Black Friday once meant lines of people wrapped around stores at sunrise and overflowing to the streets, shoppers fighting over the last few products, and crowds so loud and large that you were constantly shoulder-to-shoulder with fellow shoppers for that amazing new pair of shoes or gaming console with slashed prices.
But with worldwide eCommerce sales increasing 46% since 2019, hitting almost $4.9 billion in 2021, sales like Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Boxing Day have changed significantly. Black Friday in particular has transformed and morphed into a typical promotional period every November. It now spans multiple days, starting earlier and lasting longer, resulting in a loss of the original sense of urgency. Some retailers utilise month-long promotions, while others stick to the traditional 24-hour period. The longer promotional period seems to have been exacerbated by 2020.
After the ballooning of Black Friday in 2020, we don’t expect to see it bounce back to the original one-day event. Black Friday as a multi-day event is here to stay in 2021 for the majority of retailers, and customers are starting to expect it.
In America in 2020, many popular items were out of stock online before the sun rose on Black Friday. Users know that they can buy online at midnight when many sales begin, getting ahead of the curb and snagging up those deals before the physical doors even open. We anticipate online sales for Black Friday will continue to surge in 2021 and beyond, particularly as more retailers have opened online stores in the past 18 months.
A trend that has emerged is the ‘leaking’ of promos as early as October. Retailers have promoted their Black Friday deals early, hinting at particular price slashes in a bid to increase anticipation, build buzz and create more demand for their brand. If people know what they could be saving, they wait eagerly and prepare to be online as soon as those sales begin.
With so many physical stores shifting online in the past 18 months, there will be more fierce competition online. Which means online marketing efforts will also be more competitive.
Although, despite the trend to shop online, 31% still prefer to shop in-store on Black Friday because of the overall excitement of the day and the ‘hunt’ for the perfect bargain.
With 99% of email users checking their inbox every day (and some checking 20 times a day), email is an important channel for continuing to reach and engage customers for Black Friday. Ideally, you would already have a large usable email list. If not, we recommend prioritising the growth of your email list by creating an opt-in with a Black Friday theme and offering first access to deals or a free shipping coupon in exchange for their name and email.
Scheduling your emails is important as people are most likely to check their inbox either just before or after they arrive at work, around their lunch break, and when they finish work.
Importantly, don’t leave these emails until the day before. They should be landing in inboxes weeks before Black Friday to build anticipation and ensure people have the day marked on their calendar, with your store as a top priority.
Ensure you also send an email towards the end of the promotion with a sense of urgency in the subject heading i.e., ‘Only 12 hours left of Black Friday prices. Get your deals before it’s too late’.
Abandoned cart emails are always a good idea. So it makes sense we’d be suggesting it for Black Friday. In fact, creating cart abandonment emails turns out to be one of the most significant strategies for online businesses. Reminding customers of the deals they haven’t yet purchased is a powerful way to gain them back and guide them through the checkout process.
Australians also respond positively to SMS communication from brands, with high open rates across the board. Let your customers know the sale has begun, or will be starting tomorrow, with an SMS message. Don’t go overboard with this though, no one likes spam on their phone.
Audio engagement travels with consumers where visuals can’t go with 7 of 10 listeners able to correctly identify a brand after hearing an audio advertisement. Audio ads on channels such as Spotify provide an excellent opportunity to deliver targeting audio ads where visuals can’t go, reaching people while they are engaged with their favourite music or podcasts. Also, this channel is easier to use than you might think.
Tap into your paid marketing channels to get the word across before the day. A Black Friday campaign can be run through paid media channels from 2-4 weeks before the sales start. Keep the messaging clear, concise and focused on the promotion / offering. This can be specific or vague, promoting either ‘massive deals to be revealed on the day’, or ‘20% off our bedroom range this Black Friday’. Google Display, YouTube, Facebook and other awareness channels are ideal to utilise in the weeks leading up to the promotion, while Google Search needs to be front and centre on the day as people search for your products or brand.
And finally, bringing it back to where it all began, a competition between retailers to see who could offer customers the best deals. This is truly what customers are searching for during this promotional period, they want to see who is offering the most remarkable sales. So, consider your business, what stock you really need to move and what you can offer that would be remarkable for your customers. This is different for each brand. For example, if you’re known as a brand that never has a sale, then 15% is a remarkable sale. If you’re a brand that frequently holds sales and promotions, you may be expected to step it up a notch by your customer base. Consider your brand, your business and what makes sense from a profitability standpoint.