Black Friday, a Must for Every Retailer?

Black Friday, an American shopping tradition that rapidly spread all over the globe. Is it a must for your retail business? Find out here!

Every year, more and more retailers are jumping on the bandwagon of Black Friday, whether they’re American or not. Black Friday, the Friday after Thanksgiving, is the most lucrative day of the year for many retailers. And so, the tradition has also slowly found its way into Europe. The ‘holiday’ keeps gaining popularity and many people all over the globe are looking forward to the 23rd of November.

How did Black Friday came about?

But, what exactly are the origins of Black Friday? Well, several myths exist about the tradition but only one tells the true story of the ‘holiday’. History states that “[…] the term was firstly used back in 1951 in Philadelphia by the police. Back then, they used the term to denote the chaos that ensued on the day after Thanksgiving. That was the day when hordes of suburban shoppers and tourists flooded into the city.” A few years later, the term caught on. This was despite the efforts of some retailers to change ‘Black Friday’ in ‘Big Friday’. And that’s the true story about the origins of Black Friday.

It took a while for the term to get spread all over America. But now, Black Friday is an integral part of American society and the economy. The shopping day is inextricably bound up with massive discounts and extremely low prices. Unfortunately, these high discounts caused  shoppers to behave in inhumane ways and numerous incidents have been reported. Shoppers are shouting to employees, robbing other shoppers, and sadly enough, some people passed away after being trampled to death. But these incidents don’t discourage shoppers to go hunt for their wanted items.

What about the rest of the world?

However, the traditional shopping day has also caught on in other parts of the world. In Asia for instance, Black Friday has increasingly become more important for retailers. On this day, people tend to buy electronics and houseware products with big discounts. However, Singles’ Day in China, popularized by e-retailer Alibaba, still receives more attention than the American shopping holiday. On Singles’ Day, “online shoppers in China have shattered last year’s record by making $30.8 billion in sales on the country’s annual buying frenzy Sunday” (Source: Telegraph).

In Latin America, for instance, the phenomenon has also been growing over the past years. This is mostly due to the fact that more and more people buy via their phones or in online shops. Black Friday thus thanks its popularity to the expanding reach of e-commerce. “Latin American consumers tend to be very price sensitive, which is why strong price cuts are key to success of promotional events in the region”(Source: GfK). But Black Friday is not the only day in the year in Latin America that online sales spike. Businesses quickly understood the combined power of discounts and online shopping. A winning combo for many retailers! And, the success of Black Friday won’t be slowing down soon in the region.

In Europe, the tradition has caught on good as well. Many retailers promote their Black Friday, Black Week or even Black Month sales! Carrefour, the French innovative retailer, offers discounts and bang offers for the entire month of November. Shoppers mostly look forward to the massive discounts they encounter on must-have items such as electronics, make-up, household products, flight tickets and many more. Black Friday sales also serve to be the perfect opportunity to search for unique Christmas gifts for your loved ones.

So, we can conclude that Black Friday sales are omnipresent all over the globe. People are looking forward to score their favorite items. And, more and more retailers are beginning to understand the power of e-commerce on this specific day in the year.

What’s in it for me?

The data isn’t lying about the growing number of Black Friday sales all over the world. Criteo investigated figures of the last years in several countries and the conclusion is clear: there’s not a single reason to miss out on Black Friday.

For instance, in Australia, “retail sales spiked on Friday (+161%) as well as on Cyber Monday (+135%)”. In Brazil, Criteo noticed a massive spike in sales on Black Friday as well, a growth of 1053% (!) while website visitors grew by 433%. In the United Kingdom, on the other hand, the basket size of the average shopper amounted to £132, and “the average item price was £67, the highest of the Festive Season thus far”. And our last example is Germany, the country of Christmas markets and festivity. “Retail sales more than tripled in 2017 (+205%), and over half (52%) of those came from mobile”. Some amazing numbers, right?

In short, the American shopping tradition definitely showcases to be one of the most lucrative days of the year. Shoppers are looking for Christmas gifts but are also browsing the web to find the best deals on their own favorite items. And, others are buying decorations for the holidays. So, we can say that it seems to be the perfect opportunity for you, as a retailer, to grow your sales.

We’ve already demonstrated that Black Friday is an immensely lucrative business. But, it might be difficult for you to respond to the ever-growing popular shopping holiday.

Don’t worry, we’ve got your back with five tips that are easy to implement in any retail business. Whether you’re a big or a small retailer, or whether you operate online only or have a brick-and-mortar store, it doesn’t matter. These helpful tips will help you win over customers and will establish you as an innovative and ever-evolving retailer. Ready to learn?

Winning at Black Friday: tips and tricks

  1. Improve your website for mobile. Increasingly more people shop via their mobile phone or via their tablet. No wonder that it is extremely important for your business to improve your website. Make it easy for your customers to navigate across your website or webshop and don’t overcomplicate things. Make sure that the mobile experience is almost identical to a visit to your brick-and-mortar store. A coherent omnichannel experience is a must!
  2. Personalization is key. If you want your customers to return to you after Black Friday, it’s essential you build a long-lasting and personal relationship with them. So, it’s almost evident you should implement a personalization strategy. Use the available data to offer your customer tailored discounts for their favorite products. Or, you could send them a personal email or a print card to convince them to shop with you on Black Friday.
  3. Offer customer support. The busiest online shopping day of the year asks for preparations. Make a list of frequently asked questions about returning items, payment options and your business’ guidelines. Display these FAQs prominently on your website so your customers immediately know the answer to their practical questions.
  4. Share your actions. Keep your customers informed about the discounts you’re offering them. Send them personalized emails and keep them posted on social media. Boost your posts on, for instance, Facebook and make sure to publish them in several languages: this way you’ll reach more people. Also use the data you have to target your specific audiences.
  5. Make everything extra special. Whether you give your website or your brick-and-mortar store a make-over, make sure you’re responding in a creative way to the shopping holiday. You can, for example, improve your window displays by showcasing on posters how much discount you’ll be offering. You can also upgrade your website’s design to fit the holiday shopping spirit.

Black Friday? A necessity!

Over the past few years, the American shopping tradition has caught a lot of attention, worldwide. It proves to be one of the most lucrative periods of the year: in brick-and-mortar stores and online. People shop gifts for Christmas, decorations for the holidays or just treat themselves with a must-have item. The average American is “expected to spend $483.18 on the shopping holiday of holidays” (Source: Finder). That’s a quite impressive figure, right?

So, it’s only a logical step for you as a retailer to start competing for your customers’ attention. Online business is booming and increasingly more people are expected to spend money during the month of November and December. Customers love to shop online and that trend doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon. So, what are you waiting for? Prepare your website and app for the busiest time of year. Share everything about your offers on social media. And, last but not least, build a lasting relationship with your customer. Personalized offers, emails and printed cards are the way to their heart and are essential for a long-lasting relationship.

Have we convinced you to jump on the bandwagon of Black Friday? Which techniques have you already implemented in your retail business? And, which trick are you planning on doing in your business? Let us know and don’t forget to share these tips with your retail colleagues.