Black Friday & Cyber Monday
eCommerce Success Playbook 2019

Immediate advice, predictions, must-read resources,
and must-have apps from eCommerce leaders and experts!

In partnership with

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are big deals for merchants for many reasons. From as early as October, merchants around the globe start preparing customers for the holiday shopping season that starts from Thanksgiving and last well beyond the new year.

In 2018, Thanksgiving Day brought in $3.7 billion in online sales, and for Black Friday, $6.2 billion (BigCommerce). This is an increase of 16.4% compared to 2017 and we’re expecting similar growth for 2019. 2018 also saw close to 15 million online orders on Black Friday alone.

To stay ahead of the online shopping competition, you’ll need to focus your digital execution not only to drive sales but to increase customer loyalty, engagement, and create a personal connection with customers during this exciting holiday shopping season.

We’ve partnered up with some of the industry’s top eCommerce solutions providers and asked for their most valued advice, predictions, and recommendations to get you ready for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. We’ve also compiled a list of resources to help you make this year’s holiday season your most successful one yet.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday Advice for 2019




// Gabrielle Policella, Content Marketing @ Smile.io

Black Friday and Cyber Monday is the most wonderful time of the year to start building customer relationships that will last long after the lights and tinsel are packed away. Introducing a loyalty program before the holidays is a great strategy to help your brand stand out from the hundreds of brands your customers are interacting with across BFCM.

One of the best customer engagement-building tactics is to offer new members welcome points. That way your shoppers all have a points balance to spend, and following up after the holidays with customized points-reminder emails will bring them back. While most brands are focused on the number of sales they make during BFCM, focusing on strengthening your brand community lays the foundation for long-term success.

My Predictions for BFCM 2019 and Beyond

Even with the rising cost of social media advertising, the highest converting marketing channel for Black Friday Cyber Monday sales has been email campaigns for the last two years, and we're expecting more of the same this year. While paid Facebook or Instagram ads can get lost in the sea of posts that are flooding your customers’ newsfeeds, emails promoting irresistible deals sent directly to your community members’ inboxes provide significant value. Sending out points reminder emails or even running a bonus points event over BFCM are a great way to keep your most loyal customers thinking about you during their holiday shopping without dumping so much profit into digital ads like in years past.

I want to share a great read from our blog. It’s about how to leverage Black Friday and Cyber Monday to strengthen your brand community through customer rewards.

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// Katie Krische, Partnerships & Customer Success @ Octane AI

Last year, there were more BFCM sales on mobile than desktop (Shopify, 2018). Testing and optimizing your mobile experience will not only improve conversions to purchase, but it will allow you to capture more Facebook Messenger, SMS and email opt-ins.

Integrating your email pop-ups to include Messenger, having a live Messenger chat on-site, or including a Messenger opt-in on product pages are some of the ways you can encourage visitors from increased BFCM traffic to subscribe. When new subscribers don’t purchase, instead of being lost to bounced traffic, you have their information to send abandonment flows through Messenger or retarget post-BFCM.

My Predictions for BFCM 2019 and Beyond

All brands are trying to cut through the noise during BFCM. The brands that will win in 2019 and 2020 won’t be the loudest, but will be using the most effective channels to reach their audience. The average open rate on SMS is over 95% and Messenger over 80% - during BFCM this can be the difference in hundreds of thousands of dollars from abandoned carts or links to your BFCM promotion. Merchants should think about where their customers are and how they can build Messenger and SMS subscribers so when BFCM hits they automatically cut through the noise with ease.

Here’s our 250 Page Playbook for Supercharging Your Store with Facebook Messenger, SMS & Conversational Ads. This in-depth playbook is the definitive resource for merchants implementing Messenger, SMS, & conversational Facebook ads this holiday.

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// Brian Whalley, Director of Customer Growth @ Klaviyo

Get ahead of your 2020 sales goals by automating audience segmentation and flows, now. For example, you can automatically start building segments from your BFCM customers. Once the holidays pass, you can automate highly relevant emails and SMS with timely replenishment suggestions, product recommendations to complement specific gifts, or helpful product information for the gift recipient.

