There’s no question that the upcoming holiday shopping season, and Black Friday in particular, promises to be the strongest on record. With major retailers such as Walmart planning to remain closed on Thanksgiving — the modern start of the holiday shopping season — both brick-and-mortar and online retailers alike are gearing up to maximize their Black Friday sales amid this uncertainty.
There is one silver lining, however: Retailers with an online presence have seen overall sales soar as much as 44 percent in Q2. The heavy shift to e-commerce represents a key opportunity to not only drive holiday sales, but to turn first-time and curious customers into long-standing brand evangelists. Here’s how best to take advantage.
Know Your Products
No consumer analyst working in 2019 would have expected bread makers to become the must-have item for early 2020, yet sales of these yeast-driven products rose 652 percent in April. In hindsight, it’s easy to understand why: People under quarantine needed new stay-at-home hobbies, and found one in bread making. This also explains the newfound popularity of jigsaw puzzles and other board games, as well as the decline in sales of tents, golf clubs, and outdoor activity equipment.
These numbers may not remain so outsized as we move into Q4. However, there's no question that the colder winter months and lack of an approved vaccine will define how customers shop. That means new priorities for retailers as well.
As you review your list of products and services, consider which ones have done well so far in the year — and if you expect them to stay as popular as winter approaches. In an unpredictable year, consumers will be shopping with the near future in mind. They’ll be shopping for gifts that can bring some comfort and relaxation in a year that’s sorely lacked on both, and given any valid economic forecast, they’ll be looking for the best coupons to enhance their shopping experience.
Take Advantage of the Coupon
Black Friday sales are nothing new; consumers expect deep discounts and special offers on one of the world’s biggest shopping days. Yet setting up a holiday sale is only one part of the equation — successfully marketing your discounts in order to draw the most shoppers in is the real challenge.
One way to ensure your marketing message spreads is to offer coupons in addition to your storewide sales. Coupons can have several benefits: First, they make the customer feel as though he or she has found a "secret" or "hidden" deal, one that they should take advantage of before more people become aware. They add engagement to the shopping process and can reduce cart abandonment rates once the customer sees the discount applied on screen.
While it’s possible to send out physical coupons for online orders, e-commerce retailers looking for a successful Black Friday (and Cyber Monday) would do well to adopt a multichannel approach. Coupon codes can be sent via email, text message, social media, and other digital channels. Wherever a customer connects is a potential avenue for sales. Just make sure your coupons are aligned with the products customers actually want to buy in order to maximize sales and drive continued site visits throughout the holiday season.
Black Friday, Post-COVID
The changes wrought by 2020 will have a knock-on effect for the coming years. The way consumers now shop online will increasingly define your marketing activities as your company grows. While this Black Friday promises to be something different from before, view it as an opportunity to begin deciding and planning your strategy for long-term sales success.