While Black Friday may not involve the usual in-store rush this year, with a regional lockdown in England driving sales completely online, the weekend of the 27th is shaping up to be a big one for retailers big and small.
As online sales have predominated the UK’s Black Friday spending for years, the lockdown may not have as large an impact as previously expected. For smaller retailers however, the issue of making up for loss of margin through sales volume still remains. Especially when larger retailers still dominate the Black Friday and Cyber Monday market, meaning that this year significant mark-downs present a greater risk to smaller retailers as opposed to previous years.
However, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are still expected to see significant spending this year. Consumer surveys suggest that despite non-essential retailers being closed, projected spending is expected to increase by around 8%, with customers citing wanting to treat themselves with money saved from Covid-19 as a motivation for buying. Furthermore, regional projections suggest that those who have been subject to restrictions for longer periods are expected to spend more than those in areas with fewer restrictions.
These tips can help to maximise traffic and optimise customer experience, minimising risk and maximising sales during the Black Friday period.
Make sure you offer Click and Collect.
While the run up to Christmas usually puts a strain on the postal system, the added pressure of increased online spending as a result of Covid means more delays are expected when it comes to some customers receiving their Black Friday and Cyber Monday purchases.
One way to increase efficiency is by offering Click and Collect. This method of delivering items is an important tool for alleviating pressure on door-to-door postal services, by giving the customer the option to pick up their items from local delivery points. This option is usually quicker and cheaper for the customer, therefore increasing incentive. It is projected that Click and Collect will account for 12% of spending this year.
On the merchant side, Click and Collect can drive instore traffic by allowing the customer to order online but pick-up in store. With non-essential retail set to re-open in England as of the 2nd of December, this could be a useful method to drive Christmas sales.
There are a number of options if you are looking to offer Click and Collect, for example: Royal Mail, Collect+ and Doddle all offer options.
Make the Most of Email Marketing.
To ensure your customers know what offers you are running this year, utilise email marketing. By sending emails ahead of Black Friday and during the weekend, customers can get info on all the discounts and deals you are offering direct to their inboxes.
As customers will be receiving a large volume of Black Friday and Cyber Monday emails, it’s important for yours to stand out. By offering sneak peaks, exclusive discount codes and early access for loyal customers you can significantly increase traffic to your site.
Depending on your email sign-up process, you can target specific demographics. This is an easy way to increase traction with your business. For example, this year its predicted that men will spend more on technology and women are expected to spend more on health and beauty, while those in the age bracket of 35-44 will be those spending the most on average (£429pp). Therefore, it is important to consider who you are trying to attract and what they will be most likely to spend money on.
By tailoring your emails to suit differing consumer habits, you can increase the chances of customer engagement.
Encourage Educated Purchases.
A decline in overall spending could mean that customers will make fewer impulse purchases, meaning that this Black Friday and Cyber Monday it is essential to drive educated acquisitions. This doesn’t necessarily mean drawing the customer’s attention to items that are long lasting and good quality, but rather by increasing customer engagement with individual products which allows them to make more meaningful purchases.
By adding edited product lists to your website such as ‘This week we’re loving’ or ‘Brand of the month’, the customer can easily navigate your inventory rather than searching for a specific item or mindlessly scrolling for the sake of it. The result? More time examining product. As Black Friday and Cyber Monday are used by consumers to do their Christmas shopping, this year it is expected that one third of consumers will buy presents over the Black Friday weekend.
Another way to increase meaningful purchases is to offer a blanket discount code to your customers. Rather than discounting specific items, a code that applies to all stock gives the customer freedom to choose the items they really want, plus discount codes are more likely to result in customers buying multiple items.
Is Your Website Mobile Friendly?
Finally, make sure your website is mobile friendly, as this year it is expected that despite everyone shopping from the comfort of their homes, a significant percentage will be making purchases or browsing offers via their mobile phones. In fact, globally, mobile sales account for 66% of Black Friday and Cyber Monday purchases.
A good way to gauge if your website runs effectively on mobiles is to use this URL checker. It’s a quick and easy way to see how your website looks on a mobile device, and also offers advice on how to improve it.
Perhaps one of the easiest ways to improve your customers’ mobile experience is to keep your web design simple and free of unnecessary images, as this will not only make your site easier to navigate for the customer, it will also reduce loading time, one of the key aspects of holding consumer attention.
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