My Predictions for BFCM 2019 and Beyond

Merchants will be increasingly thinking about how to create owned experiences and drive lasting relationships with their customers during BFCM and beyond, online and offline. This means getting to know your customers directly and leveraging data they voluntarily share with you to create highly relevant, personalized moments. Gone are the days of 'first name' personalization. Customers expect you to understand their journey and respond accordingly. The power of owning your marketing impacts not only the customer's experience, but increases all your other important business metrics like LTV, AOV and profit margin.

We have an excellent Holiday Planning Guide called “The Retailer’s Guide to Driving Sales” and it covers everything from setting goals to optimizing your website, and from merchandizing to using email marketing automation to your advantage. You can read the guide for free on our website below!

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// Corinne Watson, Content Manager @ BigCommerce

Consider using a sustainability play in your holiday advertising. With Gen Z coming into purchasing power, we've realized that they are less interested in fast-fashion and instead interested in sustainable, quality brands. Don't go on a race to the bottom when it comes to prices. Instead, focus on delivering value in more innovative and relevant ways.

My Predictions for BFCM 2019 and Beyond

I predict a number of brands will forgo sales and discounts, and instead will put on promotions with added value (like bundles) or opt for limited-time-only product runs. Scarcity trumps pricing for a lot of popular products today, and brands should keep that in mind when they're planning out holiday campaigns.

Our team here at BigCommerce put together an extensive guide to the holiday season. It’s called “The Black Friday 2019 Rush: How Your Ecommerce Store Can Survive (And Thrive!)”. In this article, we go over the history of Black Friday, how your team can prepare for the event, and also talk about the top 10 marketing tips around BFCM!

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// Rob Statsky, Director of Customer Success @ Aircall.io

Don’t be afraid to scale over the holidays. You want to make sure you have enough customer support agents set up and ready to handle your holiday business. It’s one thing to have enough phones, but if you don’t have enough agents set up, trained and equipped for success, you’ll ultimately lose money and have a worse customer experience.

My Predictions for BFCM 2019 and Beyond

Multi-channel buying experiences. A customer might make a purchase from an app, follow up on the receipt via email, read an FAQ, and then call support if they have questions. If your software isn’t connected from your phone to your CRM, you’ll probably miss that buyer’s journey and the opportunity to give them the support they need.

An important resource I want to share is our Aircall 2019 eCommerce Customer Service Experience Study. We surveyed over 750 online shoppers to understand the expectations of modern shoppers, and to evaluate the full business impact of customer service. There are great tips on how to make sure your customer service strategy aligns with the thoughts and sentiments of modern shoppers.

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// Lu Wang, Co-Founder @ Re:amaze

The holiday season is an enormous opportunity for merchants to build better relationships with existing customers and an even more lucrative opportunity to generate relationships with new customers. Aligning your customer service operations with marketing and sales is something all merchants must invest in. Take the opportunity to find a helpdesk platform that integrates well with your store and shopping cart. And if you’re already using a helpdesk, take some time to evaluate whether they have the features you need to be successful. I can’t stress enough how important it is to keep your customer communications in one place and to leverage your real time, core communications tool to engage active shoppers after they’ve interacted with your marketing.

My Predictions for BFCM 2019 and Beyond

Conversational commerce is here to stay. The various innovative ways to use helpdesk, live chat, chatbots, and engagement automation tools will continue to grow in 2019 and beyond. If you’re going to succeed, you need to quickly come to the realization that customer support equates to “sales” support.

I would like to share our eCommerce publication called Better Than Sure. This publication is updated four times a month and is filled with insider secrets on how to run a better, more efficient support team for your eCommerce business.

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// Marc Van Bree, Director of Partner Marketing @ Shipstation

Merchants need to decide well before the holiday season what shipping services they’re going to offer and how late someone can make a purchase in order for it to be delivered on time. Know your pick, pack, and ship time, and know the last days to ship cutoff dates for your selected shipping services. Communicating your holiday deadlines and on-time delivery can be the deciding factor between sale or no sale!

