5 Ecommerce Design Tips to Use During Black Friday

Ecommerce Design Tips Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Black Friday is wildly popular among consumers, as one survey found that 24% of Americans plan to shop on Black Friday. Last year, Black Friday generated $9.03 billion in total sales. With the cash glut the United States is facing, you can be sure this year will be even better. You can’t miss the opportunity.

On November 26, you will see a hoard of visitors coming to your site prepared to buy from all your discounted products. They have been waiting a full year for Black Friday, and they are ready to take action.

The question you should ask yourself isn’t whether people will buy or not—they will—but rather, “how can I make the most sales on my ecommerce site?”

One way to answer that question is with the help of your store design.

When Black Friday comes, visitors need to see that your ecommerce store is ready for it. There are significant benefits of ecommerce website design, and adapting your store design for this special date will help increase your conversion rate and maximize your sales. Here are five Black Friday tips that will help you do it:

Adapt Your Theme for Black Friday

On any given day, your store’s visual appearance should fulfill the mission to represent your brand, highlight your value proposition, and deliver it properly through a positive customer experience.

Offering discounts may not be your main focus throughout the year, but that’s not the case on Black Friday. You want to change your theme so every major design element—your navigational bar, your product pages—brings people to your offers.

You can do so by either making specific changes to your theme’s design, as you will see in a minute, or by changing your theme altogether. There are countless free and premium themes available for Black Friday, all of which will vary by the ecommerce platform of your choice.

Whenever you choose a new theme, make sure it is optimized for mobile devices as many people will be using their phones to shop this year.

The first change you want to make to your theme is to link to your Black Friday discount pages directly from your navigation bar. You can call it “Deals,” “Black Friday Offers,” or anything that refers to your discounts, as long as you place it above the fold.

Example of above the fold advertising
Image source: Dyson

Once the visitor clicks on the link, you want to lead them to a product category page that shows all your discounted products. It’s a good idea to highlight popular products to give people extra incentive to buy.

Dyson Black Friday deals example

You also want to feature your Black Friday deals on your homepage, which is most likely the highest traffic page on your site for potential customers. Use high-contrast colors to catch the visitor’s eyes and show the most significant discounts you offer, as J.Crew does in the example below.

J.Crew Black Friday deals homepage

Leverage Scarcity with Pop-Ups and Floating Bars

The main reason Black Friday is so effective at generating sales isn’t only due to the deep discounts. Many sites focus exclusively on selling low-ticket products regularly and don’t generate as many sales as Black Friday.

The reason for Black Friday’s popularity and success is due to its scarcity.

Behavioral psychologists and economists call it the “scarcity bias” to our inherent assumption that things we consider scarce are valuable and vice-versa.

In other words, people take advantage of Black Friday because it’s a one-time opportunity to buy highly discounted products they couldn’t buy otherwise. If Black Friday lasted a week or a month, it wouldn’t have the same effect.

The more you highlight scarcity, the more you can sell. You can do so with the help of pop-ups and floating bars.

Pop-ups are popular among marketers to grow their email lists and promote their offers, such as Black Friday.

Your Black Friday pop-ups should feature a countdown timer that shows the time left until the offers are over. This will increase the FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) in your visitors, which will drive them to make their purchases before the day’s over.

Black Friday popup example

Image source: H&M website

Ideally, your pop-ups should include a strong call to action (CTA) that tells people what to do—e.g., “Get the Offers!”. Use a color that contrasts with the rest of your pop-up to catch your visitors’ attention to the CTA.

Another less intrusive method is to use floating bars, which show up at the bottom or top of a page. They are popular among ecommerce marketers because they stay in sight when a visitor goes to another page or scrolls down a page. Since they don’t interrupt the user experience as much as pop-ups, people tend to be more receptive to them.

Floating bar example GAP

Image source: GAP website

Create Gift Guides

Believe it or not, people take advantage of Black Friday to get ahead of their holiday shopping. One reason that explains this fact is that Black Friday is almost a month away from Christmas Eve.

According to a National Retail Federation study, more than half of holiday shoppers start researching and planning their gifts in October or earlier. Their research also shows that the average Black Friday shopper spends $313.29 on gifts, 69% of their total budget.

National retail foundation research
Image source: National Retail Foundation

You can attract gift buyers by using gift guides, which showcase a list of curated products ideal for your different segments. Consequently, you will avoid the “paradox of choice,” a process that stops people from buying out of the mere overwhelming shopping options available.

