Ecommerce Marketing / How To Sell Online

Cyber Week 2017: Black Friday Stats, Cyber Monday Trends + 25 Brands Reveal The Secrets to Their Success

/ 17 min read

Cyber Week is officially over. Black Friday and Cyber Monday –– the two largest online selling days of the year — are in the books.

Now, it’s time to pick, pack, ship and take a look at your marketing campaigns to see which won, which lost and what that may mean for your 2018 marketing initiatives.

It’s also time to check out what happened at large in the ecommerce industry during Cyber Week 2017. Here are some top level findings.

Cyber Week 2017 Trends

  • Thanksgiving Day saw the highest YoY increase in overall GMV; however, Cyber Monday remained the most popular day for making purchases over the five-day period.
  • Automotive retailers saw the highest average order value ($235.10), followed by retailers within the Sports & Outdoors ($143.50) and Home & Garden ($103.60) categories
  • Consumers in California, Texas, Florida, New York and Pennsylvania made the most purchases for the second consecutive year
  • iPhone users spent 7.1% more during Cyber 5 than Android users

While those stats may help to inform your 2018 direction, benchmarking yourself against the industry and specifically against your vertical is the best bet to understand your success.

That’s why below you’ll find aggregated data across tens of thousands of online brands that shows:

  • Year over year same-store sales and orders data
  • Year over year device breakdown (desktop v. mobile and iOS v. Android)
  • Average order value by vertical

And you’ll get all of this information broken out in aggregate across Cyber Week and in individual days, including:

  • Thanksgiving
  • Black Friday
  • Small Business Saturday
  • Sunday
  • Cyber Monday

You’ll also hear from 25 of this year’s most successful brands on which channels worked and what they did to grow sales more than 500% in each of their respective verticals.

Most Successful Cyber Week 2017 Tactics

  • Selling on Amazon
  • Content + Commerce Integration
  • Facebook Advertising Optimization
  • Niche PPC Strategies
  • Site UX & Checkout Optimization
  • Inventory Preparation
  • Influencer Marketing & Social Media Engagement
  • Showcasing User Generated Content
  • Focusing on Video Marketing

Without further ado, let’s take a long, hard look at what 2017’s Cyber Week had in store for online sellers.

Want to Sell More Online? Your Platform Matters

Each year, BigCommerce looks at same-store sales to determine the real increase in revenue and orders data year over year for ecommerce brands on the platform.

This means we have excluded brands from the data set that joined BigCommerce prior to Cyber Week 2016.

This allows us to dig past a “big, pretty number” and get to the meat of the event: how much did sales really increase this season?

And for brands on BigCommerce, on average, sales increased 21%. The industry average for Cyber Week 2017 was 17%, on average.

That means brands on BigCommerce saw 4% more revenue than those not using the platform.

Let’s look at how each day broke down.

Cyber Week 2017 GMV Increase

  • Thanksgiving: +24.18%
  • Black Friday: +22.22%
  • Small Business Saturday: +22.79%
  • Sunday: +22.02%
  • Cyber Monday: +17.84%
  • Cyber Week: +21.17%

Online Shopping is the Newest Thanksgiving Tradition

In our survey of brand holiday preparedness prior to Cyber Week, BigCommerce found that 39% of brands that start planning for their holiday campaigns in January make more than $1,000,000 in annual revenue.

Yep, that means that early planning and making millions in revenue is correlated.

It also probably means that those brands start their Cyber Week campaigns even before Thanksgiving. And in fact, the biggest increase in orders and sales in 2017 over 2016 was on Thanksgiving itself.

Turns out, Thanksgiving is for turkey, football and online shopping.

See How 1,018 Brands Prepared for Cyber Week 2017

When did brands start planning? Which channels did they invest most in? How much were they expecting to grow? Get everything you’d want to know about how brands mentally prepared for Cyber Week 2017.

Get The Data Now

Mobile Orders Surpass 50%

It has officially happened.

Mobile orders have surpassed desktop orders on all Cyber Week days except for Cyber Monday.

In 2016, excluding Cyber Monday –– when more consumers shop from desktops at their offices –– 54% of orders were on desktop devices and 46% were from mobile devices. In 2017, 47% of orders were from desktop devices while 53% were from mobile devices –– almost the exact inverse!

