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Black Friday & Cyber Monday Promo Calendar for Ecommerce Retailers

There are so many different options for promotions; BOGO, coupons, free shipping, free gift with purchase, event sales (like Memorial Day), membership specials, flash sales…the list goes on.

Often, businesses will look to their competitors, or the industry overall, to see what seems to be working and, then, try to replicate it. This can be a good benchmark, but when it comes to delivering on what your customers want, it can miss the mark.

You need to look at your own data and see what is resonating.

Start with what worked well last year. Why was it successful? Make a small modification to the prior campaign to test against last year’s baseline and keep iterating on it.

You’ll also want to take a hard look at your current situation to figure out where opportunities and challenges exist.

  • Which slow moving products do you need to get rid of?

  • Which high margin products are selling well, how can you do more of that?

  • Which product categories bring people to your website and which are your best sellers?

Once you’re done with all of the above, you’re ready to fit it into your Holiday campaign planning.

🤓 BONUS Tip: In case you missed it, I did a recap on the key ecommerce marketing tips for the holidays I learned last year with Client A. We had the best Black Friday in 4 years, and what I did for them is outlined for you below!

Black Friday & Cyber Monday Promotion Plan

  • Pre-black Friday Promotion – 1 week prior. This promotion was for family and friends (we wanted them to spread the word for us). I paired some of our best-selling and high margin products at a slight discount—we wanted to prime people for our better sales that would be coming the following week, so we were top of mind when they did their shopping.

  • For: Family & friends (get people to create an account online)

  • Best-selling & high margin products at a slight discount (average 10-15%)

  • Channels: Email & website

  • Free shipping over X

  • Black Friday. We ran this for one day only and offered two different promotions, but the focus was mostly on Promo 1. (We did the same promotions on Cyber Weekend & Cyber Monday, just advertised differently)

  • Promo 1: Best-selling & high margin products at a discount

  • Promo 2: Slow movers and high inventory products at a steeper discount

  • Channels: email, social (organic & paid), paid search, website, EVERYTHING!

  • Free shipping on all orders. We dug into our average order data and shipping costs and determined this could be financially beneficial for us. It worked out, but it was a risk and, before taking such a risk, you need to fully understand what you’re doing and back your decision with your personal data. Don’t just do it because “everyone is doing it!” BONUS Tip: After the holidays we were successful with a 2-tier price point for free shipping. Everyone received free shipping once they hit X price point, but then if they went above and beyond to price point Y, they got a free gift as well. This helped Client A get the average order value up, without a large increase to costs, which translated to better profit margins at, essentially, the same work.

  • Cyber Weekend. We ran this on Saturday and Sunday between the major holidays. We offered the same special (as Black Friday) all weekend, but made entirely new assets, featured different products and had separate campaigns for everything.

  • Cyber Monday. This was the same as Cyber Weekend/Black Friday, just advertised differently.

Looking back on this, I would do a separate campaign for Small Business Saturday, and I would have extended Cyber Monday to Cyber week (running a full week after) to continue to see those sales come through after the holiday, but before shipping becomes a nightmare for retailers in December.

How do you plan for Holiday promotions? I'd love to hear your thoughts, or even brainstorm how you can get better. Reach out if you're interested!


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