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Ecommerce guide to Black Friday marketing: 6 must-use tactics

August 10th 2023

Camilla Bass

By Camilla Bass

Senior Content Marketing Manager

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

Online sales reached $40 billion globally towards the end of Black Friday 2022, which was a stronger than expected performance amidst the tougher economic climate. Experts suggested this could have been a result of more consumers seeking value and price, or due to items simply costing more because of inflation, or perhaps a mix of both.

Will we see a similar pattern this Black Friday? Only time will tell, but in the meantime we’re here to help you make it your most lucrative one yet with our Black Friday marketing ideas.

Keep reading to discover 6 essential eCommerce tactics for your Black Friday marketing to help you stand out from your competitors and offer your shoppers a smooth, personalized customer experience.

You’ll learn more about Black Friday marketing tactics including:

  • Triggered messaging
  • Data capture
  • Product recommendations
  • Countdown timers
  • Popularity messaging
  • Geotargeting

Plus, we’ll also talk about the benefits of automatic optimization during Black Friday.

You’ll discover inspiring real-life examples for each tactic along the way. Tip: click on the images to see the examples in full.

Let’s get started.

1. Triggered messaging

Triggered messaging helps businesses deliver personalized, real-time content to shoppers at the moment they are most likely to convert.

These types of messages are usually triggered by an individual’s activity, not sent as part of a scheduled send – so a large part of their content is likely to be very topical and timely. Since they are automated, they also save marketers time and remove the pressure of manually building lots of individual emails.

Here are a few unmissable types of triggered messaging to include in your Black Friday marketing.

Price drop messaging

Price drop emails are a type of triggered messaging that lets everyone who has shown interest in a product know that it just got cheaper and that they can save money buying the item now. When it comes to Black Friday marketing, price drop emails are a no-brainer as they automate the process of letting customers know about deals on products they are interested in, saving you precious time.

Wex Photo Video includes a prominent image of the browsed product to remind shoppers of the product they were looking at, along with big header text to let the customer know exactly what the email is about at a glance.

Source: Wex Photo Video email

Cart and browse abandonment 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, on average, Fresh Relevance clients saw a 47.9% increase in conversion rates from cart abandonment emails on Black Friday 2022 compared to the rest of the year.

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. Consider shortening your delay time so that when a shopper abandons your site after browsing or adding an item to their cart, a cart or browse abandonment message triggers within at least 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


With a whopping 98% read rate, SMS is one of the most effective channels for urgency messaging and call-to-actions.

Along with email, SMS is a powerful channel for maximizing customer engagement. Marketers can achieve faster results and higher order completion rates by sending a mix of email and SMS messages to recover lost revenue, help shoppers stock up on their favorite product and more.

Consider making use of SMS alongside email in your Black Friday marketing campaigns to stand out from your competitors and increase your chances of reaching customers. For example, try adding SMS messages to your cart abandonment cadence.

2. 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, so 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 offered their new shoppers a 10% discount in exchange for signing up to their newsletter during Black Friday, resulting in a 75% increase in new customer sign-ups over the two months the popover was displayed.

Source: iconiclights.co.uk

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

3. Product recommendations

Product recommendations can generate sales uplifts of up to 11%, making them a crucial Black Friday marketing 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.

Stock-based rule

It’s a good idea to add a stock-based rule to your product recommendations during Black Friday so you don’t recommend out of stock products or products that are below a certain stock threshold (e.g. if you’ve only got 50 of a product in stock). This helps to avoid wasting valuable marketing real-estate that can be saved for products that are in stock and need promoting more than others that are selling out quicker.

4. Countdown timers

In the lead-up to Black Friday, countdown timers can build excitement and remind customers to keep coming back to your store. And on the actual day(s) of your Black Friday sale, countdown timers are a great way to hammer home the message that if shoppers don’t make their purchases today, they’re not getting it at this price tomorrow.

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

A note on the iOS Apple Mail privacy updates:

Live email content – content that populates at time of open rather than time of send – will be affected by the Apple Mail privacy updates.

The upcoming changes mean that most email content will no longer be loaded at open-time within Apple Mail, which will have implications for the use of live content in emails to recipients using Apple Mail who have opted-in to the privacy updates. As such, countdown timers may no longer be accurate.

With Fresh Relevance, you can use a marketing rule to replace your countdown timers with a static banner that displays the sale deadline if the email is opened by the Apple Mail Proxy.

Learn more: Apple Mail privacy updates –  Implications for online businesses and Fresh Relevance’s approach

5. Popularity messaging

Popularity messaging is when retailers use real-time purchase and browse data to display how many other shoppers have recently viewed, carted or purchased a particular product. This tactic simultaneously increases urgency and makes products seem more desirable, making it a perfect tactic for your Black Friday marketing. And it’s proven to boost conversions – Buyagift has seen a 13% increase in sales since implementing popularity messaging into their automated discount emails.