Interestingly, however, apart from Fashion & Jewelry merchants, desktop purchases accounted for a higher percentage of overall revenue across industries, despite making up a lower percentage of orders.

This suggests that users are more likely to purchase more expensive items on their desktop devices compared to mobile.

Including Cyber Monday data into the mix puts desktop and mobile neck and neck –– 50% desktop orders and 50% mobile orders.

Here’s how that broke down over Cyber Week.

Cyber Week 2017 Mobile v. Desktop Orders

  • Thanksgiving:
    • Mobile: 54%
    • Desktop: 46%
  • Black Friday:
    • Mobile: 54%
    • Desktop: 46%
  • Small Business Saturday:
    • Mobile: 55%
    • Desktop: 45%
  • Sunday:
    • Mobile: 53%
    • Desktop: 47%
  • Cyber Monday:
    • Mobile: 43%
    • Desktop: 57%
  • Cyber Week:
    • Mobile: 50%
    • Desktop: 50%

Desktop Still Rules for Revenue

As mentioned above, apart from Fashion & Jewelry merchants, desktop purchases accounted for a higher percentage of overall revenue across industries, despite making up a lower percentage of orders.

This suggests that users are more likely to purchase more expensive items on their desktop devices compared to mobile.

Cyber Week 2017 Mobile v. Desktop GMV

  • Thanksgiving:
    • Mobile: 46%
    • Desktop: 54%
  • Black Friday:
    • Mobile: 45%
    • Desktop: 55%
  • Small Business Saturday:
    • Mobile: 47%
    • Desktop: 53%
  • Sunday:
    • Mobile: 46%
    • Desktop: 54%
  • Cyber Monday:
    • Mobile: 32%
    • Desktop: 68%
  • Cyber Week:
    • Mobile: 42%
    • Desktop: 58%

Phone-In Orders Have Highest Conversion Rate

In total, manual and phone-in orders made up less than 1% of total orders over Cyber Week 2017. However, individual stores like BombTech Golf report seeing an 80% conversion on calls.

“Our close rate on the phone is 80%,” says Tyler Sullivan, Founder and CEO of BombTech Golf. “For our price point, phone calls are gold.”

Cyber Monday had the largest percentage of phone-in orders at 2% of total orders.

Pro Tip

Add your phone number to your site and staff the phone lines. Customers calling in for personalized orders are highly likely to purchase, and at a higher price point, too.

Find more insights like this in BigCommerce's Facebook User Group.

Biggest Buyers by State

Looking to drive up sales through targeted segmenting and advertising? Your best bets are probably the following 10 states.

They have spent the most online over Cyber Week for the past 2 consecutive years.

The only difference in this list between 2017 and 2016 is that Georgia and New Jersey have switched places.

  1. California
  2. Texas
  3. Florida
  4. New York
  5. Pennsylvania
  6. Illinois
  7. Virginia
  8. Ohio
  9. Georgia
  10. New Jersey

Vertical Specific Trends: AOV, Device Purchasing and More

In 2017 on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, significantly more orders were made on mobile devices for the Automotive (+10%), Fashion & Jewelry (65.41%) and Health & Beauty (18.22%) merchants.

Significantly less orders were made on mobile for Home & Garden (-12.75%) and Toys & Games (-16.08%) merchants.

For the automotive industry, average order value came in at $230.79 for Cyber Week. For Fashion & Jewlery, average order value was significantly less at $79.40.

However, Fashion & Jewelry accounted for 37% of total sales and Automotive less than 5%.

What does all of this mean?

That no two verticals should be held to the same standards.

Consumer shopping expectations and preferences alter between industries based on information needed and price point requested.

So that you can better benchmark your results, here are the top industries broken down for you.

1. Automotive

Automotive merchants on BigCommerce made 40.23% more in 2017 than 2016 during Cyber Week.

Here is how it broke down.

