With BFCM quickly approaching, here’s the Ultimate App Marketing Guide to equip you with our tried-and-true best practices to have a successful holiday season! In this guide, we’ll dive into why a mobile app, how to stay competitive, optimize design, and create a winning marketing strategy to maximize revenue. This is a packed guide, with tons of tips and trends, so let’s dive in!
Why a Mobile App This Season?
As the DTC space becomes increasingly competitive, curating a shopping experience that caters to your entire customer base, while placing a special emphasis on your brand enthusiasts - those loyal and engaged customers - becomes critical. This is where your mobile app can make a difference.
People plan to do about 2/3 of their holiday shopping online. And phones are the holiday shopping device of choice.
A mobile app is fast, easy, and convenient — it’s a gateway for people to buy (and buy again) quickly, and also to consume the brand on a new level. The growing importance of speed and convenience of checkout for the phone has increased from 63% to 70% since last year. Having your own mobile app can drive average order value (AOV), average order frequency (AOF), and conversion rate (CVR), outperforming the typical mobile website.
While social media, SMS, and email are all critical parts of the BFCM strategy — an app can be a new tool in your arsenal to effectively reach your top customers. How, you ask? Two words. Push notifications. These instant alerts can engage customers directly, and help you stay top of mind with your customers this holiday season.
As a result, the mobile app channel is naturally less saturated and way more efficient to reach your community. These days, consumers want to shop on an app for a seamless experience and access to exclusivity. Now's the time to button up your mobile app strategy because you can build your app user base. Any opportunity to drive more app downloads can capture existing customers and introduce a different kind of consumer with higher LTV in the long run.
As you begin to craft your BFCM strategy, it’s important to think about staying competitive. We have two key strategies for staying ahead of the game.
The first is to be EARLY. To stay ahead of the competition, start promoting your BFCM deals as early as October! Our recent survey revealed, that 25% of consumers start shopping for holiday deals in October, followed closely by 24% in November. Make sure your promotions are on their radar before BFCM!
The second strategy is to avoid offering a blanket discount throughout the holiday season. To keep your customers excited and engaged, we recommend alternating your discount codes and promotions.
This approach, combined with a well-executed push notification strategy, is a powerful way to stay close to your customers until they’re ready to purchase the holiday season.
Mobile App Design Strategies for BFCM
Now that we have our bases covered, let’s dive into how you can optimize your mobile app design for BFCM to drive revenue, traffic, and awareness.
Your app icon holds valuable real estate on a user’s home screen, and it’s crucial to utilize this to communicate your BFCM promotions have started!
Here are some ways to customize your app icon to drive awareness:
- Incorporate BFCM messaging: Consider adding text such as “Black Friday” onto your app icon. This can immediately inform users about your ongoing promotions
- Use a stand-out color scheme: Select a color scheme for your app icon that aligns with your brand but also stands out to catch users’ attention.
The launch screen is the first image your app users see when the app opens and before the homepage appears. This is another prime piece of real estate to take advantage of and highlight your latest promotions.
- Use this space to tease upcoming products or discount drops.
- While it's important to clearly communicate your sale, avoid overcrowding with excessive text or visuals, as this page will only flash briefly before ushering your shoppers into your app. Aim for concise yet impactful copy and design.
Once the launch screen disappears, your app user will be directed to your homepage. This is where you want to be strategic with your holiday app design.
- Draw attention to your BFCM promotions on the homepage of the app. Take advantage of images, videos, and GIFs to make an impactful announcement and educate users to take action
- Keep your messaging clear and concise. Make it easy for customers to know what the promotions are and how they can leverage them.
- Include any active discount code or BFCM promotion above or directly under the search bar on all app pages.
- Create a multi-page showcasing your sales schedule
- Leverage the Countdown Block to build hype for an upcoming promotion or highlight the final hours of it
Pro-Tip: A Countdown Block is great to use for flash sales to build FOMO on the time left to save on deals!
The product detail page (PDP) editor, is without a doubt, one of the most critical sections within the Tapcart Dashboard. Use this page to clearly communicate promotions and educate the value of your products. Here are a few of our key tips to optimize your PDP to drive AOV:
Add promotional banners to highlight your discounts directly on your PDP like…
- Discount codes APP20
- Discounted products - BOGO
- Low Inventory
- App exclusive deals
Add a countdown timer directly on your PDP to create a sense of urgency for your flash sale.
Pro-Tip: Leverage conditional tags to customize the experience and display relevant content for specific products.
