Organize Your Black Friday Promotion & Outsmart Large Retailers

Pavel Aramyan

Nov 06 2018

As the holiday season is approaching, it seems that all the retailers around the world are ready to come together with one ultimate goal: beating Amazon. The online giant accounted for over 50% of all internet deals in 2017. While bringing down the biggest industry player in two days may seem like a far-fetched idea, there are a number of things that SMBs can do to put up a good fight. Before we delve into the tactics, here are the Cyber Monday promotion and Black Friday promotion stats for 2017:

  • Cyber Monday was the largest online shopping day with a record of $6.59 billion in internet sales.
  • Black Friday revenue brought in $5.03 billion.
  • The biggest online spenders were millennials aged 24-35, with an average of $419.52 purchases per person.
  • According to the National Retail Federation, over 174 millions of people took part in the online shopping event for Black Friday to Cyber Monday, about 10% over the estimated 164 million.
  • A report by Rakuten Marketing showed that mobile shopping experienced a 43% YOY increase in revenue during this period.

Now, let’s find out how small businesses can craft a compelling Black Friday strategy and follow it up with a Cyber Monday promotion.

Build your theme

When you lack physical appearance, touch, and feel, it’s hard to make customers to memorize you. This is why you need to give customers something to associate you with and to remind them why they should shop at your website.

For instance, 6PM is an online shop focused on selling discounted shoes, clothing, and accessories of numerous brands. Newegg started as a specialized tech shop, with a strong focus on customer reviews and good tech products. Reverb is a dedicated shop that sells music gear.

Each of those shops has its way of pinning itself into the minds of consumers to make them return time and time again.

Play to your strengths

Big businesses don’t necessarily have all the aces up their sleeves. While having a ton of customers is good, it’s impossible to offer each of them a personalized shopping experience due to the sheer amount of time that you need to invest in it.

A small business, however, does have the luxury of spending the time to understand each customer’s (or a group’s) behavior and shopping habits and draft a strategy that will allow them to grab a sizable portion of the cake. Use your CRM to understand the shopping behavior and buying habits of your audience. Then, divide customers into groups that have similar needs and wants, and create highly personalized offers.

Targeted email campaigns

According to ContactPigeon, email marketing alone drove 23% of Black Friday sales in 2017. Leading marketing automation platform Omnisend recently analyzed close to 1 billion emails sent by over 7200 retailers, and here are the most interesting finds:

  • Cart abandonment emails perform best during the Black Friday.
  • Customer reactivation increased by 106%.
  • A series of 3 automated emails led to a 90% increase in orders.

They have also conducted research regarding the best times to send your emails, based on over 2.5 million emails sent during the Black Friday promotion period. The study confirmed 4 PM as the go-to time to send emails.

black friday promotion
Image taken from Omnisend.

Start your Black Friday promotion early

Consumers are simple beings. It doesn’t take something big to excite them or earn their favor. When left unchecked, they usually visit the biggest online stores due to higher chances of finding whatever they are looking for. However, if you can make a resonating promise, you’ll be able to “steal” them from the competition, at least during the Black Friday promotion period.

Start your promotions a couple of weeks early. Emails are the best channel to start with, followed by social media. For instance, you can pick a group of customers and send lists of items that will become available at a discounted price during the Black Friday promotion period on a regular basis.

Make sure to showcase different products with each email. This way, you’ll not only increase the chances for a person to visit your online shop, but also improve the overall effectiveness of your sales, giving consumers a number of deals to look forward to. You can also offer special discounts to email subscribers and generate a lot of new leads in the process.

Learn from the best

Good businessmen invent, but great ones copy. There is no shame in copying a tactic that delivers results. For instance, offering additional items that go well with the promoted one (a cooling pad and a mouse with a laptop, for example) is a killer tactic that every retail store should utilize.

Offer an excellent mobile experience

Mobile e-commerce is increasing exponentially with each passing year and shows no signs of stopping. Mobile traffic first surpassed desktop for large retailers in 2015. In 2018, mobile users accounted for well over the half of e-commerce traffic. Also, mobile users spend at least twice as much time browsing internet shops compared to desktop users.

black friday promotion
Image taken from Smart Insights.


  • During the Cyber Monday and Black Friday promotion periods in 2017, nearly 40% of all sales were made from a mobile device.
  • During the past six months, 62% of smartphone users have made a purchase online with their mobile device.
  • According to surveys, 40% of users will not hesitate to go to a competitor after a bad mobile experience.

Knowing this, Amazon has taken mobile shopping to another level. Not only does it offer a highly convenient mobile app, but it also includes “lightning deals” that are accessible only via mobile devices. This incentivizes users to download the app and then make a purchase through it. With so many people already using mobile to browse their favorite products, this is brilliant.

This list of statistics can go on forever, but you get the idea – if your store isn’t optimized for mobile, it’s long past time to get to work. I’d strongly advise developing your mobile application, but before that, make sure that your store is as mobile-friendly as possible.

Lastly, pay attention to mobile transactions. 84% of users encounter issues/have a hard time completing a mobile payment, which can lead to losing hundreds of deals and thousands of dollars.

Superior customer service: the core of every Black Friday promotion

Great service always goes a long way. During the holiday season especially, you have to be on top of your game. Make sure to mark all these checkmarks:

  • Free shipping and returns.
  • Fast deliveries.
  • Resolving all customer concerns/issues in under 15 minutes.
  • Instant responses from your team when a customer contacts you via the phone, email or live chat.

Small businesses are advised to double their customer service team for the promotional period. Also, if you’re planning to expand the promotions well beyond the usual 3-4 days and turn them into a week/ two weeks long experience, the level of service has to keep up. The biggest retailers often implement this technique and the numbers show that it’s absolutely worth the effort.

Your biggest revenue stream: returning customers

  • According to statistics, 95% of customers are more likely to return and shop again if they were satisfied the first time.
  • Happy customers tell 11 people about their great experiences.
  • 80% of your revenue comes 20% of returning customers.
  • It costs five times as much to attract new customers as it does to retain existing ones.

Convincing a customer to make a purchase on your website is only the beginning. The other part is even more important: making sure that the customer is satisfied with the shopping experience and will return in the future. Here are a few tactics to keep in mind:

  • Offer free gift wraps.
  • Include small presents that are directly linked with the purchase when possible.
  • Even faster deliveries for over $X purchases.

Rewarding loyal customers is another key. They have been continuously shopping on your website for at least a year, so you should treat them with special care. It doesn’t have to be anything big. Send them an email with a 10-20% discount code for the first five purchases, and they will be more than happy.

Utilize CRM software to your advantage

All the tactics mentioned above can be implemented with greater ease and efficiency with the help of customer relationship management software. These tools store all customer-related data, allowing you to understand their buying habits and the categories they are most interested in.

The robust lead tracking and email integration features can help automate tons of processes and workflows, allowing you to focus on research and strategy. Also, CRM systems like Monday, Pipedrive and Freshsales enable users to keep track of the sales pipeline and deal workflows, granting all the information needed to push customers towards the purchase. Finally, tools like amoCRM offer built-in messaging tools allowing to chat with leads, without switching apps.


Competing with large retailers is hard, but not impossible. Focus on research and statistics and keep up with the latest trends. Reward your loyal customers, deliver a great mobile experience and excellent customer service, and utilize data to your advantage. If you manage to offer consumers what they desire, they will come to you, without even considering Amazon.


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