Automotive Cyber Week 2017 YoY GMV

  • Thanksgiving: +51.38%
  • Black Friday: +34.9%
  • Small Business Saturday: +37.47%
  • Sunday: +42.61%
  • Cyber Monday: +41.76%
  • Cyber Week: +40.23%

Automotive Cyber Week 2017 Average Order Value

  • Thanksgiving: $226.47
  • Black Friday: $263.88
  • Small Business Saturday: $223.58
  • Sunday: $198.68
  • Cyber Monday: $241.35
  • Cyber Week: $230.79

Automotive Cyber Week 2017 Mobile v. Desktop Orders

  • Thanksgiving:
    • Mobile: 56%
    • Desktop: 44%
  • Black Friday:
    • Mobile: 54%
    • Desktop: 46%
  • Small Business Saturday:
    • Mobile: 55%
    • Desktop: 45%
  • Sunday:
    • Mobile: 54%
    • Desktop: 46%
  • Cyber Monday:
    • Mobile: 46%
    • Desktop: 54%
  • Cyber Week:
    • Mobile: 53%
    • Desktop: 47%

2. Fashion & Jewelry

Fashion & Jewelry merchants on BigCommerce made 16% more in 2017 than 2016 during Cyber Week.

Here is how it broke down.

Fashion & Jewelry Cyber Week 2017 YoY GMV

  • Thanksgiving: +17.98%
  • Black Friday: +18.37%
  • Small Business Saturday: +26.58%
  • Sunday: +16.27%
  • Cyber Monday: +5.91%
  • Cyber Week: +16%

Fashion & Jewelry Cyber Week 2017 Average Order Value

  • Thanksgiving: $83.45
  • Black Friday: $80.36
  • Small Business Saturday: $77.23
  • Sunday: $77.27
  • Cyber Monday: $78.69
  • Cyber Week: $79.40

Fashion & Jewelry Cyber Week 2017 Mobile v. Desktop Orders

  • Thanksgiving:
    • Mobile: 63%
    • Desktop: 37%
  • Black Friday:
    • Mobile: 62%
    • Desktop: 38%
  • Small Business Saturday:
    • Mobile: 63%
    • Desktop: 37%
  • Sunday:
    • Mobile: 63%
    • Desktop: 37%
  • Cyber Monday:
    • Mobile: 51%
    • Desktop: 49%
  • Cyber Week:
    • Mobile: 60%
    • Desktop: 40%

3. Food & Beverage

Food & beverage merchants on BigCommerce made 6.5% more in 2017 than 2016 during Cyber Week.

Here is how it broke down.

Food & Beverage Cyber Week 2017 YoY GMV

  • Thanksgiving: +2.62%
  • Black Friday: +6.71%
  • Small Business Saturday: +7.14%
  • Sunday: +25.4%
  • Cyber Monday: -0.2%
  • Cyber Week: +6.5%

Food & Beverage Cyber Week 2017 Average Order Value

  • Thanksgiving: $91.67
  • Black Friday: $83.41
  • Small Business Saturday: $83.16
  • Sunday: $85.57
  • Cyber Monday: $97.16
  • Cyber Week: $88.19

Food & Beverage Cyber Week 2017 Mobile v. Desktop Orders

  • Thanksgiving:
    • Mobile: 50%
    • Desktop: 50%
  • Black Friday:
    • Mobile: 51%
    • Desktop: 49%
  • Small Business Saturday:
    • Mobile: 52%
    • Desktop: 48%
  • Sunday:
    • Mobile: 50%
    • Desktop: 50%
  • Cyber Monday:
    • Mobile: 38%
    • Desktop: 62%
  • Cyber Week:
    • Mobile: 48%
    • Desktop: 52%

4. Health & Beauty

Health & beauty merchants on BigCommerce made 18.69% more in 2017 than 2016 during Cyber Week.

Here is how it broke down.

Health & Beauty Cyber Week 2017 YoY GMV

  • Thanksgiving: +39.11%
  • Black Friday: +16.12%
  • Small Business Saturday: +13.42%
  • Sunday: +11.64%
  • Cyber Monday: +20%
  • Cyber Week: +18.69%

Health & Beauty Cyber Week 2017 Average Order Value

  • Thanksgiving: $81.61
  • Black Friday: $78.64
  • Small Business Saturday: $73.53
  • Sunday: $70.87
  • Cyber Monday: $87.95
  • Cyber Week: $78.52

Health & Beauty Cyber Week 2017 Mobile v. Desktop Orders

  • Thanksgiving:
    • Mobile: 57%
    • Desktop: 43%
  • Black Friday:
    • Mobile: 55%
    • Desktop: 45%
  • Small Business Saturday:
    • Mobile: 56%
    • Desktop: 44%
  • Sunday:
    • Mobile: 54%
    • Desktop: 46%
  • Cyber Monday:
    • Mobile: 46%
    • Desktop: 54%
  • Cyber Week:
    • Mobile: 54%
    • Desktop: 46%

5. Home & Garden

Home & Garden merchants on BigCommerce made 20.19% more in 2017 than 2016 during Cyber Week.

