Oct 10, 2023

10 Black Friday/Cyber Monday tips from CRO experts

Black Friday and Cyber Monday experts
Black Friday and Cyber Monday experts
Rebecca Anderson

Rebecca Anderson

10 Black Friday/Cyber Monday tips from CRO experts

Black Friday/Cyber Monday is a huge sales opportunity for eCommerce brands. Last year, there were over $7.5 billion dollars in sales worldwide across Shopify merchants. Online store owners can’t afford to miss out on this opportunity.

To help you take full advantage of the BFCM sales period, we asked eCommerce and CRO experts to give us their best advice.

Here are some of their tips to help you prepare your online shop for Black Friday/Cyber Monday!

1. Start your BFCM preparations early

Sooner is better than later when it comes to the best time to prepare for Black Friday/Cyber Monday.

Here’s what our experts had to say:

In my view, Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) brands should kickstart their preparations for Black Friday well in advance.

To keep it simple:

  • Aim to start your preparations around 2-3 months before the big day.

  • This gives you ample time to craft your marketing strategies.

  • And make sure your website is all set for the surge in visitors.

Starting early saves you from last-minute stress and guarantees a smoother Black Friday experience.

- Sander Volbeda, Freelance CRO Specialist

Ideally, testing is already happening throughout the year (though not necessarily naming it BFCM), but it is never too late to start testing and learning. A lot of brands think they should stop testing by mid-November, when in fact that causes them to miss their biggest learning opportunities during their peak season for traffic and revenue.”

- Jon MacDonald, Founder of The Good

Use that data to send targeted pre-order offers before Black Friday. This way, when the holiday shopping season arrives, you can deliver highly personalized campaigns, maximizing impact without heavy discounting."

- Miklós Kovács, Host of Help My DTC Grow Podcast

Remember - by preparing early, you can get a better understanding of what tactics will work best during the high-traffic BFCM weekend.

2. Warm up your audience ahead of time

One way to get the best ROI on your BFCM tactics is to prime your audience ahead of time.

Here’s how our experts would go about this:

DTC brands should proactively gear up for BFCM by initiating their preparations no later than October. In fact, having a game plan ready by the end of September is even better. The primary objectives are to expand the list and ensure strong deliverability.

Expanding the list involves reactivating dormant profiles and nurturing them with value-focused campaigns. For strong deliverability, be sure to set up key protocols like DMARC, SPF, and DKIM, always segment your audience, and keep an eye on your true engagement metrics to ensure they're above the industry benchmarks.

From a content side, we recommend engagement-driven campaigns in October. This will help create buzz and hype prior to the actual promotional period.

- George Kapernaros, Founder of Yocto

Use email marketing as a test channel to test your potential BFCM offers and see how they perform. Then, pick the TOP 2 and go all-in (a good time to test is from the middle of September till the middle of October).

- Ugo Balestrazzi, Founder & CEO at Corbulo Star Media

Nurturing your audience ahead of time will help raise awareness about your upcoming discounts so that they are more likely to convert during BFCM.

3. Create a plan that builds up to Black Friday

Our experts found that many brands make this one big mistake when it comes to their Black Friday preparations: they procrastinate.

One common mistake that brands make is not having a solid plan in place:

  1. Don't wait until the last minute to decide on your promotions and discounts. Make sure everything is prepared, from design to development and from SEA to email marketing.

  2. Remember to consider your loyal customers; they matter!

  3. Build up to Black Friday by informing both loyal and new customers.

If you don't, you risk frustrating customers who purchased a product just days before Black Friday, only to see it heavily discounted.

- Sander Volbeda, Freelance CRO Specialist

The main mistake brands make is to start very late without testing anything and expect crazy results (no warm-up).

- Ugo Balestrazzi, Founder & CEO at Corbulo Star Media

If you miss out on this pre-BFCM prep and testing window - your sales might suffer for it.

4. Test & experiment with your BFCM content

Experimenting with personalization and pre-testing elements of your online store can make sure every customer touchpoint is optimized for conversion.

