Black Friday is poised to be strong for U.S. retailers this year, according to findings from a recent study conducted by Periscope® By McKinsey, which was designed to determine consumer sentiment towards the shopping event as well as the categories consumers will shop in and how they will shop.
Almost half (44 percent) of U.S. consumers surveyed will be shopping this coming Black Friday, compared to 26 percent in 2016 and 23 percent who were undecided. The top motivating factor for consumers to shop on Black Friday is receiving enticing offers not available at other times of the year, according to 37 percent of respondents. This was followed by steep discounting for 36 percent of consumers.
Also, the research found that while in recent years Black Friday had been viewed as an increasingly digital shopping event, in 2017, 36 percent of U.S. consumers surveyed plan to conduct their Black Friday shopping activities both in-store and online. That’s a big jump from last year, when just 18 percent said they would divide shopping activities between digital and physical channels. The excitement of the physical store experience clearly retains a strong appeal for many Black Friday bargain hunters, particularly for 28 percent of U.S. shoppers who say they only or mostly plan to shop in-store on the day.
So how can your business capitalize on the opportunity that this coming Black Friday presents? Here are our recommendations:
- Streamline and connect multichannel customer journeys. Connecting the physical, digital and mobile experience for shoppers is critical. Armed with smartphones and desktop/laptop computers, today’s consumers are doing their homework and researching purchases before they head in-store. As the findings have demonstrated, retailers must not lose sight of their physical store strategy, understanding which product categories consumers want to shop for in-store vs. online. The retailers that can tie them together will win the game.
- Communicate the offer clearly, in every channel. Bombarded with information and options, consumers are looking for the personal touch that speaks to their needs and expectations. While mass promotional offers create awareness and excitement, consumers welcome personalized offers and loyalty rewards that steer them to the merchandise that’s right for them — at a price that engages them to act. Retailers and brands able to leverage analytics on an individual customer’s known interest areas (i.e., individual items and the wider product categories they explore) will be well-positioned to create customized offers or personalized marketing messages that increase sales and, more importantly, loyalty.
There's a distinct opportunity for those retailers that understand how their customers shop in a multichannel setting and focus on creating experiences that tie their digital and physical channels together. Many consumers have a shopping list and are researching online well ahead of the event, giving retailers clues about what they want regardless of which channel they use to shop. Those retailers that use that information to create personalized promotions and offers stand a much higher chance of securing sales, and making Black Friday 2017 their biggest ever.
Channie Mize is the general manager for the retail sector at Periscope® By McKinsey, a platform that combines intellectual property, prescriptive analytics and cloud-based tools with expert support and training to drive revenue growth now and into the future.