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October 15, 2021
Black Friday 2021 is coming up in a few short weeks. To make the most of this holiday sales season, there are seven trends you need to know.
Black Friday history goes back to the 1960s when some started to point out heavy shopping traffic on the day after Thanksgiving. For some retailers, Black Friday deals also represent an opportunity to from the red (i.e., running at a loss) to the black (i.e., earning a profit).
Your Black Friday marketing strategy and planning needs to start weeks or months in advance. There are three significant reasons to start early: logistics, marketing, and competition.
Logistical challenges are continuing to impact stores around the world. A recent survey found that two-thirds of logistics managers shift to local and regional suppliers rather than international suppliers (source). Multiple companies have faced shortages getting products shipped from Asia. Placing orders early and allowing for additional shipping time is one way to mitigate this threat.
Research indicates that customers start to think about Black Friday sales far in advance from a marketing perspective.; Keap, a leading ecommerce software company, encourages businesses to start talking about Black Friday deals several weeks in advance. To take advantage of those early conversations, make an effort to have your content marketing assets and social media updates ready early.
The days of running a Black Friday sale on a single day appear to be over. Several major retailers are approaching the event differently. For example, Amazon has created its shopping event, “Prime Day,” which lasts several days. According to; Jungle Scout, some customers are starting their holiday shopping as early as October.
In 2020, several companies like Sam’s Club, Best Buy, Target, and Kohl’s started their Black Friday promotions before Thanksgiving (source). In addition, a growing number of companies are focusing their efforts on “Cyber Monday” sales. Cyber Monday promotions generated approximately $10 billion in sales in 2020, according to; CNBC.
The lessons are clear. To be competitive in Black Friday promotions, you need to act early. It is also wise to plan out different kinds of promotions before and after Thanksgiving. For example, you could run pre-Black Friday, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday deals. You don’t have to choose one option in the Black Friday vs Cyber Monday debate – you can offer other sales on each day.
Standing out in the crowded marketplace of Black Friday deals is getting complicated. However, there are still ways you can stand out without cutting prices further. For example, you can use live streaming events to showcase your products.
Take note of the following live stream events that generated attention and sales over the past year:
Running these live stream events takes some planning. It’s not enough to hold your products up to the camera. To help you create an interesting virtual event, download our virtual events ebook.
Businesses have to face facts: the COVID-19 pandemic is still with us in 2021. While public health measures and vaccines are making progress, the effort is far from over. That means that your stores may be closed or subject to limits. That’s not all. Some customers may be reluctant to gather in large crowds, even for amazing Black Friday deals.
As a business, there are a few ways you can address the pandemic and the suffering it has caused in your community.
Companies like Dollar General, Instacart, Kroger, and McDonald’s (source) have all announced efforts to encourage employees to get vaccinated. Offering paid time off to get vaccinated is one crucial way to make infection less likely.
As a result of 2020, an increasing number of employees have shifted to buying online. To stay competitive, offer online purchases. For delivery service, companies have multiple options like traditional delivery companies and newer options like DoorDash. Offering these options means you can still succeed even if your physical stores are closed.
Spacing out your sales can help to relieve pressure on your employees. Pushing employees too hard may cause some wonder, “Is Black Friday a holiday?” and call in sick that day!
Your Black Friday marketing strategy should consider social justice movements like Black Lives Matter and #BlackoutBlackFriday. For example, companies are aiming to help address racial equality by purchasing products from Black-owned companies. According to the; 15% Pledge, multiple companies have already commited to buying at least 15% of their products from Black-owned businesses like J Crew, Macy’s, Nordstrom, and Old Navy.
Signing up for the 15% pledge isn’t the only way to get involved, either. Take a look at how other companies are addressing racial issues.
Scarcity is one of the best ways to sell products. In 2021, your business might struggle to keep every product in stock. You can turn those shortages into an advantage. How?
On your website, highlight products that have limited inventory: “X units remaining in stock.” Low inventory can nudge customers to act more quickly to purchase products.
For example, Best Buy runs a “Deal of The Day” promotion with limited quantities of each product. In this case, the company creates scarcity by putting a deadline of 24 hours on each sale item.
When more people share their reviews and opinions of your products, it’s easier to sell your products. Getting more reviews on your products takes work. Keep in mind that you can keep those reviews on your website for months and years to come! So it is well worth the effort to get more reviews.
To help you get more reviews, use these tips.
Machine learning technology is here, and it can help you to make more sales during Black Friday. Of all the trends mentioned here, machine learning is one of the more complex opportunities. If your company has limited technical expertise, consider revisiting machine learning and conversion rate optimization (CRO) in the new year.
Before you optimize your results, you need to collect a significant amount of data. If you only have data on 10 or 100 customers, it won’t detect patterns. You can collect data from multiple sources like website analytics (e.g., Google Analytics), social media, and customer buying activity.
Once your customer data collection efforts are set up, it is essential to stay organized. That’s where a CDP (customer data platform) platform plays an important role. The; Arena CDP makes it easy to understand customer behavior in one place. For example, you can see how a single customer interacted with your brand on social media, visited your chat room, and went on to make a purchase.
Check out these resources for inspiration on what’s possible to achieve with conversion rate optimization and machine learning.
With these trends in mind, you can confidently start planning your Black Friday deals. Across the world, we are starting to see increasing signs of a global economic recovery. Employment in the USA, Canada, and other countries is increasing. The long-term effects of the pandemic are not yet apparent. However, there are clear signs that the economy is opening up and consumers are ready to shop.
Set your Cyber Monday deals apart from the competition by offering live chat on your website. To see how Arena Live Chat works in your business, sign up for a; free 14 day trial.