Black Friday is coming and you should feel anxious by now. Whether because you were part of the hype and had to deal with shipping, returns, discounts and impatient clients, or because you are not yet prepared for it and are suffering from retailer FOMO (Fear of Missing Out).
Even though this day/weekend/week may be harsh to deal with, we suggest that you rethink and reconsider whether you should start planning a Black Friday strategy. Especially in 2020, where COVID-19 has changed the way your consumers’ shop.
More and more fashion brands’ positions about Black Friday have differed. Some decide to go with the discount frenzy with little thought and planning, while others are joining an increasing “anti-black Friday” policy. Our results show that you can benefit from adopting an optimal position in-between, where you perform an analysis of your sales and inventory to get the most out of the movement while remaining true to your brand’s core values and strategy.
If you already pursued a Black Friday campaign, and your only reason to do so was that all your competitors are doing it, it is not reason enough. At this stage, you should reevaluate your current strategy and goals and check if it is worth it to have all this trouble for this time of year. Yet, if your competitors are doing it, your customer may also be expecting a Black Friday deal as an opportunity to buy from you. And let’s not defraud their expectations!
“The prospect of losing out on some sales because next door has opted in represents a risk too far for most.”The Guardian
Nonetheless, there are several other reasons why you should invest in Black Friday. We’ve gathered 5 clear Black Friday benefits your brand can get when pursuing a well-thought-out strategy.
1. Boost your in-season sales while keeping leftovers in mind
It’s usual to see some differences between your initial expectations and the actual sales results, while you try to keep up with your suppliers MOQ’s (minimum order quantities), especially when you’re getting started. So you’ve certainly been faced with the challenge of having unsold stock from previous seasons.
Your first impulse may be to take advantage of Black Friday to sell that remaining stock. Yet, we see things a little bit differently: due to your recent collection release, leveraging its sales should be a priority at this time of the year.
Being aware of the calendar is crucial here: in a time frame of slightly more than 30 days, you will benefit from three main selling opportunities: Black Friday, Christmas campaign and Winter Sales. Take advantage of the Holiday’s Season, the predisposition of your customers to spend and analyze how you can draw a discount strategy that best benefits your brand.
Black Friday may be the last chance you give your customer to buy that special piece you’ve created for this new season at a deal price. Make BF about your in-season collection and about giving your client a small window of opportunity to have that desired item from the new collection. Make this your bridge for your Christmas campaign where you continue to bet on the current season and where you could also promote some selected items at your choice.
Sure unsold inventory represents a huge slice of the inefficiency costs of a brand, but wait for Winter Sales to clear down leftovers and ensure your return on investment (ROI). This is the time to sell your old stock from previous seasons and it is when you will benefit from taking a risk and place higher sales and discounts.
Start with thinking about a discount strategy for these 3 main selling points and build it by placing the focus on the items you want to sell and define enticing promotions.
Another strategy that is key to ensure you have a beneficial BF campaign is to create a sense of urgency for your customer. By clearly showing on your website or app how many pieces you have left for a specific item, or if you send an email to your client saying that the specific item they have waiting on their cart is almost out of stock, and even a countdown to the end of the sale on your website, you will trigger an urge on who’s buying that will induce irrational and emotional purchases.
Finally, you could set up conditional discounts, for example, offer free shipping on orders above some value you find optimal to entice your client to add more pieces to the shopping cart.
2. Additional sales opportunities
Black Friday is the perfect opportunity to gain from Incremental Sales. These are the ones you get through a specific promotion or deal in comparison to the number of pieces you would have sold without that campaign. Make the math, study your sales peaks and turns and check the positive impact a BF strategy could have.
This time of the year is also a great opportunity to take advantage of the cost of opportunity. Put to good use the timing you have in your hands and your customers’ mindset. The holidays’ season is the one where your customer is prone to spend irrationally: they are driven by impulses as well as by their peers’ recommendations. Keep that in mind and put your strategy into practice.
