November 22, 2016
How brick-and-mortar retailers can dream up a better Black Friday
By Mandy Hawkins
Let’s talk turkey for a second.
Okay, that’s enough. Now it’s time to get shopping!
While this sort of exchange used to be the mentality of customers, recent studies have shown that Black Friday isn’t packing as much punch for the retailer’s bottom line. Holiday shopping has long been the last hoorah for retailers wanting to finish out the sales year strongly. How do they accomplish this in today’s competitive marketplace?
Focus on mobile
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: customers want mobile; customers use mobile. Since the vast majority of customers are already using mobile, some 85%, it makes sense to give them the best mobile experience. [See what we've already written about mobile.]
The factors that create a superior mobile experience include convenience, knowledge of availability, peer reviews, rewards, and sharing capabilities. Mobile is often the first step in the customer’s journey, so make sure those Black Friday deals are easily noticed in their mobile experience. Speaking of their experience…
Personalize, personalize, personalize
Personalize on all channels. Personalize all the time, not just on Black Friday.
Offering deals that are relevant to the customer’s needs and preferences is the best way to win new customers… and to keep them. The likelihood of every customer needing a new sewing machine, vacuum, or refrigerator on Black Friday is slim. This does nothing for revenue generation or the loyalty of the customer.
Instead, retailers should offer deals organized and presented based on the filters and preferences the customer directs.
In the past, retailers have used Black Friday ads to showcase items such as these, based on popularity. These same items appear, year after year, even sporting the same price sticker from last year’s Black Friday deal. However, Kohl’s Chief Executive Kevin Mansell says repetitive merchandising doesn’t always offer the promise of growth . While these may be the same deals offered this year, personalizing the customer’s exposure to what deals are being offered makes the most sense.
Promote holiday shopping on every channel
This means mobile, web, email, and in-store connections should all tell the same story. The customer’s favorite items and wish lists are now even more enticing to them because they’ve seen them promoted across every channel.
Sally wants a pair of skates? Since they’ve been notified by a personalized email, which they read from their mobile device, they swing over to the retailer’s app and notice that they can conveniently purchase those skates without ever having to stand in a torturously long line. They will be extra pleased to also pick up a great deal on Suzie’s sled.
Think beyond Black Friday
Retailers don’t have to regurgitate the same basic deals because they’re a “safer” bet. This approach isn’t winning new customers, and doesn’t carry the same revenue generation as it did in the past. Now major retailers are extending out the shopping season, offering special deals long before Black Friday, and carrying well past .
Brick-and-mortar retailers can compete against Amazon’s “new deal as often as every five minutes” sales by ensuring they have a game plan across all channels: mobile, print, web, email, and in-store. Consumers still overwhelmingly prefer to shop in a physical store .
Brick and mortar retailers need to focus on an omnichannel experience that has mobile as the foundation and real-time personalization as the continuous theme. That's the way to attract those Black Friday shoppers, and to keep their business long beyond one holiday shopping weekend.