Ecommerce Growth

Black Friday: Last-minute ideas and hacks to boost sales

The herds of Black Friday, scores of deals, and a 99% drop-off rate. Yep, Black Friday can be a challenge BUT you can still crack it with these top tips. Check ‘em out.

Black Friday: Last-minute ideas and hacks to boost sales

Black Friday Sales can be an absolute nightmare for many eCommerce business owners.

Why? A lot of websites experience higher-than-usual drop-offs: more than 99% of visitors don’t buy anything at all.  

And there’s no surprise here. Shoppers are spoilt for choices at this time. They have the attention span of a goldfish.  

You just can’t afford to lose people who are ready to splurge $$$.

This is no time to leave money on the table.

Here’s what you’ve gotta do — Go ahead and fine-tune every last detail on your website.

Is your offer insanely compelling?

Do you have an attractive coupon on the checkout page?

Is the return policy super-prominent?

The good news is — all of this can be done rather quickly.

Here are 15 last-minute ideas (with brilliant examples) to help you sell like a champ this Black Friday!

1. Make your pop-ups irresistible (get creative with the copy)

It might sound a little strange at first, but interrupting shoppers with pop-ups can actually drive more sales.

Why? Everyone’s in a rush. They probably have multiple tabs open.

Would they spend a lot of time and energy finding the best deals on your website? Well, not really.

And that’s why you’d want to interrupt, and tell them about your offer the moment they land on your website. You’d want to tell them something that really makes them stop and take notice.

Simple cues work the best. Say something like EXCLUSIVE OFFERS and many would want to see what’s that about.

black friday email

It’s also a good idea to put a countdown timer: a discount that’s going to expire soon. Create a little bit of urgency and they won’t bounce off your website.

black friday discount

And then there’s the exit intent pop-up. This is where you have to get super creative. Here’s a cool idea: tell them there’s a brilliant offer waiting for them — and it’s going to end soon.  

Black Friday example of pop-up

You can also gamify the experience and include a virtual spin-the-wheel that gives them a randomly generated offer, freebie, etc.

Black Friday example of pop-up
Most importantly, keep the deals worthwhile. If you need inspiration, check out 25 Creative Examples of Black Friday Deals

2. Make sure your website can handle the surge (It's Black Friday sales after all)

The first impressions shoppers will have of your website: the load speed.

BUT, with a sudden spike in traffic, there is a good chance that it’ll take a hit.

And it’s a common occurrence:

tiger air down black friday rush

Here are a few things you can do:

a) Perform a load test under controlled conditions — to make sure that the website is ready for the upcoming surge in traffic.

b) If your website takes more than 3 seconds to load, you’d definitely want to make it faster. (You can always use Google PageSpeed to test out how fast it’s loading.)

c) Check your hosting plan. If you have options to choose from, this is the right time to upgrade to a higher plan.

hosting plans black friday


a) Optimize images for Black Friday Sales

More often than not, it’s the images, the new banners — that are the real culprits behind slow loading websites.

We’re sure you won’t have the time to go over the entire website at this time. The good news is — optimizing the homepage and the most popular product pages can still make a big difference.

There’s an array of tools you can use to optimize images. We’d recommend Scientia Mobile for compressing images.

b) Remove not-in-use third-party snippets

Third party tags for advertising, social media, or content services — and snippets that are used to display images from other services — take up considerable time to load.

What’s worse: most websites have third-party scripts that they are no longer using.

You’d want to reach out to your IT folks and ask them to take stock of the situation.

  • Remove any advertising tags that you are not using during the holiday season. If you’re just not in a position to remove them, at least make sure they are not delivering Flash, video, or large images.
  • The tags you keep: make sure you monitor third-party services behind them for availability and performance. That way, you’ll be safe against unexpected outages.

3. Jazz up your email opt-in pop-ups

Getting shoppers on your email list should always be a part of every marketing plan. The good thing is that there are some really smart ways of doing it.

a) If you’re running a crazy discount, put that number right up there. And make that number the hero of the banner.

black friday hacks

b) Another great idea is to offer them an additional discount on their next purchase, in return for their email address.

black friday sales hack

c) Another cool way to get shoppers’ emails is to give them something useful. (We’re sure you’ve created a resource that can help people in some way or another.) It’s time to put that behind a form, and collect emails like a champ.

ebook giveaway
Hey, you’ll love this: 7 surefire ways to grow your email list in 2021

4. Use FOMO like a pro in your Black Friday Sales

Studies have shown that 50% of holiday shoppers have bought a product because it was on a limited-time sale or promotion.

