Everything You Need to Prepare for Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Black Friday and Cyber Monday: 2016

Going a bit bonkers with the lead up to Black Friday? Worried a few snags will hit by Cyber Monday?

My advice: first, breathe.

Second — and you might know this already but it can’t hurt to repeat — all you have to do is prepare. Simple, right?

The challenge is that there are so many different ways you can “prepare” for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Being prepared really depends on the services you offer, your clients, and their user needs.

So instead of trying to cover the many different ways you can get ready for the busiest buying weekend of the year, we’ve curated a list of articles from our archives that cover everything from apps and emails to design and DIY finance.

Browse through, pick a topic, and find the answers you’ve been looking for.

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1. Spruce up my client’s ecommerce store with some holiday cheerBlack Friday and Cyber Monday: Web Design

Nothing says ‘buy me’ more than holiday-themed design elements to help get shoppers in the mood. Whether it’s adding a beautiful holiday-styled background image, looking at banner placement, or customizing the add-to-cart button with a little Santa style, this ecommerce design tutorial is a solid step-by-step to making cyber shopping a bit more jolly.

If you’ve already completed most of the big website prep, then consider these more subtle design tips to maximizing your holiday return on investment. These “design opportunities” can help increase site engagement and conversions by considering elements like the product collection page, charity mentions, and shadow boxes that better communicate holiday offers.

2. Make sure my apps are ready to handle hectic traffic spikesBlack Friday and Cyber Monday: Apps

While it’s hands down one of our favorite blog titles, ‘Don’t Get Caught With Your App Down on Black Friday & Cyber Monday’ is so much more than a chuckle-worthy headline. Written by Bold Commerce co-founder Jason Myers, it’s teeming with nuggets of actionable advice on prepping your app. From being honest with customers on what to expect, to tools you can use to monitor servers during peak hours, the guys at Bold know more than a few things about keeping things moving in your ecommerce wonderland.

If you’re working with Shopify Plus merchants, dealing with traffic spikes should be something you’re comfortable with any day of the year. Need a refresher for the holiest of shopping weekends? Consider the team behind LoyaltyLion, who gave their best advice on working with mega online shop The Chivery. They discuss critical prep-work, like researching your client’s users, setting up support channels, and finding ways to reduce server load time.

You might also like: Shopify UNITE: Post-Order Opportunities.

3. Give myself the gift of Christmas future businessBlack Friday and Cyber Monday: Business

It’s a no brainer — your clients are hopefully going to do a crazy amount of transactions during the holiday period, and make a lot of moola (with your help, of course). But that doesn’t mean they should have all the ecommerce fun. You too can benefit from the shopping season and find new clients by re-focusing on some of the key business tips listed in this article. Consider handing out special holiday pricing for new leads, brushing up your case studies, or trying paid ads.

And with all this talk of money, it’s not a bad idea to start thinking about your finances; more specifically, making sure they’re in order before the holiday rush. Iris Yau, one of the financial brainiacs at accounting software firm Xero, gives great advice on getting any small business’s bills in order, what tools to use, and how to make financial best practices easy for you and your clients.

4. Get my clients ready to do Black Friday battleBlack Friday and Cyber Monday: Prepare

Whether it’s examining the entire buying process or breaking down the customer journey, Shopify Expert Alex O’Byrne really gets to the heart of helping your clients make the most out of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. His article gets into the nitty gritty of the shopping weekend, and what services you can and should offer clients.

Another ecommerce expert whose advice you should take readily is Kurt Elster’s, in his article 12 Days of Ecommerce. This how-to article on preparing ecommerce stores for Black Friday talks performance optimization, abandoned cart tricks, how to create some holiday excitement, and more. To get to the point: you’ll get a lot more out of this article than a mere partridge in a pear tree.

5. Convert, convert, convertBlack Friday and Cyber Monday: Convert

Making your clients more money because of conversion-rich design is no child’s play. Nor does it only benefit merchants. It will help increase your reputation, referrals, and make you more money in the long run, too. Columnist Marc Schenker brings it back to basics with best practices for conversion-centric design in 5 Design Tips to Boost Conversions this Holiday Season. Whether it’s the use of white space, video, or knowing how to use striking color contrast to your advantage, this article is full of vital design lessons.

If you’re short on time, money, and resources, this article is for you, my unfortunate friend. These quick and dirty tricks will help increase your clients’ conversion in the weeks leading up to the holidays. From grouping products under a ‘gifts’ category, to defining clear shipping and return policies, these quickies will make sure all customers leave a merchant’s site satisfied with their shiny new purchases.

Finally, if you’re looking to boost conversions, a good approach is to capitalize on warm client-customer relationships. Help clients see the benefits of free shipping, gift wrapping options, and providing good customer service. These tactics can turn any Scrooge into a Santa.

You might also like: Free Black Friday Webinar Series.

6. Figure out if I want to pay for yuletide advertisingBlack Friday and Cyber Monday: Advertising

While there’s a lot to learn about Pay Per Click optimization for the holidays, this post focuses on some core concepts that freelancers, consultants, and agencies should keep in mind. From a deep dive into the client personas you might deal with, to best practices for sitelinks, this roundup of tips and advice for paid advertising will help you see the big snowy picture.

7. Better serve my client’s jolly usersBlack Friday and Cyber Monday: Users

Need a better understanding of buyer behavior this holiday season? Holiday buyer psychology is important to keep in mind while you’re tweaking and prepping your client’s ecommerce site for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The team at Pixel Union give a nice rundown of some of the things to keep in mind, from the more subtle (holiday shoppers are willing to spend more) to the more obvious (everyone is looking for a discount). All of it is well researched, and complemented with real life examples to help you apply to your own client’s stores.

If you’re trying to figure out how to turn those one-time shoppers into loyal lifelong customers, this one is for you. Learn how to delight your client’s customers with retargeting strategies, relationship building techniques, and retargeting tips.

You might also like: Designing With Customer Service In Mind Above All Else.

8. Make some holiday email magicBlack Friday and Cyber Monday: Email

Finally, if you need a few pointers on how to craft high-converting emails, Shopify’s Entrepreneurship Blog has more than a few tips for you. Whether it’s the basics of seasonal emailing — like segmenting, personalization, or building urgency — or providing straight up examples of Black Friday email campaigns you can use, like “the free gift email” or “the scarcity email,” you’ve got access to lots of expertise to help guide your email marketing decisions.

What do you need help with this Black Friday/Cyber Monday? Tell us what we might have missed in the comments section below.

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