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BFCM Prep: 10+ 'Last minute' dos and don'ts to get ready for ecommerce's big days

BFCM Prep: 10+ 'Last minute' dos and don'ts to get ready for ecommerce's big days

Reviewed and updated for BFCM 2018.

The number of days to Black Friday and Cyber Monday is growing smaller every day — and you might be looking for some last minute ideas for your Shopify store.

Here's a quick "last minute" checklist of ideas that you can implement with just a little effort on your part.

  • Make a backup of your store's theme files and other data just before you anticipate things getting busy. You never know what might go wrong and having a backup to fall back on can be a lifesaver.
  • Test your store. This is probably the most important thing. Pretend you're a customer and walk through the process of buying different products; ask a friend or family member to do the same and pay attention to any questions or issues they have
  • If you haven't had a chance to add holiday season imagery or messaging, it's not necessarily too late. There are great free stock photo resources that you can use to scare up a quick image. Or, if your theme has a promotion bar, it's easy to add text only messaging with just a few clicks.

BFCM email newsletter

  • Likewise, another good way to add some holiday spirit is to use your theme’s "built in" text statements. For example, instead of just a generic "sign up for our newsletter" above your email sign up form, you could try something like "Sign up for the latest from Santa's workshop" or "Share your email for great deals during the holiday season and beyond." Or, use the newsletter section on your homepage.

Featured collections

  • Look for ways to bring focus on items that make great gifts, such as creating temporary collections like “Gifts for Guys” or “Great Hostess Gifts” then featuring these on your homepage. Consider promoting these items in conjunction on your email, social media and paid marketing efforts as well.
  • If you've been considering switching Shopify plans so you can sell gift cards, now might be a good time to do it. Although adding a new feature could be a big move to make with this little time to go, since the gift card process is well tested and supported by Shopify, it's a relatively easy thing to get set up and can also be a great way increase holiday sales. Keep in mind you can also create special offers for discounted gift cards (this probably isn't something you want to wait until Thursday night to do, but most store owners can get this up and running quickly).

BFCM discounts

  • Create any discount codes you’ll be using in advance, and schedule the dates you want them to be start and end on. Consider creating different codes for different media (for example, one for Facebook ads, one for Twitter, one for your shop’s promo bar, etc.) so that you can track which channel lead to the most sales. Remember to take advantage of the new discount formats for BOGO and the related automatic discount codes feature Shopify has introduced in 2018.
  • Draft, proofread and design email newsletters so they are ready to go. If you're a superstar, you can even have them all scheduled and ready to send out in a strategic order.
  • Feed your social media accounts with updates and imagery. If possible, use Tweetdeck or Facebook's built in scheduling tools to pre-schedule posts so you can keep your accounts active without needing to worry about it.
  • One nice thing about ecommerce is that it's typically pretty easy to make last minute changes to pricing, special offers and advertising. So if you find something isn't working well or need to respond to a competitor's efforts, it's usually not a problem to change your prices, discount codes, shipping offers or, outside of your store itself, any digital marketing you're doing. Just be sure to check that all URLs, prices and discounts work as intended.

At this point on the calendar, it's probably too late to be making changes to your code, customizing your theme or tweaking with features.

Here are some other no-nos:

  • Don't try installing a new app at this point. You don't want to have an app introduce issues with just days to go, especially when troubleshooting those issues can often take a week or more.
  • Now is not the time to experiment with making major changes to your store design, layouts or configuration. Small tweaks to the theme’s settings within the Theme Editor are fine, but touching the code itself to make a change can create irreversible damage to your store's design or functionality — or both.
  • It's probably too late to add new payment or shipping methods, especially ones that aren't officially supported by Shopify. These often require detailed integration and installation that also needs testing.

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