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. BFCM is a little bit different this year. We know that many of you have had other things on your mind lately, from the health of your family to the future of your business. You’ve spent this year rethinking your strategies and keeping up with evolving consumer trends (all without cheat codes). Maybe you’re not sure if you’ll participate in BFCM. Maybe you haven’t thought about it yet.
Here’s where you’ll need to bring in reinforcements. If friendly dinosaurs are in short supply, apps that integrate with your Shopify store are the 1UPs and invincibility stars you’ll need to get through this part of the game. They enable you to get more done, attract more customers, and process orders more smoothly during the busiest shopping weekend of the year. Sorry, they can’t save a princess.
6 types of apps to help you sell your best this BFCM
We looked at six challenges that store owners may face during BFCM season (in the middle of a pandemic) and matched them with apps that can make them, well, a little less challenging. While your mind is on other things, let apps power up your processes and supersize your success.
1. Apps to help you meet customers where they are—online
In a recent survey, we found that buyer habits have shifted more toward online shopping in 2020. Of those who reported shopping online, 60% said they did so more during the pandemic versus the beginning of the year—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 customers where they’re shopping.
🔎 Instant Search+ and Filters is a smart search app that helps customers find the exact product they’re looking for, with customizable filtering, search autocomplete, and a product recommender feature.
🔈 Add Announcement Bar puts your BFCM deals in the spotlight—front and center at the top of your homepage. You can also use this space to share important news like your COVID-19 policies or updated BFCM shipping information.
🗣️ Heyday Sales & Support Chat 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 for frequently asked questions.
🔖 Bulk Discount Code Generator lets you instantly create multiple unique one-time-use discount codes for loyalty programs or pop-up email acquisition campaigns.
Explore more apps to help you sell 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 BFCM season is upon us (it’s here!), inboxes and Instagram feeds will be flooded with deals. How can you stand out from your competitors? How do you cut through the clutter and launch memorable and clickable BFCM campaigns? These apps take the guesswork out of BFCM marketing.
🔮 Octane AI Quiz, Messenger, SMS is a one-stop marketing solution that lets you create quizzes, collect data, and launch personalized Facebook and SMS campaigns, including conversational ads.
📸 Shoppable Instagram & UGC by Foursixty puts your organic Instagram posts to work, generating a clickable, shoppable clone of your feed. You can even pull your customers’ posts (user-generated content) into one place and power them with shopping links, too.
📱 Tone SMS Cart Recovery texts customers with prompts to re-engage with your brand. Real agents sit behind an AI to make conversations more human.
📽️ Promo Video Maker helps you easily create promotional video content—no film school required. Enter text and a few details and this app pulls content from your site into videos optimized for web, instagram, or Stories.
✉️ Shopify Email lets you launch and track email campaigns right inside Shopify, with easy templates that pull logos, images, and copy directly from your store. New to email marketing? Start here.
Explore more apps to help you with BFCM and holiday marketing.
3. Apps that make sense of BFCM inventory
Inventory management is a challenge reported by store owners at all times of the year. During the BFCM and holiday seasons, you’ll be required to be extra vigilant to keep items in stock and stay organized. You guessed it: there are apps for that.
📦 StockBot Low Stock Alert is the home shopping network rotisserie of Shopify apps—“set it and forget it.” Determine low-stock levels for each of your products and this app will notify you once you’ve hit them.
🗒️ Inventory Planner is an inventory management pain killer. Give it access to your sales trends and data and let it prioritize your vendor orders and tell you when to make them.
👕 Can’t be bothered with inventory? Start a print-on-demand business and let T‑Pop: Print on Demand take care of it for you.
Explore more apps to help you manage BFCM and holiday inventory.
4. Apps that create a memorable BFCM customer experience
With increasing competition in the online commerce space, standing out among the big sellers can be achieved with personalized shopping experiences that only you can provide. As a smaller business, you’re more easily able to connect directly with your customers—but during the busy shopping season, that may be harder to do. Use these apps to give your customers a memorable and tailored experience, even when you can’t personally engage with each one.
🌟 Reward your loyal customers with points or credit toward future purchases when they refer new customers. Glow: Loyalty Points & Rewards helps you set up a seamless rewards program to incentivize engagement with your brand.
💬 Shopify Ping lets you engage in real conversations with customers, send product recommendations and discount codes, and bring the buying experience inside chat. The app integrates with popular messaging platforms like Facebook Messenger.
🍋 LimeSpot Personalizer enables you to create personalized shopping experiences to cross-sell, upsell, and recommend relevant products to each customer.
✅ Bold Product Options 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.
Explore more apps and ideas to help you create a personalized BFCM experience for your customers. 🌟 While you’re there, take our quiz to see which app is right for your store.
5. Apps for managing safe and successful in-person BFCM sales
Retail has changed dramatically since the beginning of 2020. Stores that have survived the ups and downs of this year have done so by pivoting and creating safe shopping experiences for their 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—and they can be added easily with apps.
🛍️ Reserve In‑Store lets customers pre-select items in your online store and ensure availability when they arrive to pay or pick up their orders.
🗓️ To set safe boundaries, consider using Sesami: Appointment Booking to avoid throngs of BFCM shoppers arriving at your store all at once. Your customers can book predetermined time slots, knowing that physical distancing measures are important to you.
🗺️ Stockist Store Locator is a fully customizable map app that integrates with your store’s design. Plot your shop locations—or those of your stockists—so that customers can easily find you IRL.
🏬 Curbside Pickup Guru has eliminated the need to see order confirmations up close, with color-coded pickup numbers that can easily be viewed from a safe distance.
Explore more apps to help you be safe and successful with in-person BFCM sales.
6. Apps that take the headache out of shipping, delivery, and returns
If everything’s working out the way you planned, your BFCM campaign has caught fire and the order notifications are lighting up your Shopify 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 gives you access to 250+ shipping options with reduced rates. Get transparent quotes for all-in shipping costs, including taxes, duties, and courier fees.
📍 Shopify Local Delivery helps you add a local delivery option to your checkout page, offering a convenient method that is growing in demand. Optimize routes for efficiency, communicate delivery status to customers, and allow drivers to access maps and post updates.
📦 Parcelify automates shipping options 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.
↩️ Simply set your return policy and Returnly does the rest. This app features a self-serve returns centre that lets your customers create and monitor their own returns, including printing shipping labels generated automatically by Returnly.
Explore more resources that take the mystery out of shipping, delivery, and fulfilment.
Feature illustration by Alice Mollon