To create guides, you want to categorize your offers based on the visitor:

  • Demographics: Gender, age, occasions, specific product uses, etc.
  • Interest: Hobbies, professions, personality traits, etc.
  • Price: Expensive, mid-priced, or cheap.

Gift guide example on Target website
Image source: Target website

To set up a gift guide, you need to create a unique category page—or even a landing page—where you will group your products based on the different segments from above. On this page, you will filter all of the products that meet the chosen criteria (e.g., Gifts for Women, as seen in the example below).

Gift guide example 2

Use Site-Wide Banners

Another alternative to pop-ups and floating bars are site-wide banners that take visitors to your Back Friday discounts page.

Think of a site-wide banner like a display ad, except that they blend natively with your site—see them as “internal” ads. Just like an ad, your promotional site-wide banner should highlight the offers and discounts your store offers so that the visitor clicks on it.

As the name suggests, site-wide banners show up on every primary page on your site, like category pages, sub-category pages, etc.

Sitewide banner example Forever 21

Ideally, show your banner above the fold. This could be above your navigational bar and close to your logo, or below the navigation bar but still above the fold. As explained earlier, once the visitor clicks on the banner, they should be taken to your deals page.

Above the fold banner example The Home Depot
Image source: The Home Depot

Simplify Your Shopping Experience

According to a 2018 Nielsen survey, 46% of respondents view shopping as a chore. Consequently, the better your shopping experience is, the easier it will be to get people to buy.

A smooth user experience is essential during Black Friday, where time is a factor and people are looking to buy as much as possible in 24 hours. By allowing your visitors to go directly to the discount pages with the help of pop-ups and banners, you are already taking a step in the right direction. However, that’s not enough.

To start, allow guest checkout. Under this format, your buyers won’t be required to create an account, which lowers the purchase friction, reduces cart abandonment, and helps users convert faster.

One study found that 24% of respondents abandon their shopping carts when forced to create an account during checkout.

Guest checkout example LEGO
Image source: Lego website

The only drawback to guest checkout—and the reason why so many companies still use it—is that it limits your ability to build a long-lasting relationship with your buyers. However, for Black Friday, the benefits of guest checkout are larger than the drawbacks, so you should consider using it.

Another vital point is to provide multiple payment methods. Besides credit and debit cards, and online payment options like Stripe, consider offering:

  • Integrated express checkouts such as Amazon Pay and PayPal
  • Mobile payment wallets such as Apple Pay and Google Pay
  • Buy-now-pay-later methods such as Afterpay and Klarna

Finally, you need to simplify the checkout experience by reducing distractions and increasing clarity. That includes:

  • Removing the header and footer on the checkout pages
  • Making your CTAs (e.g., Add to Cart) the only action they can take on your product pages
  • Allowing users to use their billing address as their shipping address
  • Using data validation and autocomplete
  • Asking for payment information as the last step in the checkout process

For example, Sonos, a manufacturer of home sound systems, shows one clear CTA (the checkout button) without any header or footer (the logo seen in the image below isn’t clickable).

Call to action example SONOS
Image source: Sonos website

The checkout page simplifies the billing information by using the shipping address data and lastly asks for the payment information. They also offer several payment methods, like Paypal and Klarna.

Payment methods example SONOS
Image source: Sonos website


To capitalize on Black Friday this year utilize ecommerce design, remember to adapt your ecommerce store’s visual theme for Black Friday by using unique color schemes that stand out from your default design. Also, make sure that your site is optimized for mobile so that you can boost mobile sales.

Use pop-ups, floating bars, and site-wide banners to get people to visit your Black Friday discount pages and gift guides, which target an often overlooked segment.

Once buyers get to these pages, make sure to offer a smooth shopping experience. If you follow this advice, this year’s Black Friday will be the biggest shopping day of the year for your ecommerce business. Use these ecommerce homepage best practices and design tips for the best chance of success. Doing this will help you to capitalize on the objectives of good store design—increased revenue and conversion rates for Black Friday 2021.

Ivan Kreimer

Ivan Kreimer is a content marketer at Getsitecontrol, a leading popup builder that 5000+ Shopify stores use to get more email subscribers and sales. For the past six years, Ivan has been published in influential sites like Shopify, BigCommerce, Entrepreneur, and MarketingProfs. He also likes helping people become freelance writers on Content Fiesta.

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