Here is how it broke down.

Home & Garden Cyber Week 2017 YoY GMV

  • Thanksgiving: +23.64%
  • Black Friday: +24.23%
  • Small Business Saturday: +19.14%
  • Sunday: +23.78%
  • Cyber Monday: +15%
  • Cyber Week: +20.19%

Home & Garden Cyber Week 2017 Average Order Value

  • Thanksgiving: $112.29
  • Black Friday: $114.25
  • Small Business Saturday: $86.68
  • Sunday: $89.63
  • Cyber Monday: $113.83
  • Cyber Week: $103.34

Home & Garden Cyber Week 2017 Mobile v. Desktop Orders

  • Thanksgiving:
    • Mobile: 49%
    • Desktop: 51%
  • Black Friday:
    • Mobile: 49%
    • Desktop: 51%
  • Small Business Saturday:
    • Mobile: 57%
    • Desktop: 43%
  • Sunday:
    • Mobile: 51%
    • Desktop: 49%
  • Cyber Monday:
    • Mobile: 43%
    • Desktop: 57%
  • Cyber Week:
    • Mobile: 50%
    • Desktop: 50%

6. Sports & Outdoors

Sports & Outdoors merchants on BigCommerce made 22.42% more in 2017 than 2016 during Cyber Week.

Here is how it broke down.

Sports & Outdoors Cyber Week 2017 YoY GMV

  • Thanksgiving: +12.71%
  • Black Friday: +34.59%
  • Small Business Saturday: +27.36%
  • Sunday: +19.64%
  • Cyber Monday: +14.38%
  • Cyber Week: +22.42%

Sports & Outdoors Cyber Week 2017 Average Order Value

  • Thanksgiving: $144.55
  • Black Friday: $148.91
  • Small Business Saturday: $136.95
  • Sunday: $132.98
  • Cyber Monday: $147.91
  • Cyber Week: $142.26

Sports & Outdoors Cyber Week 2017 Mobile v. Desktop Orders

  • Thanksgiving:
    • Mobile: 52%
    • Desktop: 48%
  • Black Friday:
    • Mobile: 51%
    • Desktop: 49%
  • Small Business Saturday:
    • Mobile: 52%
    • Desktop: 48%
  • Sunday:
    • Mobile: 50%
    • Desktop: 50%
  • Cyber Monday:
    • Mobile: 40%
    • Desktop: 60%
  • Cyber Week:
    • Mobile: 49%
    • Desktop: 51%

7. Toys & Games

Toys & Games merchants on BigCommerce made 24.66% more in 2017 than 2016 during Cyber Week.

Here is how it broke down.

Toys & Games Cyber Week 2017 YoY GMV

  • Thanksgiving: +41%
  • Black Friday: +39.56%
  • Small Business Saturday: +28.11%
  • Sunday: +12%
  • Cyber Monday: +8.2%
  • Cyber Week: +24.66%

Toys & Games Cyber Week 2017 Average Order Value

  • Thanksgiving: $94.53
  • Black Friday: $100.32
  • Small Business Saturday: $85.62
  • Sunday: $78.13
  • Cyber Monday: $89.35
  • Cyber Week: $89.59

Toys & Games Cyber Week 2017 Mobile v. Desktop Orders

  • Thanksgiving:
    • Mobile: 52%
    • Desktop: 48%
  • Black Friday:
    • Mobile: 49%
    • Desktop: 51%
  • Small Business Saturday:
    • Mobile: 51%
    • Desktop: 49%
  • Sunday:
    • Mobile: 50%
    • Desktop: 50%
  • Cyber Monday:
    • Mobile: 44%
    • Desktop: 56%
  • Cyber Week:
    • Mobile: 49%
    • Desktop: 51%

How 25 Brands Conquered Aggressive Cyber Week Goals

Facebook Advertising, Amazon, eBay, PPC and Buy Buttons were the most successful channels for online brands this year.

