There was a time when Black Friday was mainly an American phenomenon. The day after Thanksgiving traditionally signalled the start of the shopping season that climaxed at Christmas. However the growth of online shopping has taken the concept global . So given that Britons spent nearly £6 billion between Black Friday and Cyber Monday last year - of which £2.8 billion was online shopping and Americans spent ten times that figure - it’s critical that brands take steps to maximise their efforts to reconnect with existing customers and grow their consumer base.
Below are six tips to ensure brands make the most of the biggest shopping weekend of the year. How many are you already implementing?
Creating a hashtag to accompany your campaign is a great way to generate buzz behind a unified message. REI took this to heart with their #OptOutside campaign, which took customer values to heart and paid employees to take Black Friday off to spend time outdoors.
For some it may have been risky, as Black Friday kicks off the festive shopping season, but REI was confident in the strength of its campaign. By knowing their customers and their values, and creating a rallying cry for them to get behind, REI generated a successful campaign that lives on even today.
2 - LIVE and breathe your offerings
Do you have any special offers planned for the Black Friday weekend? If so, shout about it, like Boohoo did.
The fashion e-retailer hosted a live giveaway on their social media channels. All you had to do was answer a set of questions and be entered to win. As word spread, Boohoo increased its website traffic and promoted discounted delivery for the whole weekend.
If you’re offering special deals or have giveaways going on, take that message to the masses and get the word out. Posting live feeds on a place that’s easily shared across people’s networks is a great way to push new traffic to your website and drive consumers to buy.
3 - Make it easy to say yes
Once people are on your site, the goal is to keep them there! Completing purchases and avoiding cart abandonment is critical to making sure all the hard work you’ve put into your campaign pays off.
Ecommerce data experts PCA Predict (a GBG company) work with over 11,000 online retailers to optimise checkout processes and ensure better consumer experiences. Making sure your back-end is ready for heightened traffic from Black Friday through to Cyber Monday is crucial to customer satisfaction, data retention and ultimately, strong profits.
4 - Start early
When planning a campaign, you need to dedicate plenty of time to it if you want to maximise your results. Black Friday weekend is no different. Think well ahead of time as to how your company can approach the day, weekend and season - is there anything unique that you can do to maximise buzz? What will resonate most with your customers?
Creating a timeline of activity is a great way to get organised. As outlined in a previous post, thinking through your Q4 plan (including your approach to Black Friday) in summer months can save you lots of hassle down the line. Putting things in place and getting approvals sorted earlier means less scrambling as the critical day arrives.
5 - Create thoughtful content
Similarly to #4, making sure you have a relevant and thoughtful content stream will drive your PR efforts in the lead up to, execution of and follow up from Black Friday.
Undertake some research about what’s been covered in the press, and think about how you can contribute to, or lead the conversation. Are you especially poised to comment in a way no one else can? Being able to provide valuable market insight to the media is worth its weight in gold. You might even go so far as to make predictions as to how the day will go, and what this means for retailers and consumers alike.
6 - Make it your own
Amazon has taken this advice to heart, making Black Friday one of many deal days the online retailer observes. Starting in 2015, Amazon began a 12 day sale leading up to Black Friday. It has also taken Cyber Monday to heart, parlaying it into their own branded ‘Prime Day,’ which is now known and looked forward to internationally.
One thing to do in the lead up to Black Friday is to consider how you can be different in your approach. Is there something unique to your brand that you can make into some type of event? Is something relevant to you launching that you can piggyback onto and gain more exposure for your brand? Again, think about customer relevance - what people want to see and what will resonate with them.
At the end of the day, the most successful Black Friday campaigns have been those that have dared to be different, and have been run by companies that have put the time in to think about their messaging, products and most importantly, their customers.
Following even a few of the above tips can make a huge difference in the ROI you see from Black Friday (and Cyber Monday) this year, and make you more memorable in the eyes of your target audiences.
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