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It's no secret, Black Friday is a properly big deal ... In 2016 the UK alone spent £1.23bn and the USA broke their own records by spending around £4.44bn.

Black Friday Statistics

There are some illuminating statistics around the busiest shopping period of the year.

Gaining insight into these figures, we can see that more and more people are choosing to shop online and this means that it's increasingly important to produce a coherent marketing campaign which spans far outside your in-store point of sale displays. The big winners on Black Friday chose to use email, social and digial marketing campaigns with Google Shopping to drive traffic and revenue both in-store and online.

  • £1.23bn spent by UK customers in 2016.
  • 224% avg. increase in traffic on the day
  • Multi-channel: the winners on Black Friday too this approach
  • Online: the preferred method of Black Friday shopping
  • 'Black Friday': is the term your customers search.
  • Click & Collect orders increased by 8%
  • So, how can you capitalise on the Black Friday frenzy?

    Initially, Black Friday was reserved for the Friday following Thanksgiving. However, with increased competition, it has now spanned over a much longer period. This — combined with a change in buyer behaviour — means that we often see Black Friday campaigns starting as early as Halloween — also known as "Cyber November".

    It's not just an exercise in revenue generation ...

    So, increased revenue may be a (pretty great) by-product of an effective Black Friday marketing campaign, but it may not be the key performance indicator that you should be most interested in. To make the most of Black Friday, we should look to gain some business insights to look at under-performing inventory — you can use Cloud Reports for that. By looking at stock turn and weeks cover, you can find the stock which is aging or whose sales have stalled and capitalise on this by including these products within your Black Friday campaign.

    After you've looked at the stock that's currently in your inventory, the next step you should take is to source stock with your suppliers that you can use for your impending campaign.

    Think mobile-first:

    As the stats suggest, many shoppers now opt for shopping online on Black Friday. As such, it's essential that you focus on how your customers will browse and discover your products. We've already discussed the inevitable dominance of mobile over desktop browsing and it's impossible to escape the fact that email marketing campaigns are still the most effective form of digital marketing communication. So that's where we think you should start.

    That said, this all depend on how well you capture and use your customers' data. Cloud POS and Ecommerce already fully integrates with MailChimp but we've seen that regularly sending email campaigns can yield better results when they're personalised and supplemented with onboarding campaigns within a wider set of email automations — we can help with that too.

    Create hype ... but not too much or too early.

    Creating a buzz around your Black Friday campaign, such as sneak-peeks is a simple and effective idea but too much teasing can lead to a dip in sales during the lead up to Black Friday, if you're customers think they can get their desired items cheaper in a promotion.

    Amazon ran a great promotion during 2016 which saw 35 whole days of promotions across a very specific set of items each day. To create the hype, they promoted the discounts that could be had and the concept, rather than the specific items which were in the promotion.

    To avoid killing sales, there was minimal build-up to the promotion — which was one of the first of the major online players to kick-off — but when you're the largest online store in the World, you arguably don't need much build up.

    So where's the balance and what should you do? Well, there's really no hard and fast rule to live and die by here. It all depends on your user-base and what level of marketing communication you have with them. The ultimate key is to try and strike a balance between the time you start your campaign and the build-up to the campaign. This leads to the next point ...

    Keep an eye on the competition

    It makes sense to have your Black Friday campaign primed in advance. Keep a watchful eye on product pricing and ensure yours are competitive and be ready to start your campaign and ensure you're not left behind. To avoid a pricing competition with your competitors, you should try to identify products or brands which are unique and exclusive. Such products give you a competitive edge. You can supplement your offers with outstanding service provision. Your customers will be more likely to choose you if you're delivery is faster (and free where possible) or you offer loyalty points on top of your promotions. In fact, the same principal goes for all year round.

    To summarise our tips ...

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