Black Friday and Cyber Monday: 10 Proven CRO Strategies to Boost Ecommerce Sales

Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM) are the Super Bowl of ecommerce. These high-stakes shopping days can make or break your Q4 revenue goals - and set the tone for the entire holiday season. In 2023, Black Friday online spending hit $9.12 billion in the U.S., while Cyber Monday sales soared to $12.4 billion.

In 2023 Shopify reported record sales from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday, with 52 million consumers globally spending $7.5 billion on Shopify merchants.

But with great opportunity comes fierce competition. During BFCM, consumers are bombarded with deals, discounts, and marketing messages from every angle. Cutting through the noise and converting these bargain-hungry shoppers into paying customers requires more than just slashing prices.

To turn BFCM browsers into buyers and maximize your revenue potential, you need a solid conversion rate optimization (CRO) plan. By leveraging data-driven tactics to enhance the user experience and eliminate buying friction, you can make the most of this critical sales period and drive long-term growth.

In this ultimate guide, we'll share 10 proven CRO strategies to help you achieve your BFCM goals. From creating irresistible offers to optimizing your checkout flow, these tactics will ensure you're making the most of every visitor during this critical sales period.

Let's dive in!

1. Create an Offer They Can't Refuse

Your BFCM offer is the linchpin of your entire campaign. It's what captures shoppers' interest, attracts them to your site, and ultimately persuades them to convert. But with inboxes overflowing with generic "20% off" promos, you need to get creative to break through the clutter.

To stand out, your offer needs to be:

  1. Competitive: Research what deals your competitors typically run and aim to match or beat them. They can help you monitor competitor prices in real time.
  1. Creative: Think beyond the standard percentage or dollar-off discount. Consider offering bundles, free gifts, or tiered discounts that increase with order value

Kylie Cosmetics lip kits include a lip liner and lipstick, available separately or bundled for convenience. (Source: Kylie Cosmetics)

  1. Compelling: Your offer should be enticing enough to overcome purchase hesitation and persuade shoppers to buy now, not later. One strategy is to tap into scarcity and urgency by making your deepest discounts available for a limited time only, like Amazon's rotating Lightning Deals.
  1. Clear: Confusion kills conversion. Make sure your offer terms are clear and easy to understand at a glance. Use simple language, bold visuals, and specific numbers ("50% off," not "huge savings") to communicate value.

The key is to make your offer feel exclusive, urgent, and valuable. Use action-oriented copy and eye-catching visuals to communicate the savings and incite action.

2. Design High-Converting Landing Pages 

When BFCM shoppers click on your ads or emails, where do they land?

If it's your homepage or a generic product listing, you're leaving money on the table. Instead, create dedicated BFCM landing pages hyper-focused on converting visitors into customers.

Your BFCM landing page should include:

  1. A clear, benefit-driven headline: Immediately convey the value of your offer and what makes it special. For example, "50% Off Everything + Free Shipping. Today Only!"
  1. Compelling visuals: Use high-quality product images, lifestyle shots, and even videos to showcase your products and bring your offer to life. Make sure these visuals are mobile-optimized for fast loading.
  1. Benefit-focused copy: Highlight the key features and benefits of your products, using bullet points, icons, and short paragraphs for easy scanning. Anticipate and address common objections, such as concerns about quality or fit.
  1. Prominent CTAs: Make it easy for shoppers to take action with clear, high-contrast call-to-action (CTA) buttons. Use action-oriented copy like "Shop Now" or "Get 50% Off" and place CTAs above the fold and throughout the page.
  1. Social proof: Incorporate customer reviews, ratings, and user-generated content (UGC) to build trust and credibility. Seeing that others have had positive experiences with your products can be a powerful motivator to buy.
  1. Countdown timers: Create urgency with a countdown timer showing how much time is left to claim your BFCM deals. You can also display real-time stock levels to tap into scarcity and FOMO (fear of missing out).

Here's an example of a high-converting BFCM landing page from beauty brand Glossier:Glossier's 2023 BFCM landing page featured a clear offer, benefit-focused copy, and user-generated content. (Source: Glossier)

3. Simplify Your Checkout Flow

Your BFCM deals may be driving tons of traffic and "add to carts," but if your checkout process is clunky or confusing, you'll lose sales at the final hurdle. 

In fact, 22% of US online shoppers have abandoned an order in the past quarter solely due to a “too long / complicated checkout process.

