As our friends across the pond finish up their Thanksgiving turkeys, it can only mean one thing: Black Friday is upon us, marking the start of the festive season. After an extremely tough year for UK retail, will it be Ho Ho Ho, or Ho Ho Humbug?
First up: the statistics
- Most households (63.5%) are planning on spending less on Christmas than in 2019, according to a survey by Springboard.
- The Black Friday period has been forecast to shrink by nearly a quarter (22%), reaching only £5.5bn, with fewer Brits planning to take part in 2020 compared to 2019. Last year, 42% of adults planned to shop during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, whereas this year the number has gone down to 39%.
- The pandemic isn’t the only concern: a fifth (20%) of consumers say they will spend less during Black Friday due to concerns over Brexit.
- Digitally native retailers are set to profit the most. Wunderman Thompson’s “Welcome to the Mega Peak” report, which surveyed over 2,500 consumers in the UK, shows over two thirds (67%) of Black Friday shopping will be done online, equating to a possible £3.7bn in overall online spend.
What does this mean for Retail?
It’s a Christmas season like no other. With reduced consumer spending, competition is fierce, and with the high percentage of sales being online, even after the reopening of shops on 2nd December, retailers are likely to face logistical challenges in the coming weeks. We’ve rounded up some top pieces of advice.
1.Keep your marketing agile
Lots of retailers will be under pressure to respond to consumer preferences over the coming weeks. Retailers will need detailed visibility into demand changes and a correspondingly agile approach to quickly pivot in response. Ensure that your systems highlight the best performing ads and emails, and arrange your team to do quick ‘scrum’ meetings every day to review your data and follow trends. Think creatively about how to keep a connection with your customers, ensuring personalisation, reusing assets and leveraging influencers. If your marketing system isn’t up to scratch, choose your top KPIs and task someone to manually report on them at regular intervals so you can see what’s working and double down on it.
2. Monitor eCommerce
It’s Black Friday. Your commerce systems are locked and loaded and you haven’t slept properly in weeks. The worst thing that can happen is a problem, such as an inability to cope with server demand or a bottleneck, like broken payment buttons (true story from last year!). The best thing you can do is monitor what happens, and take notes. The likelihood is how your customers are shopping during Black Friday is how they will be shopping for a while yet, so look for opportunities to increase conversion and streamline. You’ll be in firefighting mode this weekend, but perhaps there are small tweaks that can help for the rest of Christmas.
3. Customer Service is critical
When was the last time you reviewed your customer service emails? Without stores open and with heavy demands on your logistics, communication has never been more important. Ensure that your web copy is clear and engaging, review your emails, and look for ways to bring your brand into every touchpoint.
Your customer service team is likely to be overloaded, so see how you can relieve the pressure by tweaking the autoresponders on chatbots or email FAQs to deal with the most common enquiries. Again, think how you can leverage existing assets, like your in-store employees to support with social media content and enquiries, and third-party partnerships like delivery companies.
4. Look after yourself
We know profitability is incredibly important after a very difficult year. The peak shopping period is likely to be extended because of increasing desire for bargains, logistical and fulfillment challenges, and remaining public fear of going into stores. You can only look after your brand if first and foremost you look after yourself, so lean on those relationships around you and treat yourself to a mince pie and a walk when you can. Look after your team and their wellbeing, too- it’s important to look out for each other, and being a conscientious company is likely to serve you well when consumer spending rebounds.
All the very best of luck for this weekend and the next few weeks from all the team at Trigg Digital. And when you’ve recovered and are evaluating how your systems could have made it easier for you, get in touch with us.
- Black Friday 2020- Our predictions for the retail industry - November 27, 2020
- Halloween Spook-tacular! How are retailers connecting to customers this Halloween? - October 30, 2020
- Quick Tips: 5 ways to ready your retail business for peak season - October 27, 2020