COVID-19 Marketing Strategy for Creating a Black Friday/Cyber Monday Experience In-store and Online

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Part of the Black Friday/Cyber Monday (BFCM) experience for brick-and-mortar businesses are the special in-store experiences that come with shopping at a physical store during the holidays. Although BFCM shopping this year will look a little different due to the coronavirus, holiday shopping can still be exciting online. This guide will walk you through how to create those experiences virtually so that your customers can experience the holiday shopping magic they usually have in-store from the comfort of their own home.

Before You Get Started

To get the most out of this guide, your brand should already have an ecommerce presence in addition to your physical location. For information on how to get started with moving your brick-and-mortar store online, head to our Guide to Moving From a Brick and Mortar to Ecommerce Business.

If you’re getting started with email marketing for the first time, head to our BFCM crash course to get an in-depth dive into what you need to make your email marketing successful during the holidays.

Create Key BFCM Segments

Local Customers Segment

To create a local customers segment, group profiles by geographic location. You can either specify a specific state, region, city, etc. or focus on those within a specific radius of a zip code (i.e., postal code). In the example below, anyone within a 30-mile radius of Boston, Massachusetts will be included in this segment. That way, anyone in the area who may be more apt to shop in person will be accounted for.


For more information on segmenting by location, head to How to Create a Location-Based Segment

In-Store Customers Segment

As a brick and mortar business, it is useful to create a segment of all customers who shop in-store as opposed to your ecommerce-only shoppers. That way, you will be able to capture the appropriate messaging to these subscribers. Especially during times like this, when in-store shopping will be different than usual, you will likely need to inform these customers of new protocol or pivoted in-store offerings.image9.png

Last Year's BFCM In-Store Purchasers

This segment will include any in-store customers who purchased from you around the time of Black Friday/Cyber Monday last year. This is a good group to target once more to ensure that they are aware of the sales you're promoting.

If your business wasn't around during this time last year, don't worry about creating this segment and skip to the next one. If your business was only brick-and-mortar last year, feel free to exclude the condition of in-store shoppers since all customers at that time would have been in-store shoppers.

Recreate the BFCM Experience Virtually

This year’s holiday shopping experience will undoubtedly differ from that of previous years; however, that does not have to detract from your marketing strategy for in-store shoppers. Instead, supplement past offerings and in-store shopping experiences that are unable to occur with new, safer, and exciting alternatives.

Some examples of how to reimagine in-store offers and experiences include:

  • Use QR codes and key information when decorating your storefront
  • Offer virtual consultations and buying guides
  • Advertise via social media to your in-store shoppers
For information around pivoting your product offerings, head to our strategy guide Guide to Pivoting Your Product Offering to learn more.

Use QR Codes and Key Information at Your Storefront

During business hours, printed-out QR codes on display can allow in-store customers to easily sign up for your email newsletter. Customers will simply snap a picture of the code and enter their information in a form to sign up.

In addition, as people walk past your store, they can quickly access your website from their mobile phone using a QR code. Thus, even if your brick-and-mortar location is closed or at capacity, QR code displays outside your storefront or in windows can advertise your online offerings and drive profit.

Head to our Guide to Using QR Codes to Gather Subscribers for additional details and inspiration.


In addition, inform customers in and outside of your store of any key information pertaining to health and safety as well as your in-person store hours. Keep customers in the know about your brick-and-mortar policies, regardless of whether they are in-person or ecommerce shoppers. For more information, head to the section below on communicating during this season.

Offer Virtual Consultations and Buying Guides

If your business previously offered events, consultations, or other in-person gatherings that are no longer available, supplement this with online alternatives. For example, if you are a fashion-related brand that offers consultations, consider switching this in-person meeting to a Zoom or Google Hangout instead. After their consultation, create a post-event flow (similar to a post-purchase flow) to follow up on their experience and market products they may be interested in.

You can likewise launch a buying guide as a tool to recommend in-store and online products while avoiding unnecessary face-to-face contact. Create a quiz with a Klaviyo signup form or via one of our integration partners, like Typeform. In this form, ask your customers questions about what they are interested in shopping for, how they plan on shopping (in-person or online), who they are shopping for, and more. This will give you valuable information and advance your targeting strategy.


Using your quiz answers, send these customers a personalized gift guide based on the results. This guide will be in the form of a flow, triggered by someone joining your gift guide list. Split the flow based on the properties you collect in the form and build out your personalized buying guide emails from there. If you use an integration (like Typeform) make sure to integrate the platform with Klaviyo, build out the quiz, and trigger a flow on someone completing the form. 

