. During the Black Friday promotion season, this is a basic offer they expect from brands.
Anthropologie offers a conditional free shipping offer after the order value crosses a particular threshold.
Use doorstep free delivery as a way to wheel back cart abandoners during this time.
12. Offer price & variety control
Make your Black Friday offer more attractive by allowing the customer to choose from the entire site.
You can extend the discounts to all products on your eCommerce site so that customers can mix and match the products.
Check out how Bath and Body Works does it for their Black Friday marketing strategies
Make use of relevant recommendations in this Black Friday marketing strategy to get shoppers to buy more.
13. Leverage Black Friday special product drops
If your brand has exclusivity or luxurious appeal to bank on, you can replace discounts with a collection launch.
When your brand itself becomes a status symbol, customers would already be eager to buy your products.
Offering discounts may be off-brand and ruin the exclusivity customers may associate your brand with.
In this case, you can use the Black Friday period to launch a special collection. Like Chanel does.
Make sure you create a lot of suspense before the launch to build up the anticipation.
To create more impact, create urgency and social proof through copy like:
“Access available only until x/xx/xxxx” and “1000 bags sold, only 100 more to go”
14. Bundle up smartly
If switching from a single to a bundled product will get them a better deal, then they are surely going to go for it—especially during Black Friday season.
Consider introducing bundling using some of these Black Friday marketing strategies:
- Get X% off when you create your own bundle
- Announce an additional discount for buying more than two bundles
- Float sluggish product stock through bundles (state clearly that these products won’t be available separately)
Check out how Equa plays it up by calling it “Deal of the Year.”
Feature individual items & bundled counterparts together for shoppers to make out the price differences easily.
15. Bring your brand values forward
A great way to stand out in the crowd is by promoting your unique brand values.
For example, if you stand for sustainable fashion, it may be a great time to communicate that you source “only organically grown cotton”.
Black Friday is definitely a good time to amplify your brand identity.
Here’s how Fjällräven draws attention to their brand values instead of a sale.
Use social media to amplify the message with themed posts and hashtags
16. Fall back on last minute urgency
There are several tactics to achieve record sales on Black Friday.
Throwing in a bit of last minute urgency can really help speed up the conversion process.
This is how Game makes their Black Friday offer even more persuasive with a countdown timer.
Figure out quick ways your shoppes can spot these :
- Post about it on Insta stories
- Send WhatsApp and SMS updates
- Use the alert bar across your website
- Send a couple of emails around the time the sale is about to start—one a day before and another when a few hours are left.
On your website, keep the countdown timer above the fold and the CTA close to it.
17. Make your customers feel lucky
A classic giveaway like lucky draw probably never goes out of fashion.
It’s a great idea to encourage your shoppers to purchase and spend more.
You may add a purchase option to the lucky draw campaign to motivate both new and old customers.
Here’s how Romwe offers Black Friday lucky draw rewards in the form of points to encourage customers to purchase more.
Announce a lucky draw campaign in exchange for customer feedback on cart abandonment, checkout process etc.
Make sure you feature this at least a few weeks before BFCM so that you can incorporate the top suggested changes.
You might like: eCommerce Checkout Process Optimization Guide
18. Offer conditional discounts
Don’t want to lose sales while offering discounts? You can offer conditional discounts to ensure a minimum order value.
You can configure these discounts based on several factors such as product quantity, a minimum price threshold, location conditions, or bundle conditions.
This is how Kosas offers multiple conditional discounts based on various price thresholds.
You can even personalize the conditional discount for customers based on their purchase history—and promote it over email for maximum impact.
19. Reward them with a checkout coupon
Customers love surprises, especially when they get to save right before checkout. Often this prompts them to add more products to the cart.
Offering a coupon at checkout is a win-win for all. It makes the checkout process easier and improves the conversion rate too.
See how Nike offers a compelling coupon to lead customers to checkout? The subtle urgency acts as a cherry on top.
You can make applying the coupon easier by making it apply or copy automatically.
20. Go the BOGO way
A Buy One Get One Free (BOGO) Black Friday deal is a win-win for both customers and retailers.
Around 67% of customers prefer BOGO out of all promotions and 95% have availed of BOGO deals at least once.
