Black Friday/Cyber Monday 2017; An 11-Point Checklist for Retailers

It’s Already That Time Again: Get Ready for Black Friday & Cyber Monday 2017

The biggest shopping weekend of the year is just around the corner, are you ready? If you’re not sure where to start, be sure to read our checklist for how to prepare your retail store for Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2017.


#1. It’s October… Start now!

To really make these huge US shopping days a success, you have to plan and do ahead– and since we’re barely a month out, it’s definitely time to get cracking. You’ll need to decide on promotions, prep your store and website, and start generating buzz about your upcoming offers.

Plus, many shoppers are already doing their holiday shopping now. If they get word you’ll be offering hefty discounts in November, they may just sign up for your mailing list or come back to your store to purchase later.  Now is the time to ensure that customers looking for gift ideas and product information can find you.

#2. Decide on Promotions & Prepare Inventory

Look at all of your products. What do you want to include in your Black Friday and Cyber Monday promotions? And what discount or special promotion will you offer? 30% off? Buy one get one (BOGO)? Plan ahead and record this information so you have a clear outline.

An excel sheet can help with this. Consider creating a sheet with different products or categories, their normal price, and then their promo price. Also define how long they will be promoted at the promo price (just black Friday? Only cyber Monday? The whole weekend?) and also list how you plan to promote this specific deal (email, website, facebook, etc.)

#3. Consider an In-Store Doorbuster

Trying to get people into your actual physical location? That’s getting more and more difficult with the prominence of online shopping, but it’s still doable with the right offer! Consider creating one big promotion people can only cash in on if they come in store. Here are some previous door buster ads from retailers:

black friday and cyber monday 2017


black friday and cyber monday 2017

#4. Define Your Budget

You know what you want to promote, now you need to decide how much you’ll spend doing so. If you have historical data from past black Friday marketing efforts, it would be helpful to use it to gauge if what you spent previously was effective for your sales goals.

Keep in mind that digital advertising (such as cost per click for PPC ads) can get more expensive during the competitive holiday season. This means you may need to increase your budget for certain channels to reach enough people and get your promo message across.

#5. Ask yourself: Am I Using the Right Marketing Channels?

According to Nanigans, in 2014, Facebook ad click-through rates were up 66% on Thanksgiving and 36% on Black Friday. With customers on the lookout for great deals around this time, and responding favorably to ads, digital marketing can play a big a big role in your strategy.

Once you have figured out your sales goals and how much you’ll be able to spend promoting your deals, consider the channels you’ll use to reach potential customers. Think email, social media, and PPC when it comes to digital. If you have used traditional marketing in the past and this has proven successful for you, don’t leave this out! Use what your data says works best for your business.

#6. Create Professional, Eye-Catching Creative Assets

The next step is now to create one of the most important parts of your promotions; the advertising assets potential customers will see. This includes every media type you plan to use; from images, to videos; copy to print. And as competitive as this time of year is for advertising– you want to stand out.

If you aren’t a skilled graphic designer or copywriter, it may be wise to outsource this part of the process. You want to create enticing advertising content; professional images, catchy slogans, eye-catching content. Consider an investment here to get the best return on what you push out to the public.

 #7. Keep an Eye on Competitors

What are your competitors doing for Black Friday/Cyber Monday? You want to keep an eye on what they’re offering to ensure your promotions are competitive, and just as enticing to shoppers. The best way to do this is to subscribe to their email list. Study the types of emails they send and how frequently they send them.

#8. Build Some Buzz Early!

It’s already October—Which means you need to start building buzz for your black Friday promotions very soon. Consider starting your ads by at least the second week of November. That means that by the time Black Friday/Cyber Monday rolls around, shoppers won’t be hearing about you for the very first time. Plus, you’ll build some excitement ahead of time for your upcoming deals. You can do this with teaser emails of what’s to come in your sale, and by posting sneak peaks of products and deals on social media.

One note: be sure to update your website or landing page with your upcoming promotions. You don’t want to start building buzz only to drive people to a website that isn’t relevant to the advertising that drew them in in the first place.

#9 Reward Loyal Customers

You know what they say: it’s easier to keep old customers that it is to get new ones. In fact, some reports say it costs five times as much to attract a new customer than to keep a current one. And how do you keep those customers and encourage repeat business? You reward them for their patronage, of course! Consider offering your current customers a special offer if they make a purchase during the Black Friday/Cyber Monday frenzy. Put together multiple email blasts and send it to them ahead of the big sales. Here are some ideas for email campaigns you can put together:

  • A Special Black Friday Sneak Peak for Our Customers
  • Exclusive Black Friday Deals for Subscribers
  • Going on now: Our Black Friday Blowout
  • Last reminder Before Cyber Monday Ends

#10. Prep Your Store 

If you hit the right combination of promotions and marketing, you should see an influx of traffic to your storefront. Make sure you have enough staff to handle the addition of shoppers so that you can provide them with an ideal experience while they browse. Also make sure you have all the needed promotional signage and tags for your items. If you really want to go above and beyond, consider offering them a snack or warm beverage as they shop.

#11. Track Everything

How did your online ads do? Did you reach your sales goals? What worked and what (hopefully didn’t) flop? Keep track of everything, as it’s the only way to really know if you’re on the right track. If you did better Cyber Monday 2016 versus Cyber Monday 2017, what did you do differently then?

For digital, Google Analytics can help with this. It enables you to where you got the most traffic. And if you have conversion tracking set up, you can even see which channel or ad led to that e-commerce purchase. Also, for in store purchases, be sure to always request customers to tell you how they heard about you. This data isn’t perfect, but it can provide some insight on where and how your message is resonating with customers.

There you have it! A guide to preparing your store for Black Friday/Cyber Monday 2017. If you have any other tips for how retailers can prep for the big weekend, be sure to leave them in the comments. Here’s to a very happy and successful shopping season for all!