BTS of a Record-Breaking BFCM: 5 Winning Mobile App Strategies that helped drive $101.4M in App Sales

Throughout the week-long global shopping holiday, brands with mobile apps saw remarkable BFCM results. In this blog, we dive into high-level learnings and winning app marketing strategies that will continue to see a return in 2024 & beyond.

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Black Friday Cyber Monday (BFCM) 2023 put up impressive numbers! This holiday season resulted in a record-setting year for Shopify merchants, generating $9.3 billion in sales, a 24% increase from 2022. Despite economic pressures from an ongoing recession, consumers wasted no time taking advantage of BFCM incentives like big discounts and flexible payment options

The largest driver of online BFCM sales came from mobile devices, accounting for $5.3 billion of all online sales this BFCM season, a 10.4% increase from 2022. In fact, 61 million consumers who purchased through Shopify businesses spent 60,873,923 minutes, and their hard-earned cash to take advantage of the best BFCM deals through Tapcart-powered mobile apps. Tapcart apps processed $101.4 million in sales this year, a 55% increase from 2022. The takeaway? Your consumers are on mobile, and they expect an elevated shopping experience that makes it convenient to stay close to your brand. 

2023 was a record breaking year for Tapcart x Shopify merchants

This mobile app success is due primarily to brands harnessing many of Tapcart’s mobile app marketing best practices. These tried-and-true strategies can elevate the mobile shopping experience and the customer buying journey for holiday shoppers — as well as help your brand stand out from the crowd. Tapcart saw many merchants leverage features like targeted push notifications to boost engagement, Custom Blocks to create personalized shopping experiences, and in-app exclusives to drive mobile app success. 

Here’s a sneakpeek of a few Tapcart features that helped merchants reach BFCM goals:

  • Tailored push campaigns: 27 million global shoppers received customized push notifications for seasonal promotions. 
  • Custom Blocks: Merchants built over 13 million Custom Blocks to deliver unique branded shopping experiences. 
  • In-app exclusives: Merchants drove 38,086,766 app sessions (59% increase from 2022) and 950,021 in total orders (57% increase from 2022). 
Our customers saw incredible year-over-year growth in their Tapcart apps in about every metric, which is a testament to the merchant's hard work and planning 💪

Now, let’s dive deeper into Tapcart merchants’ success stories and the winning app best practices & marketing strategies that helped them reach their goals:  

Volcom leverages push notifications to drive long-term success 

Volcom, a skate, surf, & snowboarding lifestyle fashion, saw an impressive increase in app sales over BFCM and still feels the afterglow from its strategy. Over the last 30 days, Volcom's total in-app sales increased 1,290%, and nearly 18% of their total sales are now coming through the app. This success resulted from a strategy of promoting the app for only a few weeks with tailored BFCM push notifications driving engagement.

Volcom also marketed its app through email campaigns, adding mobile download banners to its website and on Instagram. An omnichannel mindset like this drives better app adoption and incremental revenue from leveraging Tapcart’s push notification engine. Volcom also took advantage of the Searchspring integration, which leverages personalized data to power in-app search and PLP merchandising solutions to boost conversion.

Why are push notifications so valuable? According to our 2023 BFCM Consumer Shopping Trends Report, customers are more likely to elicit a purchase via a deal with a mobile app compared to other channels. What stands out from our research is that push notifications outperform other channels in driving purchases and converting more efficiently than SMS and social & online ads.

Shoppers indicate that relative to reach, mobile app push notifications are:

  • 181.5% more likely to elicit a purchase than paid ads
  • 94.9% more likely to elicit a purchase than SMS

These push notifications drive instant spikes in traffic and conversions, but also can help offset high customer acquisition costs (CAC). And if you’re willing to get creative like Volcom, your marketing efforts to drive app downloads can lead to a long-term cohort of customers who are eager to get their hands on your next product. 