The cart is the final stop before customers check out. At the top of this page, consider adding a cart banner to spotlight your sales one last time. This can motivate app users to toss in one more item, prompt a quicker checkout, or reinforce the value they're getting. Utilize this area to highlight promotional offers such as:
- Automated discounts that apply at checkout
- Free shipping
- Final sale
- Discount codes
- Buy Online Pick-Up In-Store instructions
- Sustainability impact
- A reminder of preferred payment methods such as Apple Pay, Afterpay, Shop Pay, etc.
Discounts & App Exclusive Strategies
When it comes to BFCM, most shoppers are hunting for deals ranging from 20-70% off. Now, we get it, that's a broad range. But fear not, we've got your back.
In this section, we’ll deep dive into our top five BFCM strategies for pricing, discount ranges, and exclusive holiday offers. While determining your promotion, you don’t want to offer a single discount for the entire holiday season; keep your customers engaged by mixing up your discount game to ensure your BFCM deals stay fresh and enticing.
With that said, let’s walk through our key strategies to level up your marketing and promotions to really make an impact:
App Exclusive Dual Pricing Strategy
An app exclusive dual pricing strategy is when you offer a product at a discounted price on the app compared to your online store. To implement this on your Shopify store, here’s what you need to do:
- Create an app-exclusive price using Shopify’s compare pricing feature and assign it to your Tapcart sales channel
- Clone products you want to discount on the app
- Update the clone’s “Compare at price” with the app-exclusive discounted price
- Assign the clone to the Tapcart Sales Channel
- Assign the original to your online store
- Note: Split your inventory when using this strategy, to prevent any issues with your inventory management.
After you’ve enabled your dual pricing model, kick off the promotion buzz on your website, across social media, via email, and within your app's design. When it's time to go live with the promotion use email, push notifications, social, and even SMS to drive your customers to the app and get them shopping!
Then when your promotion is over, simply delete the cloned products and add the original back to the Tapcart sales channel.
App Exclusive Discount Strategy
This core strategy is all about offering exclusive discounts just for app users. It's our top recommendation to boost app downloads, grow your push subscriber list, and, over time, increase the LTV of your app customers.
Beyond the elevated shopping experience, mobile apps offer unlimited push notifications, which, according to our 2023 BFCM Consumer Shopping Trends report findings, are 181.5% more likely to elicit a purchase compared to digital ads, and 94.9% more likely to elicit a purchase compared to SMS, relative to reach.
Simply put, prioritizing app downloads is essential for your BFCM strategy—and offering app-exclusive discounts is a proven method to achieve that.
Here’s how to set up an exclusive discount:
- Use Tapcart’s app-exclusive discount code script to power an app-exclusive promotion
- Create a discount code in Shopify to enable the promotion
- Enter the discount code value in line 199 in the Script.rtf file
- Paste the script into the script editor and only publish it to the online store
- Market the promotion in advance on your website, social media, email, and app design
- Announce the start of the promotion through email, push notifications, social, and SMS
- Once the promotion is over, delete the script from the script editor
- Note: You must have a Shopify Plus account
App Exclusive Product/Collection Release Strategy
Have a new product or collection you’re rolling out? Drop it exclusively in your mobile app to drive traffic during the holiday rush! Here’s how:
- Design eye-catching banners to highlight the new product on the homepage
- Market the app exclusive release ahead of the drop to increase downloads and build your push subscriber list
- Announce the start of the promotion through email, push notifications, social, and SMS
- Use the promotion to drive app downloads & increase sales
Pro tip: For early access product drops, you can clone the app-exclusive product and set a portion of your side inventory aside for your website. Even if the product sells out on the app, you’ll still have inventory set aside for website customers
Gift with Purchase
Gift with Purchase is a great way to incentivize higher cart values and increase your conversion rate. You can set up various gift thresholds to attract customers with various budgets, incentivizing users to add more items to their cart.
Here are some tactics we suggest:
- Change your gifts throughout the holiday promotion. That way, you incentivize customers to shop again and again
- Provide various gift thresholds to attract customers that have a range of budgets
- Be sure to use push notifications to communicate any new or existing GWP promos
- Note: This feature is only available for Shopify Plus merchants
Pro-Tip: Keep your promotions fresh, shuffle between a flash sale then leverage a GWP promo.
To gamify is to make a game out of your promotion. Puzzle, code worlds, trivia—you name it, customers love it! By adding a layer of fun and excitement to unlocking your sale, you can increase the likelihood of your promotion being redeemed.
