Black Friday isn’t just another sale day – it’s the big one, especially for us e-commerce store owners relying on WooCommerce. To make it a smash hit, we’ve got to be super organized.
WooCommerce gives us more freedom to create awesome deals, but it also means there are more moving parts, and things might not always go according to plan.
You know the saying, right? The best way to stay on top is to be proactive. So, as we roll into October, it’s time to go on the offensive and make sure everything goes off without a hitch. Fortunately, in this article, we’ll help you do just that with our Black Friday Playbook! So, let’s get into it!
Important Black Friday Sale Dates For 2023
Before we dive into the nitty-gritty, let’s get one thing straight: Black Friday isn’t a mere one-day affair. In fact, some savvy business owners stretch it out over a whole month to fully capitalize on the e-commerce extravaganza of the year!
So, if you’re gearing up for preparations, it’s crucial to mark down all the potential dates when customers might swarm to your business, caught up in the Black Friday excitement.
Here are the key dates to keep in mind for this sales season:
November 2023 Sale Dates:
- 1st – Early Giveaways
- 20th – Early Bird Sales Start
- 23rd – US Thanksgiving
- 24th – Black Friday
- 25th – Small Business Saturday Weekend
- 27th – Cyber Monday
December 2023 Sale Dates:
- 11th – Green Monday
- 14th – Free Shipping Day
Now that you have your calendar all set up, let’s go down in business!
1. Prepare Your Store For Black Friday
First, let me start by just saying this: Black Friday is a BIG deal.
It’s your opportunity to cash in, onboard a ton of new customers. Additionally, it’s the perfect time to ship a lot of products ahead of Christmas and New Year.
However, as WooCommerce store owners, we wear many hats. This includes overseeing the operational side of our stores. Of course, we’re the ones responsible for making sure everything runs smoothly and that our websites can handle whatever comes their way.
So, let’s face it. Black Friday sales can crash a site if you’re not ready for the influx of traffic.
During the latter part of November and early December, it’s common for websites to experience traffic levels that are 2-3x higher than usual. If you’re reading this guide, it’s safe to assume you’re the type of person who’s ready to go all out during Black Friday.
So, let’s dive into how we can prepare your site to ensure it stands strong and doesn’t crumble under the weight of all your hard work:
- Deploy a caching plugin or caching solution
- Increase hosting plan or change hosting entirely
- Track your website stats
1.1. Deploy a caching plugin or caching solution
To handle increased website traffic effectively, you need to ensure that your site consumes as few resources as possible to perform its tasks. For this, we use “caching“.
Caching is just a fancy way to say you keep a static copy of a page that is normally dynamically generated and serve that to visitors instead.
This means your site doesn’t have to consume as much resources to serve that page and you’ll be able to serve that page faster, which is good for you and good for your customer too.
Having tested virtually every caching solution available for WordPress, I can wholeheartedly recommend WP Rocket. This is a premium caching plugin for WordPress with over 1,500,000 websites and 170,000 customers worldwide.
By investing in WP Rocket, downloading it, and deploying it, you’ll instantly boost your website’s speed and performance. Check it out & let us know what you think!
1.2. Increase hosting plan or change hosting entirely
Great hosting is hard to come by but for a WooCommerce store, hosting can literally mean the difference of $1000’s in revenue gained or lost.
Let me explain 2 important things about hosting an e-commerce site:
When it comes to downtime, it’s a critical consideration. For a blog website, a bit of downtime might not be a major concern. However, for an e-commerce site, even an hour of downtime can have a profound impact on your top-line revenue.
In many cases, just an hour of downtime can translate to losses ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 or even more. Take a moment to think about that – a mere one-hour downtime could equate to someone’s monthly wage!
Moreover, website speed isn’t just a minor factor; it’s a monumental one. We all understand that website speed plays a significant role in search engine rankings, but in my experience, it also profoundly influences purchasing behavior.
To illustrate, if you were to offer the exact same website at two different speeds, you would undoubtedly observe increased revenue on the faster-loading site. Speed is a game-changer, both for user satisfaction and the bottom line.
Recommended Web Hosts
These are the web hosts I recommend for hosting a high performance, fast WooCommerce store:
- SiteGround’s High Performance Managed WooCommerce Hosting Package
- WPEngine’s E-Commerce Hosting Packages
- Kinsta’s Business 1 or Higher Hosting Packages
Recommended CDN – BunnyCDN
A Content Delivery Network (CDN) is a distributed set of servers around the world that hosts your static files and speeds up the delivery of those files to your visitors.
It’s another way to speed up your website significantly.
I personally use and highly recommend BunnyCDN, which boasts a network of over 59 servers positioned strategically around the globe. This network handles trillions of assets every day, with the capability to serve over 350,000 assets per second!
1.3. Track your website stats
Have you ever wondered about the sources of your sales? Could you pinpoint them if asked?
I rely on two tools to provide me with this valuable information, and each has its unique capabilities. To get a comprehensive view, you need both:
Firstly, we have MonsterInsights, which includes the E-Commerce Tracking add-on and, more recently, the Paid Ads Tracking add-on.
