What is BFCM and How Do You Get Your Shopify Store Ready For It?

Lucas Walker
November 4, 2020
Last year, over a million Shopify Merchants set a record on the BFCM weekend. What all of this does mean for you as a Shopify Merchant?

Last year, over a million Shopify Merchants set a record on the BFCM weekend. During the weekend, Shopify merchants from over 175 countries around the world managed to make $2.9 billion. That number represents a $1.1 billion increase compared to the holiday shopping season of the year before.

What all of this does mean for you? Well, it simply means that if you’re an ecommerce store owner, there’s a lot of money to be made this Thanksgiving weekend. 

Why should you think about Thanksgiving so early? Shouldn’t you concentrate on the Christmas holiday season instead? Why is one weekend so important anyway? All of your questions will be answered soon enough.

Because we’re breaking down the answers to these frequently asked questions, so you don’t have to worry: 

  • What actually is BFCM and how can you make money off it
  • How will the weekend look this year
  • What you need to do to get your ecommerce store ready

Let’s start with the most obvious question… 

What’s BFCM In the First Place?

BFCM is an abbreviation for “Black Friday Cyber Monday.” It refers to the five days during Thanksgiving weekend. This is one of the most anticipated holidays for both consumers and merchants - both offline and online. 

Although we’re not sure at what point exactly Thanksgiving became synonymous with shopping, we do know that over the years the holiday has become huge. 

In 2019 nearly 190 million Americans shopped on BFCM. This represented a 14% increase compared to the year before, according to NRF research

And that’s not all:

  • An average shopper spends over $360 during these shopping days
  • Around $257 is what an average person spends gift shopping 
  • People between 25 and 34 years old spend approximately $440 during BFCM

Now, you might be thinking, traditionally, more people go out to shop on Black Friday. No one wants to stay home and miss out on a great deal. Not quite. In the last few years, more people opted to stay home and do a bulk of their shopping online.

Last year, for example, NRF found out that 124 million Americans went out to shop in stores. Surprisingly, 18 million more shopped on websites. Nearly 76 million of them shopped both off and online. They also spent a quarter more than either of the two groups. 

People are more accustomed to shopping on the go than ever before. Just consider this, on Cyber Monday weekend 2019, smartphone users spent over $3 billion on shopping

How Will BFCM Look in 2020?

Black Friday and Cyber Monday have changed a lot over the last decade. However, due to the current situation, things are going to look really different in 2020. The fact of the matter is, most people aren’t willing to navigate shopping malls and department stores filled with hundreds if not thousands of people. 

A number of store chains - including industry giants like Walmart and Target - have decided to stay closed on Thanksgiving. 

Does this mean that Black Friday is going to be a let down for everyone this year? Far from it. 

This means that a good percentage of shoppers are going to turn to ecommerce during the five-day stretch. In fact, most people expect that the surge of consumers will be so great that we can expect multiple site crashes during Thanksgiving weekend.

For that, and many other reasons, you should plan the BFCM promotion a few months ahead. Your website needs to be crash-proof, your stock needs to be ready, and your customer support agents have to be prepared to address any possible issue. 

Here’s what you need to do to ensure your Black Friday Cyber Monday weekend sale is a success. 

6 Ways to Get Your Shopify Store Ready

We managed to boil the list down to six essential things every Shopify store needs to have ready during BFCM weekend this year. 

Without further ado, let’s start… 

1. Make Sure That Your Website Can Handle the Traffic

High-ranking websites have somewhere around 400,000 visitors on a monthly basis. Middle-tier websites have around 190,000 monthly visitors, while low-ranking websites have between 19,000 and 20,000. 

On a daily basis, even low-ranking sites have a few hundred visitors. Even if your website is considered low-ranking, in November, you can expect the number of monthly visitors to be in the six-digit range. 

Advertising on Google, YouTube, and Social Media can send a huge surge of visitors during the Thanksgiving weekend. And if your website is not prepared, your site could crash when the number of visitors gets too high. 

This can cause your entire operation to go down. If this would’ve happened, you’d lose a lot of customers and money. Traffic spikes are nothing out of the ordinary during this time. Your servers just need to be ready for them.

You can check your servers using tools like k6.

2. Prepare Your Online Store for Increased Demand

Have you ever experienced low stock before? If you have, it probably wasn’t during the holiday season. Just like you do for Christmas, you should have a look at your stock to make sure you have enough to go through a massive sale. 

Chris MacNeil, the Founder of E-booster Ltd, says that in order to profit from the Black Friday weekend, you need to make sure that “your inventory stocks are high enough to cope with the additional demand.”

Here are a few questions you need to answer:

  • What are some of the most popular products in your store?
  • How much of these products do you sell on a monthly basis?
  • Has your supply of these products ever been constrained?

