In the US, this year Black Friday 2021 falls on Friday, 26th November (the day after the US Thanksgiving). The event marks the first day of the new shopping season and on this day, both online and in-store retailers offer special discounts and deals.
Black Friday is part of Cyber Week and often starts on the Monday preceding Black Friday, and lasts until Cyber Monday (29th November).
According to Forbes, a report by Sensormatic Solutions predicted that Black Friday (in the US market) is likely to have one of the busiest shopping days in the upcoming Holiday season.
Apart from the US, other regions also tune in to reap the rewards of this annual event. For instance, Sales Layer reported that in the UK, the average spending during Black Friday “is around £315 per person in both online and brick-and-mortar stores.” The article goes on to explain that the most popular categories for Black Friday shoppers are clothing, cosmetics and perfumes, jewellery, shoes, and electronics.
Black Friday 2021 will be an opportune time for e-commerce retailers to boost sales and attract new customers, while keeping existing ones engaged. Stores that find themselves unprepared for this event face a colossal loss which includes reduced customer loyalty and loss of potential revenue.
2021 marks the second holiday season we’ve experienced since the global pandemic struck – what does this mean for Black Friday? According to Bjoern Petersen, (President of Sensormatic Solutions) although we still live in a ‘COVID-19’ world – advancements like vaccine availability worldwide and retailers providing stringent health and safety measures have meant that consumers are more comfortable being in public spaces than they were during the 2020 holiday season.
Here are some interesting Black Friday 2020 statistics (US) supplied by AI-powered e-commerce Optimisation software, Apptus:
- Black Friday online shopping increased by 22% year-on-year, up to $9 billion globally
- 49% of consumers shop online now more than they did pre-COVID
- 52% of shoppers took advantage of early deals, often starting in October
- The average conversion rate was up by 3.8% in 2020, compared to 2019
With this in mind, here are some ways e-commerce retailers can best prepare for Black Friday 2021.
5 E-Commerce Revenue-Boosting Tips for Black Friday 2021
- Be Prepared
Given that consumers start planning for deals as early as October, stores should engage throughout the year with their customers so that by the time Black Friday comes around – shoppers will be more receptive to their Black Friday 2021 discounts.
As well as this, retailers need to specifically prepare for this shopping season months in advance by having a checklist that includes the following questions:
- What products should we create discounts for?
- What is the range of prices for each item?
- When will we start running discounts/deals and for how long?
- Where and how will we publicize our deals?
- How will content be distributed to push our deals and which platforms will be used?
According to the National Retail Federation, deals that are ‘too good to pass up’ is the main reason consumers shop during Black Friday. Consequently, a checklist that includes but is not limited to the above will allow you to prepare adequately.
2. Provide A Good Customer Experience
This holiday season, competitive spirits will run high among retailers. E-commerce brands that are able to offer shoppers a shopping experience second to none are the ones that will win the race.
Your customer experience should not only anticipate the needs of shoppers but be able to answer their questions to their satisfaction. These days consumers want speed from their preferred channel. It’s the most important factor in their interactions with businesses and users are increasingly turning to Live Chat because they find it more convenient.
Consumers decide where to buy based on brands’ communication channels. According to this Forrester study, 68% of the respondents indicated that, if they could choose where to make a purchase, they would more likely go with the business that offered convenient communications.
Shoppers crave an experience that is efficient and personalized. Following from this, we recommend that for Black Friday 2021, businesses should invest in their communications technology. This should include an omnichannel platform that is able to handle a surge of customers’ enquiries at different touchpoints.
3. Segment Your Email List
Sending a generic email to all your customers announcing discounts with no thought of what users actually need is not a good idea. Just because a product is cheap does not mean it’s going to attract visitors. Instead segment your email list based on items your customers have bought in the past, or that are similar to products they have purchased.
Make use of your customers’ behavior on your site to send them more relevant email product recommendations that can lift your click-through rate, conversion rate, and revenue.
One way to segment your audience is to create a list for people who have purchased from a particular brand and category within the last three to six months.
Another good idea is to use persuasive and engaging content to build interest on your Black Friday promotions before the event itself. Shoppers have been known to start planning for holiday deals in October. So engaging your users with your Black Friday 2021 offers in October is a good way to ensure your brand stays on their mind, and they will be more likely to turn to your store for holiday discounts.
4. Discount and Promote Smart
When deciding what price point to fix your deals, you’ll need to balance pleasing your customers with profitability and being competitive.
Our economic environment is still trying to heal from the wounds inflicted by COVID-19. During these uncertain times the temptation to cut prices, and keep costs low so there’s a higher chance products fly off the shelves is tempting – but it’s not a good long-term plan. Reason being, it will be much harder to sell at full price further down the line.
This season is also an optimal time to bring out new lines in popular products. Using data like sales analytics, it’s in your best interest to research which product lines to extend before Black Friday, so you can build attractive promotional campaigns around them.
It’s also good practice to analyze what the shopping trends are and to offer deals on products that are festive-friendly. For this, bear in mind that while general Black Friday trends can remain more or less the same, i.e. demand for items like electronics and clothing – each year will be unique. So mix general Black Friday trends with the trend results from the current year.
5. Fine-tune Your Online Store
Statistics show that although Black Friday brings with it a surge in visits to physical stores – with about 61% choosing to shop online, it is mainly an online event.
Many things could go wrong for an online store on Black Friday, e.g. a slow-loading website or a payment process loaded with issues. The crux of the matter is, Black Friday will bring an influx of traffic to your site which is likely to lead to a few issues. However, to minimize the number of digital mishaps, do the following:
- Install a streamlined payment process and test it
- Offer different payment methods (e.g. PayPal, bank cards, etc.)
- Optimize your website’s loading time and ensure it will be able to handle the traffic spike
- Check your website is mobile-friendly
- Make it easy for visitors to search and find what they are looking for
- Have your customer service outlets ready
As Black Friday 2021 draws closer, these five tips will help prepare your e-commerce store for its ‘big outing’. You may need to make adjustments based on the needs and requirements of your store. Remember that just like last year, retailers that take an omnichannel approach will reap the rewards. Therefore, brands should leverage and optimize all touch points to ensure that Black Friday orders and deliveries meet customers’ needs.
On the matter of software, ensure that you cut out a lot of the grind by automating certain tasks.
Approach Black Friday as an opportunity to highlight your brand to new visitors and retain your loyal customers – good luck!
Image credits: Cardmapr, Tamanna Rumee, and Artem Beliakin
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