Preparing Your Business for BFCM


It’s almost that time of year again...the weather starts to cool, the leaves start to change, pumpkin spice everything is, well...everywhere, and businesses start ramping up their planning for the holiday season shopping blitz. If you’re an online merchant that’s been in business for any significant period of time, you’re probably well aware of retail’s multi-day ‘SuperBowl’ event known as Black Friday/Cyber Monday (or BFCM), and the power it has to boost your business’s top line before the end of the fiscal year.

But things are likely going to look a little bit different this year between the effects of the pandemic, widespread unemployment and general economic uncertainty for businesses and consumers alike. The one trend that won’t change however, and in fact might even kick into high gear, is consumers gravitating to online shopping. According to the National Retail Foundation, Black Friday online sales in 2019 (pre-pandemic) surpassed brick and mortar sales, and have generally been trending upwards since 2016. All this goes to say that the data suggests that if you’re an online retailer, or have some semblance of an e-commerce operation, there’s certainly a fair amount of upside for your business this holiday season.

With that said, simply relying on the sales tactics and campaign strategies that you’ve been employing throughout the year might not get you very far if your competitors are better prepared and are able to make more compelling offers to the same customers. Not to mention, at this point in the year with the holidays right around the corner, embarking on any kind of major tech overhaul to revamp your site would be highly inadvisable. So what do you do if you want to offer your customers a competitive shopping experience but without jeopardizing site functionality this close to gameday? The answer lies in turnkey solutions that can offer high impact at an affordable cost, and are dead simple to set up.

Laying the Groundwork

But before we jump into ideal solutions, let’s go over a basic ground rule for running successful promotions during BFCM - make sure that you’re able to dig deep into your discount basket and offer something that’s at least on par with your industry standard - 15% - 20% for a holiday promotion should be a baseline, and in most cases probably won’t cut it. Promotional discounts are getting bigger by the year across a number of consumer categories, so make sure you’re up-to-date on what your peers are doing to stay competitive.

One of the best tactics for increasing revenue, average order value, and units per transaction while simultaneously providing a good customer experience is to couple your discounts with well-timed and thoughtful product upselling and cross-selling. And if you’re a Shopify Plus merchant, we have two excellent ways for you to execute these types of merchandising promotions. If you’re not, well...we’d highly recommend you consider replatforming…and we’re not just saying that because we’re a Shopify Plus Agency Partner...

But maybe do that after the holiday season ;)

Ok, let’s get into the details.


The first type of promotion you can offer alongside a discount is an upsell. The best way to think of an upsell offer would be offering a customer a comparable item but at a higher price point. Similarly, upsell offers can also appear in the form of an ‘upgrade’ to a bundle package. These types of offers are relatively flexible depending on your merchandising strategy, and can be used on key shopping pages like the product detail page and shopping cart. One thing to note though when choosing what page to surface your upsell promotion - if your offer is a simple one-to-one product swap for a similar (but ideally higher priced) item, we’d recommend displaying it on the product detail page. Reason being that your user is still in full exploration mode and has yet to take the next big step in committing to an eventual purchase, i.e. adding an item to cart. At this stage, redirecting the user to another product detail page to check out the specifications of a comparable item is not the worst idea, and can even be beneficial in the event that the current product s/he’s viewing doesn’t quite fit the bill.

On the other hand, when you’re upselling a product bundle made up of a primary product combined with complementary item(s), this type of offer can perform pretty well when presented further down the conversion funnel, i.e. the shopping cart. The main reason why this is the case is because it does not distract the user with items that are comparable but different, which might require further investigation and feature comparison, but instead suggests adding items that naturally fit well with the item they’ve shown interest in. The decision-making process changes from, “this one or that one?” To, “this one and that one?” A few final thoughts on product bundling before we move on - presenting bundle offers on the product detail page of your site might also work well depending on how and what you’re selling, so don’t automatically assume that it’s a tactic only fit for the shopping cart. And lastly, if you’ve decided to present your bundle upsell offer in the shopping cart, remember to keep the offer relatively simple, i.e. don’t offer too many complex items as part of the same bundle as they might require investigation and distract from completing the purchase.


The next type of promotion is similar, conceptually, to product bundling, and is known as a cross-sell offer. You can think of this as offering complementary items to a primary item, but as discrete individual products rather than as a group (or bundle). An example might be something like a helmet offered as a complementary or cross-sell item to a bicycle. And like the bundle upselling tactic, where you decide to show your cross-sell offering should depend very much on the complexity of the complementary products. In general, the simpler the complementary product, the further down the conversion funnel you might be able to show the offer.

Tools: Carro

Ok, so now that we’ve covered the two main promotional merchandising offers you might want to roll out during the holidays, let’s talk about the tools you can use to make it happen.

The first is an application called Carro. As a brand partnership platform that boasts 900,000+ products being sold across 26,000+ categories in over 160 countries, Carro allows merchants on Shopify to leverage Carro’s large (and growing) network of merchants to sell merchandise on each other’s stores. At a high level, the way the platform works is it enables product suppliers to make products available to the retailer, orders get synced automatically in real time and the retailer publishes products to their store. Orders placed through the retailer’s store then automatically appear in the supplier’s orders. The power of Carro is two-fold: you can extend your sales beyond just the customers that visit your own web properties by making your products available on other retailers’ stores, and secondly, you can provide your own users with a superior customer experience by expanding your store’s catalog to include products that are complementary to your own offerings.

Tools: Order Bump

The second is an application called Order Bump. Order Bump is a simple app built exclusively for Shopify Plus that enables merchants to sell products on the checkout page of their websites. If you’re a Shopify Plus merchant, you’re probably well aware of the limitations that Shopify has set when it comes to checkout - and for good reason. Order Bump tactfully places a simple but compelling widget in checkout that’s perfect for merchandising promotional products as a last-minute offer for shoppers. And the app doesn’t just stop there, it also gives merchants the ability to create conditional rules or relationships that will determine which promotional products to show based on what customers have in their shopping carts. This way, you can always ensure that you’re showing customers relevant product offers that don’t feel like random advertisements. In fact, studies have shown that customers value shopping experiences that feel ‘personalized’ to their behaviors and needs, and Order Bump gives you the power to do just that.

Final Thoughts

With these two powerful apps, that take minimal effort to set up, you can begin creating compelling promotional offers for your customers that are highly relevant to what they’re already interested in purchasing. The merchandising strategy will be completely up to you, but think about how you can improve the customer experience while simultaneously increasing your average order value and units per transaction. So get started today by checking out Carro - a new platform that expands your product catalog and sales reach, and Order Bump - the only Shopify app that lets you sell products in checkout.

And for Shopify merchants who are interested in strategically merchandising promotions but aren't using the Shopify Plus platform, check out Super Bump - a new post-purchase upsell app now available in the Shopify app store!

Good luck this holiday season!