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The Affordable 2023 BFCM Playbook

It's that time of year again—the one we all love and hate simultaneously.

You have probably read enough BFCM guides to turn you blue in the face. This guide is NOT going to be riddled with lots of stats that are irrelevant to your business. This guide will give you a straightforward checklist to ensure you make the most of this Black Friday Cyber Monday.

The Top 4 Things To Keep In Mind

There are four critical things to keep in mind this season:

  1. Everyone is shopping on their phones
  2. It would be best if you made your discounts count
  3. Your past customers are THE most important people to pay attention to
  4. And lastly, you have many, many channels to reach them

Mobile First

It might not come as a surprise, but mobile shopping hit a record high of 55% of online sales last year during Thanksgiving, reported Adobe Analytics. As a result, it's an absolute must to stress test your website from the lens of the mobile experience. With that said, the prominence of mobile varies throughout the BFCM week. Last year, there was a drop to 43% on Cyber Monday as people went back to work and shopping on a desktop. Ensure you have tested everything from pop-ups to discount code stacking to the checkout page. Twice.

Optimizing for Lead Capture

With this in mind, your lead capture must be in tip-top shape. With all that new traffic you drive, what's worse than not capturing them for retargeting or marketing segmentation? Stats have proven that offering gamification or cash incentives in your email + SMS capture increases your lead capture by 211%. Why? Consumers are bored with the typical 10% discount for sign-up. They love engaging with new and different experiences. They also highly value their inbox and aren't as willing to give it to you without a significant return. With Toki, you can set up cash rewards for email + SMS OR quizzes/surveys with lead capture to maximize the experience for your website visitors.

Don't Be Afraid to Discount

Adobe reported that discounts hit record highs in 2022, peaking at an average of 25% off the listed price on Cyber Monday. Some categories saw even steeper discounts- such as 34% off toys, 20% off computers, and 18% off apparel. While there have been mixed feelings within the industry around discounting during this season, it's worth noting that Black Friday shoppers wait for BFCM and expect significant discounts, so offering a simple 5% or 10% off will rub them the wrong way. At the same time, these are customers that you will be able to retarget throughout the following year, so capturing them now, even at a lower value, could still be worthwhile in the long term. Don't miss out on the opportunity just because you were being stingy.

Tap into your Past Customers

While the Black Friday Cyber Monday weekend will bring an exciting influx of new customers to your store, the paid advertising game during this time will be costly. Your best chance at success is taking advantage of your newsletter subscribers and past customers. The best way to capitalize on these shoppers is by segmenting and providing exclusive offerings to these shoppers. The tried and true playbook is to segment your customers based on their LTV into three to five separate tiers. Use the loyalty platform of your choice to attach rewards to these tiers and staggered access to the BFCM deals. For example:

  • Tier 1 = LTV > $100
    • 10% off everything onsite
    • Access 2 days before BFCM
  • Tier 2 = LTV > $200
    • 20% off everything onsite
    • Access 3 days before BFCM
  • Tier 3 = LTV > $300
    • 30% off everything onsite
    • Access 5 days before BFCM
  • Tier 4 = LTV > $400
    • 40% off everything onsite
    • Access 1 week before BFCM

Numbers will entirely depend on your business economics.

Announce this structure to everyone visiting your website for one month before BFCM. Bonus if you advertise this program. This will create FOMO and drive sign-ups. If you do this, you will be guaranteed to see success when the big week comes.

Building out Strong Segmentation

Along these same lines, it's essential to have your email segmentation primed and ready post-purchase. Having one post-purchase flow doesn't cut it. You segment based on product, overall spending, and additional engagement. Your consumers expect more personalized communication after they have committed to purchasing with you.

Push notifications

Live chat, SMS, and email are just some channels that e-commerce brands can use during BFCM season to reach shoppers based on needs and interests. One of the underutilized channels brands should use this season is push notifications. Push notifications are a better channel for three main reasons:

1) They are free, meaning you save a lot of money sending push versus SMS 

2) Open rates for push notifications are 28%, which is 28x higher than email or SMS. 