So, we reached out to some of the most successful ones, based on the data, to ask what they did to ensure they’d increase sales through their hard work.

Here is what they had to say.

Cyber Week 2017 Most Successful Ecommerce Brands

1. Olive Clothing

In the lead-up to the winter buying season, we allocated resources to migrate our site from Blueprint to Stencil, initially to enable hi-res product images in the carousel and in the hope of speeding-up the site experience over mobile, while being mindful of the wider benefits of the platform modernization.

To enable access to the Optimized One-Page Checkout, we migrated our payment gateway from Realex to Authorize.net for low-cost transaction fees and added a second payment option through Stripe to facilitate ApplePay, anticipating continued growth in site access via mobile.

Having invested in Facebook Ads engagement with a wide spread of international territories throughout 2017, we shortlisted our key international territories, and added localized currency conversions for them on our store.

We also undertook a radical review of our shipping terms and implemented a sophisticated matrix of shipping options via ShipperHQ — with prices and free shipping customized in line with terms we’d negotiated with our shipping providers. Prior to the review, we’d seen increased shipping costs as we entered new international territories.

In the lead-up to Black Friday and throughout Black Friday, we reallocated much of our Facebook ‘awareness’ tier ad budget into the ‘consideration’ tier across our key territories and strengthened our Dynamic Product Ads (DPA)  budget — leveraging the Facebook/BigCommerce catalogue integration for DPA.

We rolled out a series of MailChimp campaign emails, commencing at 8:00am GMT on Black Friday, which have proven to be great for driving traffic — and we keep those site visitors engaged with DPA throughout the sale period.

With the exception of our email marketing, 100% of our marketing efforts was executed via the Facebook ecosystem.

That means Facebook posts, Instagram posts, Facebook & Instagram ads, including the recently released Facebook Messenger placement.

We didn’t pay a penny on SEO or Google — not for AdWords, Display Marketing, or Google Shopping. We’re still considering some experiments with Google’s products, but our ROI from the Facebook ecosystem has been so strong we’ve allocated 100% of our growth ad budget to our existing campaign framework with Facebook.

-- Rohan Moore, Managing Director, Olive Clothing Limited

2. Goose Creek Candle

This is our first year with BigCommerce and we experienced a 68% growth in sales during Black Friday weekend. Because of our incredible growth over the past 3-4 years, we struggled to find an ecommerce platform solution to support us.

Since our launch date, we have yet to experience any downtime or inconsistencies in service. The BigCommerce team has been all about supporting our business.

The robust platform and its applications have helped us successfully reach our sales goals month after month.

-- Jordan Meece, Brand Executive, Goose Creek Home Fragrance

3. Dorco

Proper planning for every moment of the big sale days of the year, making sure all MARCOM is in total sync to drive traffic, and leveraging as well as maximizing customer data are the top three tools we use to guarantee great results.

-- Ken Hill, CEO, Dorco USA.

4. Pink Lily

This year we definitely focused our efforts on two main things for this holiday season.  

First, inventory preparation.

We spent months making sure we had enough inventory on hand to fill our customers' needs.  The team focused on a lot of holiday themed items, such as graphic tees and pajama pants, as well as our bestselling boutique items.  

Black Friday discounts were offered on these items as 'doorbusters' to entice shoppers to come to the website early.

We knew demand would be high so we made sure we had 100s in stock of each item.  

And second, social media engagement.

We scheduled over 70 influencers to do sponsored posts for us on Black Friday, showcasing our items and advertising our sales.  

This led to a huge increase in traffic, as potential customers were being directed to Pinklily.com from many different channels.  

Our marketing team also did live videos on Facebook all day to advertise the promotions and different items.  

We had contests, giveaways and a $1,000 gift card for one lucky winner.

Our customers and followers really enjoy participating, as it enhances their experience and promotes engagement.  

We had over 75,000 visits to our website on Black Friday alone.  

At the end of the day all this preparation really served us well. We did over $500,000 dollars in sales in just three days!  

We owe a big thanks to our entire team for working so hard to get ready for this busy season.

