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Why Innovation is the Key to Success this Black Friday | #HolidayMonth

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Black Friday, one of the year's undeniable major retailing occasions, returns on the 25th of November. This occasion encourages businesses to develop new marketing strategies and make better-informed business decisions to remain competitive and deal with the different challenges ahead of the peak retail season such as stockkeeping, inventory, promotion strategy and distribution.

The cost-of-living crisis has severely reduced business budgets and with inflation on the rise, customers are left with less disposable income. Therefore, businesses should explore various tactics to fully capitalise on the sales opportunity which comes with the peak holiday season.

I spoke with several industry professionals to gain a better understanding of what businesses should anticipate and what tactics to consider during Black Friday.

Economic Pressures

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The current state of the economy is expected to have a significant impact on consumer spending habits and how they will approach their Black Friday shopping. Households across Europe have been severely impacted by inflation and the cost of living crisis, and experts foresee a change in their regular purchasing patterns.

Speaking about the impact of the cost of living crisis, Jessica Chapplow, Managing Partner, Head of Commerce at Reprise Digital, comments: “With consumers looking to cope with inflation and stay within their budget, retailers and marketers are going to see that buying behaviours change slightly. For example, in the personal care market, we have a number of fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) clients and there's going to be a lot of multifunctional demand for those types of products, such as shower gel and shampoo combinations, as opposed to people buying two lots of those products. Those are the kind of behaviours that we expect to see over Black Friday this year.

Among other recent industry trends, there has been a greater focus on eCommerce relative to in-store shopping. eCommerce has been steadily rising for years but has seen a massive surge due to the pandemic and as a result, businesses should enhance their online offerings if they want to succeed this Black Friday.

Brittany Martincic, Teamwork Commerce's Director of Global Marketing, discusses the potential of an all-around approach and how this can help businesses deliver adequate customer satisfaction: “Shoppers demand flexibility and ease at every retail touchpoint and consumers need to be able to shop as per their personal preferences. With various retail offerings available - such as buy online pick up in-store (BOPIS), buy online return in-store (BORIS), complete online purchase and delivery, and solely in-store purchasing - consumers expect a seamless shopping experience at every stage of their shopping journey.

Improving the Customer Experience

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All businesses should strive for a competitive advantage on Black Friday; the most important aspect, however, is figuring out how to execute this. Jessica Chapplow, Managing Partner, Head of Commerce at Reprise Digital, comments: “Social media presents a great opportunity to be a lot more conversational in the way that a brand retails its products to customers, especially when it allows them to seamlessly blend attractive calls to actions (CTAs) with unique content. The extra promotion effort on social media channels really captures the attention of audiences and for many eCommerce brands offering Black Friday promotions, social media can often be seen simply to grow in sales and numbers.

Many retailers believe that a strategy involving significant promotional efforts prior to and during Black Friday is effective. However, Stephen Rivera, Rokt’s Director of Customer Success, has alternative viewpoints. “Whether the goal is to acquire new customers and drive sales, or increase the profitability of online transactions, the key to unlocking value in e-commerce is relevancy. Retailers often fall into the trap of providing an overwhelming number of messages (up-sells, cross-sells, loyalty initiatives, adverts, etc.) while heading towards checkout.

According to Stephen, companies can ensure consumer satisfaction by reducing irrelevant advertising, ultimately providing customers with a seamless online buying experience that replicates the service they would receive in-store.

The Importance of Stock Visibility

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Many people are considering browsing online ahead of the holiday season to see what's available at their local store, possibly saving an empty trip. Tom Vieweger, RFID Business Expert at Nedap Retail comments “It’s essential that brands can trust their inventory data. They need to know where products are and how soon customers can receive them, and rely on RFID technology to provide fully automated stock management at nearly 100% stock accuracy.

Employing a cloud-based stock visibility platform is vital for retailers to make it simple for brands and merchants to exchange stock information. Tom continues "If retailers and suppliers grant access to their stock information, they can enlarge the availability of items and fulfil customer’s demands, an invaluable resource at this time of year.

A Personalised and Relevant Approach

A final point, on which all the experts agreed, was that this Black Friday, personalisation and relevancy of communications and sales strategy are crucial. This year's Black Friday will bring large amounts of customer data from online transactions and online customer presence, which can be easily used to gain valuable insights and create customised interactions.

Furthermore, good deals and discounts do not necessarily translate into sales; brands must strike with a personalised and relevant approach if they wish to succeed this Black Friday.

Header image by Byron Howes

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