Getting Your E-Commerce Operations Ready for Black Friday Success

The week of Black Friday is the Kentucky Derby for e-commerce companies. Your performance over those few days can make or break your entire year. But complex supply chains and fickle consumer demand make it far from a sure thing. You’ve already done the super-advance planning (and hopefully used my other checklist for that). This is the point where coordination across teams is critical to get you across that finish line.

Industry statistics show just how intense the peak holiday season is:

  • Online sales on Black Friday reached $9.12 billion in 2022, up 2.3% from 2021

  • 40% of annual retail sales occur November through December

  • Retail traffic on Black Friday is 5 times higher than average days


2023 predictions for Black Friday and holiday shopping trends:

  • Overall holiday retail sales are projected to grow between 4-6% year-over-year according to Deloitte and Mastercard SpendingPulse.
  • Despite a slowing economy, online sales during this holiday season are forecast to grow 12.8%.
  • For Black Friday specifically, total online sales are predicted to grow 1-3% compared to 2022 based on current projections.
  • The National Retail Federation forecasts holiday sales during November and December will grow between 6-8% reaching $960 – $960 billion.
  • Consumers are expected to start holiday shopping even earlier this year to spread out spending.
  • Retailers will offer deep discounts and deals both online and in-store to motivate hesitant shoppers as well as move excess inventory.
  • Curbside pickup and other omnichannel services will continue growing in popularity.
  • Product shortages and supply chain issues may impact availability for some hot ticket items.


Your Black Friday Countdown Checklist

Use this comprehensive Black Friday/Cyber Monday readiness checklist for key departments like e-commerce, marketing, operations, warehousing and finance. Proper preparation can help you avoid website crashes, stockouts, delivery delays, and poor customer experiences that could cost you when it matters most.

With this checklist, you can methodically get every aspect of your e-commerce business ready for the lucrative but high-stakes Black Friday rush. The two weeks leading up to the big day are critical. From finalizing promotions to scaling up servers, to expanding seasonal staffing, our checklist has you covered.




  • Load promotions and test by Monday (Nov 13)
  • Stress test site capacity by Wednesday (Nov 15)
  • Confirm email templates are ready by Thursday  (Nov 16)
  • Create banner ads by Friday  (Nov 17)
  • Freeze website changes by Monday (Nov 20)
  • Load Black Friday promotions and test by Monday (Nov 20)
  • Publicize holiday customer service hours by Wednesday (Nov 22)
  • Stress test site capacity by Wednesday (Nov 22)
  • Optimize page speed by Wednesday (Nov 22)


  • Confirm seasonal staffing by Monday (Nov 13)
  • Lock in additional warehouse pickups by Thursday (Nov 16)
  • Ensure packing supplies fully stocked by Friday (Nov 17)
  • Lock in additional warehouse pickups by Wednesday (Nov 22)
  • Confirm pick up schedules with shipping partners by Friday (Nov 24)


  • Finalize email campaigns by Tuesday  (Nov 14)
  • Place ad buys by Tuesday (Nov 14)
  • Develop social media content by Friday (Nov 17)
  • Brief PR agency on deals for press releases by Wednesday (Nov 15)
  • Finalize email campaigns by Tuesday (Nov 21)
  • Brief social media team on posting strategy by Wednesday (Nov 21)
  • Send email previews for Cyber Monday by Friday (Nov 24)
  • Develop social media content for Cyber Monday by Friday (Nov 24)


  • Confirm vendor discounts and inventory by Tuesday (Nov 14)
  • Finalize product bundles by Thursday (Nov 16)
  • Decide storefront display locations by Friday (Nov 17)
  • Plan store merchandising by Tuesday (Nov 21)
  • Confirm vendor discounts and inventory by Tuesday (Nov 21)
  • Finalize product bundles by Tuesday (Nov 21)
  • Confirm store inventory levels by Wednesday (Nov 22)


  • Re-forecast sales based on promos by Wednesday (Nov 15)
  • Review inventory budget by Thursday (Nov 16)
  • Confirm terms with payment processors by Friday (Nov 17)
  • Review fraud prevention SOP by Wednesday (Nov 22)
  • Re-forecast sales based on promos by Wednesday (Nov 22)





  • Monitor site performance in real-time and be ready to quickly fix any issues
  • Keep close eye on web traffic, sales volumes, conversion rates
  • Update site and social media with new deals and offers for Cyber Monday
  • Remove sold out product pages and update inventory quantities
  • Send automated order confirmations and shipping updates to customers