“Last year, abandonment rates dropped to 67% on Black Friday and 70% on Cyber Monday as people looked to grab a bargain.” SalesCycle
3. Attract new customers and convert prospects
Communication and marketing are key to make the most out of this benefit. If you have a planned discount strategy for Black Friday and communicate those deals efficiently on the right channels, you will certainly attract new customers that find your product interesting and appealing.
Even the savvy customer is, at this time of the year, more receptive to marketing actions and ads and thus may notice your product for the first time and process what your brand has to offer.
Try to explain to your potential customers what your value proposition is: why should they consider your product and why are your deals and discounts relevant to them? Explain in a creative way why your product may be the perfect Christmas gift to buy at this time of the year, for example.
“If you acquire customers around Black Friday, and keep them happy, then you have a chance to drive repeat sales in the Christmas period and beyond “SaleCycle
Prospects that have once considered buying your product, may now see a window of opportunity to purchase from you and can now move straight from the awareness stage to consideration and finally buy from you.
Be reminded that the buying experience your prospects have with your brand, is also key to ensure that you convert them into loyal customers who will eventually repeat purchases.
4. Re-engage with customers and build relationships
There is no doubt that this time of the year is ideal to reconnect with previous customers, build relationships and strengthen those bonds with the loyal ones. Now is the opportunity to remind those who have once bought from you and have forgotten about your product why should they purchase from you again.
Take time to design exclusive offers for your loyal customers or for those who have subscribed and given you their email, for instance. But don’t just sell the product, sell your story! As Seth Godin said “People do not buy goods & services. They buy relations, stories, and magic.”.
“On Black Friday, email open rates increase by 60 percent as everyone is looking for offers from different brands” Ari Zoldan CEO, Quantum Media Group
Bet on email as a key channel to make re-connections and target your customers with personalized offers and add emotional value to your email campaigns with options you know your prospects will engage to.
And why not create an email follow up campaign for those who still are unsure and weighing in on their options? After they have selected items on their cart, send an email to remind them to finish their shopping spree and buy those pieces. Finally, when the Black Friday promotion is ending, remind them with another email that this is their last chance to buy those items with discounts.
5. Leverage your brand image and reputation
Brand equity is the commercial value driven by the perception your customer has of your brand, regardless of your product. Black Friday has been growing a reputation of damaging the image customers have on a specific brand due, for example, to hard discounts. But if you have a cohesive BF strategy that is aligned with your goals, your image may even be leveraged.
This time of the year lets you increase awareness for your brand more easily. Customers are especially receptive and attentive to advertising and marketing efforts, as previously mentioned. Remember this easiness of penetration in our customers’ minds and take time to think about what strategies you will follow to drive attention to your brand and product.
Take advantage of the emotional aspect of the holiday season and bet on social media as a focal point to create awareness and leverage your social presence. Communicate your offers on your social channels and guarantee a presence on your customer’s minds by being memorable. You want your customers to come back next year.
Be always aware that despite the benefits mentioned above, your reputation and brand equity will also rely on performance. So before employing a BF strategy, you need to be sure of your capabilities and if your logistics structure is capable of guaranteeing you meet the expected increase in demand. You have to firmly ensure that the Black Friday, black weekend or black week deliveries run as smoothly as possible. And that’s where we come in.
“What happens if the shipping company you work with becomes too busy? How quickly can you restock inventory if you sell out earlier than expected?” Shopify
After analyzing your sales results and the values of your brand, you can come to the conclusion that your best Black Friday campaign may very well be of not applying any discounts at all. It is important that you sit down and take time to think about what’s on the table, evaluate the pros and cons for your brand and build the story around it.
But if you do want to pursue a BF strategy, please keep in mind that all those benefits don’t come into place if you don’t do careful preparation and planning. Don’t leave any loose ends that could potentially damage all that hard work and hours you’ve put into this event. Also, be sure to measure the results and analyze them to ensure that your strategy was correctly applied.