mobile shoppers black friday featured image

How to Target Mobile Shoppers for Black Friday

In 2015, marketers noticed an unexpected change among Black Friday shoppers: it seemed that most shoppers were growing tired of bleary, cold, early mornings and the frantic dash to grab doorbuster deals at their favorite Black Friday shopping spots. Instead, the mobile Black Friday shopping experience, which shoppers can enjoy in small stretches of free time in the comfort of one’s home, started to replace some of the groggy storefront shopping messes that traditionally dominate during the holidays.

Mobile Black Friday shopping set a record in 2015 – it captured 22% of online sales, up by an incredible 70% from 2014 figures. Black Friday mobile sales alone accounted for $583 million in revenue. Thanksgiving Day saw an additional $639 million in mobile sales. Of the total $4.45 billion in sales (including in-store, online, and mobile purchases), one-third of total shoppers used their smartphone or mobile phone to make a purchase.

The trend toward mobile shopping is real, and when combined with the online-focused sales power of Cyber Monday, it could eventually evolve into an entirely new Black Friday shopping experience. Your business can get a piece of those online shopping sales and prepare for a wave of up-and-coming ecommerce strength by learning to target mobile shoppers for Black Friday this year, then perfecting your approach in the coming years.

Rework Your Mobile App and Shopping Interface to Be More Mobile-Capable

The onslaught of Black Friday and Cyber Monday is the perfect excuse to refine your entire mobile shopping experience on your mobile site or mobile app. Because of the huge sales figures of which your company will be a part, you’ll get a fabulous return on your time and resource investment if you tighten up your mobile shopping interface before the big day hits.

etsy mobile shopping home page

Etsy’s mobile home page is a prime example of effective mobile shopping.

Risks of a Poor Mobile Shopping Experience

  • A Dip in Customer Loyalty – Even your most enthusiastic customers won’t put up with a bad mobile app or ecommerce site. In 2013, 30% of consumers never made a second visit to a retailer’s mobile website on which they had a negative shopping experience. 43% said they would immediately move on to a competitor website if something went awry while shopping on a mobile app or site.
  • Low Recurring Sales – Consumers waited about a year before returning to a mobile site on which they had a poor experience. The good news is that you’ll have another chance next Black Friday. The bad news is that you won’t get any sales from those customers during the long year in between.
  • Faltering Brand Recognition – Having a few unhappy customers is a phenomenon of retail that can’t be helped. But droves of unhappy mobile shoppers, especially on such a big holiday like Black Friday, will tarnish your brand instantly.

Mobile Shopping Challenges to Consider

  • Competitive Buying Experiences – It’s punishing trying to out-price your competitors on Black Friday. There’s a threshold at which the returns on your sales will no longer justify the discounts you offer. The best way to compete is with seamless shopping experiences for the developing mobile crowd.
  • Diversity and Evolution of Mobile Devices – Your consumers use Android phones, Nexus tablets, iPhones, iPads, and all manner of mobile devices to do their shopping. Each device has different capabilities, a different interface, and different compatibilities, and you’ll need to cater to each device’s individuality to capture major Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.
  • google wallet logo with textShifting Payment Methods – It’s not just about credit cards anymore. Debit transactions are in charge, there are quick and easy digital wallet payment methods such as Apple & Google Wallet, and some goods and high-priced services allow direct transfers from checking accounts. Make sure you know what your customers like to use to pay and make it easy for them to use that method or service.

Ways to Improve Mobile Sites and Apps

  • Eliminate Frustrations – Don’t be afraid to survey and get feedback from customers to find your system’s weak points. Look at comments about your mobile ecommerce, find out what bothers your customers, then address those concerns directly with your developers.

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Common ecommerce mistakes for mobile include small product images, poor navigation, security concerns, and tedious checkout.