Inducing FOMO (fear of missing out) and getting shoppers anticipate — is always a great way to drive sales.

Using catch-phrases like — DON’T MISS OUT ON or EXCLUSIVE DISCOUNTS FOR TODAY ONLY in your emails and social posts — are great ways of telling shoppers that the discount might not last long.

Another great way to build FOMO among shoppers is telling them that you have limited supply. You can use onsite blurbs like:

  • Just 1 shoe left in this size
  • 4 people are viewing this product right now
  • Discount available to first 25 customers

Forever 21 does a really good job at building curiosity:

forever 21 email

5. Create a last-minute advertising campaign

Research suggests that email marketing constitutes as much as 25% of Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.

The good news is that you still have time to create a campaign that you can run right before the sale begins.

WAIT. It does not have to be something brand new (that’s going to take time). You can always use images and offers that you’ve run over the last week (or month). It’s a busy time and people might have missed your email/social post.

The idea is to REPURPOSE existing campaigns — and make use of your email list and social media channels just before the sale begins — to stay FRESH in the minds of the shoppers.

How? Nail your copy. Say something that gets eyeballs.


a) Try something like "It's our biggest sale ever"
black friday pre sale
b) Tell them exactly what's on offer
exactly what's on discount
c) Stand for something

We love this — Patagonia uses social media to tell the world what they stand for.

Their #LoveOurPlanet campaign helped them rake in a staggering $10 million dollars worth of sales.

patagonia black friday

6. ​Get your hands on retargeting

Most consumers continue searching for the best deals way after Black Friday is over.

According to research by Google, only about 18% of shoppers restrict their shopping to just the Black Friday and Cyber Monday period.

The remaining keep looking for deals across the entire holiday period. Thus, you must be ready to continue your engagement with customers well through the holiday season.

Here are a few ideas to make the most of your retargeting campaign:

  • Offer discount coupons and free shipping for the next purchase already.
  • Save your customers’ abandoned shopping cart items so that you can start retargeting them.
  • You can offer a bundle deal or expedited shipping — to increase conversion rates
  • Use static images, and not dynamic. Focus on just the product they abandoned, and not your homepage.
retargeting example

7. Make sure the return policy is clear and prominent

A customer should never have to dig through the website to find information — especially when it’s the Returns policy.

Make sure the Returns Policy is displayed prominently:

  • In the footer of your website,
  • right at the top of product and checkout pages, and,
  • as a link at the bottom of the confirmation emails.

The North Pole does a fantastic job by displaying it right after the product information. That's some way to build trust!

the north pole black friday

As far as the details on the Returns page go: it’s never a great idea to force readers to read through a massive document (to understand how the returns works).

We love how Zappos makes everything simple and clear.

zappos fast and free black friday

Using BOLD words can make it super easy for shoppers to scan the page.

And then: You can always create a visual representation of how the returns work. Creating an infographic (like the one below) won’t be a lot of effort — and is always a great way to build trust among shoppers.

amazon returns policy

8. Get a great team to man the live chat

Everyone is going to be running great offers during Black Friday. To sell more than everyone else, you’d have to be ready to go the extra mile.

You must be prepared to have a direct conversation with people who are interested in buying from you.

You’d want to show them that there are REAL and CARING HUMAN BEINGS behind the business.

Keeping the live chat on — is not enough. You’d want to be fast at the same time. Make sure you have a team dedicated to answer all the questions.

Here’s when you can expect a lot of questions coming in:

  • Right after sending an email or launching a promotion. People might reach out to you after clicking through their inbox or social media.
  • From actual product pages: questions people might have before the hit “purchase.”
  • During key purchasing moments: say they’re ready to checkout but have a last-minute question around free shipping or the returns policy.

If you’re short of hands-on-deck, you can always hire a service like Helpflow to man the chat for you.

9. Cater to their curiosity & hook them in

With deals and offers all over the internet, you’ve got to do something that gets people’s attention.

mystery discount black friday

How about offering a mystery gift to every shopper who spends more than $50?

Or a $5 gift card to every shopper who spends more than $100? That way, you also give them a strong reason to come back to your store.

Mystery offers are also a great way to get more email opens.

We really love the subject line of 22 Days Nutrition’s emails: “What will your mystery offer be?

The email would then ask the shopper to go to the website and shop, in order to see their mystery savings. Great way to drive engagement!

22 days mystery campaign

10. Bring out the members-only discounts

If a shopper is a part of an exclusive group, like membership or subscription, they’d expect something special during the Black Friday sale as well.