-- Chris Gerbig, Co-Founder/President, The Pink Lily Boutique

5. Nickel & Suede

Facebook is a sales generator year round for Nickel & Suede, especially on holidays, because our customers are trained to purchase through our links there.

Our Facebook page is one of the first places we update with promotions, coupons, new products and other news. We post consistently to Facebook every day and make sure to post great content, including links to products, on key sale days like Black Friday.

We frequently boost posts that are doing well on our page and always have Facebook ads running.

Another key strategy is that we plan posts that include answers to frequently asked questions and recommend best sellers to make purchase decisions easier for customers. We also work with influencers who have a strong presence on Facebook. This year we gave them extra coupon codes to share on their pages over the holiday shopping week.

-- Kilee Nickels, Co-Owner, Nickel & Suede

6. GORUCK

The single most important thing we do during Black Friday week and Cyber Monday is engage openly and honestly with our customers.

We're transparent about why certain products go on sale (or not) and we explain pricing as best we can.

We've even started sharing inventory levels right on the product pages for all our gear and apparel.

Overall, we've found that leading with transparency results in a genuinely receptive audience and a sales season that’s as good for our customers as it is for our business.

Here are some examples of this type of engagement from the past few days:

  1. Real Time Sales Update: Posted the weekend between Black Friday and Cyber Monday
  2. Why GR1 is NOT on Sale: Posted Thanksgiving Week
  3. Black Friday livestream: Originally posted via Facebook live on Black Friday
  4. GORUCK subreddit: Our CEO is active daily
  5. We also post regularly on our private Facebook group reserved for GORUCK event finishers only. These are our VIPs.

-- Andy Nelson, Senior Content Director, GORUCK

7. Aran Sweater Market

We maintain our focus on offering an online shopping experience that is customer-focused on AranSweaterMarket.com.

This enables our customers to easily and quickly shop our broad range of quality, authentic Irish Aran knitwear which is key to our strategy at this time of year.

-- Patrick Kelly, Head of Digital & eCommerce, Aran Sweater Market

8. Spearmint LOVE

Part of our Black Friday marketing strategy was focused on using native features from Facebook and BigCommerce; most notably the Facebook Shop, product catalog integration and dynamic product ads.  

Together, these products enable us to deliver a highly personal marketing campaign to our rapidly growing audience.

-- Shari Lott, Founder and CEO, Spearmint Love

9. Grace & Lace

We strive to hone in on what our customers like and what they want. We spend a lot of time learning about our customers by following their purchasing behavioral patterns and considering their feedback regarding what items they like, what items they shop and what items they buy again.

We geared our Black Friday sales to really target them based on these findings. We position ourselves to capitalize on the offer from the bottom line. In addition, broadening our marketing reach and several other factors gave us stellar Black Friday results.

-- Melissa Hinnant, Owner and Designer, Grace & Lace

10. NaturallyCurly

I was so excited when BigCommerce launched Buy Buttons. I knew it was the perfect way to help integrate commerce into our content site, NaturallyCurly.com, which is hosted on a separate platform from our eCommerce site, SHOP NaturallyCurly.

We started with adding Buy Button links on some of our landing pages.

Then, just in time for Black Friday, we added the Buy Buttons to the bottom of our articles so customers can shop the article.

It was much faster and easier than building out a product widget or carousel, and now we know exactly where the revenue is coming from.

-- Jacqueline Cheney, VP Ecommerce, Texture Media LLC l NaturallyCurly

11. Scooter Hut

Over the years, we have found our customers prefer consistency over the Black Friday-Cyber Monday weekend. This is our process:

  • Decide on a promotion (this year it was 20% off storewide)
  • Start the promotion on the Thursday afternoon before Black Friday
  • Run it through until Tuesday midday

By not changing the promotion during the weekend, our customers know they can purchase anytime over the five days without the risk of "losing out" on a bigger discount as the weekend passes.

Building this kind of trust with our customers over the years has resulted in us more than doubling our Black Friday sale figures every year. I'd say this is the biggest factor to our regular success on Black Friday-Cyber Monday.

-- Scott Mackintosh, CEO, Scooter Hut

12. Newport Vessels

In the past, Black Friday really wasn't a big revenue day for us. But this year, we focused on creating high-quality marketing content the month leading up to Black Friday.