After the holiday rush, the Courtney Meehan, the Digital Marketing Director at Volcom, shared with the Tapcart team that their daily average user traffic is increasing at a steady rate post-BFCM with their increased brand exposure from promoting their app during the BFCM season, ultimately leading to a long-term return rather than a temporary spike.” We love to hear it!

Integration Shoutout: Searchspring An in-app search and PLP merchandising solution in mobile apps that offers customers a more personalized shopping experience.

Volcom's omnichannel marketing strategy, specifically by leveraging push notifications, helped  drive engagement, incremental revenue, and foster loyalty with their VIP customers

LSKD’s webstore blackout built huge consumer demand

LSKD, a high-quality sportswear brand, generated  40% of their BFCM sales through their mobile app. In the first 24 hours, LSKD made $3.4M in app sales, kicking off the Cyber Week with an explosive head start. All in all, LSKD drove 22,000 new app installs and witnessed a staggering 400% surge in sessions thanks to their mobile app marketing. 

So what’s the deal with LSKD’s brilliant mobile app marketing strategy? LSKD temporarily closed both the app and website right before BFCM, only to reopen at 12 AM PST, which created serious demand and hype. Fun fact: this is actually the second time LSKD has executed this BFCM demand-hack strategy. As a result, LSKD secured the #2 spot on the App Store Rankings in 2023 and #1 in 2022.

This turned out to be a genius app promotion strategy. Driving mobile app downloads and converting shoppers to a mobile app channel is the first part. The LSKD team thinks ahead to make sure the mobile app is efficiently optimized to scale retention and feed that funnel. LSKD leverages the integration with Yotpo to optimize loyalty and rewards programs for merchants designed to retain your VIP customers better.

LSKD’s customers' high engagement and enthusiasm is a result of their creative mobile app marketing strategy

Brown Sugar Babe personalizes the shopping experience with Custom Blocks “Build a Box” 

Brown Sugar Babe, a skincare & aromatherapy brand, kicked off its sales earlier than most at midnight, Friday, November 17th, with a new BFCM-themed app logo design. Brown Sugar Babe started strong with a boost of $73,000 in-app sales, which continued throughout the week with an impressive $275,000 in new app sales (and counting). This month is shaping up to be Brown Sugar Babe's most lucrative to date. 

The Brown Sugar Babe team leveraged app strategies to drive engagement and app adoption. They launched a campaign of targeted push notifications that acted as a catalyst to build hype for the app exclusives. Their online presence was amplified through strategically placed website banners with Tapcart’s Capture Kit, driving more mobile app downloads for those who didn’t already have the app downloaded. They also rolled out a personalization via a custom "build a box" Custom Block, delivering an on-brand, interactive element to the shopping experience. Brown Sugar Babe also implemented a gift-with-purchase strategy to tie a ribbon around this app-exclusive strategy. In addition, the brand uses the Gorgias in-app help desk to increase customer satisfaction by instantly answering questions.

The Brown Sugar Babe team promoted the app across marketing channels to drive engagement and app adoption

Sunday Swagger leverages in-app exclusives and saw a serious return 

Sunday Swagger began their annual early access for BFCM exclusively through their mobile app on the evening of Thursday, November 16th at 7 pm PST. Consumers who participated in their app’s exclusive promo were given first access to 13 new products with the help of targeted push notifications directing customers to check out the “New Arrivals” collection. This approach resulted in a record-breaking single highest sale day to date, later opening up their BFCM sales to all other channels. 

The ripple effect of this campaign extended beyond sales performance, driving 1,354 new app downloads since the 17th. This impact can also be seen in Sunday Swagger’s 82% surge in daily active users, a 107% uptick in sessions since the sale began, and a 25% increase in the app conversion rate. Sunday Swagger complemented their early access strategy with a multi-page gift guide and a brand refresh where they updated the app icon and launch screen to build BFCM hype.

