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Black Friday 2021: What to expect and 6 ways you can prepare

Black Friday 2021: What to expect and 6 ways you can prepare Headshot

By Tom Ricards, Head of Channel & Partnerships

Black Friday 2021: What to expect and 6 ways you can prepare - thumbnail

Black Friday 2020 was an unprecedented one. With high streets closed, the shift to eCommerce accelerated as shoppers headed online to grab a bargain and get their holiday shopping done early. 

Adobe research found that Black Friday 2020 day-one online sales grew by 22% compared to 2019, reaching $9 billion. And with consumers more accustomed to online shopping than last year's holiday season and pandemic-induced uncertainty easing, now is the time to secure your eCommerce strategies for Black Friday 2021 in anticipation for what could be an even bigger year for your peak holiday season eCommerce sales.    

In this post, we'll take you through 6 essential tactics to add to your eCommerce websites and email marketing that will help you stand out from your competitors and offer your shoppers a smooth, personalized customer experience. Are you ready to plan for your biggest Black Friday yet? Let's get started... 

1) User generated content

User generated content (UGC) is a great way to showcase your customer community and show shoppers what your products look like in real life. Research shows that interaction with UGC begins to spike in July and stays elevated through September, and since one in three shoppers prefer to see a product as it is worn or used by real people as opposed to professional product images, the sooner you can add UGC to your Black Friday toolbox the better. You can even use them for your early Black Friday deals. Here are a couple of ways to boost your sales with UGC.

Live social feeds

Adding live social feeds on web pages and in emails can help build a sense of community that retailers across all sub-verticals, and especially brands with a younger, image-conscious customer base, could benefit from. Incorporating real-time social feeds to automatically pull the latest posts into web pages and emails can also help keep content fresh and manual effort to a minimum.

Bose showcases social media feeds on their product pages alongside technical details, helping loyal customers and new shoppers imagine how the product will fit into their life by showing inspiring images of real people using the item. They've also ticked all the UGC best practice boxes by telling customers the type of content they're looking for and letting customers know exactly how they should share their UGC, right down to the relevant hashtag. 


Source: bose.co.uk

Showcase your best UGC

Make your customers your best marketing assets by showcasing UGC in email newsletters, and crediting them for their work.

Nars makes their customers their best marketing assets by showing UGC from their ‘Narsissist' community on their product pages. Upon hovering over each image, visitors also have the option to shop the look whilst Christmas shopping. 


Source: narscosmetics.co.uk


2) Ratings and reviews

Customer reviews are invaluable to online retailers since without the ability to try products out before they buy, consumers naturally seek the opinions of their peers when making a purchase. In fact, one in two consumers will extensively research and compare options before making a purchase and over half of consumers look for star ratings when making a purchase. 

Research shows that displaying just one review equates to a 10% lift in orders, whilst 200 reviews can lead to a whopping 44% lift in orders. So start gathering those ratings and reviews now! Once you've got that unbiased customer feedback your shoppers crave, you can proudly display them throughout the customer journey to show you have the best Black Friday deals this holiday season. And when it comes to reviews and ratings, it's crucial to pull them in real-time from your product rating provider or in-house solution. That way, you ensure that only the most recent reviews are shown. With 40% of consumers only considering reviews written in the past two weeks, it pays to use real-time technology.

Here are a couple of ideas to get you started.


Space NK creates a buzz around top rated products by highlighting them on their homepage. The star rating and customer review show their shoppers that this is a product worth looking at. 


Source: spacenk.com


Cart and browse abandonment emails

Glasses Direct encourages shoppers to return to their site by adding star ratings to their cart and browse abandonment emails. For an undecided shopper, this could be the final motivation they need to make a purchase.  


Source: glassesdirect.co.uk

Product pages

Glasses Direct also increases urgency and builds trust by using up-to-the-minute data to display how many people have bought the product that same day.  

Source: glassesdirect.co.uk


3) Data capture

Your best Black Friday deals present a golden opportunity to gain new customers. The quest for deals and discounts can bring many shoppers to your website for the first time, and with Covid-19 driving more people online, the number of new shoppers is likely to increase this year.

Make sure you leverage this behavior and get an email acquisition program to grow your email list. 

To nail your data capture strategy, consider targeting popovers based on shoppers' behavior. Here are a couple of ways to increase email sign ups with popovers.  

Offer a discount

When a new visitor comes to your website, you can present a popover offering a discount on their first order when they sign up. This serves two purposes: the visitor identifies themselves with their email address and is tempted to make a purchase. Iconic Lights offers their new shoppers a 10% discount in exchange for signing up to their newsletter. 

