Sean Rusinko, Global Director of Retail & Hospitality at Sitecore, looks at what the high street can expect from Black Friday this year and how retailers can prepare to ensure a successful event.
Traditionally, Black Friday deals have started and ended on the last Friday of November, but as the event grows in popularity, more and more retailers are extending the sales period.
With the final quarter of the year generating the largest amount of revenue for retailers, it’s no surprise that some are taking advantage of consumers propensity to spend by turning Black Friday into a whole season of discounts. UK retailer TK Maxx is just one example, having started it’s Black Friday sales online in mid-October under the headline ‘Black Everyday’. It’s likely that other retailers will follow this model, both online and in-store, with sales extending throughout the month.
To make the most of this extended sale period, retailers should use the duration of the event to nurture customers with products aligned to their interests and look to increase purchase conversion rates, rather than expecting customers to make hasty purchases on one day. For example, by providing personalised, targeted offers based on users purchase history, retailers will be better placed to offer customers the products or services that they really want.
Bridging offline to online purchasing with Black Friday and Cyber Monday
While Cyber Monday began as a way to encourage consumers in the US to shop online after Thanksgiving, it has since been embraced by online retailers across the world. Initially a way for smaller or online-only retailers to compete with the huge in-store Black Friday discounts, the general preference for online shopping has meant that retailers think of Black Friday and Cyber Monday as one big event, bridging offline and online offers.
Last year, UK online shoppers spent £1.49bn on Black Friday; an increase on the £1.39bn spent online the previous year, showing the increased importance of a strong e-commerce offering. In fact, November 2018 saw online sales as a proportion of all retailing exceed 20% for the first time.
As a result, retailers need to ensure that relevant in-store and online offers reach customers leading into Black Friday, allowing them to research, compare and finally purchase on whatever platform suits them best without any friction. What’s more, allowing customers to order products online to be delivered in store, or placing an order from a store when an item is out of stock, will help retailers to make the retail experience more convenient for customers, something they value highly. This will enable retailers to prevent the scenes experienced in previous Black Fridays, which saw customers queuing for hours outside stores to grab a product that was only available for a limited time only.
By Sean Rusinko
Global Director of Retail & Hospitality