Great Britain is currently in the middle of "Lockdown 2", which, according to the responsible authorities, will end on December 2nd. This means that this year's sales rush will take place on Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM) when all non-essential retailers are in lockdown.
What does this mean for retail spending?
In my opinion, it will be intensified and so companies need to be prepared.
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Spending behavior has inevitably changed over the past few months as retail stores have closed and customers have had to shop online. Companies have therefore had to change their strategy to adapt to a focus of online sales.
"Online retail has grown 35% so far this year"
Whether you use Shopify numbers or Amazon statistics, the BFCM numbers are showing around 50 percent year-over-year growth, and I think we'll see that again this year too. Forecasts suggest that online retailers expect Black Friday to increase by 45 percent. This is underpinned by figures from the online retail association IMRG, which indicate that e-commerce had already grown by 34.9 percent by October compared to the previous year.
If we compare trends in the US, there have been huge spikes in sales after the US economic checks were deposited, and if anything, Covid-19 has just accelerated UK consumer habits, which are following in the footsteps of US e-commerce trends ( The US spends a lot more money on e-commerce products than the UK.
There is a caveat that potential customers are not allowed to enter due to the impact of coronavirus on their circumstances, e.g. Dismissal, job insecurity, vacation, etc. leading to financial difficulties due to reduced income.
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However, a large portion of customer costs has decreased as it includes travel, commuting, dining and in many cases moving back in with the family to save rent. There may be more disposable income available before BFCM 2020.
# 1 – generate traction before Black Friday
A common mistake is leaving it too late to market your business in front of BFCM.
If you look at online habits, it becomes clear that more and more brands, products, and services are vying for customer attention and spending. From a media point of view, it is also worth mentioning that all paid / bidable platforms only have limited space and therefore advertising costs increase significantly in these periods. So it is important that you make a comment rather than a prospect during this period when advertising costs are high.
(Remarketing means following customers who visited your website but didn't buy online, serving them ads, reminding them of what they were interested in, and getting them to buy.)
Act now and be frontloading your general ads on your social media platforms instead of focusing on a two week sales period. If you have perspective now, you have a better chance of grabbing people's attention and then being able to market it to those people through social media and then target them again. In doing so, you focus on a core group of people who are categorically interested in your product – you have their attention, so maximize this opportunity to keep them interested.
# 2 – Don't rely on just one channel
Use SMS text messages, influencers, paid media, Tik Tok, Snapchat, Google and Facebook ads.
The key message here is that you don't have to rely on one channel – spend as much money as you can on everyone. There was a huge shift to digital during the pandemic, and with it, a whole new audience across the channels that you need to target.
This is a key strategy not only for the BFCM event but also for further development. Although the grand scheme of things will be a short slip in our history, the embargo has caused consumers to adjust and change their shopping habits, and for many, that change could become the new norm.
# 3 – content's biggest differentiator
Great content creates trust with your customers and is critical to the success of your campaign. When done right, it helps build a positive brand reputation and then pass on recommendations from your customers to others. You need to connect with your customers, train them, “talk” to them, and demonstrate your expertise in your industry so that they believe in you and understand why they should buy your product.
Your strategy will also depend on the industry – you may need to be tailored to specific markets / niche markets, but in a more universal market you can probably get away with a simpler approach and listing the product's "Unique Selling Proposition" (USB) instead of being hyper targeted.
How you communicate this content is up to you – visually, through blog posts, white papers, etc. However, try to avoid a scatter gun approach in the hope that something will stick. it doesn't work
# 4 – Focus on the perceived value
Perceived value is measured by the price the public is willing to pay for a product or service, and it is important for BFCM to focus on that, not what the largest percentage might be. In marketing your product or service, you need to try to influence and increase its perceived value. This can highlight properties such as aesthetic design, accessibility or comfort.
We all love a bargain and customers will always be looking for "value", even if it's just a slightly increased or slightly perceived value. Based on our experience over the past four years, brands at these events have been less focused on sales news and looking to add perceived value rather than just offering a discount. This helps companies differentiate themselves in building brand value, resulting in increases in Average Order Value (AOV) and Lifetime Value (LTV).
For example, during the BFCM, many customers give away a branded T-shirt or piece of jewelry with every purchase over a certain amount instead of offering a discount on the actual product. You can even add value to your shipping, for example by creating free next-day shipping. This allows the brands to keep prices consistent in retail and online, and to make more profit, as the gift usually costs less than a comparable discount.
# 5 – Take risks, but avoid important mistakes
I would summarize this period by saying that it is a lot of “risk and reward” – this year the barrier to entry is higher and therefore more expensive due to increased competition. You can avoid any risk and stay safe, but you will miss out on the rewards.
Taking more risks can help you be more competitive, but avoid the following main mistakes:
- Don't let it be too late to start your campaign
- Don't stress test your offering, your product, or your logistics to make sure your products are delivered on time
- Not allocating enough expenses
People will be in a buy state and so you can win big and lose big – this is my Black Friday recap. Without intending to sound like a Boy Scout, you need to be "prepared".
Tim Hyde is the founder and director of the social media marketing agency TWH Media, whose clients include Adidas and Apple Music
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