It’s a great way to clear out your inventory and yet drive revenue.
You don’t have to lower your price even, just offer an item for free along with the one at the original price.
Check out the BOGO offer by Vitamin World.
Create FOMO by announcing the BOGO sale to last only x hours.
21. Go creative with your Black Friday themes
During the Black Friday holiday season, there are too many brands and too many offers for customers to choose from.
To stand out from the crowd, you may want to add specific themes to your promotions.
Like how Tarte runs promotions with the catchy title Feel-Good Friday.
You can extend the creative promotion themes to coupons and special deal periods too. Like in the above example, Tarte has used Cyber Week and the coupon code as CYBER.
22. Reward referrals
If you’re looking for customer retention long after Black Friday, you can try referral reward programs.
Instead of just one-time sales, you acquire new shoppers with the help of loyal customers.
Apart from landing amazing discounts to your customers, you can also harp on their desire to share their purchases and savings with their friends.
Here’s how Feelunique creates a personalized referral program for its customers.
You can add any level of personalization to the campaign starting from naming your customers to recommending relevant products for their close ones.
23. Offer value beyond discounts
Another unique Black Friday marketing idea that you can toy with is doing something else other than discounts.
Instead, offer them something more valuable—give them an experience.
You can take a cue from Barnes and Noble’s Black Friday marketing campaign. It offers something that’s valuable to their target audience—signed editions of books.
If you’re planning to build an exclusive brand that doesn’t want to be diluted with discounts, you can choose this Black Friday marketing idea.
24. Make it interactive with a discount wheel
Gamify your Black Friday campaigns by adding a roulette or Spin the Wheel contest. Interactivity is a great way to hook customers saturated with similar-looking offers.
It’s a great way to show off your brand vibe and make customers return for the experience even when you’re not offering discounts.
Like TravelUp does.
Make sure to add a bit of FOMO to the campaign otherwise shoppers may not be as inclined to interact.
25. Offer category-specific discounts
Not all products are made the same. Similarly, your discounts shouldn’t also be the same for all your products during Black Friday sales.
Our suggestion: create discounts for all categories as a Black Friday marketing idea, and show them to shoppers based on their profile and data.
Look at what Target does.
To attract more attention, create a Black Friday specific category, call it “Best Black Friday Picks” and apply a higher discount than other categories.
26. Extend the Black Friday celebration
While Black Friday is still the crowd-puller, you don’t need to limit your campaign to just that day.
You can easily extend your campaign till Cyber Monday or for the entire month.
Chances are that the competition may be extremely high on the main day since many brands will be competing.
You may get a better scope of deals when the rush drops. See how Mud Pie extends their Black Friday sale to include the weekend too?
Ensure to call it out with something witty like: “Discounts so good, we’re extending BFCM for a month!”
27. Make your offers email-exclusive
If your customers have already signed up for your emails, then chances are that they will be interested in checking out your Black Friday deals too.
This is ideal for customers who are in the consideration stage. You can successfully push them into the purchase stage with exclusive Black Friday email offers.
See how Kate Spade makes its email subscribers feel special with its copy and exclusive offer.
Add a website banner with the offer so more visitors would be interested in signing up for your emails.
9 Key Steps to Build a Powerful Black Friday Campaign
With more and more shoppers leaning into online shopping, this is your chance to maximize your store conversions with some tested Black Friday marketing ideas:
1. Prep a month early
Some facts to keep in mind:
- 40% of U.S. holiday shoppers say their holiday shopping experience has made them consider shopping much earlier for other milestones
- 37% of shoppers who shopped last holiday season wished they had started earlier
- 50% of shoppers say they will start shopping earlier to avoid an item out of stock
To get into prep mode early:
a. Create product categories with Black Friday themes such as ‘Holiday Faves’ and ‘Gifts for Loved Ones’.
b. Add holiday-specific descriptions to product details or information.
c. Show holiday-specific scenarios in product images.
2. Find customers on “favorite” channels
Promote your products to the right customers at the right time across different channels.
Find where your customers spend most of their time and target them with engaging ads.
On your website, feature a pop-up that alerts them—this is also a great way to catch those extra email signups in exchange of an exclusive Black Friday early access code.
