Love it or hate it, the American phenomenon is here to stay, with many British brands cashing in on the pre-Christmas craze to secure high sales during the busy holiday season.
With 26 per cent of UK retailers expecting Black Friday to be the most profitable day of the year, it’s no surprise that in 2016, 50 per cent of them have had Black Friday and Christmas marketing campaigns in place since August. Last year saw digital strike a resounding blow on the seasonal shopping front, as shoppers took to the internet to make the most of the Black Friday savings. In fact, a study by ChannelAdvisor found that 62 per cent of UK retailers claim Facebook is the top social platform for sales conversions, with sponsored posts for promotions and deals the most popular strategy for making those customer connections. With the well-documented shopping phenomenon promising packed, noisy, and sold out stores, it’s no wonder that consumers are taking advantage of the online deals from their sofas, and social media allows brands to get right into the palms of their potential customer leads.
Millennials On Mobile (Again!)
And the quest to be more and more accessible is taking brands right into their customer’s pockets. In an international survey conducted by One Hour Translation, they found that millennials are once again leading the mobile shopping charge, with 29 per cent of the 18-34 year olds surveyed intending to buy online on Black Friday. This year in particular is seeing a particular focus on mobile. While desktop remains the top choice for browsing products online, one in three shoppers are now using mobile websites or apps to make purchases.
66 per cent of UK retailers now offer a mobile app for Christmas purchases made on the move (ChannelAdvisor). Real-time data marketing platform Signal reports that millennials are four times more likely to shop for gifts on their mobile devices. And while older consumers may be less likely to shop on their smartphones than Generation Y, they’re not necessarily averse to taking this step. Signal’s study also found that even consumers who didn’t regularly shop on mobile might be more likely to if they were offered mobile-specific discounts (30 per cent) and easier purchasing processes, like one-click purchasing or buy online/pick up in store (20 per cent).
Smoothing Over The Sales Process
Neil Joyce, SVP, Americas, UK & EMEA at Signal, says: “Retailers need to focus on their digital strategies, especially as they firm up plans for Black Friday […] how desktop experiences can complement in-store experiences, and vice versa, to give consumers the options to shop how they want, where they want, and increase chances of making the sale.” Although mobile is still a newcomer to the field of making those online purchases, brands should make sure that the process is as smooth as possible to encourage consumers to commit to that sale wherever they might be, or however they may be browsing. “Retailers should consider how to take friction out of the mobile experience to better serve customers on the go, especially as mobile-loving millennials continue to gain buying power.”
Beating The Bargain Blues
It’s no secret that Black Friday has received some pretty negative associations over the years. Reports of stampedes and damaged shop fronts from the heavy crowds have left some consumers cold at the thought of partaking in this boisterous shopping day. Chris Baldwin, head of UK marketing, Selligent, comments: “36 per cent of us Brits [have] no interest in adopting the sales practice from our American cousins.” Faced with such opposition, there is a need for “retailers and brands [to] convert the sceptics, to gain a bigger share of the pumpkin pie”.
Going The Extra Mile
Since a lot of Black Friday’s negative impression lies in its somewhat intrusive and aggressive marketing and promotional techniques, one of the sure-fire ways to bridge this gap of customer uncertainty is through personalisation. “Utilizing customer data to intelligently target customers with a one-to-one approach is guaranteed to increase conversion by adding value to your customer base, by only offering relevant products and services.” Says Baldwin. By investing in your customer engagement, and making the individual consumer feel valued by your brand, is a sure-fire way to engage users in conversations which are not only relevant, but continue after the Black Friday rush has died down, wining your brand a greater market share.
Being proactive is the key to bringing the more cynical consumers on board with the Black Friday trend. “If retailers want to win over Black Friday weekend, they must not simply rely on consumers coming to them directly.” Continues Baldwin. “By creating data-led, relevant marketing at a one-to-one level, brands can fully take advantage of this American shopping trend, in a way that adds value for the customer, and helps themselves get back in the black.”