My Predictions for BFCM 2019 and Beyond

Consumer expectations on shipping are changing. Seven out of ten shoppers consider shipping speed and cost more today than they did just one year ago and 88% of shoppers say shipping directly impacts whether they’ll be a repeat customer.

I would like to share an important piece of content we put together to help merchants see important shipping times for all major US carriers. Click on the link below to read our 2019 Holiday Shipping Deadlines For the US

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// Aron Gosselin, Partner Program Manager @ PieSync

During Black Friday and Cyber Monday, it’s extremely important to keep your customer data synchronized across all the apps you use. This will allow you to utilize this data when the holiday season comes to an end and extract more value out of potential and converted shoppers. Every eCommerce business should invest time in automating business processes and create a more efficient and streamlined sales process.

An intelligent syncing mechanism like PieSync can make sure not only new leads get attributed to the right BFCM campaign, but your existing customers too. In summary, you need an easy way to synchronize customer data and contact information between multiple apps in order to bridge data gaps between sales, marketing and customer care so you can get the most out of interactions.

My Predictions for BFCM 2019 and Beyond

With an increasing amount of possible lead sources, data cleanliness is going to become more of a challenge. Invest in mechanisms that ensure your data remains clean. In parallel, data protection laws like GDPR give the end customer more control over their personal data. For merchants, this means that they need to ensure the contact information from their consumers is kept up-to-date constantly in all the platforms in which they are processing their data.

I would like to share an article on Everything Your SME Needs to Know About Data-Driven Ecommerce. This will help you understand how to think about data in a brand new way!

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// Ali White, Director @ Elliptycs

Black Friday / Cyber Monday is obviously a hugely important trading period, but it’s important that you think about this period in the context of the entire holiday shopping season (from September to after Christmas) rather than a one-off event.

With 77% of shoppers stating they regularly or occasionally abandon their online purchase, it is critical your analytics and tracking are correctly configured. By capturing non-converting traffic, you can build new remarketing audiences to fully capitalize throughout Q4.

My Predictions for BFCM 2019 and Beyond

Google My Business (GMB) listings have evolved a huge amount over the past year. You have the ability to post deals, offers and even products on your listing (provided you have a brick and mortar store).

Google has also recently stripped away the ability to show rich results for star ratings in normal search results. This means getting reviews for your business through GMB is even more important than before.

The build-up to Black Friday 2019 presents a good opportunity to make sure your business is taking full advantage of your listing, to maximize reviews and to post important product details and offers.

It is likely that certain features of GMB listings will be paid for in the future, so get the most out of the exposure you can currently gain for free.

We have an article on E-commerce vs Enhanced E-commerce Tracking in Google Analytics that I would like to share with you.

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// GQ Fu, Co-Founder @ LTVplus and TaskDrive

Make sure you are well staffed for live chat to take on the surge of traffic and increasing your conversions during BFCM. Live chat would be the best channel for you to increase sales dramatically by recommending hot deals that make sense for your customers.

You are 10X more likely to convert your visitors through live chat than without. And with proper optimization and training, live chat can go beyond customer support and can be one of the major tools in increasing conversions for your website during Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

My Predictions for BFCM 2019 and Beyond

We will see a larger use of live chat where both humans and chatbots work well together to assist customers on both pre-sales and post-sales inquiries.

Chatbots can easily help with questions such as "where's my order", pulling information from your store directly and giving the information that a customer needs. This reduces your human agent's efforts on basis level inquiries, freeing them up dramatically to focus on inquiries that have more complexity.

On the other hand, through live chat, agents will also be able to recommend relevant products to visitors by figuring out what they really need. On top of that, agents can also recommend products based on a customer's purchase history, helping with the upsell, and being proactive to a customer's wants and needs.

To help you through this year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday customer service, we’ve prepared 100 phrases that you can use during live chat to offer customers a better experience!

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