Black Friday Tips from the Trenches

With the official kickoff to the holiday selling season just a few days away, we thought it’d be helpful to share some Black Friday tips from other online business owners, just like yourself. Read on for some cool insights and predictions.

Can you believe it’s already Thanksgiving week? Seems like yesterday I was getting sick off too much Halloween candy, and now it’s time to gorge myself all over again.

Personal dietary problems aside, with Black Friday just a few days away, this week is a crucial one for many online business owners – it’s crunch time for solidifying last-minute website changes, testing coupons/discounts and finessing your email and social media communications.

To help spark a fire to fuel your preparations, consider the following:

  • Adobe predicts that online Black Friday sales will increase by 12% compared to last year
  • Forrester estimates that online sales during the holiday season will increase by 15% over 2011
  • Oh, and Cyber Monday (projected to hit $2B in sales), is right around the corner

With all of the excitement about this upcoming weekend, we thought it’d be helpful to gather and share some Black Friday tips from our awesome Facebook fans (like us if you haven’t already). Check out some of these cool ideas to make the most of this important selling day:


For brick and mortar stores

Rudy from
“We are going to be dropping prices on our selection of Bulova Watches, both online and at physical locations. Thinking of dropping prices on stainless steel selections as well. Facebook promoting it as well.”

Key Takeaway: If you own a brick and mortar store in addition to your ecommerce site, it’s a good idea to offer consistent promotions between the two to cater to customers who prefer to shop online, rather than fight the crowds by visiting a retail shop.


Incentives to upsell

Sharon from
“I like to give my customers an incentive to buy. This year I’m offering a free gift along with free shipping and a percentage off with a purchase of $50 or more.”

Annie from
“As a handmade business, we can’t offer a huge discount to our customers, and we never run sales, but we will be offering a Black Friday through Cyber Monday discount, plus free shipping. Our average order is under $20, so to encourage our customers to spend more, we’re also offering a free gift with a purchase of $25 or more.”

Adorable Kids Formal Wear,
“Low flat rate shipping to US/Canada and free shipping on orders $150 and up. Stellar customer service as always.”

Tanya from
“At, we have already started offering free shipping on orders over $45 and weekly promos.”

Vicky from
“Pay for Parcel Post when you place an order, enter code SHIPPR, and we will upgrade your order to Priority Mail for free!”

Key takeaway: With so many shoppers looking for deals and coupons, help protect your margins by upselling customers with cool incentives like free gifts, free shipping, etc. This will help boost profits despite the pressure to offer deep discounts.


Gift cards and gift certificates

“Dealing with out of stocks and returns for wrong sizes can be problematic and expensive for small companies that get a surge of holiday orders – so this year, we’re going to spotlight our gift certificates with a fun promotion through our Facebook store.”

Curtis from
“We are mailing each customer that purchases shoes a $20 gift certificate that they can use at a later date, or as a stocking stuffer, or give to family/friends.”

Naomi from
“Offer gift cards prominently on your site, even on product pages. Retail research has shown that gift cards are going to be a growing choice with undecided gift-givers this year.”

Key takeaway: Promoting gift cards and gift certificates is a particularly promising tactic, especially for industries that offer products in various sizes and styles, so that shoppers don’t have to worry about selecting the perfect option.

Big, shiny Black Friday discounts (and freebies)

Kathy from
“ will be offering 15% off of your entire order Black Friday through Cyber Monday and free shipping. I think sales are great to offer, especially during that weekend when everybody is shopping.

Isaac from
“We are giving customers 10% off, free shipping and return shipping, and will also send them a free gift when the holidays come around!”

Julie from
“I will be offering special sales on specific products throughout the day along with my usual freebies – I always offer free shipping, free gift wrapping and a free polish cloth with each purchase.”

Unique Boutique & Consignment,
“We are offering free shipping on all items.”

Travis from
“Free shipping for orders over $50.”

Sue from
“Always free US & Canada shipping. I have a November mystery scent promo which includes a free scent sample with every order. Also deeply discounted surprise sampler sets will go on sale on Black Friday, as well as storewide discounts. Will be a fun weekend!”

Doug from
“ is offering a 15% discount on purchase from Wednesday through Cyber Monday. This is 50% higher than any discount we’ve offered all year long!”

Rogue Elite,
“We’re running discounts for our email subscribers as well as “in-store” discounts of up to 50% on footwear, backpacks, flashlights and more. People want to shop online, but offering gift certificates and advertising them, can make shopping easier.”

Tiffany from
We will be offering 25% off entire purchase for Black Friday through Cyber Monday! Free shipping on domestic orders of $50.

Key takeaway: If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. Online shoppers are expecting discounts, so it’s a good idea to get in on the game and offer something that stands out from the crowd and entices customers to pay a visit to your website.


We’ve hit the home stretch in the final countdown to Black Friday – hopefully these tips from our fans will help inspire you to take extra measures to capitalize on this big day. Huge thanks to everyone who responded with their insights on our Facebook page!

Happy selling!
-Matt Winn, Volusion


Do you have any other Black Friday tips to share with the group? Leave them in the comment box below!


Matt Winn is Volusion’s Senior Brand Manager, where he helps oversee the organization’s branding and communications efforts. Matt has created hundreds of articles, videos and seminars on all things ecommerce, ranging from online marketing to web design and customer experience. Beyond being a certified nerd, Matt is an avid college football fan, enthusiastic home cook and a self-admitted reality TV junkie.

2 Responses to “Black Friday Tips from the Trenches”

  1. Jenni

    At, we are offering tons of sales on a wide variety of products (we’ve configured a page under our second navigation menu detailing all these sales), and we are giving double rewards points on all purchases this weekend!

  2. Britt

    At we are offering Free Shipping on all orders over $50, 3% back in Reward Points. Also spicing up our Gift Card purchases by adding an additional 5% to the value of any gift card purchase. As a way to bring back post holiday shoppers, we are giving away Gift Cards depending on spend that are good toward purchases after January 1, 2013 and never expire. Needless to say, we have put our chips on the table this year!


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