Kyle Moloo, Director of Ecommerce at Sunday Swagger, says, "I'm proud of our Gift Guide multi-page and love how easy it was to build (as opposed to our website gift guide landing page, which took considerably more time to put together). We also released 13 new products (~1/day) between 11/17 and 11/27 — giving our app users first access to each via push notifications that led directly to our New Arrivals collection."

Sunday Swagger also leveraged the power of push notifications to boost app engagement and send alerts directly to their community of VIP customers. Whether it was about the BFCM sale arriving, free shipping, a $15 gift with purchase, the gift guide, or simply saying hello, the Sunday Swagger loyal customer cohort is easily able to convert with push. The brand powers push notifications with the Klaviyo integration, which can automate, segment, and personalize push notifications to generate more mobile app sales — all in a centralized platform with email and SMS.

Sunday Swagger complemented their early access strategy with a multi-page gift guide and a brand refresh where they updated the app icon and launch screen to build BFCM hype

ASRV leveraged in-app exclusives to drive hype and incentivize downloads

Pro Tip: Brands that started sooner didn’t run out of juice.  ASRV, a trend-setting men’s fashion brand known for its premium, high-performance shorts, joggers, and bags, increased sales by 13% in 2023 from 2022 by implementing a few app-exclusive strategies. Mobile app exclusives is sure-fire way to drive hype and incentivize downloads, and BFCM is no exception.

To kick off peak season, ASRV launched their 60% off sale one day early in the app for their VIP customers. On Black Friday, the brand dropped an exclusive limited edition product in the app, which increased single-day sales by 171%. As a result of the app's exclusive early access to the BFCM sale and exclusive product drop, the total app sales from the start of their early access to Cyber Monday hit a record $1.04 million.

ASRV was able to reach this milestone by strategically promoting the app. Leading up to Cyber Week, they used Custom Blocks to create a branded countdown timer to drive awareness and engagement for users. When the sale was about to launch, they promoted the app-exclusives in email and push notification campaigns — one early access push saw a 30% open rate, $163k in sales, 3.7% CVR, and 691 orders. This BFCM reflects their commitment to exploring new avenues for mobile app growth, which quickly translated into success. 

ASRV impressive BFCM success reflects their commitment to omnichannel marketing by exploring new avenues for mobile app growth. 

Looking ahead to 2024 and beyond

This year’s BFCM was truly one for the books. From the record-setting BFCM stats, to the many Tapcart customers who delivered next-level app experiences through Tapcart’s Mobile App Best Practices. This year hallmarked how forward-thinking strategies can drive meaningful results, Tapcart’s BFCM data also shows how there’s room for every industry and vertical to partake in mobile apps as a channel strategy: 

No matter the industry and vertical, modern consumers prefer to buy on mobile devices and mobile apps are key to scaling your ecommerce business

According to this data, the modern shopper wants a unique and immersive experience from their favorite brands, regardless of a specific industry. Shoppers want a convenient and elevated mobile shopping experience that makes it easy to stay close to your brand. To meet your shopper's digital expectations, you need to be where customers are — and that’s on mobile. If one thing is clear, global consumers prefer to buy on mobile devices: consumer spending on mobile resulted in 74% of checkouts happening during BFCM on a mobile phone versus 26% on a desktop.

These smart brands are implementing a mobile app into their BFCM omnichannel strategy, not just for the revenue spike but also for long-term business growth. Taking advantage of this peak shopping season to drive more app adoption will turn excited holiday shoppers into long-term brand advocates. This is a strategic play because a mobile app is an efficient channel to foster loyalty with better communication and a sense of community. Innovative brands understand that mobile apps strengthen customer relationships and effectively increase brand awareness.

Again, cheers to the Shopify x Tapcart merchants who crushed it this year. We love seeing all the creative ways teams leveraged Tapcart’s mobile app best practices to break BFCM records. 

Want to learn how an app can fit into your marketing strategy and drive loyalty in the long run? Let’s chat.

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