To optimize your checkout for conversions, consider these strategies:

  1. Reduce form fields: Every extra field a customer has to fill out increases friction and the likelihood of abandonment. Cut any non-essential fields and use autofill and address lookups to streamline data entry.
  1. Offer guest checkout: Don't force shoppers to create an account to complete their purchase. According to Baymard Institute, 24% of users will abandon checkout if they're required to register first.
  1. Show a progress indicator: Use a visual progress bar to show shoppers how many steps are left in the checkout process. This can help reduce anxiety and keep them motivated to finish.
  1. Display trust signals: Incorporate badges and seals from recognized security brands like Norton and McAfee to assure customers that their personal and payment data is safe.
  1. Offer multiple payment options: Give customers the flexibility to pay how they prefer, whether that's with a credit card, PayPal, Apple Pay, or buy now pay later (BNPL) options like Klarna or Affirm. In fact, 40% of shoppers are likely to abandon their cart if there are no multiple payment options. 

Use tools like Google Optimize to test different versions of your checkout flow and identify areas for improvement. Even small changes, like tweaking your CTA copy or adding a trust badge, can have a big impact on conversions.

4. Infuse Scarcity and Urgency Into Your Messaging

BFCM is all about snagging limited-time deals before they're gone. By tapping into shoppers' innate fear of missing out (FOMO), you can create a sense of urgency that drives them to take action now, rather than waiting or shopping around.

Some effective FOMO strategies for BFCM include:

  1. Countdown timers: As mentioned earlier, displaying a countdown timer on your landing pages and product pages can be a powerful motivator. Just be sure to sync your timers with your actual sale end times to avoid confusion or frustration.
  1. Limited quantities: Highlight when stock is running low on popular items with notifications like "Only 3 left at this price!" or "50+ people have this in their cart." You can also display real-time stock levels or recent purchase activity to create a sense of popularity and scarcity.
  1. One-time offers: Make it clear that your BFCM deals are truly exclusive and won't be available again. Use language like "Our lowest prices of the year" or "Once it's gone, it's gone" to underline the fleeting nature of your offers.

To attract new customers and boost impulse purchases, Sephora offers free shipping and 50% discounts across its store during the annual Black Friday weekend. (Source: Sephora)

5. Offer Free Shipping and Returns

Unexpected shipping costs are the number one reason for cart abandonment. During BFCM, when consumers are already conditioned to expect deep discounts, paying for shipping can be an even harder pill to swallow.

Offering free shipping, at least above a certain order threshold, can be a powerful conversion booster. In a survey by the National Retail Federation, 75% of consumers said they expect delivery to be free even on orders under $50.

Similarly, a hassle-free returns policy can give shoppers the confidence to buy, especially for categories like apparel where fit and quality are top concerns. Highlight your free returns policy prominently on your BFCM landing pages and product pages to help ease purchase anxiety.

6. Personalize Your Promotions

In the deluge of BFCM emails and ads, personalized marketing can be a powerful way to stand out and drive conversions. By tailoring your offers and messaging to individual shoppers based on their past browsing and purchase behavior, you can cut through the noise and serve up deals that feel relevant and compelling.

Some personalization strategies to try for BFCM:

  1. Segmented email campaigns: Divide your email list into segments based on factors like past purchase categories, average order value, or customer lifetime value. Then, create targeted BFCM campaigns with personalized product recommendations and offers for each segment.
  1. Geo-targeted promotions: Use shoppers' location data to show relevant deals and products, like winter coats for customers in colder climates or beach gear for those in sunnier spots. 
  1. Dynamic retargeting: Use retargeting ads to bring back shoppers who've previously engaged with your site, showcasing the specific products they viewed or added to their cart. Platforms like AdRoll and Criteo make it easy to set up personalized retargeting campaigns for BFCM.

7. Optimize for Mobile

BFCM is increasingly a mobile-first shopping event. In 2021, nearly 44% of Cyber Monday sales came from smartphones. To capitalize on this mobile commerce boom, it's critical that your BFCM landing pages and checkout are optimized for small screens.

Some mobile CRO best practices include:

  1. Responsive design: Ensure your pages automatically adapt to different screen sizes and orientations for a seamless browsing experience. Use a mobile-friendly navigation menu and make buttons and links easy to tap with a thumb.
  1. Fast loading times: Mobile shoppers are impatient. In fact, 53% will abandon a page that takes more than 3 seconds to load. Use tools like Google's PageSpeed Insights to test your mobile site speed and get recommendations for improvement.
  1. Streamlined forms: Make it easy for mobile users to fill out checkout forms by using large input fields, mobile-friendly form controls, and autofill wherever possible. Enabling guest checkout is also critical for reducing mobile friction.
  1. Click-to-call buttons: For customers who need assistance or have questions, providing a click-to-call button can be a valuable conversion aid. Make sure your customer service team is staffed and ready to handle BFCM call volumes.
  1. App-exclusive deals: If you have a mobile app, consider offering app-only BFCM promotions to drive downloads and engagement. You can also use push notifications to alert app users of flash sales and last-minute deals.

