How Brands Can Recession-Proof Their BFCM E-Commerce Strategy
Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM) are just around the corner, and it’s never too early to prepare ahead. This year, in addition to the lingering effects of the pandemic, there’s a looming recession that’s shifting consumer behavior and demand.
Product and fulfillment costs are rising, consumption is declining, and inventories are surging. As a result, there’s $1.45 trillion in global margins at stake, according to Salesforce.
In addition, with deals consistently attracting BFCM shoppers, what else can brands and retailers expect in this landscape? Looking at Prime Day can be a good indicator — and it’s all about deep discounts. Impact Analytics has been tracking pricing and promotions and found a correlation in promotional intensity between Prime Day and Black Friday. This year, deep discounts (about a 10 percent to 20 percent increase vs. last year) were observed across categories, particularly home and apparel.
Let’s now dive into six strategies that e-commerce brands and retailers can adopt to make the upcoming BFCM a success given the current climate.
6 Strategies to Overcome the Recession Effects on BFCM
Amid the ever-changing e-commerce and retail environment, here are six ways online brands and retailers can not only survive but also thrive this BFCM — and beyond:
1. Craft a data-driven promotion strategy and implement it ASAP.
Buying ahead of the holiday season is the No. 1 behavioral change over the last few years, with as many as two out of three consumers starting holiday shopping before Thanksgiving — and not during it. While starting promotions early is a no-brainer, you can get ahead of competitors without having to increase promos that eat into your margins. How? By offering the right discount to the right shoppers based on their real-time intent. This way, the promos will be relevant, allowing you to maximize your budget and increase repeat purchasers.
2. Create social and interactive customer journeys.
Building genuine connections can attract, engage and retain customers — even with the constant risk of shoppers leaving due to price increases. And today, there are several opportunities for brands and retailers to do just that. Gamifying the shopping experience can boost interest and engagement; tapping the power of creators can extend and deepen social reach; and experimenting with new frontiers such as the metaverse and digital assets can make your brand stand out and amplify brand affinity and trust.
3. Employ cross-channel marketing and launch early to capture customers.
As consumers start to shop early, it’s important to catch their attention before they plan to purchase elsewhere. From email to SMS, there are numerous touchpoints that you can use to engage shoppers — yet so do your competitors. Launching a cross-channel BFCM strategy can be an effective way to capture shoppers across the board. And with 41 percent of consumers saying they shop daily or weekly via mobile, a trend that PwC noted is increasing, make sure to include SMS in your strategy.
4. Streamline operations to ensure seamless shopping experiences.
Oracle found that 52 percent of shoppers are worried about supply chain and delivery delays, prompting them to either buy more gifts or settle with more gift cards. In any case, brands must prepare for potential operational challenges and ensure that the customer experience isn't impacted. You can evaluate and optimize operations with the right technologies. Reviewing and forecasting demand can help ensure product availability. Also, conducting end-to-end tests from search to checkout allows you to uncover gaps and address frictions ahead of BFCM.
5. Prioritize customer retention as loyalty shifts.
About 90 percent of consumers plan to continue switching brands and retailers, McKinsey & Co. found. You can prevent shoppers from going astray with more traditional loyalty programs and post-purchase communications. Take it a step further by doubling down on personalization and putting your customers front and center. In particular, you can leverage customer feedback, crafting campaigns that reflect your shoppers’ changing preferences, and create content that feels personal for multiple audiences — delivered in formats that best reach shoppers.
6. Understand and adapt to changing shopper behavior.
At the core of a successful BFCM plan is your deep understanding of consumers, and this relies heavily on the tools and data that you use across your digital channels. While retail and e-commerce trends impact how consumers shop and, therefore, your bottom line, having the infrastructure to understand, predict and optimize customer journeys allows you to be ahead of the game. A one-stop shop that bridges the gap between gathering, cleansing and integrating data enables you to focus on delivering meaningful and relevant customer journeys based on shoppers’ real-time needs and wants. It empowers you to get the most out of your data and maximize every aspect of shoppers’ online experiences.
Let Data-Driven Shopper Insights Guide Your BFCM Strategy
At the end of the day, employing any of these six strategies brings you a step closer to a profitable BFCM. By combining insights from your data with strategic monitoring of changing consumer behavior, you can deliver relevant shopping experiences that matter to your customers. What would make a huge difference though is starting sooner than later, so get your team ready and get ahead of the competition.
Mya Achidov is content team lead at Namogoo, the world's first digital journey continuity platform, helping over 1,000 unstoppable brands shape their customer journeys to fit each and every shopper's needs.
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