Black Friday/Cyber Monday is now make-or-break as far as Christmas trading is concerned. According to PwC, UK shoppers plan to spend 10% more than last year over the period. This eagerness is bolstered by the fact Black Friday lands on a payday this year.
The National Retail Federation estimates retail sales in November and December will grow between 3.8% and 4.2% compared with a year ago. So with the pressure on, how are savvy retailers making the most of the opportunity?
These Black Friday/Cyber Monday strategies will help you leverage customer appetite and maximise your benefit.
Build your email list
Black Friday falls the day after American Thanksgiving – the unofficial launch of the US Christmas shopping season. This year, it’s 29 November, but the hype started weeks ago. And it’s a valuable opportunity to build your database. Many retailers are rewarding loyalty and encouraging newsletter sign-ups by offering ‘VIP Early Access’ to people on their email list.
By capturing customer attention and learning more about their preferences now – when they’re eager to spend – you gain vital data to help with relationship-building and personalisation down the line.
You can also use those early sign-ups to drive people from sofa to store. Although many of the early Black Friday/Cyber Monday offers are online only, it’s worth to consider offering additional discounts that can only be redeemed in store.
Personalise the customer experience – in store and online
Fashion is a prime example of this.
Black Friday coincides with Christmas party season preparation, and we’re seeing more retailers promoting ‘self-gifting’ in the form of new partywear and make-up. Last year, John Lewis reported a 13.1% spike in fashion and beauty sales during this time. And 29% of UK shoppers say they intend to buy clothing or shoes during the promotional period.
It’s therefore worth giving your customers as much support as possible – and personalisation is key. Here are 4 examples of how retailers are successfully personalising the customer experience:
- Free personal styling services – these are on the rise, with John Lewis, Marks & Spencer, Debenhams, River Island, Topshop and Dorothy Perkins among the retailers offering it free to customers. In the Instagram age, it’s a popular way for customers to navigate an overwhelming shop floor/website, boost satisfaction with purchases – and ultimately increase spending.
- Curated edits – for example, John Lewis has garnered media attention with its 12 Dresses of Christmas campaign. And Marks & Spencer offers personalised online edits through its Try Tuesday service.
- Wish lists – with media attention on sustainability, there’s been much talk of the ‘buy fewer, buy better’ approach. Online wish list functions allow customers to save items they’re interested in so they can focus their purchasing when Black Friday comes around. It’s a quick-win for retailers given the proportion of online spending has increased 17.9% from 2018, but, surprisingly, many don’t offer it.
- Location-triggered offers – via SMS or push notifications using geolocation data, these can convince a customer near your store to walk through the door.
Take customer support multichannel
With more traffic to your website, more people ringing up and more people roaming your shop floor, it’s worth expanding your self-service functions to manage questions and issues.
Can you automate certain interactions with your IVR system? This could include deflecting calls to alternate digital channels. Can you integrate AI into your chatbots? Are there new articles you can put on your website to answer FAQs?
Getting the structure in place now will help boost engagement and satisfaction when the pressure is on.
Plan your ongoing engagement now
A customer is for life, not just for Christmas. It’s easy to get caught up in the festive period busyness, but it’s worth planning your post-Christmas customer journeys now.
What can you prepare using new insight on Black Friday/Christmas campaign engagement and purchasing trends? What elements of the journey can you optimise based on new bottlenecks that are coming to light? In what new ways can you wow people in 2020?
It’s the most wonderful time of the year for customer engagement – so don’t miss the opportunity to incorporate Black Friday lessons into your ongoing strategy.