Here’s what to try testing:

Test out personalization techniques right now and implement those during big days for better customer experience.

Reason: Intent is high; all we need to do is remind them constantly about their choices and help them purchase."

- Parmeet Kaur, Conversion Specialist at OptiPhoenix

Brands should experiment with various elements, such as where products are placed, pricing strategies, and the effectiveness of different marketing channels.

A/B testing can help figure out what resonates best with your audience.

Test email subject lines, ad text, and images to discover what drives the most conversions.

It's a good idea to do this for your loyal customers 1-2 weeks before Black Friday begins, learn from the results, and apply these insights during Black Friday for new customers.”

- Sander Volbeda, Freelance CRO Specialist

Understanding what will work with your audience is key to increasing your BFCM conversion rate.

5. Create clear and consistent messaging

One important aspect of your BFCM strategy is getting your messaging right.

Focus on creating a clear and appealing message for your Black Friday promotions.

Use persuasive language and eye-catching visuals to convey your deals and discounts.

Think about offering loyal customers exclusive early access to generate excitement and loyalty.

Some visitors might hesitate on the actual day. Give them some extra time to ponder; for instance, extend Black Friday until Monday, so even those who need a moment get a chance.

- Sander Volbeda, Freelance CRO Specialist

- Léa Samrani, Fractional CPO & Product & Growth Consultant

Remember - clear and consistent messaging will help get your audience excited and ready to purchase. Confused shoppers are less likely to finish a purchase.

6. Build and grow your list ASAP

In addition to testing out your deals early, you also should think about getting your list ready.

Here’s what an expert on this topic had to say:

From a CRM perspective, prioritize your list growth above all. While 'Early bird' lead generation campaigns through paid media might seem appealing, they often don't yield a significant ROI.

For those targeting the USA market, we can highly recommend leveraging tools like Retention's Grow product. This technology will help you convert anonymous website visitors into actionable email contacts and is 100% compliant with all USA regulations, including on the state level. It's a great way to grow your list rapidly. Plus, you can get it set up in 1 day if you've done it before.

- George Kapernaros, Founder of YOCTO

Getting your list ready and compliant before the BFCM is essential.

7. Get your BFCM discount strategy right

Discounts are, of course, a big part of any Black Friday/Cyber Monday strategy.

Here’s what to consider when creating your strategy:

Don’t lean on discounting, as you'll just bring in discount shoppers who are less likely to repeat purchase. It is the easy button but not the requirement most brands think it is. Instead, lean on being additive through bundles, gift with purchase, or even free express shipping.

- Jon MacDonald, Founder of The Good

"Strategically conditioning your audience for price sensitivity in the lead-up to Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or even Black Week can yield significant dividends in terms of conversion rates and revenue."

- Nils Koppelmann, Founder at 3tech GmbH

Don't look at Black Friday-Cyber Monday in a silo; look at it as part of your overall discount strategy.

  • How often are you running promos?

  • What's the level of your promos?

  • Does this one stand out?

You need to balance the need for revenue while not devaluating your brand.

- Léa Samrani, Fractional CPO & Product & Growth Consultant

Using the right discounting strategy can help you to create loyalty with current customers and interest from new ones.

8. Think mobile-first for your customer experience

It may sound obvious - but don’t forget: in 2023, people shop on their phones!

Don’t forget to create a mobile-first experience. I saw that Shopify said last year, 73% of BFCM sales were made on mobile devices. A lot of shoppers will be visiting your store on their iPhones - you don’t want them to exit before they buy. Creating responsive pages for your Black Friday campaigns will help you to create a better customer experience and increase your conversions.

- Sam van Hees, Co-Founder of Instant

I found a significant uplift in the conversion rate for mobile users during a previous BFCM campaign after testing a cart abandonment reminder for returning users. Such a simple test impacted visitor behavior exponentially. This indicates that mobile users tend to come back to your site more often as it’s a more accessible medium these days.