We've always had high-quality products, but we feel the difference this year was that our new style of fun marketing videos and images really resonated with our target customers.  

We gave them a strong and concise call-to-action, and it worked!

–– Patrick Dean, President, Newport Vessels

13. Petra Gems

When it comes to maximizing sales during peak traffic times like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, preparation is everything.

As a merchant, it is imperative to plan for such events at least a month or two in advance. In addition, you want to prepare your customers for the event by marketing to them well in advance.

Building your campaigns on Google and Facebook can take anywhere between two to three weeks at a minimum. Again, planning and timing are critical in addition to having excellent landing pages and ensuring everything is properly optimized.

I would also note that for any high-value merchant to be successful, they have to have a stellar reputation and walk their talk. Otherwise, having success online will be extremely difficult.

Over time, I have learned that it is also equally important to be consistent and focus on the long term instead of burning all your advertising budget in a short period.

Therefore, it is also important to be realistic about your expectations from peak events because everyone else, especially the big guys, are also competing against us and will outbid us in any advertising campaigns.

For us, we have focused on finding a narrow niche in terms of advertising and leveraging that everywhere.

Final advice: study first, and then test and analyze your advertising campaigns every day!

-- Sharif Azami, Owner, Petra Gems

14. Paul’s Home Fashions

Our website mostly caters to people outfitting entire rooms and homes with one or several bedding collections that we carry.

We try to feature luxurious products that we know our shoppers will love, and we offer the the most competitive prices with exceptional customer service.

As for Amazon, we rely on quantity and focus on everyday items and holiday specific items within our listings.

-- Gerry Reyelts, Vice President of Operations, Paul’s Home Fashions

15. Rosenthal USA

In order to prepare for Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the entire holiday season, we hired a great agency –– factor-a, based out of Cologne, Germany –– to take a closer look at our Amazon marketplace listings.

They took 16 SKUs and optimized them in terms of keywords and overall content.

In addition, they placed sponsored product ads and headline search ads (now also available for seller accounts).

Those changes for only a fraction of our product range really did the trick. Our seller ranking improved tremendously and we started selling more.

Now, the majority of our Amazon growth stems from the products that were part of factor-a’s initial portfolio.

We are really happy with those guys and will now move forward with optimizing even more products to hopefully amplify the success.

-- Marc Osenberg, eBusiness Manager, Rosenthal

16. My Minimo

This year, we shifted the focus from the Minimo Bath & Body brand to highlighting our customers.

We utilized customer-generated content (photos, videos and reviews) from Rivet Works, one of the apps BigCommerce provides, and promoted that content through Facebook and Instagram advertising.

With the abundance of real customer experiences on our website, rather than influencer-generated content, new visitors feel more comfortable purchasing.

-- Mary Ware, Founder & CEO, My Minimo

17. Big Star Lights

More people are finding out that commercial-grade Christmas lighting products are much better than big-box store Christmas lighting products. And people find us mostly through organic search and through word of mouth.

A lot of our clients are professional Christmas light installers who are insanely busy this time of year.

We provide a quick and easy way for people to order, as well as help people with choosing the right product by phone or by using online chat.

We also hired a 3rd party SEO company and about 1 week ago we started an Adwords campaign. Other than SEO work, we've never advertised before last week –– ever.

So, we expected big results from that!

-- Daniel Cowan, Holiday Lighting Expert, Big Star Lights

18. Vent Covers Unlimited

We have incorporated a multifaceted approach on Amazon, including Prime, Seller Fulfilled Prime and Merchant Fulfilled Prime. We have also utilized headline advertising and standard keyword advertising.

But the one thing that has really boosted our sales has been the elevating of the quality of our Amazon listings to meet or exceed that of what we have on our BigCommerce site.

Specifically, the enhanced brand content, brand website and the ability for us to quickly add and group new products to the Amazon platform has led to consistent growth.

-- Tim Dye, Owner, Vent Covers Unlimited

19. Marmalade Mercantile

First of all, we made sure we were well stocked for all of our best selling merchandise. We stocked up on seasonal merchandise, too.

This year, we decided to try Facebook Product Ads to drive sales.

The BigCommerce Facebook ads extension makes them super easy to set up and we are very happy with the results!