  • forever 21 poor mobile shopping screenRespect the Buyer’s Journey – Shopping for bicycle parts is different than shopping for a PlayStation, and Black Friday shoppers will be looking for both. The path your buyer follows to finish a sale will be different depending on your product. Know what your customers are looking for and how they can find it easily with a touch-screen.
  • Avoid the Unexpected – When a customer aims to buy something, he or she wants to find that item, hit Check Out, and wait for delivery. Keep your mobile shopping experience as close to that simplicity as possible. Don’t assault your customers with sign up gateways and full-screen ploys to join an email list. Give them an option at checkout to join your list and emphasize that checkout is easier when you sign up, but don’t force your customers to go out of their way before they buy.

Make Your Calls-to-Action Mobile-Friendly

black friday ads with mobile shopper aimed copyAdd language to some of your special Black Friday and Cyber Monday copy that includes direct references to smartphones, tablets, and mobile apps.

Make sure your customized mobile shopper copy makes it to CTAs that appear on your site as well. If you do, you’ll be able to grab online shoppers who may be browsing on their desktop and laptop computers but are too busy to run through the purchase process just yet.

Avoid driving away foot traffic. Storefront sales may be on the decline, but they still represent the majority of Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. Your copy should encourage people to feel comfortable with your mobile app and website shopping experience without excluding any other available shopping options.

Clean Up Mobile Ads and Product Feeds

This section comes from the astounding mind of one of our paid search wizards, Michael Holeman, author of 4 Ways to Track Conversions When Your URL Does Not Change.

Make sure your product feeds are cleaned up well in advance of Black Friday and Cyber Monday so you can focus your efforts on your promotions. That means as soon as your summer sales die down, get your pay-per-click advertising in Google AdWords and any other paid search services you use optimized for conversions.

Spend some time making sure that all of your products are accessible by Google Merchant Center. Update your titles and descriptions for maximum user-friendliness. Remember, the way your data is set up in the Merchant Center is the way your product ads will appear. Also, be as detailed as possible when categorizing your products, so that your products will appear for the most relevant searches. If you do, you’ll grab more of those last-minute shoppers shopping on their mobile devices.

shopping ads in google shopping interface

If you’re running fall mobile ads as well, clean them up before the close of November. You’ll be able to run your Black Friday and Cyber Monday mobile ads and then immediately switch to any winter promotions you have lined up once the sales are over.

Also, create a Merchant Promotions Feed in addition to your Shopping Feed so that your product ads will have the most relevant promotions served alongside your products in Google Search results.

merchant promotions list in google adwords

The Merchant Promotions Feed will make it easier for you to serve the appropriate ads at times when they make sense to consumers. Pause any summer-specific deals you have to make room for Black Friday and Cyber Monday discounts.

Bottom Line: Make Mobile Shopping Easy

TL;DR – Forecasters predict another jump in the percentage of sales overtaken by mobile shopping this Black Friday, and the faster your customers can check out, the larger chunk of those sales you’ll grab. Before Black Friday and Cyber Monday roll around, check these items off your list:

  • Streamline your mobile shopping experience on your mobile app or website from the home page forward
  • Design ads that promote shopping from home and shopping on your phone
  • Clean up your product feeds for paid search so they appear easy-to-use on mobile search

Remember, don’t discourage business at your storefront, just encourage business on the homefront for a successful and increasingly mobile Black Friday and Cyber Monday.


The marketing team at Leverage Marketing has been through countless Black Fridays and Cyber Mondays together with our loyal clients and have raised the bar for holiday shopping success on mobile and desktop alike. If you have questions about your marketing approach to Black Friday, ask our team for advice. Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter today for non-stop insider tips about marketing, business, SEO, and a whole bunch more.

Eric Ysasi

Eric Ysasi

Online Content Specialist at Leverage Marketing
Eric is a content specialist and copywriter at Leverage Marketing in Austin, TX. Following 4 years as a Public Affairs specialist in the United States Air Force, Eric received his B.A. in English and Modern Languages, then taught English in Kikonai, Japan. Pursuing his love of language, he began a career in inbound marketing and copy writing. Outside of the office, Eric hikes, bikes, skateboards, reads, watches movies, and plays guitar and piano.
Eric Ysasi
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