The busiest time of the year for retail begins in just under four weeks – are you prepared?
A large German B2C online retailer recorded a substantial doubling of its shopping carts on Black Friday last year compared to “normal” days, and saw a sales increase of 160% for the single day. In our experience, these numbers are not unique: Almost all online retailers that promoted special deals have seen an increasing number of visitors in recent years. For some companies, the sales volume around Black Friday even topped the figures during the Christmas season.
As you know, many factors will be different this holiday sales season, as retail is facing major challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Brick-and-mortar stores in particular are struggling with a sharp drop in sales. Online retail, on the other hand, recorded growth – in the second quarter of 2020 online business grew by 16.5%1 compared to the previous year.
There are different predictions when it comes to consumer willingness to spend on Black Friday this year. A survey of 3,000 people on behalf of idealo2 shows that consumers want to act more cautiously: 66% stated that they plan to reduce or have no budget for Black Friday, and only 8% plan to spend more. Despite the tense economic situation, the mydealz3 survey of 2,022 respondents shows a positive season: spending is an issue for only very few respondents, and budgets are planned to increase by 22.47%, to an average of Euro 272.14 compared to the previous year.
While anticipated consumer behavior seems to be divided, what is clear is that online retailers must optimize this sales season. In order to reach sales potential, read our five tips here to stand out from competitors:
1) Recommend products customers really want
In a physical store, sales force can show a selection of products that go well with customer intended purchase. Online, this is the task of a personalization solution that reacts in real time to visitor’s click behavior. There are many ways to share relevant recommendations at various points in shopper’s journey. Here are three examples:
- Individual deals for every customer are shown to resonate more with audiences. Not all of your visitors are interested in “the one” heavily promoted deal. Personalized recommendations based on current or previous clicks, shopping carts, purchases, searches or likes around products make it possible to offer individual promotions, such as products within a preferred brand or category.
- Recommendations based on image similarities (e.g. color, shape) to a product just viewed achieve a large click response. This is a popular type of recommendation, especially in the fashion trade. For example, if your customer looks at a yellow parka, show alternative jackets in the same shape and color.
- Recommendations of products that were purchased in the past paired together with an item recently viewed are also popular, as they often serve as inspiration for further shopping ideas. For example, a recommendation for table decorations for the tablecloth a shopper has looked at, gloves that pair with a winter hat, or a new book written by an author the consumer has previously purchased.
In addition to these examples, there are many other ways to personalize a consumer’s shopping experience. Our Personalization Service provides you with over 20 different types of recommendations.
2) Rely on exceptional campaigns
What’s your Black Friday story? Big discounts and attractive deals? Campaigns that stand out from the crowd and surprise customers have been particularly successful in the past. For example, the outdoor brand Patagonia is committed to environmental protection in its Black Friday campaigns and is very successful with it.
What’s more, a specific Black Friday discount doesn’t always have to be the main focus. Provide offers that stand out and become a customer magnet. This can be a specific product that you are offering in limited numbers before sales start, or a special additional benefit, such as a book signed by the author. Participation in a competition after a purchase has been made can also be an incentive for some customers.
This year you should also consider which items should be advertised given the current pandemic climate. Products that make it easier to work and live in your own four walls are in greater demand. According to the portalvergleich.org, these include garden furniture, care products, trampolines, fitness equipment or casual clothing. Another option: combine two items into a product bundle at an attractive price to increase the shopping cart value.
3) Provide customers individual newsletter content
Newsletter marketing is an important lever to get readers to an ecommerce site. Make recipients aware of the upcoming deals several times before Black Friday, and increase the urgency, such as by creating a countdown.
In addition to an early start, newsletter content plays a key role. Pay attention to the formulation of the subject line, as your email has to assert itself against a lot of competition from retailers also competing for space in the inbox. Once this hurdle has been overcome, convince your readers with personalized content. Product recommendations that are generated in real time when the newsletter is opened based on clicks in the online shop or newsletter offer maximum relevance. As a result, this drives a higher number of clicks and more sales in the online shop.
Do you have a specific product or product group that you would like to explicitly advertise in Black Friday newsletters? Here it makes sense to segment and choose the right target group from your newsletter subscriber list that is very likely to show interest. In this way, relevancy drives a higher response to newsletter campaigns.
4) Keep other online sales channels in sight
In addition to the online shop and newsletters, also pay attention to online sales channels. Prepare marketing content for search engines (SEA/ SEO), existing social media channels, comparison platforms such as idealo, or for your presence on online marketplaces such as eBay or Amazon – and integrate them into your Black Friday campaign. Check web analysis from last year to see which platforms your online shop visitors used to find their way to you, and ensure that the content for this is up-to-date and thus exploits your sales potential. In addition, check which new digital sales channels may have established themselves compared to the previous year.
5) Ensure IT infrastructure stability
Customers expect that online shopping will run smoothly, and will abandon a site if not. Long loading times are a common reason for abandoned purchases. In order to prevent a loss of sales, your online shop should withstand higher traffic and higher occupancy during discount days. Check the online shop system itself and all systems connected to it in advance to ensure stability and scalability. It is best to discuss with your host whether a server extension makes sense for you. The host can analyze the number of hits for these special days and assess to what extent there is a need for action.
Do you have any questions about personalization in preparation for Black Friday? We would be glad to help and advise you on your specific request.