- Use app design and social media to promote
- Require customers to solve an easy crossword puzzle to unlock a discount code
- Use IG stories to communicate a partially complete discount code with the remaining values found in the app design or a push notification they must be subscribed to receive
Promoting Your Mobile App During BFCM
It’s important to leverage your full marketing channel mix to drive mobile app downloads and efficiently grow revenue. In this section, we will break down the tried-and-true best practices by channel and recommend a few fresh tactics as well. Let’s dive in.
Despite being a highly-saturated and competitive channel, email is still effective, specifically when it comes to BFCM promotions. In our recent survey, 63% of respondents noted they typically hear about BFCM sales from email—making email the leading channel for BFCM sale awareness. Here are some tips for leveraging email to promote your mobile app during BFCM:
- Start announcing your app’s BFCM promotion schedule a few days in advance to allow your customers to plan ahead
- Announce the start of any app-exclusive promotion through email
- App-exclusive promotions should have clear CTAs in the subject of the email
- Display the App Store/Google Play store buttons within the email footer
Organic Social Media
Despite algorithm woes, organic social can still be an effective way to reach more consumers and promote your sale with shareable word-of-mouth content.
Keep these best practices in mind:
- Use a combination of stories, reels, and feed posts across popular platforms like Instagram and TikTok
- Video and Reels are increasingly preferred by algorithms, with still images often lacking in reach
- Tease upcoming app exclusive promotions in advance to give customers time to download the app and opt-in to push notifications
- Use a dedicated webpage that can host both Android & Apple app store links across stories and captions
- Include the app download link in your bio
Paid Social Ads
Amidst the BFCM hustle, it's crucial to segment the right audience for your app promotions. Those who've made a purchase on your website in the past 6 months are prime candidates for a paid app download campaign. Their familiarity with your brand and recent purchase history positions them perfectly to receive and respond to your app-exclusive promotions.
Leveraging the Meta SDK, you can build a campaign and exclude your current app users. This ensures every penny of your budget is channeled toward acquiring new app users and increasing your subscriber list.
Pro Tip: Analyze the cost-effectiveness of each ad format to optimize ROI. Consider delving into Meta’s dynamic ads for a richer, more interactive ad experience, allowing customers a deeper engagement with your products/collections.
Dedicated Mobile App Webpage
Maximizing your website's real estate to spotlight your mobile app is an effective way to drive app downloads and is another opportunity to convert existing customers into a different kind of customer with higher LTV—mobile app customers.
A page on your website is an easy place to educate your customers about the perks of downloading. You’ll want to highlight:
- Benefits of the app, like exclusive features only available in-app
- Clear instructions on how to download with links to both Apple and Android app stores
- If you can’t host a dedicated webpage, promote the app on the homepage of your website with a header or footer banner.
- Include the webpage in any campaign that only allows for a single URL when needing to promote both apps.
Mobile Website Download Banner
Did you know 70% of all web traffic happens on mobile devices? The mobile download banner serves as a powerful means to drive app downloads organically. This native Tapcart feature can be customized within your Tapcart dashboard, adjusting the copy and call-to-action to highlight the unique benefits of your app or promote your BFCM app-exclusive sale.
Things to keep in mind when leveraging this strategy:
- The mobile web banner is a free app acquisition tool to help capture your mobile audience
- Incentivize customers to download your app using FOMO messaging. For example, “Download the App for EXCLUSIVE Drops!”
- Include promotional App Exclusive copy to help drive customers that are chasing BFCM deals. For example, “Download & Get 15% Off”
- It’s a smart banner, so whether they are on an iPhone or Android device, they’ll be routed to the correct app store to download
Turn your desktop traffic into mobile app aficionados with Capture Kit! With Capture Kit, you can add a pop-up QR code that takes shoppers directly to your mobile app.
There are a ton of places you can leverage this strategy (and they go beyond your website 😉):
- First, customize your QR code in the Tapcart dashboard to match your branding
- Use BFCM promotional copy to incentivize your customers to download the app
- Create a BFCM-themed app icon that will be hosted in the QR code on your website
- Pro-Tip: After creating your custom QR code, download it to add it to your product packaging or put it on cards in customer orders. Given that every shipment boasts a 100% open rate, this strategy provides an excellent opportunity to get customers who have already bought from you into your mobile app, increasing their LTV.
Keep your brand top of mind using a blend of transactional and non-transactional push notifications, to keep the content rich and engaging.
Transactional vs Non-Transactional Push Notifications
Transactional push notifications are centered around promoting your BFCM offers and instilling urgency, nudging users to seize these time-sensitive deals. On the other hand, non-transactional pushes are more about amplifying your brand's voice—whether it's sharing an inspiring message, highlighting your brand's ethos, or simply sending a friendly hey.