Analyzing historical data will increase your chance of success significantly. Even if your online store is still relatively new and you don’t have a ton of data to work with, analyzing the data and making an educated guess is still a lot better than taking a shot in the dark. 

3. Ensure That Your Website is Fully Mobile Optimized

In 2019, Shopify stores experienced more mobile sales across all industries than desktop ones during BFCM. As we already established, a lot of people are not ready to risk going out due to the ongoing pandemic. 

Meaning, we can expect the trend to continue. 

You have to check and see if your website works well on mobile as it does on desktop devices to ensure an optimal shopping experience. 

Make sure to answer the following questions:

  • Is the user experience seamless across all devices?
  • Have you tested the mobile responsiveness of your store?
  • Is your Shopify theme mobile-friendly enough?

To ensure that your website is ready to help you make the most out of Black Friday sales, you need to:

  • Make important elements clickable on all screen sizes
  • Have CTA buttons and discount codes visible
  • Disable the hover effect on mobile devices 

4. Start A BFCM Promotion Email Campaign Early

Have you started preparing your Shopify store for the holidays? If not, what are you waiting for? 

BFCM is not only a one-day deal. It’s now a month-long holiday for a vast majority of store owners. To beat the competition, start thinking of ways to promote your BFCM deals. Since you don’t have any physical limitations like your brick-and-mortar counterparts, you have a lot of options on your hands. 

Here are a couple of additional BFCM promotion ideas:

  • Consider offering product bundles to your shoppers
  • You can also introduce prizes and gamify your discounts
  • Create deals that are available only for a short amount of time

If you’re not offering free shipping, you should definitely consider doing it, at least during the holidays. That’s something that will drive your AOV through the roof. 

5. Have Cart Abandonment Emails Prepared

Around 7 out of 10 people left their carts full during last year’s Black Friday weekend. That’s the number of abandoned carts on a global scale. When we look at America, the number is even higher. 

In the US, 82% of people abandoned their carts. 

Just like you need to increase your conversion rate, you need to lower the cart abandonment. How can you accomplish this? One of the most effective ways of lowering the rate of abandoned carts is to have emails prepared in advance that will drive the shoppers back to you. 

By connecting your Shopify account to the Gorgias helpdesk, you’ll be able to send an email as soon as the customer leaves your website. To make the emails feel personal, you should address the customer by name. 

The Recart feature connects to the Gorgias helpdesk seamlessly and will provide the customer with the help they need to turn back and buy the product they wanted. 

6. Implement a Live Chat for Fast Customer Support

Your store is only as good as its customer support. 

Your customer support agents need to be easy to reach all year round. But during BFCM, when every sale matters, they simply have to be there to answer all of the customer inquiries in a matter of seconds.

By leaving the customer waiting for a few minutes, you’ll probably lose them forever. 

Here’s how to create a game plan for the live chat option on your website:

  • Let the customers know that your agents are available through email and social media
  • Highlight the chat function on product pages containing Black Friday deals
  • Have your live chat pop up in the corner when the customer is looking at the checkout


Having Gorgias live chat on your Shopify website will allow you to view customer information in real-time and have all of their information at the tips of your fingers.

Ebook
How to increase sales with a live chat campaign ?

Learn hot to turn your customer support into a sales team and increase conversion rate by using a live chat on your store.

Ebook
How to increase sales with a live chat campaign ?

Learn hot to turn your customer support into a sales team and increase conversion rate by using a live chat on your store.

at
Ebook
How to increase sales with a live chat campaign ?

Learn hot to turn your customer support into a sales team and increase conversion rate by using a live chat on your store.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
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How to increase sales with a live chat campaign ?
Ebook
How to increase sales with a live chat campaign ?

Learn hot to turn your customer support into a sales team and increase conversion rate by using a live chat on your store.

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How to increase sales with a live chat campaign ?
Ebook
How to increase sales with a live chat campaign ?

Learn hot to turn your customer support into a sales team and increase conversion rate by using a live chat on your store.

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Plan Your BFCM Campaign on Time

2020 has been exciting for both ecommerce giants like Amazon as well as small, independent businesses. From the look of things, BFCM won’t be any different. 

The key to success is to keep your customers satisfied. If your website goes down too quickly or your customer service agents fail to answer a question quickly, you’ll end up losing a ton of customers. 

Remember, here’s how to prepare your website:

  • Ensure that it can handle a lot of traffic
  • Stock the most popular items in your store
  • Check to see if your store is fully optimized for mobile
  • Start working on your promotion campaign early
  • Have a cart abandonment strategy in place
  • Use the live chat to answer every question in seconds


If you really want to treat your customers right, you need to have the right tools. And no other tool can help you treat your customers the way they deserve like Gorgias. Sign up for Gorgias today and get a 15-day free trial.

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