A whopping 46% of shoppers intend to shop online, while only 10% will be shopping solely in store this Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Your ecommerce store may be due for a bump!
What is Black Friday?
It’s a tradition, rather than a holiday, that hails from the United States. The day after the Thanksgiving holiday, where retailers typically offer steep discounts to kick off the Christmas season. Famed for the incidents that happen as shoppers fight (quite literally) for the best deals.
In the UK, traditionally, Black Friday is the Friday before Christmas where the police and ambulance services experience their busiest shifts. However, in 2010, Amazon brought the shopping event to the UK when they launched their Black Friday deals. It didn’t truly take off in the UK until Walmart-owned Asda took part in 2013.
Today many retailers participate in a Black Friday that now spans further than just the Friday after Thanksgiving. Often, we see deals lasting the entire month of November, not to mention on Cyber Monday.
Is it worth participating?
There is no doubt, the event has drawn buyers in during the month of November. Lets look at the numbers.
It’s interesting to see from the stats generated by finder.com. The overall spend is reducing but the number of shoppers looking to participate in Black Friday is increasing (from 33% in 2021 to 39% in 2022).
More impressively is the split between those shopping online and offline. A whopping 46% of Black Friday and Cyber Monday shoppers will be making their purchases online, while only 10% will shop solely in store.
What are the Pros of Participating in Black Friday?
Ok, so you’re thinking, I know, that’s obvious! Hear me out for a second, because these sales shouldn’t just be sales to hit your target. They should be incremental and incremental should mean profitable. If you can hit your forecast then your business should be in a good place, once you move into the realm of incremental sales then you benefit from scale and volume.
Marketing Plan Ideas: Discounts or free shipping.
Two words. Black Friday. These can be very powerful if you have the right plan in place. Two key elements of digital marketing: Volume & Intent and targeting Black Friday in the appropriate way can bring a significant amount of volume and a lot of intent.
If you can ride the wave of Black Friday but may not get the sales then rest assured that the traffic being driven to your site is filling the top of the funnel, building brand awareness which in the long terms can be invaluable. However, its critical you maintain that visibility with users who visit your site after the main event for you to eventually capitalise on it.
Marketing Plan Ideas: Paid Search, Organic Search Rankings, Remarketing and email list building.
It’s a well-known fact that acquisition of a customer is often more expensive than retention. You would be right to say that during Black Friday, acquiring a customer can be very expensive but I would encourage you to look at the long-term gain. The opportunity Black Friday brings to attract customers who may never have come across your store is not to be underestimated, securing those customers and setting yourself up to implement a killer retention strategy will lead to great returns down the stretch.
Marketing Plan Ideas: Great customer experience, email marketing, remarketing, loyalty schemes.
What are the cons of participating in Black Friday?
Discounts and Margins
Black Friday shoppers have become so accustomed to seeing or expecting large discounts that this may drive pressure on margins. “Is 5% enough?, everyone else if offering 15%-20%. I’m going to have to offer 25% to compete” it’s natural to have this thought process and often right. You need to stand out from the crowd. It’s important to understand if this is sustainable. Can your margins take it, are the potential gains of acquiring that customer worth some ‘investment’ upfront. Only you can answer that question.
Crowded and Competitive
It can be very tempting to chase the volume but if you aren’t strategic about how you target you can end up spending an awful lot of money for no return.
Think about this, you look at channels and paid search volumes are high if you target terms like: Black Friday shopping or Black Friday 2022. These terms are going to be dominated by companies with large budgets looking to be seen by the masses, costing you a lot of money in wasted advertising revenue. Instead, look at the channels you use, focus on your target audience and operate your campaign where they are, and where you can find some space in the market.
Even with that in mind all channels will likely be more congested and your cost per acquisition is likely to be higher than normal.
Black Friday Strategies and tips to consider
Here are some strategies you can consider for your ecommerce store this Black Friday. However, before you start, I encourage you to: Have a plan, be strategic, know your financials and don’t switch off when Black Friday is over.
- Offer Big Discounts – Probably the most obvious but you can be strategic about this. Maybe you have aged inventory that costs you more than the discount will, or you are launching a product that requires strong awareness and some investment.
- Focus on a segment of customers – Focus on your most valuable segment of customers. For example, you may want to only provide offers to your big spenders, loyal customers or subscribers. Go big on discounts for them to support strong retention and a higher lifetime value.
- Get your site working well – The last thing you want is to drive traffic that has an awful experience and doesn’t convert. Welcome to the world of conversion rate optimisation. Make the user journey as frictionless as possible ensure site performance is strong and ready to handle the traffic.
- Optimise for Mobile – Often we see a split of 70/30 in favour of mobile traffic. Ensure your users experience on mobile is the best it possible can be by taking a mobile first approach. Make sure your analytics is running and tracking everything necessary to provide you insights and allow you to improve.
- Invest in customer retention – Is there a loyalty scheme you can put in place? Often customers who redeem loyalty points spend more than those who don’t. Utilise email and a loyalty programme to boost customer retention and profitability.
- Cross Sell and Upsell Is your Friend – Don’t forget the headline offer will often attract a user, and if you execute your campaign correctly will convert that user to a customer. However, you can maximise profitability by implementing cross sell and upsell tactics, so users purchase additional items at regular pricing or lower discounts.
- Buy Now, Pay Later – Something of significant importance, especially in the current economic client. Being able to spread the cost of a purchase, especially of a high value item will encourage a user to purchase there and then. This is good practice year-round.
It’s important that you consider whether your business or products lend themselves to Black Friday. Think about how you separate yourself from your competition. If that’s not possible consider if Black Friday is for you.
Consider your positioning, do you need to participate in Black Friday? Think about Apple, known for never discounting. It’s not been detrimental to them.
With that being said, for the majority of ecommerce stores, Black Friday presents an opportunity for growth. My advice would be to ensure you have a plan, execute it well and utilise the experts where necessary.