Black Friday and Cyber Monday are once again expected to smash online sales records this year. Here's the game plan to make your Thanksgiving weekend a profitable one for your online business.

As brick-and-mortar stores around the world prepare for queues around the street corner and shoppers literally fighting for offers, eCommerce stores have their own preparation to do.

Because every year online sales during the Thanksgiving weekend surpass the previous. And the projections for this year are no different - in the US alone, online sales during Black Friday and Cyber Monday are expected to reach $5,7 billion combined.

But just as every good American football coach, you need a game plan to get the most out of your Black Friday- and Cyber Monday sales...

...Here are the most important points to include:

1. Outstanding offers

alt To win the game, you need to play by its rules.

Customers expect great offers on Black Friday (and Cyber Monday). That's just how it works.

So, step one to boost Black Friday sales on your online store is to supplement your existing offers with a number of Black Friday offers that are markedly different in terms of prize reduction.

2. A full warehouse

alt You are undoubtedly on top of this, but it still needs to be said.

It's crucial to stock up on your (most popular) products for Black Friday and Cyber Monday - especially if you follow step 1 and go all-in.

3. Optimise your site

alt There are a number of ways you can make sure that your webshop is perfectly tuned to break all your sales records during Black Friday.

  • Consider doing A/B-split tests on key areas of your webshop, such as the front page, to make sure that you have the best setup in place to convert your customers.
  • Is your site optimised for mobile? More than 50% of all online sales now come through mobile. So, make sure it's easy for customers to take advantage of your great offers - even if they haven't got a computer nearby.
  • Consider creating a special Black Friday landing page to best market your great offers.

4. Tell the world!

alt Consider what relevant blogs or news media could be interested in sharing your great offers with their readers.

This can be an effective way to creating good PR as well as awareness about the products you sell.

One approach is to ask a popular blogger within your industry to test 3 of your best offers.

5. Build expectation

alt Build expectation among your customers in the week(s) preceding Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Create special retargeting campaigns via Facebook and Adwords and use your newsletter to start a hype around specific offers.

6. Nurse your loyal customers

alt Black Friday is a great occasion to give some extra love to your most loyal customers.

You can do this by giving them a discount voucher, a special mail with your best offers or perhaps free shipping for the day.

7. Have an eye on your competition

A wise person once said that companies constantly copying their competition never win - they will always be second best.

But when it comes to Black Friday it can be a good idea to have an eye on your competition. Not necessarily to copy what they do, but to get an idea of their strategy and how you can top it.

8. Make it exciting

alt Create a Facebook event for Back Friday to further the hype around your offers and get a better understanding of what your customers want.

Use the event to your full advantage by interacting with your customers during the day - keep them on the edge of their seats by posting a new time limited offer every hour and have polls to decide what offer to post next.

9. Guide your customers all the way

alt On Black Friday more customers are likely to buy from you into the small hours of the night.

Create a unique selling point for your business by extending your customer support on this day - maybe not to all 24 hours of Black Friday, but by just holding the lines open until midnight, you can help a great many.

10. Get your up-selling on

alt Once Black Friday is under way, you need to make the most of every customer landing on your page.

One strategy is to insert a power step to boost your average order value. This function can actually increase your sales rates with as much as 10%.

Another way to up-sell your customers is by inserting a bar on your basket page indicating how much (or little) extra your customers need to buy to get free shipping - is one webshop that has implemented this beautifully.

11. Get lost customers back

alt We're almost finished with the game plan now, but before you go out there and give it your all, you need to remember one of the most important strategies of all.

Because great offers or not - more than 65% of your customers will still leave their shopping cart behind during check-out.

But sending these customers abandoned cart emails is a great way to optimise your sales by getting them back to your webshop.

That's it. Now, go out there and break the internet.

Happy Thanksgiving :-)