Better yet, your customers don't need to download an app for you to send them push notifications. All you need them to do is download an Apple Wallet Pass. We suggest promoting the Apple Wallet Pass download to your loyalty members in the weeks coming up to the holidays in your email flows and on your thank you page, giving your customers an incentive like $5 in store credit for downloading their pass. 

Positioning the pass as exclusive to them (alongside the incentive) will guarantee downloads. Then you can send these members push notifications inviting them to see the BFCM sale before anyone else!

Maximize your Referral Program

Finally, your referral program members are your superfans. They have promoted you in the past and are willing to do it again. Now is the time to use your referral program members to encourage your BFCM deals. Send them an email blast, SMS, and push notification asking them to share your BFCM sale with their friends to get $10 in store credit (or value that aligns with your brand). With Toki, this can be set up by creating a Link Click Reward Activity. Make sure you set the limit of this activity to 2-3 per user so it cannot be fraudulently used, and you'll be off to the races!

The Power of Storytelling in Marketing

Have you ever sat by a campfire, listening to a captivating story, hanging onto every word? That's the power of storytelling. In BFCM marketing, storytelling isn't just about spinning a good yarn; it's about connecting with your audience on a deeper level. Remember the last time you made a purchase based on a compelling story? Maybe it was a brand's origin story or a customer's transformative experience. By weaving a narrative around your BFCM deals, you're not just selling a product but an experience, a journey. And who doesn't love a good trip?

Why Simplicity Wins Every Time

Ever heard the saying, “Less is more”? In the bustling world of BFCM, where every brand is vying for attention, simplicity can be your secret weapon. Think about it. Would you instead read a long, convoluted description or a clear, concise one that gets straight to the point? By breaking down complex deals and offers into easy-to-understand frameworks, you're making life easier for your customers and increasing their chances of taking action. After all, clarity leads to action.

The Art of Persuasion in the Digital Age

Why should customers choose your brand over countless others this BFCM? The answer lies in the art of persuasion. You can sway even the most indecisive shopper with the right mix of emotional appeal, logic, and credibility. Remember the last time a well-placed rhetorical question or a relatable analogy made you rethink a decision? That's persuasion in action. And in the digital age, where attention spans are shorter than ever, mastering this art can be the difference between a sale and a missed opportunity.

Creating a Sense of Urgency Without the Pressure

We've all felt the rush of a ticking clock, haven't we? That sense of urgency can be a powerful motivator, especially during BFCM. But there's a fine line between creating excitement and exerting undue pressure. Instead of bombarding customers with aggressive countdown timers, why not use storytelling to convey the value of your offers? Paint a picture of the benefits, the joy, the transformation. Let customers come to the realization themselves that they can't miss out. After all, isn't self-realization more potent than external pressure?

The Human Touch in a Digital World

In an era dominated by algorithms and automation, the human touch is fresh air. Remember the last time you received a personalized recommendation or a heartfelt thank-you note from a brand? It felt special. This BFCM, consider adding a personal touch to your campaigns. These small gestures can make a difference, whether a handwritten note, a personalized offer, or simply addressing customers by their first name because business is about human connections.


Navigating the BFCM landscape can be daunting, but it's an opportunity with the right strategies like no other. By harnessing the power of storytelling, simplicity, persuasion, urgency, and the human touch, brands can create memorable customer experiences. It's not just about discounts and deals; it's about building lasting relationships. And in the world of business, relationships are everything.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the significance of storytelling in BFCM marketing?
Storytelling allows brands to connect with their audience on a deeper level, turning products and deals into memorable experiences.

How can simplicity benefit my BFCM campaigns?
Simplicity ensures clarity, making it easier for customers to understand your offers and increasing the likelihood of them taking action.

Why is persuasion necessary in the digital age?
With countless brands vying for attention, mastering the art of persuasion can sway even the most indecisive shopper, leading to increased sales.

How can I create a sense of urgency without being pushy?
Instead of aggressive countdown timers, use storytelling to convey the value of your offers, allowing customers to realize the benefits themselves.

What are the benefits of adding a human touch to my campaigns?
Personal touches, like handwritten notes or personalized offers, can foster deeper connections with customers, turning one-time shoppers into loyal brand advocates.

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