  • Execute email campaigns for Cyber Monday
  • Post about deals on social media and respond to comments/questions
  • Run retargeting ads for abandoned carts over the weekend
  • Analyze performance of promotions and advertisements


  • Keep on top of order fulfillment and shipping to meet delivery estimates
  • Provide frequent warehouse staffing updates and adjustments as needed
  • Add warehouse pickups/drop-offs if required for demand
  • Track hours worked for seasonal team members

Customer Service:

  • Have expanded staffing scheduled to provide 24/7 support
  • Closely monitor queues/wait times and adjust staffing if needed
  • Identify common questions and issues to quickly provide answers
  • Monitor social media for complaints and respond promptly
  • Provide order status updates and information on shipping delays


  • Review daily sales and return numbers
  • Verify credit card payments are processing properly
  • Watch out for signs of fraud and blacklist suspicious transactions
  • Ensure taxes are calculated correctly on all orders

Warehouse Operations:

  • Review staffing schedule and make adjustments as needed for call-outs
  • Ensure inventory is properly sorted and fast movers easily accessible
  • Coordinate additional pickups/drop-offs with shipping partners as required
  • Closely monitor inventory levels and reallocate stock between warehouses as certain items sell out
  • Keep packing stations stocked with needed supplies – boxes, tape, labels
  • Track hourly headcount and hours worked for seasonal team members
  • Provide frequent performance updates to operations management
  • Brief staff on Cyber Monday expectations and plans



Customer Service:

  • Respond to influx of questions about orders, shipping delays, returns
  • Add seasonal support staffing to handle call/email volume
  • Monitor social media for complaints and respond promptly
  • Identify common questions/issues and create FAQs for website
  • Survey customers on support experience and identify improvements
  • Review staffing needs and retain top performers if needed
  • Train team on December holiday policies and common issues
  • Update customer service knowledge base with new products and promos
  • Analyze support tickets to identify problems for next year


  • Remove sold out product pages
  • Update inventory quantities
  • Monitor for website issues from traffic surge
  • Plan January website releases


  • Process returns and exchanges quickly
  • Evaluate staffing needs and make adjustments
  • Ensure warehouses are restocked for December orders
  • Analyze turn rate, adjust projections accordingly
  • Place POs for replacement inventory

Warehouse Operations:

  • Begin processing high volume of returns and exchanges
  • Evaluate warehouse staffing needs and adjust schedules
  • Restock inventory levels on top selling items from Black Friday
  • Run inventory counts and update system on quantities
  • Identify process bottlenecks or inefficiencies to improve for next year
  • Evaluate seasonal staff and decide on conversions or terminations
  • Gather feedback from warehouse teams on Black Friday successes and areas for improvement
  • Return facility to normal layouts and put back any moved inventory


  • Send personalized thank you and feedback emails
  • Analyze performance of promotions and ads
  • Launch December holiday email campaigns
  • Develop January email campaigns
  • Develop 12 month promo plan for next year


  • Replenish top selling products
  • Replace poor performing products with new items
  • Plan end-of-season clearance sales


  • Assess Black Friday sales data
  • Adjust future projections based on insights gained
  • Monitor for Black Friday return fraud


  • Review Black Friday results by department
  • Celebrate wins with team
  • Start planning strategy for 2024




Executing a flawless Black Friday with peak sales requires extensive coordination across complex operations, often while managing dated legacy systems. Attempting this purely through manual efforts leaves unnecessary room for human error and inefficiency.

That’s why partnering with our team of seasoned retail consultants can provide an attractive ROI. We bring expertise in streamlining omni-channel retail operations and supply chains honed over years assisting major brands optimize for Black Friday.

By leveraging automated solutions and systems integration capabilities, we can save you countless manual working hours while minimizing mistakes. Implement analytics dashboards to provide real-time visibility into your performance. Based on average consulting fees and efficiency improvements, hiring us has generated over 15% ROI for past clients through:

  • Increased efficiency in order processing
  • Reduction of problems caused by manual entry errors
  • Reduced labor costs through optimized staffing
  • Lower inventory waste and stockouts
  • Faster shipping times and improved customer satisfaction

This Peak Season will be here before you know it.

Get a head start on 2024 by engaging us today. We’ll conduct an assessment of your current operations, identify improvement opportunities, and develop a roadmap to put you in the best position next holiday season. Don’t leave money on the table due to operational inefficiencies. Partner with our consultants to make 2024 your most efficient year yet.


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