Social media can also be a great way to engage with customers through thematic posts.
Use emails to stir the excitement with an early bird offer and reminders to wishlist products.
For impact, create curiosity by revealing information partially like this:
3. Leverage the most loved products
You can do a poll or survey on social media to see which products are popular with customers.
For more insights, run an audit on which products competitors are bringing to the forefront at this time.
Typically, big ticket products like appliances, designer clothes and perfumes sell well, especially when the deals are attractive.
Here are some popular product categories that regularly sell out during Black Friday & Cyber Monday:
4. Build anticipation & set expectations
It makes sense to announce a pre-sale Black Friday event for your eCommerce store.
The idea is to make shoppers interested in what’s to come after—they’ll probably expect deeper discounts during the main event, and maybe even product drops.
Saying something as simple as “It’s our biggest sale…ever!” could make your audiences stop and read.
5. Ease discovery with high intent SEO
Search intent helps shoppers to discover products and explore different categories.
Here are the four ways to implement functional search intent —
a. Navigational: Keywords users use when searching for a particular brand or product. For instance, what stores are open on Thanksgiving
b. Informational: Informational keywords reflect the information users seek about a particular product.
c. Commercial: Keywords users decide to purchase with. For example, “Is home depot open on Thanksgiving?”
d. Transactional: At this stage, the user is sure about buying. They’re looking for the best deals. For example, “best online turkey places for Thanksgiving”
6. Harp on product value
Shoppers love a bargain.
But remember that offering promotional discounts isn’t necessarily the only way to profit more.
Leading up to Black Friday, try to talk about the value of your products rather than simply offering them a discount.
Highlight qualities such as aesthetics, convenience and accessibility in your marketing and sales efforts to make your brand stand out.
7. Make a great case for FOMO
Make it real by introducing a countdown timer both on your website and across your emails.
Consider offering free shipping or delivery for orders over a certain amount.
This will entice shoppers to add more to their carts beyond just the initial promotional discount that led them to visit your store.
8. Prioritize speed like nothing else
An increase in web traffic around the Black Friday weekend can strain servers, which makes web pages slow or unresponsive and can cause your online store to crash.
Downtime and sluggish website performance mean a loss in revenue on any day of the year. But Black Friday is when you can least afford them.
When faced with slow-speed eCommerce stores, shoppers won’t hesitate to click away from your competitor. Such events could also result in the erosion of the brand trust you’ve spent years earning from customers expecting a great experience, especially on BFCM.
9. Segment your emails with a Black Friday focus
It goes without saying that you’ll need to segment your emails year-round.
But Black Friday calls for it even more.
Here’s what you can do:
Assess the data of the last, say, three years and take out info on customers who’ve only shopped during Black Friday.
Amongst recent opens and clickthroughs (say for the last 6 months), assess who all have been most consistent—it’s time to target these folks!
Take out data on subscribers who haven’t bought anything for the last few months and did before—this is the right time to win them back.
When is the Best Time to Start Black Friday Marketing Campaign?
Mid October is what you need to aim for your Black Friday promotions ideas to begin.
Your back-end preps for this should ideally begin in September.
Curious to know how it can flow from prep to promotions—here are the steps:
- Check website UX including speed, usability etc.
- Categorize your product listings more effectively
- Decide on what kind of discounts would make sense for your business
- Figure which channels you and your customers are most active on
- Take stock of product inventory and place orders where necessary
- Sort out customer support challenges & add functionalities for quick support
- Collect customer feedback & social proof
- Refresh your product page content
- Create a BFCM specific landing page to link to paid ads
- Create “early access” sections on website & seek certain actions like email signups
- Segment your email list & decide on a BFCM cadence for each
- Create teaser material for social media, emails, push notifications
- Start sending emails (a BFCM specific one every week leading up to the event)
Recommended reading for Black Friday marketing campaigns:
2X Your Black Friday Sales
98% of visitors who visit an eCommerce site—drop off without buying anything.
Why: user experience issues that cause friction for visitors.
This is a pattern you can't afford during the Black Friday weekend, which is a great opportunity for high conversions.
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We've helped 500+ eCommerce stores (in the US) improve user experience—and 2X their conversions.
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