Ahead of Black Friday (24 November) and Cyber Monday (27 November), Dr Felicity Hardley, Senior Lecturer in marketing and business strategy at Westminster Business School, believes that retailers and digital marketers need to be smart in how they set up their offers to make the most of the opportunities and avoid unwanted costs.
With the hype of Black Friday and Cyber Monday set to attract more and more consumers, these ‘shopping spree’ days are an ideal time for retailers to reach consumers when they are in the mood to buy. However, with increasing competition from major retailers, especially when it comes to online shopping, businesses need to be smart to capitalise on the hype.
For retailers, the best strategy should be to focus on what consumers really want rather than on having an offer for the sake of it. For example, good use of online data could highlight the products customers are interested in, enabling offers to be appropriately targeted. This can save time and money for both consumers and retailers, especially when it comes to returning unwanted purchases. In fact, consumers often only realise later that they have over-spent or that they don’t really need something. This results in returning items to the retailer, very often at the retailer’s expense as they will incur costs packing up items either for click and collect or home delivery and then for dealing with the logistics for returned items.
Retailers also need to think even more about the user experience both in store and online. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are traditionally more online events, but ‘omnichannel shopping’ – where consumers conduct research and make purchases using a combination of offline and online channels – is a habit that retailers cannot afford to ignore. Consumers on the hunt for a deal can and do use their smartphones in store to compare prices for the same item – in theory they can buy online from a competitor while browsing in a store – equally so for comparing online only offers. This also needs some creative thought from digital marketers who hope to reach customers at the right time with the right message, particularly on mobile phones. One way advertisers could do this would be to make more use of geo-location and behavioural targeting for mobile search queries, so that a consumer who has recently been searching for a specific item online will be targeted by relevant adverts when doing online research or comparing prices on their phone in a shopping location.”
By Dr Felicity Hardley
Senior Lecturer in marketing and business strategy
Westminster Business School
About the author
Dr Hardley joined the University of Westminster as a Senior Lecturer in Marketing in 2009. She has been a strategy and marketing research consultant since 2001. Her client portfolio included telecommunications, logistics, and banking and finance industries but her speciality was in working with the pharmaceutical industry from multi-national pharma, to other health related organisations including health consumer groups, professional medical groups and government at a federal level.