Source: iconiclights.co.uk


Offer Black Friday discount alerts

There's no need to wait until the holiday weekend to up your data capture game. As the occasion approaches, visitors can sign up to hear first about Black Friday deals. The North Face uses a countdown timer to build excitement and encourage sign ups to their Black Friday discount alerts. 


Source: thenorthface.co.uk

Remember to be mindful of timing. Give shoppers enough time to view your website so they know what you have to offer. 


4) Cart and browse recovery

Although shoppers are in serious buying mode during Black Friday, the buying frenzy that surrounds this event means shoppers are also distracted, often hopping between multiple websites and devices to bag the best deals. 

While you can't recapture the attention of every browser who navigates away from your website, many visitors can be won back with simple shopping recovery tactics. In fact, the average Fresh Relevance client doing cart and browse abandonment makes £120K extra sales for each £1M of turnover.

Here are a couple of ways to entice shoppers back to your site. 

Exit intent popovers

Exit intent popovers appear when a shopper moves their cursor (or taps their thumb) to navigate away from the website. This makes them ideal for engaging with cart abandoners.

Cart abandonment popups can either take the visitor back to the cart page, or ask them to sign up for a reminder email. Feel Good Contacts uses this overlay to appeal to customers who might have gone on to shop elsewhere. 

Source: feelgoodcontacts.com


Cart and browse recovery emails

You probably offer cart and browse abandonment emails all year round, but it's worth introducing a holiday-specific campaign to win back Black Friday shoppers. Zee & Co uses their abandonment emails to remind shoppers of their Black Friday Black Tag event. 


Source; Zee & Co email


When it comes to busy Black Friday bargain hunters this holiday shopping season, speed is crucial. When a shopper abandons your site after browsing or adding an item to their cart, send a cart or browse abandonment email within 30 minutes before they move on to a competitor. And don't just stop at one email. Multi-stage cart and browse abandonment programs keep your products front-of-mind and increase your chances of the shopper completing their purchase. Be sure to time your emails depending on how quickly your deals expire.

Learn more: 

The complete guide to browse abandonment

The complete guide to cart abandonment

5) Product recommendations

Product recommendations can generate sales uplifts of up to 11%, making them a crucial Black Friday deal tactic. But with skewed shopping habits due to gift purchasing and bargain hunting, it's a good idea to implement a specific Black Friday product recommendation strategy.  

New visitors

New shoppers to your site can benefit from seeing best sellers and trending suggestions to help them feel confident in making a purchase. Victorian Plumbing combines high-converting social proof and product recommendation tactics to inspire website visitors to check out their popular items.

Source: victorianplumbing.co.uk

Returning visitors

For returning visitors, try basing product suggestions on their most recent browsing behavior since many of them will be hunting for gifts or straying from their normal preferences in order to snag the best deals.

After the holiday, product recommendations can revert to customers' longer-term purchase and browsing behavior, ensuring suggestions aren't based on items they bought impulsively or gifts they purchased. This is a really important step, since 26% of consumers want retailers to notice when they buy something for someone else so they don't send promotions or product recommendations for irrelevant items.


6) Dynamic content

Dynamic content  is a good idea all year round, as it gives marketers the power to personalize every step of the customer journey. But during Black Friday, the need to promote up-to-date offers and leverage live inventory and pricing makes it all the more crucial. Here are a couple of ways to use dynamic content in your Black Friday marketing.

Countdown timers

In the lead-up to significant sales events like Black Friday, countdown timers build excitement and remind customers to keep coming back to your store. To make your countdown timers even more effective, merge them with customer data - for example, to address a customer by their first name. Surfdome uses a countdown timer to add urgency to their bulk emails. 



Source: Surfdome email


Dynamic pricing

During Black Friday, price slashing and extra discounts mean prices are often more fluid than normal. So it's important to deliver the most up-to-date pricing to your shoppers to avoid frustration and lost sales. FFX uses dynamic pricing in their flash deal emails, serving customers live pricing at the time of opening the email. 


Source: FFX email


The surge in online demand and desire for discounts mean there are plenty of opportunities to boost your sales this Black Friday. But with changing consumer behaviors and steep competition, the need to provide a simple and smooth customer experience has never been more important. These 6 tactics are designed to do just that and once added to your marketing, you'll be ready to make this your biggest and best Black Friday yet.  


This blog post is for informational purposes only. Fresh Relevance is not claiming to provide its services to the companies and brand owners referred to in the blog post.

Black Friday 2021: What to expect and 6 ways you can prepare Headshot

By Tom Ricards

Head of Channel & Partnerships

As Head of Channel and Partnerships at Fresh Relevance, Tom ensures that our highly valued partner network has the tools needed to enable both their teams and their eCommerce and travel based clients to succeed with all of their personalization plans.