Source: Buyagift email

We recommend using popularity messaging throughout your website and email marketing, from your product listing page to help them narrow down their options and highlight products that have resonated with other shoppers with popularity messaging, to your cart page to ramp up the urgency and give shoppers the extra boost of confidence they need to complete their purchase.

During Black Friday, consider making the thresholds for displaying popularity messaging higher, otherwise the messaging will appear next to too many products due to the higher rate of purchasing over this sale period and will therefore lose its impact.

6. Geotargeting

On Black Friday 2022, there was a 9.3% increase in UK shoppers at retail parks, shopping centers, and on the high streets compared to the previous year. And with pandemic-induced restrictions becoming an even more distant memory for many consumers, perhaps we will see a greater trend towards in-person shopping this Black Friday.

With this in mind, it’s worth incorporating geotargeting into your marketing mix for this year’s peak season. Using geotargeting, you can join the dots between your online and physical stores and tailor the customer experience to each individual based on where they’re located, ensuring they see the most relevant content to their current context.

Here are a few geotargeting tactics to try in the run up to Black Friday:

Nearest store

More than 1 in 4 consumers (29%) are more likely to shop with a retailer that shows them in-store availability at their nearest store for products they are browsing on online channels.

Incorporating nearest store information on your website, mobile app, email, and wherever else consumers can shop with your brand online is an effective way to drive footfall to physical locations, as well as providing a more convenient customer experience.

Location-based dynamic content

Dynamic content allows you to automatically generate compelling creative that is unique, relevant and up-to-date the instant a shopper interacts with your marketing. When combined with geotargeting, it enables you to tailor your content to each individual based on their location.

For eCommerce businesses, an example of this could be matching a product’s location with a shopper’s location and behavior to recommend products in the shopper’s most browsed category that are available in their nearest store.

Currency and delivery information

Displaying the relevant currency and delivery information to each shopper based on where they’re located is a simple but highly effective use of geotargeting.

Shoppers will be more likely to make a purchase if they see products priced in their currency and they know what to expect from their local delivery process.

Cooksongold identifies whether visitors to their website are based in the UK or EU and displays the relevant customer service phone numbers and links to international delivery, Brexit information and a free catalogue for EU visitors vs free delivery and click and collect information for UK visitors. This ensures that each website visitor sees practical information that’s most relevant and useful to them, helping to create a more convenient customer experience.

Cooksongold homepage with UK currency and delivery info

Cooksongold UK experience

Cooksongold homepage with information about EU orders and Brexit

Cooksongold EU experience

Automatic optimization

Fresh Relevance’s Automatic Optimization tool uses machine learning algorithms to automatically deploy the best-performing content, triggers or experiences toward the goals you set, such as increasing conversion rate or time on site. Since Automatic Optimization produces fast results, it’s an effective method to use during short-lived campaigns, such as during peak season promotions.

One way to benefit from Automatic Optimization during Black Friday is by testing your discounting strategy. With the tool, you can test two different discount levels and if the smaller discount converts just as well in the first hour of the sale, you can automatically implement that one for the rest of Black Friday and make more money.

Direct365 used Automatic Optimization to test the difference between offering a £5 and £10 discount in their cart abandonment emails, and saw an 18.6% increase in cart recovery rate with the £10 discount.

You can also test and optimize entire cross-channel experiences and/or individual pieces of content to uncover and automatically implement the best converting version.

Final thoughts

Black Friday is fast approaching and while you can’t control the external factors that will dictate this year’s trends, you can control which eCommerce tactics you use in your Black Friday marketing strategy. Maximize your business’ Black Friday marketing performance by implementing the tactics discussed above.

Here’s a recap of the Black Friday marketing ideas we’ve covered.

  • Use triggered messaging, such as price drop and cart abandonment messaging to deliver personalized, real-time content to shoppers at the moment they are most likely to convert. And add SMS to the mix to increase your chances of reaching customers.
  • Use data capture popovers to capitalize on the increase in web traffic and help grow your email list.
  • Implement a specific Black Friday product recommendation strategy to account for skewed shopping habits.
  • Add countdown timers to your marketing to build excitement and urgency before and during Black Friday weekend.
  • Display popularity messaging to boost trust and urgency and make products seem more desirable.
  • Make use of geotargeting to join the dots between your online and physical stores and benefit from a potential increase in in-person shopping.


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.

Camilla Bass

By Camilla Bass

Senior Content Marketing Manager

As Senior Content Marketing Manager at Fresh Relevance, Camilla leads the global content strategy and manages, writes and edits user-centered content that helps marketers in the eCommerce and travel spaces get their jobs done.