- Parmeet Kaur, Conversion Specialist at OptiPhoenix

Mobile shopping is growing rapidly; test your website's responsiveness on various mobile devices and browsers to ensure a seamless experience for mobile shoppers.

- Reema Singh, Lead Software QA at Webtrends Optimize

Make sure your online Shopify store is responsive across all devices.

9. Focus on credible relationship building

Be careful not to hurt your brand by running crazy discounts that are inauthentic compared to your usual strategy/offerings.

"Fabricated or exaggerated scarcity can yield short-term gains but risks long-term damage to your brand and marketing strategy. Always base your urgency and scarcity messages on actual stock levels or genuine time-limited offers to ensure you're building a sustainable and credible relationship with your customer base for future campaigns."

- Nils Koppelmann, Founder at 3tech GmbH

Offering discounts and deals that align with your brand is a much better way to create a long-term relationship with your customers instead of a one-off purchase.

10. Run quality assurance tests beforehand

Making sure everything works on your online store before BFCM weekend will help you avoid any mishaps on the day.

One important thing to check is your page speed, as this has a big impact on your conversion rate.

Remember that even a slight boost in page speed (by 100ms) can increase conversions by 7%. Top mistakes I see our eCommerce clients make before implementing RUMvision.

  1. With Black Friday, you're probably going to spend a lot on ads (Google, Facebook, etc.) and campaigns (newsletters with UTM parameters). Make sure CRO or Marketing tells development about any new parameters so that they can be added to the caching strategy.

  2. Turn off heatmaps and New Relic during the Black Friday weekend.

They won't give you any new information, but they will slow down the page speed for all of your visitors.”

- Karlijn Löwik, CEO of RUMvision

As a QA lead, my advice for brands preparing for peak events is to rigorously test promotional flows and transactions beforehand to uncover issues.

  • Stress test your checkout process at scale to catch bottlenecks.

  • Make sure all payment options are working flawlessly; guest checkout options and trust signals, like security badges, can also boost your customer’s confidence.

  • Continuously conduct A/B tests on elements like product descriptions, images, pricing, and CTAs to identify what resonates best with your audience and refine your strategy accordingly.

  • Confirm personalized discounts or recommendations display accurately across sites and apps.

  • Test your website's mobile responsiveness on various mobile devices and browsers.

  • Leverage automation to validate key user journeys and handle varying load volumes; by proactively identifying and resolving defects, companies can deliver seamless customer experiences even under heavy loads.

Don't leave quality assurance as an afterthought - prioritize testing stability and performance ahead of launch.

- Reema Singh, Lead Software QA at Webtrends Optimize

"Dig out all the past surveys that happened and revise user recordings to understand and eliminate any friction in the purchase journey.

Reason: Users are multitasking and will have a high chance to drop off if they aren't able to purchase smoothly.

- Parmeet Kaur, Conversion Specialist at OptiPhoenix

Check everything to make sure a glitch doesn’t steal a sales opportunity from you.


Ecommerce brands have a lot to prepare with Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the holiday season fast approaching. After all, BFCM is the year’s highest volume sales period for Shopify Merchants.

The CRO experts we interviewed had the following tips for optimizing your online store for conversions during this peak traffic period:

How to get your Black Friday/Cyber Monday strategy ready:

  1. Test throughout the year so you’re already ready for BFCM

  2. Warm up your audience early (September/October) with email campaigns

  3. Create a plan so you aren’t stressed and scrambling before BFCM

  4. Test what works with current customers so you can attract new customers

  5. Create clear promo/discount messaging that everyone can understand

  6. Grow your list for Black Friday/Cyber Monday, targeting well in advance

  7. Craft a discount strategy that doesn’t devalue your brand

  8. Make sure your site is responsive on mobile and across all devices

  9. Use BFCM as an opportunity to build/strengthen your customer relationships

  10. Quality assurance test everything before the big weekend for optimal performance

By following these tips, you can take full advantage of this high-traffic period and turn those clicks into sales.

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