MonsterInsights is a WordPress plugin that primarily integrates the tracking code for Google Analytics. With the E-Commerce Tracking add-on, it empowers you to track your WooCommerce sales effectively, allowing you to connect the dots in various ways:
- Get raw figures about what sources are giving you how much revenue
- Create funnel tracking using Goals and E-Commerce metrics so you can see how specific parts of your site are converting (say, something important, like your checkout page conversion rate) in the broader scheme of things.
- Find out all sorts of other cool things like time it takes people to buy on average, what landing pages convert people, etc.
Secondly, a great tool in my arsenal is called Metorik, a SaaS (Software as a Service) solution that connects seamlessly with your store and provides comprehensive sales reporting.
Metorik is a game-changer as it allows you to generate fantastic sales reports and insights. One standout feature is the ability to create customized dashboards featuring your most crucial sales metrics. With a quick glance, you can assess your store’s status and identify any potential issues.
I particularly appreciate that Metorik lets you drill down into virtually every aspect of your sales data and craft custom reports tailored to your specific needs. For example, if you’re managing both wholesale and retail sales, you can generate separate reports for each:
Additionally, during sales events like Black Friday, you can set up a dedicated dashboard to closely monitor the progress of specific coupons and sales. These insights are invaluable and, in my opinion, make Metorik another indispensable tool in your toolkit!
2. Optimize Your Website (Checkout & Home) Pages
Out of all the tools and strategies available, there are two that I consider to be the MOST essential and almost guaranteed to yield a positive improvement. So, let’s talk about them:
2.1. Checkout page optimizations
The first set of changes that I’m confident will produce positive results involves optimizing your checkout page by implementing e-commerce best practices.
Many store owners overlook the potential for improvement in their checkout experiences, and it’s a common source of significant drop-offs that can be rectified with relatively simple changes.
Then, before you start making any modifications, ensure that you have your statistics tracking set up with MonsterInsights. Ideally, if you can establish a Goal funnel in Google Analytics to track cart page and checkout page conversion rates, that would be even better.
Now, let’s dive into the specific changes you can make to your checkout page:
- Streamline the Header: Firstly, remove the menu, social icons, and other unnecessary elements from the top of the page. However, keep the logo linked for branding purposes.
- Simplify Form Fields: Reduce the number of fields customers have to fill out as much as possible. Eliminate fields that aren’t essential (e.g., Company Name) to create a friendly form.
- Leverage Social Proof: Incorporate social proof in the form of testimonials or 5-star reviews near the payment options. Odd numbers, such as 1 or 3, tend to work better for social proof elements.
- Clearly Communicate Shipping Costs: Ensure that shipping costs are presented clearly and explicitly. Shoppers often double-check this information at the checkout stage.
- Offer Multiple Payment Options: Lastly, provide at least two or more payment options to give customers a sense of choice and flexibility in how they pay.
Once you implement these all, expect a big lift in conversion rate on the checkout page. The sooner you make these improvements, the better, as you’ll be operating at an enhanced conversion rate just in time for Black Friday, maximizing your sales potential during this critical period!
2.2 Homepage optimizations
Another area to focus on is your homepage, and this is another aspect where many stores are often under-optimized.
Black Friday is characterized by ultra-short attention spans!
Within the first 30 seconds of visiting your homepage, can visitors easily understand what your store is all about? Is it immediately obvious what products or services your company offers?
If you can’t honestly answer “yes” after reading your homepage headline, surrounding copy, and looking at your images and primary call to action (typically the first button you see), then it’s crucial to work on making this information ultra-clear and readily understandable.
To make your homepage more attention-grabbing and user-friendly, consider the following steps:
- Rewrite Your Headline: Replace generic headlines like “Welcome to [store name]” with a concise, compelling headline that clearly communicates what your store offers.
- Highlight the Main Product: Replace your primary image with the key product or offer you want visitors to notice immediately.
- Optimize Call to Action: Enhance the call to action button by making it more prominent, using eye-catching colors, and adjusting the text to encourage action effectively.
Another thing you need to figure out is how the rest of your page should flow.
A good structure should look something like this:
3. Make Your Discounts STAND OUT!
Black Friday has become increasingly intense each year as companies recognize the potential of this sales-driven holiday. Likewise, consumers are aware that this is the time for the year’s most significant deals and come prepared with cash in hand to make purchases.
But, do you know what this abundance of marketing and deals creates?
According to Campaign Monitor, “116.5 million emails were sent on Black Friday, more than any other single day.” And that’s a lot of emails!
It means people’s inboxes are flooded with marketing messages, making it a challenge for them to sift through the clutter and find the deals they genuinely desire. Basic offers like a plain “10% off” discount no longer stand out – it’s time to get more creative.
For this, we suggest you (shameless plug) consider using our Advanced Coupons plugin because it opens up a wide range of deal options. While WooCommerce core only allows for basic deals, our plugin lets you get more creative and innovative with your offers:
- If you’re on a budget, use our free version.
- If you have a small amount to spend, please use the premium version of Advanced Coupons.
It really is amazing (because we built it first and foremost for ourselves!)