Another thing we did this year was to rewrite our abandoned cart emails. We made them more personal and tried to directly address reasons why people may have left their carts without checking out. This improved our conversion rate dramatically!

-- Ken &  Deb Moree McKinney, Owners, Marmalade Mercantile

20. Magical Butter

Magical Butter creates viral, mouthwatering seasonal recipe videos that crush it on Facebook!

Advice for my contemporaries is to shoot compelling content and add depth to your social communities. Your followers will become incredible brand ambassadors!

--- Garyn Angel, CEO, Magical Butter

21. Hippie Butter

I added Bigcommerce Buy Buttons to my blog posts to make it easier for people to find the products they're reading about.

Adding Buy Buttons to my blog and email increased both the conversion rate and SEO ranking.

-- Brad Irvin, Founder, Hippie Butter

22. Southern Straws

We have focused a great deal on social media marketing and driving customers to our website.  

We also listened to our customers and offered products and combo packages on our website that customers were asking for, i.e. gift tins in 3 sizes for any occasion and holidays.  

-- Margaret Amos, Co-Founder, Southern Straws

23. The Edinburgh Casting Studio

We primed our Facebook audience the weeks before Black Friday by launching a brand new product which we promoted using short videos with a lovely Christmas-y feel.

In the days leading up to Black Friday, we put boosts on existing content with strong engagement and introduced free shipping for orders over £100.

At midnight on Thursday, we put up Black Friday banners on our Facebook page and online shop. Then, across the weekend, we boosted a selection of existing videos to maintain engagement, each promoting the Black Friday offer but focusing on different products from our range.

First thing on Monday morning, we added a Cyber Monday banner to our Facebook page and website, then boosted our newest video with a “LAST CHANCE! Offer Ends Midnight!” message.

-- Alison Martin, Commercial Director, The Edinburgh Casting Studio

24. Hogies Online

It is all about having a great team behind our store and having everyone add input into how we can strive to improve​. In particular, we focused on three areas.

Our Shop

  • First, we changed our shop to a fully responsive​ theme  and worked on customizing our store to reflect what our customers wanted.​
  • We made sure that all our products had great information and high-quality images to ensure our customers could have all the information at their fingertips.
  • We tested our checkout thoroughly to ensure customers were not left confused and frustrated.
  • With growth in mobile/cellphone orders, we ensured that our site was optimized to give our customers the very best experience.

Marketing

  • We made use of the customers we already had and marketed to them with email campaigns tailored to their previous sales from Black Friday 2016.
  • We built awareness of Black Friday on our social media sites and promoted to engage with groups of potential customers.
  • We used apps such as Justuno and sent coupon codes to abandoned carts and various other marketing.
  • We hired a marketing company to help promote our shop with enticing and eye-catching banners.
  • We encouraged our customers to leave product reviews by offering them a coupon code.

Team

The most important part of all the above is having a great team behind the store.

Every single one of us are passionate and determined to show our customers what we have to offer and to offer the very best customer service.

And it goes without saying that we made use of the help and support from BigCommerce by visiting BigCommerce University and getting valuable support from the BigCommerce chat lines.

-- Laura Godfrey, Sales & Marketing Manager, Hogies Online

25. DealBeds

The most important thing our business does that helps with sales for Black Friday and Cyber Monday are our merchandising and visual descriptions of sales being offered.

This helps lead customers in the right direction to purchase. Also, we have super friendly staff ready to answer any and all questions throughout the day via phone, email and chat.

-- Abe Issa, Manager, DealBeds.com

26. FunStuff

For Black Friday we took two specific actions.

First, we ran a competition a month before Black Friday to end on Black Friday to win a ride on jeep.

We asked our customers to pick their favorite colour and comment, like and share which generated a lot of traction and got people talking.

This is a photo I took myself of the jeeps we sell in my front garden and feel it looks very natural and appealing to customers.

This generated over 26,000 of a reach and over 1,000 clicks.

Second, we doubled our retargeting campaign to anybody engaged with Facebook and our website for the last 60 days, the week before Black Friday and pushed out specific Black Friday coupon codes.

Even prior to Black Friday gave away the codes to any interested customers that phoned us up looking for Black Friday deals.

-- Gerard Mullane, Founder of FunStuff. 

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