Capitalize on This Year's Huge Online Momentum for Black Friday

Sep 14, 2020
Written by Eric Schafer

As brick and mortar store openings remain a huge question mark in the face of COVID-19, Black Friday will be a very strong day for ecommerce this year.

Consumers are putting safety and convenience first as they decide from where and whom to buy. According to a Salesforce survey conducted in May, 47% of US adults reported they're more interested in shopping online this holiday season.

It will be critical—this year more than ever—to adjust to the changing needs of the consumer, lest you risk your competitors winning them over. To ensure you’re prepared for what their needs are, we’ve outlined what consumers will seek this holiday season:


Capture the early shoppers. The Amazon Prime Day event is believed to be happening in the first week of October. CJ Affiliate’s 2020 Holiday Intelligence Report predicts that this will be the launch pad for the 2020 holiday shopping season. In addition, potential stocking and supply chain issues that retailers have experienced since the start of the pandemic could still cause shipping delays. Advertisers should put offers out early to capture shoppers who want to be sure their gifts are ready in time for Christmas and other holiday events.

Incorporate free shipping offers. Typically, many Black Friday shoppers are shopping in-store where they don’t have to worry about shipping costs. Remove this purchase decision roadblock as soon as you can in the holiday season—ideally prior to Black Friday. Customers have come to expect shipping flexibility when shopping online—free shipping will make your offerings stand out.

Offer gift wrapping services. While free shipping is always popular, this year complimentary gift wrapping will be in demand. Gift wrapping services will enable shoppers to have gifts sent directly to the recipient and remove additional shipping steps for the buyer. With the separation created by sheltering-in-home, many will seek this option out and it will factor into whom they shop with.

Provide curbside pickup. Retailers with brick and mortar stores will experience high demand for curbside pickup services. Publishers can help retailers promote this service—but they'll want to be paid a commission for sales that are picked up locally. This will be critical to connecting in-store and online experiences for affiliate programs this year.


While Black Friday will look and feel different without the in-store experience, shoppers will want the same thing that keeps them coming back year-after-year—deals! Retailers that can cultivate the excitement of in-store shopping will win these customers, and there are couple of ideas to explore:

Bring out the doorbusters—again and again. Keep things fresh on Black Friday by cycling through category-specific promotions—do not run the same promotion all day. By doing so you run the risk of your promotion going stale against those that update offers throughout the day. You can cycle these hourly, or every few hours, to keep shoppers engaged and checking back. Delight shoppers with their first purchase and continue to wow them as the day wears on, to possibly drive additional purchases.

Let out the lightning deals. Black Friday is an opportunity to liquidate out of season inventory with deep discounts. Consider running hourly deals on these products at a significantly discounted price, utilizing your affiliates to promote them in timed deals and newsletter blasts. Once consumers catch on, they'll be sure to keep their eyes on their phone eagerly awaiting the next mobile push notification from their trusted publisher source, hoping to see a product that they've been dreaming about go on sale.

Mobile Shopping

Partner with publishers with a strong mobile presence. Mobile sales trends in the CJ Affiliate network show holiday purchasing on smartphones last year increased 15% YOY. To prepare for a strong Black Friday, it’s important to work with publishers that have a strong mobile offering. One way to do this is to ensure you offer app-to-app affiliate tracking so you can be promoted within publishers’ apps without affiliate tracking being dropped. With this in place you should strive for top positioning on app home screens, offering increased cashback with loyalty partners to stand apart from competitors and even other holiday shopping categories. Ensure you have a mobile push notification strategy to get your brand front and center on this critical day.

There's a lot to consider this holiday season. Leaving Black Friday off your planning is not one of them. Meet customers where they are and come out early and strong for what's sure to be the most exciting Black Friday ecommerce experience to date.

Topics: Holiday, Mobile, Covid 19
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