Here’s the thing that I know… the cost of this license will pay itself back in, max, a couple of extra product sales. And the best thing is, you’ll be able to use that for the entire next 12 months!
Moreover, the premium version opens up even more flexibility such as:
- BOGO (Buy One, Get One) deals (Read our guide on WooCommerce BOGO coupons here)
- Adding surprise free products to cart automatically (Check this guide on making free offers in WooCommerce)
- Auto applying a coupon (Read our guides on auto applying coupons here & here)
- Using a URL to apply coupons (Read our guide on URL coupons here)
- Advanced shipping deals (Read our shipping discount guide here, and these two posts here & here)
- Tons of cart conditions to put restrictions on your coupons (Check this guide on subtotal cart conditions applied automatically!)
- and loads more (check the full list of feature here)
4. Schedule Everything
Black Friday prep is probably one of the busiest times of year for a store owner (and rightly so).
However, it’s essential not to burn yourself out by staying up late to deploy popups manually or send emails at the right times. Instead, consider scheduling them in advance to streamline your workflow and ensure everything runs smoothly.
Now that we’ve been through Black Friday multiple times we have a playbook that we faithfully execute and improve each year. This playbook is meticulously scheduled ahead of time and thoroughly tested to ensure everything runs smoothly.
Even during the busiest times of Black Friday, our website continues to work for us, and we can rest assured that the deals are being delivered as planned.
This means you can create, deploy, and test emails, pop-ups, and coupons in advance, and then schedule them to start precisely when you want them to!
5. Automate Everything
Along the same lines and going hand in hand with the idea of scheduling everything, I suggest you also leverage automation this year!
Here’s some ideas:
- If you need to push order information into a Google spreadsheet
- Have your blog posts go out on your social media pages
- Unlock a course when they purchase over a certain value
- Send the person a review request email after a number of days
- Ask someone to tweet about your giveaway
The Uncanny Automator plugin for WordPress is like Zapier, but without the gateway keeper fees.
It’s a great tool in the “no code” movement that can help you automate routine tasks, but also help you be more hands off with your marketing tasks to let you get more done.
5.1. Set up push notifications
Additionally, collecting push subscribers is another valuable way to build and engage your audience. Push notifications allow you to send messages directly to your subscribers’ devices, guiding traffic to your site and promotions on demand.
Push notifications have the advantage of achieving high click rates compared to emails. For instance, while emails might have a 25% open rate and a 2% click rate, push notifications for the same message could yield a 3-4% click rate.
Therefore, we recommend using PushEngage to collect push notification subscribers.
It’s a user-friendly tool that offers unobtrusive subscription prompts and allows you to set up auto-responders, similar to email marketing tools.
As a result, during Black Friday, it’s crucial to set up these notifications promptly to bring customers back within a few hours, ensuring they don’t miss out on your deals.
5.2. Run countdown timers
Introducing a countdown timer is one of my favorite tactics for boosting the conversion rate of deals. This strategy taps into the psychological principles of Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt, as explained in Robert Cialdini’s book, “Influence.”
Countdown timers create a sense of urgency and scarcity, compelling people to take action quickly to avoid missing out on an offer.
For implementing countdown timers effectively, we suggest using OptinMonster.
It allows you to easily add countdown timers to your popups and provides comprehensive control over their appearance and behavior. Therefore, this can be a powerful tool during Black Friday to drive conversions and encourage immediate action from your audience.
6. PRO TIP: Run An Early Giveaway
Finally, I have a unique PRO TIP for you that if you execute on this early and get it out to your audience well before your Black Friday sale starts. Likewise, this could collect literally thousands of new email addresses that are interested in your products.
At the start of November, kick-off a giveaway where they have to enter their email to enter. Then send that email to your email marketing software as a hot lead for your Black Friday sales.
To make your giveaway strategy effective, here are some key steps to follow:
- Offer a SIZZLING hot prize – something that will blow people away and make them want to share
- Ensure the prize is highly desirable to your exact ideal customer, this is your filter to ensure you get less junk entries.
- Allow them extra entries if they share the giveaway on social media, via email, whatever. You want to encourage as much viral spread of your giveaway as possible.
- Start it early, on the 1st of November to give your audience time to enter, and then share it to get extra entries.
I’ve tried multiple giveaway tools in the past, both SaaS versions and WordPress plugins and have settled on using RafflePress.
I like it because it offers the biggest range of extra points earning options. It also hooks up nicely with my email marketing software. Additionally, it’s super easy to use and set up and performs solid as a rock. I know my visitors’ entries are going to track properly and will not go missing mysteriously.
In conclusion, getting ready for Black Friday is a big deal for WooCommerce store owners, and we totally get it – it’s a hectic time of year! But guess what? You’re not alone, and we’re here to help you!
This Black Friday Playbook is packed with strategies and tips to make your store shine, your customers smile, and your sales skyrocket during this epic shopping bonanza. So, let’s dive in and get you prepared for an amazing Black Friday:
- Prepare Your Store For Black Friday
- Optimize Your Website (Checkout & Home) Pages
- Make Your Discounts STAND OUT!
- Schedule Everything
- Automate Everything
- Run An Early Giveaway
Do you have any questions about our guide? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments!