How to Prepare for Black Friday in 2020: a Checklist from Promodo

Online shopping in the UK has experienced a 74% growth since COVID-19 become a global concern in 2020. In the USA 61% of businesses are expecting higher demand for their products or services during the holiday season due to the virus spreadover. Not only the stats but common sense indicates that this year’s Black Friday will be the highest ever. In what way will Black Friday 2020 be different? What are the predictions of digital marketers? How to prepare for Black Friday in 2020? In this article, we share the ideas and provide tips on how to get ready for the main marketing sell-off of the year. Follow the read, as it’s high time to get the ace out of your sleeve.

Statistics that help you prepare for Black Friday 2020

In 2019 we prepared a Black Friday report to showcase which marketing channels converted best and providing infographics on customer behaviour during the traditional sales of November, 27th. Although the COVID-19 pandemic has radically changed the way people live and shop, the figures & facts are worth taking into account when preparing this year’s Black Friday.

  • Customers begin to place orders 3-5 days in advance before Black Friday
  • Users who visited a website 1-2 weeks before Black Friday and then returned to buy, had the largest order value;
  • Traffic on Black Friday landing pages increased by 10% YoY;
  • In 2019, retailers received about 50% of their revenue from paid traffic channels due to brand queries;
  • On average, CPA decreases by 15-20% during Black Friday;
  • Categories and products optimised for low- and mid-frequency Black Friday queries can attract up to 30% of the traffic from the top-2 results for the head query.

Black Friday 2020 

So, how to prepare for Black Friday in 2020? We wish we didn’t have to refer to the current global situation that exists one more time, but it all boils down to the events unfolding around the pandemic. Large market players like Amazon, Walmart, Home Depot and Macy’s have already announced their offline stores remain closed on Thanksgiving. This means those huge queues in the malls we traditionally see are moving to online. Read the below to make sure you are prepared in the best way.

Your website’s under pressure. Ready?

If you want to cover all your customers’ needs and requests during Black Friday, make sure your website is working smoothly. Among the most annoying technical show-stoppers reported by consumers is the unstable performance due to the large number of visitors, the inability to provide regularly updated information about items in stock and safety concerns.In order to minimise all the potential risks, we recommend the following:

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  • analyse the data from previous years and prepare for the worst case scenario;
  • check your page loading speed both on desktop and mobile using the PageSpeed Insights developed by Google;

google insights

  • contact your web hosting provider to discuss the traffic limitations of your store to check if the servers will be able to handle increased traffic or you need to upgrade;
  • make sure, your best sellers are in stock before the sales officially start and keep track of the items in stock, also run tests to check if items are marked as out of stock each time they are sold out. Otherwise, prepare to pay for overtime of your customer service teams who answer enquiries;
  • apart from the regular “allow cookies” pop-ups, display a signage on your website’s checkout pages to prove that shopping with you means complete safety.

safety on the website

You can also ask your hosting provider to help you to set up an SSL certificate (an authentication and encryption system — meaning, data is transferred online safely).

  • the fact Google postponed mobile-first indexing till 2021, doesn’t mean you can postpone optimising your website for mobile, especially during Black Friday. When in a hurry, consumers will find themselves annoyed if any images, for example, are displayed in a wrong way. Responsive design and smooth performance on smartphones and tablets matter.

Shop. Return. Repeat

Another serious concern of shoppers is the checkout process and return policy. Black Friday is a whole room for emotional purchases. Prepare for 30-35% of all online purchases be returned.

Which is not bad, if customers had a good shopping experience with you, they are likely to remember and repeat it again. Apart from the smooth UX and a smart website design, shopping experience boils down to the checkout process. Minimize the customer journey to a literally 1-2 step process from the cart to a completed order. This is crucial on Black Friday.

When it comes to return policies, make these visible, so that your customers don’t waste their time hesitating and fearing they will lose their money in case a product appears not exactly what they wanted.

zappos fast free

UGC matters

Online shopping is a way too different from taking your close friend on a tour around the malls. Of course, you can make a screenshot and text your friends to ask for their opinion (and we are sure you do so), but no real-life photos and lack of comments approving or disapproving can become crucial when making the decision.

customer reviews

Attention, passengers! Black Friday is landing

Landing pages are a great way to make customers aware of special offers and discounts during the Black Friday season. Tell all your benefits, discounts and add a clear and encouraging CTA. Collect your best deals in one place and be sure your customers are not spending their precious time loading different pages of the website.

black friday landing page

Countdown timers are a common thing used in banners, pop-ups and landing pages. They will not only heat up the feeling of expectations but make customers aware of the exact time the hunting for a great deal starts on your website. This is especially important for those who come to your website with an intent to purchase a particular item.

