At the best of times, running a business can feel a little like a classic video game—dodging obstacles and gathering rewards, only to do it all over again once you hit the next level. Sometimes you feel like you’re falling into a pit over and over. Sometimes you’re supersized, throwing fireballs at every challenge.
Apps that integrate with your Shopify store are the 1UPs and invincibility stars you’ll need to get through this part of the game.
Then you reach the big castle: Black Friday Cyber Monday. Despite the many challenges of the pandemic, holiday season spending rose 16.1% in 2021, with nearly 180 million American consumers shopping between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday. Black Friday was the biggest shopping day of the year, with a total of 154.5 million people making purchases at stores or online.
Despite these encouraging signs, brick-and-mortar stores and ecommerce businesses alike continue to face significant challenges. From supply chain issues, to shipping delays, to customer satisfaction, Shopify merchants may need reinforcements to weather the challenges and capitalize on Black Friday sales.
Apps that integrate with your Shopify store are the powerups you’ll need to get through this Black Friday Cyber Monday weekend. They enable you to get more done, attract more potential customers, and process orders more smoothly during the busiest shopping weekend of the year.
We looked at six challenges that Shopify store owners may face this holiday season, and matched them with apps that can help you overcome them.
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1. Apps to help you meet customers online
In a recent survey, we found that consumers have shifted toward online shopping during the pandemic. Of those who reported shopping online, 60% said they did so more during the pandemic—and 6% did so for the first time ever. If you’re a retail store shifting to an online model or starting an online store from scratch, these apps can help you meet holiday shoppers where they’re looking to buy.
🔎 Product Filter & Search (14-day free trial) is a smart search app for Shopify stores that helps customers find the exact product they’re looking for on your site, with advanced filtering and search auto suggest. You can even upsell and cross-sell within search results, helping you promote bestselling products and increase your average order value.
🔈 Add Announcement Bar (7-day trial, free plan available) puts your Black Friday Cyber Monday deals in the spotlight—front and center at the top of your homepage. You can also use this space to share important news about your brand and store, like updated BFCM shipping information.
🗣️ Heyday – Chat & FAQ Automation (14-day trial) knows that you can’t be everywhere at once. While you’re managing other areas of your business, this AI chatbot can lighten the load with automated support responses on your site for frequently asked questions.
🔖 Seguno: Bulk Discount Codes (free plan available) lets you create multiple unique one-time-use discount codes for loyalty programs or pop-up email acquisition campaigns, helping you boost your marketing strategy.
Bonus level: Get your products in front of huge audiences this holiday season by enabling online sales channels like Google and Facebook, and explore even more apps to help you achieve peak sales online.
2. Apps for simple and effective BFCM marketing campaigns
There’s a lot of information competing for your customers’ attention right now. And once Black Friday promotions and Cyber Monday sales are upon us, shoppers’ inboxes and Instagram feeds will be flooded with deals. How can you stand out from other online retailers? How do you cut through the clutter and launch memorable and clickable Black Friday campaigns? These apps take the guesswork out of peak season marketing.
🔮 Octane AI: Quiz & Survey Tools (14-day trial) is a one-stop marketing solution that lets you create quizzes, collect data, and launch personalized Facebook and SMS marketing campaigns, including conversational ads.
📸 Shoppable Instagram Feed & UGC (free to install) puts your organic Instagram posts to work, generating a clickable, shoppable clone of your feed on your Shopify store website. You can even pull your customers’ posts (user-generated content) into one place and power them with purchase links, too.
📱 TxtCart Plus+ SMS Marketing (14-day trial, free plan available) helps you rescue lost sales by texting customers who have abandoned shopping carts with prompts to re-engage with your brand. Real agents sit behind an AI to make conversations more human.
📽️ Promo.com – Promo Video Maker (free) helps you easily create promotional video content—no film school or expensive apps required. Enter some text and a few details and this app pulls content from your site into videos optimized for web, instagram, or Stories.
✉️ Shopify Email (free to install) lets you launch and track email campaigns right inside Shopify, with easy templates that pull logos, images, and copy directly from your store website. New to email marketing? Start here.
Explore more apps to help you with Black Friday and holiday season marketing.
3. Apps for better BFCM inventory management
Inventory management is a challenge reported by Shopify store owners at all times of the year. During Black Friday Cyber Monday and beyond, you’ll need to be extra vigilant to keep items in stock, stay organized, and keep customers happy. You guessed it: there are apps for that.
📦 Stockbot Low Stock Alerts (free plan available) is the home shopping network rotisserie of Shopify apps—“set it and forget it.” Simply determine low-stock levels for each of your products, and this app will notify you once you’ve hit them.
🗒️ Inventory Planner Forecasting (14-day trial) is an inventory management pain killer for your Shopify site. Give this app access to your sales trends and data, and let it prioritize your vendor orders and tell you when to make them.