Leverage both types of push notifications to:
- Communicate your BFCM promotions to your app users
- Create a sense of urgency to encourage users to take advantage of opportunities before they are gone
- Recommend gift ideas to inspire your customers to complete their holiday shopping
- Announce the start & final hours of time-sensitive promotions
- Incorporate non-transactional messaging into your push strategy. Some examples can be…
- “Thankful for YOU! Without your loyalty, feedback, and support, we wouldn’t be where we are today.”
- “Happy Holidays! From your favorites.”
- “Recharge Your Soul! Release the day’s stress and unwind.”
Acquisition + Retention Strategies
As the festive frenzy of BFCM draws near, merchants find themselves at a crossroads. How do I not only attract new customers but also retain the loyal ones? Both acquisition and retention hold their unique challenges and opportunities, especially during the peak season. But that’s why we’re sharing strategies to acquire and retain those shoppers.
In the final section of our ultimate guide, we're diving into our best practices to accomplish this inside your mobile app. So, whether your goal is to broaden your customer base or strengthen relationships with your current community, our tips on BFCM acquisition and retention promise a festive season that's both profitable and memorable.
A Nielsen study found that 73% of global consumers are willing to change their consumption habits to lessen their negative impact on the environment. If you are a sustainable brand or contribute a portion of sales to eco-conscious non-profits, it’s essential to broadcast your brand’s values. Here’s how you can communicate this during the BFCM season and onward:
- Use push notifications to communicate how your brand is making a positive impact on the environment.
- Highlight your sustainability efforts within the product detail page using a static banner
- Use Shop Pay to attract environmentally conscious consumers and have their purchases contribute to the removal of carbon emissions from the atmosphere.
- Use the cart banner to communicate any carbon-neutral initiatives associated with your brand
Rewards & Loyalty Program
When a loyalty program is part of your brand's toolkit, the BFCM period is the perfect opportunity to amplify appreciation for your top customers with exclusive rewards.
Consider this: What if a reward that typically requires 100 points was accessible for just 50 points during the sale? Rewards like this elevate the VIP experience for your brand loyalists, especially during the holiday season. You can elevate your rewards and loyalty strategy during BFCM by:
- Advertising the BFCM exclusive rewards on your app's homepage
- Giving loyal customers the ability to cash in their loyalty points for BFCM discounts that exceed what an anonymous shopper can access on the store
- Making BFCM loyalty rewards time-sensitive (i.e. do not persist after Cyber Monday) to encourage customers to act
Encourage your customers through push notifications to curate holiday wishlists ahead of BFCM to boost sales. With items they've previously browsed and favorited already on their wishlist, the checkout process becomes more streamlined when those promotions roll out. Here are our best practices when promoting your wishlist feature:
- Remind your customers via push to create a ‘Holiday Wishlist’ or ‘Gift Giving Wishlist’ before the start of BFCM to drive retention
- Offer 24-hour promo codes like WISH20 to encourage customers to purchase items from their wishlist during BFCM
- Use Tapcart’s free shipping calculator to encourage last-minute cart adds from the wishlist module
BFCM Gift Guides
Leverage gift guides to simplify the holiday shopping experience! Within the app's design, introduce a new multi-page titled 'Holiday Gift Guide'. Here, you can not only spotlight your BFCM offers but also curate tailored selections like 'Gifts for Him' or 'Gifts for Her'.
Considering the high pressure and high volume that comes with the BFCM rush, it’s natural that shoppers can be indecisive. Our 2023 BFCM Consumer Shopping Trends Report found that 44% of shoppers have abandoned their cart due to a lengthy or slow checkout. Given this, it's crucial to guarantee your checkout process is not only seamless and user-friendly, but also offers the most popular and efficient payment options. Here’s what we suggest:
Apple Pay: offer a one-click checkout option directly from the PDP
Installment payments: provide at least 1 installment payment option
- Advertise the installment type on your PDP
Web checkout: use web checkout when you want customers to use your Shopify payment page to complete a checkout
Full web checkout: use full Shopify mobile web checkout
- Good for apps that require a custom checkout separate from Tapcart’s native checkout
- Good for apps that want to offer buy online pick up in store options
Want to learn more data-backed key trends about consumer shopping trends this BFCM? Check out our 2023 BFCM Consumer Shopping Trends Report to deepen your understanding of what your shoppers are thinking heading into peak season. In it, you’ll get actionable tips along with key findings that will level up your BFCM strategy and set your business up for success in 2024.