Email marketing: aim, fire!

Yes, consumers still check their inbox from time to time. Catchy subject lines increase your chances of being seen. But note that just announcing the sales in your online store is not enough. Replace such emails with something more personalised: 

  • announce discounts for user’s favourites, the items they purchased with you before or the ones left in the cart;
  • Based on user’s previous orders, create personalised selections of products that would make a perfect match to the items purchased before;
  • Distribute special/vip coupons;
  • Set up you email campaigns, so that you can reach customers at different stages of your Black Friday sales;
  • Be precise explaining your offer and clear CTA;
  • Use gamification;
  • Be bright to stand out from the crowd of your competitors.

black friday email campaigns

black friday banner gif

Using the power of messengers

stats using messengers


Another relatively fresh digital marketing asset are messengers. Statista reports two thousand million monthly active WhatsApp users in the U.S. Telegram, Facebook Messenger and Viber are extensively used in different parts of the world. Missing the opportunity to use them during the Black Friday season would be a waste. Create secret chats or groups to tell customers of the special offers and activities planned at your store for Black Friday. Distribute unique coupons and offer exclusive deals for your loyal and VIP customers.Don’t forget about chatbots. They will not only take the waiting time of your call-center agents, but make the checkout process as easy as possible.

SEO: how you can use the low and medium frequency Black Friday queries

“Black Friday” or “Black Friday deals” are considered the most frequent search queries in past years. Last year, consumers searched for special offers from specific brands. This trend is likely to continue in 2020, and the brand name will become an even more important choice factor.

During Black Friday, market giants drain their large budgets, increasing the amount of work that is aimed at promoting a specific pool of search queries. For online stores that do not have the resources to fight for the top spots in the search results, we recommend creating more thematic landing pages – and get their share of the traffic. Categories and products optimised for low and medium frequency Black Friday queries can attract up to 30% of traffic from the top 2 search results for the main high frequency query.

A few words about Black Friday’s PPC

If you have the budget, you can make the most of Google Ads with promotion extensions. Display a short description of the promotion, the date when the deal is valid, and the promo code if applicable.

promo extension

Make sure you apply to whitelist your account for ‘merchant promotions.’ These act like promotion extensions and allow advertising special offers in your product ads.

google shopping snippets

Safety concern

This is probably the major distinguishing feature of Black Friday 2020. The level of stress caused by the pandemic continues to grow with time. This has a huge impact on consumer behaviour online. 

  • Voice search. People search more with their hands free;
  • People care about the safety measures taken at the warehouse and every spot involved in online delivery of their orders;
  • People care of the working conditions provided for people involved into processing their orders;
  • The new essentials category. Face masks and hand sanitisers are a good gift you can offer to supplement the orders.

How to prepare for Black Friday in November

Last year’s report has shown that you’d better get prepared for Black Friday in summer. And we are sure you already thought of an action plan. Well, if you haven’t, we’ve got one prepared for you. So, let’s focus on what we can do now, when there is one month left before Black Friday

black friday strategy

Last year 45% of all purchases were made by customers who visited the website for the first time ever. This is a good thing to remember when planning your Black Friday sales. Among your potential clients during the Black Friday season are:

  1. Those who are new to the website and are not currently looking for BF-related deals
  2. New visitors, who come exactly to find the best deal for Black Friday
  3. The ones who visited your website before, loyal customers

To catch the attention of group A, you first need to make them aware of what you are offering. Facebook ads, GDN, Instagram and YouTube are the places where you can find them.

Group B is ready to see your deals. Use Google Search ads and organic search to show them.

Group C mostly needs retention. You need to catch their attention and don’t let them go until they complete an order (or several) with you. Use email marketing, do SMM and remarket.

Final words about Black Friday 2020

Black Friday is known as the most awaited time for all marketers and online shoppers. Another good thing about Black Friday in 2020 is that it makes us closer to the end of this crazy year 🙂 When planning your marketing strategy for the Black Friday season, try to be supportive and helpful for your customers. Use a multi-channel strategy and don’t forget to entertain. Preparation for Black Friday is a long story. But don’t worry if you didn’t start in summer. We know how to help you prepare for Black Friday, even if less than a month away. 


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How to Prepare for Black Friday in 2020: a Checklist from Promodo

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