8. Provide Real-Time Support

Even with the most optimized BFCM site, shoppers will still have questions and concerns that can make or break a sale. Providing fast, helpful customer support across multiple channels is critical for overcoming objections and nudging hesitant shoppers toward conversion.

Some support strategies to consider for BFCM:

  1. Live chat: Offer real-time assistance via live chat on your BFCM landing pages and checkout. Use proactive chat triggers to automatically engage shoppers who show signs of hesitation, like hovering over the "cancel order" button.
  1. Chatbots: For simple, repetitive queries, chatbots can provide 24/7 support and free up your human agents for more complex issues. Just be sure to make it easy for shoppers to escalate to a live agent if needed.
  1. Expanded phone support: Extend your customer service hours during the BFCM period to handle increased call volumes. Consider setting up a dedicated BFCM hotline for urgent issues or high-value customers.
  1. Social media support: Monitor your social channels closely for customer questions and complaints during BFCM. Respond quickly and publicly to show that you're on top of issues and committed to customer satisfaction.

(Source: Chatbot)

9. Create a Sense of Community

BFCM can be a frenzy of soulless selling, but it doesn't have to be. By fostering a sense of community and shared experience around your brand, you can cut through the transactional noise and build lasting customer relationships.

Some ways to create community during BFCM:

  1. Social media engagement: Use your social channels to showcase BFCM prep behind the scenes, spotlight top-selling products, and engage customers with polls, contests, and user-generated content (UGC) campaigns.
  1. Livestream events: Host live shopping events on platforms like Instagram, Facebook, or TikTok, where customers can interact with your brand in real-time, ask questions, and snag exclusive deals. Beauty brand Lush hosts popular live "mixing parties" where customers can learn about products and get personalized recommendations from experts.
  1. Charitable tie-ins: Partner with a charitable cause that aligns with your brand values and donate a portion of your BFCM sales. Not only does this build goodwill, but 70% of millennials say they'll spend more with brands that support causes they care about.
  1. Brand communities: Create a dedicated space for your most engaged customers to connect with each other and with your brand, like a Facebook Group or branded forum. Offer exclusive BFCM perks and sneak peeks to this VIP community to help them feel valued and in the know.

10. Don't Neglect Post-Purchase Follow-Up

Your job isn't done once the BFCM orders are in. The post-purchase experience is critical for turning one-time bargain hunters into loyal, repeat customers. In fact, customers who have a positive post-purchase experience are 12 times more likely to recommend your brand to others.

Some post-purchase strategies to try after BFCM:

  1. Order confirmation emails: Send a clear, branded order confirmation email immediately after purchase, with an estimated delivery date and tracking information. This helps reduce buyer's remorse and post-purchase anxiety.
  1. Shipping updates: Keep customers informed of their order status with regular shipping updates and alerts. Consider using SMS for real-time delivery notifications.
  1. Product recommendations: Include personalized product recommendations in your order confirmation and shipping emails to encourage cross-sells and future purchases. Base these recommendations on the customer's BFCM purchases and past browsing behavior.
  1. Loyalty program enrolment: Invite BFCM shoppers to join your loyalty or rewards program to incentivize repeat purchases. Highlight the benefits of membership, like exclusive discounts, early access to sales, and free shipping.
  1. Review requests: Ask BFCM customers to leave a review of their purchased products. User-generated reviews not only provide valuable social proof for future shoppers, but they can also give you insights into what's working well and what needs improvement.

(Source: Wordstream)

Putting It All Together

Whew, that was a lot to take in! But by implementing these 10 CRO strategies, you'll be well on your way to crushing your BFCM sales goals and setting your store up for long-term success.

Just remember: BFCM optimization is not a set-it-and-forget-it affair. It requires continuous testing, iteration, and improvement to stay ahead of the curve and keep your conversion rates climbing year after year.

That's where having a trusted CRO partner like SplitBase can be worthwhile. Our team of optimization experts can help you:

  1. Develop a data-driven BFCM strategy tailored to your unique business goals and target audience
  2. Design and implement high-converting landing pages, email campaigns, and retargeting ads
  3. Continuously test and optimize your site and marketing to maximize BFCM conversions and revenue
  4. Analyze your BFCM performance and provide actionable insights for improvement next year

Don't leave your BFCM bottom line to chance. Partner with SplitBase and let us help you turn those holiday bargain hunters into loyal, lifelong customers.