November 4, 2021

Black Friday: 3 Key Trends For International Ecommerce | FlavorCloud

Have you noticed 2021 holiday goods and gifts promoted early this year? Even before Halloween merchandise hit the shelves, some retailers were already messaging holiday.

A previous Digital Commerce 360’s retailer survey found 59% of merchants had intended to start 2021 holiday marketing in October or before. And Black Friday is following suit.

Is it just about driving more and more sales? Probably, and why not? Pandemic fatigue means even more of us are ready to splurge on indulgences and gifts after long months of saying no to meals out, vacations, and a social life!

But there’s more at play. Supply chain problems are in the news, and people are worried about getting their purchases delivered in time for the holidays. Earlier ordering, of course, means less risk (and there’s plenty FlavorCloud can do to make that easier for you).

There’s a lot to consider, but let’s focus on 3 key trends that have particular relevance for international ecommerce sales around Black Friday.

Trend 1: Longer deal periods, starting sooner

Black Friday isn’t the one single day of mega-discounts it used to be. Merchants—in-store and online—are offering extended event windows, starting earlier and giving consumers more time to buy. No surprise, really, given that the holiday season sales are predicted to reach nearly $760 billion.

Lead up events, ‘Deal Days,’ ‘Beat the crowd offers’: whatever marketers and merchants call ‘em, sound a lot like one long Black Friday… Take, for example, the world’s biggest online retailer, launched “Black Friday-worthy” deals on October 4th. Cunning.

Gabrielle Pastorek, retail analyst at, puts it well: “We’re definitely seeing Black Friday get stretched longer and longer. It’s almost like the few weeks before Black Friday, and then the few weeks after Cyber Monday are all just being mashed into one big sale.”


  • If you haven’t already, now is the time to start opening up deals
  • Like, RIGHT NOW!
  • Consider attention-grabbing pre-Black Friday events to get customers clicking
  • Try placing compelling deals (gifts, indulgences) in easy view: on your home page, near to high necessity goods

Trend 2. FREE International shipping

The pandemic has driven more consumers online, where searching for better deals (fast and easily) is part of the process. Customers aren’t just demanding great deals; they expect them.

And that goes for delivery too. Free Shipping offers are becoming more common. It’s the Amazon effect (again!): get exactly what you want, super-fast and delivered for free.

If you balk at the idea of free international shipping, consider this­—black Friday 2020 global sales more than doubled 2019’s figures, according to commerce marketing experts Criteo—up a staggering 168%.

If you want a slice of that festive pie, FREE overseas shipping could be the value add that converts customers at checkout.


  • Offering FREE international shipping could be the single most important thing you can do to increase your Black Friday sales.
  • There are other ways: free international shipping above a threshold purchase amount or specific flat-rate discounts as a Black Friday promotion
  • If you have FlavorCloud installed in your checkout, it’s incredibly easy to set up free international shipping or bespoke offers.

Early Order Alert! In case you missed it before, supply chain problems are a big problem for international shipping right now. So, encouraging customers to order early is vital, and getting your deals out there ASAP could help push your conversion rate.

Trend 3. The importance of Mobile

Those increasing numbers of online shoppers are also getting a lot more mobile in their habits: spending more time on social media, making spontaneous purchases on phones, tablets, and apps.

Wilson Kerr, vice president of business development and sales at Unbound Commerce says: “Retailers with custom landing pages and mobile-specific user experiences will reap the biggest rewards this Black Friday via higher than average conversion rates.”

Tracked email promotions, for example, are often opened on mobile devices. Landing on a mobile-optimized page (as opposed to a glitchy or text-heavy shadow of your main site) could make the difference between engagement and conversion or giving up and filing it in the trash.

The trend for mobile shopping is only going to get bigger. Many merchants are making mobile the key focus for growth. So, as well as ironing out any glitches for Black Friday and the holiday season 2021, online sellers should give mobile some real investment for the future.


  • Optimize your mobile experience as far as possible—for smartphones, tablets, and apps
  • Create custom landing pages and a mobile-specific experience
  • Where you can, personalize digital experiences, e.g., for different age groups (color schemes, letter sizing—think easy browsing)
  • If all you have time for now is ironing out the glitches, put mobile optimization on your TO DO list for 2022


To sum up, if you haven’t already got your Black Friday deals and promotions out there, what are you waiting for? The best advice I can offer is: act now, offer Free International Shipping (or at least a Black Friday shipping discount—remember, FlavorCloud can help), and check how your store’s performing on mobile.

Good luck!

If you want to know more about the world’s largest carrier network and best-negotiated shipping prices and routes, please get in touch at:

Anna Byun

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FlavorCloud Team

Making international shipping easy