Advertise to Your In-Store Shoppers on Social Media

Using your in-store shoppers segment, you can create a custom audience to target on Facebook and Instagram. A custom audience targets contacts with an associated Facebook account who are in the segment. Once your segment is synced to Facebook, as profiles are automatically added or removed from the segment over time, they will also be added or removed from the custom audience.

Moreover, using CLV data, you can even further refine this segment if you choose to target high-value spenders with ads that differ from lower-value spenders. In this case, you can create lookalike audiences who fit similar criteria to your source audience (e.g., a high-CLV in-store shoppers segment).

For information on both custom and lookalike audiences, head to Integrate Owned Marketing with Your Facebook Advertising Strategy

Communicate with Local Shoppers

This holiday season, many marketers are faced with the challenge of creating an in-store experience online, especially with all the uncertainty of what may be happening with physical store locations. To help keep your local customers informed of any brick-and-mortar store updates, you’ll want to leverage segments, flows, campaigns, and forms to create a cohesive and personalized experience.

Brick-and-Mortar Stores Open on BFCM

People receive high volumes of email content this time of year, so it's important to be thoughtful about the content you’re sending. You will need to update your customers about COVID-19 guidelines for in-store shopping on Black Friday if you have stores in regions where quarantine guidelines have been lifted. Whether you need to limit the number of customers allowed inside the store at one time, or you are asking customers to check-in and wait for a notification to enter the store, your messages can be targeted to the local customer segment above.

For example, If you’re a cookware brand selling both in-store and online, you’ll want to notify your customers of what they can expect if they plan to shop in-store on Black Friday this year. These campaign emails can be personalized to segments of local shoppers closest to each store location. If your Boston location usually gets heavy foot traffic on Black Friday, think about sending a campaign to outline COVID-19 guidelines for customers that are based in that location. In this message, include information on:

  • If a physical location will be open
  • Mask-wearing and sanitization policies
  • Limits on how many customers can be in the store at one time
  • Any special procedures customers will undertake before they can enter the store
  • Store hours that may be impacted by COVID-19


If your brand has several stores and you don’t have the bandwidth to send individual location-based emails, you can include a CTA that links out to a location finder to review each store's in-person shopping guidelines. You want to generate excitement about your deals, but you also need to convey that your customers’ safety is top-of-mind:


COVID-19 Communication On-Site

Taking a holistic approach to your marketing strategy will help you earn as much revenue from this time of year as possible. While email marketing is definitely important to drive traffic to your site, you’ll want to put thought into creating a great online experience for your customers central to their different locations. COVID-19 has brought a lot of uncertainty for businesses with interruptions to their supply chain or shipping delays. If you anticipate pandemic-related issues occurring during this time of year, communicate this with your customers through forms on your site.


Fulfillment issues will not likely deter someone from purchasing so long as you welcome them into your brand and make them feel a part of your community. If you do not expect shipping delays, you can have a banner onsite to let customers know that they will not experience delays with their orders during the holiday.

Again, target the form to your location-based segments to drive awareness around whether your physical locations will be open for BFCM. The CTA of the form should direct customers to a special landing page on your site where they can view your brand’s COVID-19 guidelines for a safe shopping experience:


Continuing the Conversation

During this time, you may have many customers who are first-time local shoppers. It’s important to continue the conversation with them during the holiday season and beyond to get them to stick around next year.

Outside of forms and campaigns, retention-based flows are a great space to personalize your messages to local customers. You can use post-purchase and winback flows to continue your brand's messaging to customers who are first-time shoppers or those who may not purchase again after the holiday season.

Prior to Thanksgiving weekend, you can use someone’s location information to create different paths in your post-purchase flow based on location to send customers highly personalized messages for shopping in-store versus online for BFCM. After BFCM passes, be sure to update the messaging in your flows to focus on the rest of the holiday season.

Leading up to BFCM, you can also use a welcome series to keep customers informed of store openings. Earlier in this guide, we mentioned using QR codes on your storefront. When customers scan the codes at your physical location to join your newsletter list, it can trigger a welcome series. This is the perfect opportunity to introduce them to your digital brand and start generating excitement leading up to BFCM, as well as solidify yourself as a local brand using local phrases and imagery. This is especially ideal for customers who are used to shopping in-store during this time of year, but due to the pandemic, they’ll need to shop online.



Lastly, you can create an abandoned cart flow specifically for customers who used to shop in-store but have now moved online. When customers scan your QR code and enter your local welcome series, or based on location information you have about a customer, you can create a special abandoned cart flow to give these customers a personalized experience. When they trigger an abandoned cart email, you can tailor the messaging of your email to say something like “it’s nice to see you shopping with us online!” and potentially offer them a discount code if this is their first online purchase with your brand. The more you can make your new online local shoppers feel appreciated, the more likely they will be to purchase from you again in the future.

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