👕 TPOP: Print on Demand (free) is good for when you have creative designs and ideas, but can’t be bothered with inventory. Start a print-on-demand business and let this app take care of everything for you.
Explore more apps to help you manage Black Friday Cyber Monday inventory.
4. Apps for a memorable BFCM customer experience
With increasing competition in the ecommerce space, standing out among the big sellers can be achieved with personalized online and mobile shopping experiences that build customer relationships. As a smaller business, you’re more easily able to connect directly with your customers—but during the Black Friday shopping season, that may be harder to do.
Use these apps to give consumers a memorable and smooth customer experience, even when you can’t personally engage with each one.
🌟 Glow: Loyalty Points & Rewards (7-day trial) enables you to set up a seamless rewards program to incentivize engagement with your brand, with tools for rewarding loyal customers with points or credit toward future purchases when they refer new shoppers.
💬 Shopify Inbox (free) lets you engage in real conversations with buyers, send product recommendations and discount codes, and bring the purchase experience inside chat. The app integrates with popular messaging platforms like Facebook Messenger.
🍋 LimeSpot Upsell & Cross Sell (15-day trial) enables you to create personalized shopping experiences to cross-sell, upsell, and recommend relevant products to each customer.
✅ Bold Product Options (14-day trial) is an essential app for products with overlapping customizations. Easily set up swatches and other options on product pages to allow customers to build one-of-a-kind products.
5. Apps for managing in-person Black Friday sales
Retail has changed dramatically since the beginning of 2020. Stores that have survived the ups and downs have done so by creating safe and convenient shopping experiences for customers.
In our survey of shoppers in the US, we saw an increase in demand for curbside pickup, with 31% reporting they had used this service for the first time in 2020. Conveniences like curbside pickup can improve the in-person shopping experience during the Black Friday season—and they can be added easily with apps.
🛍️ In‑Store Reserver (30-day trial) lets customers pre-select items in your online store and ensure availability when they arrive to pay or pick up their orders, creating a better checkout experience.
🗓️ Sesami: Appointment Booking (30-day trial) helps you set safe boundaries and avoid throngs of BFCM shoppers arriving at your store all at once. Your Black Friday customers can book predetermined time slots, allowing social distancing, shorter wait times, and a more personalized sales experience.
🗺️ Stockist Store Locator (14-day trial) is a fully customizable map app that integrates with your store’s design. Plot your shop locations—or those of your stockists—so customers can easily find you IRL on Black Friday.
🏬 Local Pickup Guru (14-day trial) offers a curbside pickup experience that eliminates the need to see order confirmations up close, with color-coded pickup numbers that can easily be viewed from a safe distance.
Bonus Level: Explore more apps to help you be safe and successful with in-person Black Friday Cyber Monday sales.
6. Apps for efficient shipping, delivery, and returns
If everything’s working out the way you planned, your Black Friday Shopify campaign has caught fire and the order notifications are lighting up your app. Take a moment to celebrate your success, but not too long: you have products to ship out! Use these apps to help wade through the flood of pending orders, simplifying the process for you—and your customers.
🚢 Easyship (free to install) gives you access to 250+ shipping options with reduced rates. Get transparent quotes for all-in shipping costs, including taxes, duties, courier fees, and delivery dates, ensuring a smooth Black Friday delivery for customers.
📍 Shopify Local Delivery (Free) helps you add a local delivery option to your online store, offering a convenient method that is growing in demand. Optimize routes for efficiency, communicate delivery status to consumers, and allow drivers to access maps and post updates.
📦 Shipping Rates by Parcelify (14-day trial) automates shipping options for Black Friday orders with rules you set based on product information like tags, types, collections, and SKUs. Hide or show specific rates to customers based on those filters.
↩️ Returnly Returns & Exchanges (14-day trial) features a self-serve returns center that lets your customers create and monitor their own returns, including printing shipping labels generated automatically by Returnly. Simply set your return policy, and Returnly does the rest.
Bonus Level: Explore more resources that take the mystery out of shipping, delivery, and fulfillment for your online store.
Feature illustration by Alice Mollon
Black Friday Shopify FAQ
Is Black Friday good for small businesses?
Black Friday remains one the biggest shopping days of the year: Shopify store owners collectively made a whopping $6.3 billion in sales globally in 2021 between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, a 23% increase from 2020.
How do you take advantage of Black Friday?
Store owners can take advantage of Black Friday by planning ahead of time, running effective marketing campaigns, delivering a smooth and personalized customer experience, and staying on top of inventory and shipping.
When should I start planning for Black Friday?
It’s never too early to begin planning for Black Friday. Ideally, you’ll start brainstorming your Black Friday Cyber Monday strategy during the summer, with actual preparations kicking into gear no later than Labor Day.
How do I create an online store for Black Friday?
Shopify makes it easy to create, launch, and manage an online store for any retail business, with features and apps to support store owners during Black Friday Cyber Monday.