10 Black Friday Marketing Tips: What You Need to Know This Year

Somehow, it’s November. The days are colder and the high street Christmas lights are already twinkling to mark the start of the holiday season. Yep, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are a matter of weeks away, and if you’re not already busily preparing your marketing efforts then you really should start.

This year’s events promise to offer big opportunities, but it’s important to learn from the key takeaways of last year, as well as to be in the know about what will be different this year.

To save any potential headaches, we’ve put together a list for what you need to know.

1. Black Friday is more lucrative than ever for online stores

Black Friday seems to get an increasingly bad rep each year; accused of promoting mass consumerism, impulse buying and, in extreme cases, in-store brawls! But shoppers aren’t turning away – in fact, digital sales in the USA increased by 16.9% last year, with a record $5 billion spent in 24 hours. In the UK, £1.4bn was spent online last Black Friday, 11.7% more than in 2016. The opportunity is huge for merchants as consumers flood online to seeking deals. For Very.co.uk, a whopping 18% of last year’s total ecommerce sales came from Black Friday.

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2. …but some are dropping out

Of course, it’s worth considering whether your shoppers and target audience will want or expect you to take part, and whether the event jeopardises any of your brand values. Luxury brands, for example, who rely on a reputation for superior quality and thus expensive prices might not benefit from the event. For various reasons, we find retailers drop out of Black Friday every year, with some choosing not to trade at all on the big day. B&Q is the latest retailer to announce it will not be taking part, choosing instead to stick with its ‘everyday low price model’.

3. It’s taking up more time than ever before

The Black Friday and Cyber Monday week will take up more time than ever this year. Long gone are the times Black Friday was, literally, just one day of deals. Now, the expectation is several days up to and after Cyber Monday, and in some cases longer than a week. Amazon has announced more Black Friday deals than ever before, which will run from November 16th right through to November 25th. That’s 9 days!

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4. Shoppers love sharing Black Friday deals on social

If you’re taking part this year, be sure to use social to promote your deals throughout your sale. It’s the time of year consumers are most likely to share information about deals with their friends, and many will use social to search for deal. In fact, a third of retailers said social was their preferred way to announce deals.

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5. Some brands are leaking deals

Retailers know full well that consumers are already thinking about Black Friday. Many shoppers have planned items to purchase and will buy certain Christmas presents in the sales. And of course, many will browse and impulse buy, too. Several retailers are ‘leaking’ deals already, letting shoppers know some of the bargains they can expect to ensure they hit their stores when the deals begin. If you’re planning your own ‘leak’ consider social media, influencers and PR.

6. Cart abandonment soars on Black Friday

This is something to watch out for. Cart abandonment reached a whopping 74.5% in the US last year as shoppers hesitated to purchase in case they missed a better deal elsewhere. The best thing you can do here is set up urgency messaging, with scarcity updates to let shoppers know how much stock is left. You can also show the popularity of products in real time (this can all easily be set up with Bunting!).

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7. Email isn’t going anywhere

As for marketing tactics, email was more popular than ever for promoting deals last year. There was an 11% increase in total volume of emails sent on Black Friday from the previous year, and Shopify reported email had the highest conversion rate of all marketing tactics at 4.29%. However, subject lines and creativity go a long way, as people’s inboxes become clogged with promotions. But with this being the year of GDPR, your emails should only go out to those who want to receive them (in the EU, at least).

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8. Influencer marketing will play a bigger role

Cutting through the noise is half the battle on Black Friday with everyone competing for consumers’ attention. With this in mind, brands are looking more to influencers to produce engaging content to promote their sales. For cost-effectiveness, look for microinfluencers who can review your products and find ways to make your content shareable – be creative, and don’t be afraid to add humour.

9. Personalization matters

Regardless of the marketing tactics you use, personalized messaging work better and will help cut through the noise. Present shoppers with deals relevant to their interests in real time and make sure these products take centre stage when they land on your site. Use product recommendations to help shoppers find relevant alternatives.

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10. Shoppers want free gifts

The best bit about Black Friday for some of us is getting a free gift after making a purchase from your favourite store. Offering freebies is a great way to help shoppers convert, as while they might get a cheaper product elsewhere, they won’t get the same gift elsewhere. Clarins gave away a generous 6 free samples to shoppers last year which, for many, would mean Christmas had come early! Importantly though, a free gift needs to be relevant to a person’s interests – so why not offer a choice?

So…

The Black Friday and Cyber Monday week promises to be busier than ever this year, and you’ll need to be super prepared to schedule your marketing activities throughout the event to guarantee you maximise the traffic and orders available to you.

And if you need some help optimising and personalising your store, get in touch with us at Bunting!

How Your Online Store Should Prepare for the Black Friday Five-day

When it comes to profits, Black Friday is every retailer’s favourite American export. As manic as it may be, it is an amazing opportunity to drive sales, and capture new customers. This year will be no exception.

The big difference this year, however, is it’s predicted to be an overwhelmingly online event that will take place over a full 5 days. Goodbye Black Friday, hello Black Five-day – a five day shopping spree that will see visitors expecting online deals from the 24th November right through to Cyber Monday on the 28th.

It’s also predicted that this year’s event is going to be bigger than ever. More than 1 in 3 families will buy their Christmas presents over the Black Friday weekend. Sales are expected to surpass the $4.5 billion spent in the US last year, with £5 billion worth of sales predicted in the UK. And online traffic is expected to increase by up to 20%.

With expectations like this, it makes sense to get ready now.

Optimise and Personalise Marketing Activities

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In the run up to Black Friday, make sure you utilise the right channels to create a buzz about your event and remind shoppers of what kind of deals they can look forward to, and when.

Interestingly, last year, email drove more sales than any other channel on Black Friday. Consider personalising content around customers’ buying and browsing behaviour – personalised deals and recommendations will convert better and see more return visitors.

During the event itself, feeding customers deals gradually will help control peak traffic spikes and reduce strain. Plan carefully to stagger marketing activites and think carefully about what times to send out your messages.

Test, test, test!

Some of the biggest brands’ websites have infamously crashed during the Black Friday rush. And while most sites think this may be a concern reserved only for high volume retailers, all sites should think carefully about site functionality and load times during peak hours.  Unprecedented numbers of online visitors are expected this year.

By preparing in advance, and carrying out performance tests you can avoid any disruptions during the big event. Discuss traffic concerns and limitations with your web hosters. Make sure your whole organisation is communicating across departments, particularly with regards to marketing activities that could cause traffic spikes.

Get mobile ready

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In 2015, 52% of traffic came from mobile. More than ever, it’s important your store responds well on mobile, and that your offers and marketing material are optimised and accessible on mobile devices.

According to Big Blue, mobile and tablet devices accounted for well over half of traffic last year, seeing a 16% increase. In addition, mobile accounted for over a third of purchases and saw higher AOV than desktops. Black Friday has become a largely online event and this year will be more about mobile than ever before. With this in mind, you should make your mobile marketing personalised in line with other channels.

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While Black Friday may bring stresses and strains on your website, planning in advance will help ensure your site is ready to reap the benefits of higher traffic and engaged shoppers.

Watch this space for more hints and tips in the run up to the big week!