An exclusive deal will make members feel special — and that drives sales throughout the year, and not just during Black Friday.

And these things don’t take a lot of time to implement.

Send an EXCLUSIVE DISCOUNT email to your members — a day before you roll out the discount to everyone on your email list.

Amazon does a really good job at it, by offering discounts only to Prime members — and they make it loud and clear: “Exclusively for Prime Members.”

amazon prime black friday strategy
Have you seen this? Limited Time Offer: 10 compelling examples + how to copy them

11. Pay attention to pandemic-driven shopping trends

This year has not been like any other year in recent history. Millions of people are working from home — and it naturally has a profound effect on what they buy.

It’s obviously not a time to pivot your business, but, if you’re selling anything that has seen a surge in demand over the last few months — showcase them prominently.

Are you selling any of these?

  • Leisure wear
  • Self care products
  • Indoor furniture
  • Home appliances
  • Home cleaning products
  • Fitness bands
  • Board games and puzzles

(We are sure you get the drift.)

Showcase them in your emails, social media visuals, pop-ups, or just about anything that your customers would get their eyeballs on.

12. Test out everything on mobile

It’s no secret that mobile optimization is extremely important.

A McKinsey report points that more than 50% of people browse through Black Friday deals on mobile.

Well, the bad news is that mobile optimization often takes a backseat. Most business owners focus on mobile optimization only after the desktop version is up and running.

Another research points that 65% of websites are not optimized for mobile. (That’s a lot of missed opportunity.)

A Facebook study uncovered the stumbling blocks that millions of ecommerce websites have on mobile:

  • Poor quality images.
  • Images don’t fit.  
  • Font size too small.
  • Content spilling outside borders.

You’d want to pay close attention to these.

Here are a few other checks you can perform on mobile:

  • Is your welcome offer clearly visible on the homepage?
  • Check that the “close” button works on all new creatives.
  • Make sure the email opt-ins and coupon codes work everywhere.  
  • Is there enough room to fill out data on all the new forms?

Go over the popular product pages to see that the shopping flow works. Pay attention to the ones you’ve promoted in email and social campaigns.

The key is testing out every last detail on mobile.

You don’t want a shopper dropping off because of a tiny flaw :)

CC Ebook Banner

13. Incentivize social sharing

The idea is to give shoppers an additional discount or a coupon they can use later — if they share the product with their social network.

social sharing incentive

You can also use hashtag giveaways to showcase your products to a lot of new customers.

Fashion retailer Cavender’s runs a competition every Friday — and gets great engagement from it.

more black friday sales

The good news is that implementing social sharing is not going to take a lot of your time. There are plenty of plugins out there you can use.

14. Check out these last-minute email inspirations (you’ll love them)

Just about everything put aside: what you tell your audience — the emotions you evoke — is going to make a world of difference.

There’s still time to go back and make your email copy outstanding. Here are a few you might want to take inspiration from:

new deals added everyday
b) “50% off on EVERYTHING”
Black Friday example
c) Say something witty
Black Friday example from Cards Against Humanity
d) Create urgency
cyber monday create urgency
e) Get a $28 gift when you spend $50. Get a $160 gift when you spend $200
Black Friday deals
Need more inspiration? Check out 30 Slightly different Black Friday emails (that actually get attention)

15. Reveal coupons at checkout (keep them hooked)

Black Friday is going to be one of the busiest shopping days of the year. Shoppers are going to have multiple tabs opened. Their attention span is like that of a goldfish.

In this rush, if anyone makes it to your checkout page, you’d want to do everything to keep them on the site. You don’t want them venturing out looking for coupon and discount codes.

And this is where you play the right stroke: reveal coupons when they are just about to checkout.

reveal coupons on checkout on black friday


You’ve gotta be careful at the same time.

You’d want to give them coupon options to choose from — as opposed to asking them to enter a coupon code.

This is no time to make purchase difficult.

discount on checkout page

Asking shoppers to enter a discount code will only get them distracted. For all you know, they’ll go back to their inbox searching for a code and stumble upon a more attractive one from another website. You can't let that happen.

Most importantly, remember: this year, more than previous years, Black Friday will go global. Thanks to technology and COVID-19, people are more likely to check out eCommerce stores and get all their gifts from the comfort of their living room. So, stock up on inventory, tick off the checklist, and clear out your schedule because it’s going to be one crazy ride — and you should make the best of it.

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Last-minute ideas and hacks to boost Black Friday sales