Every year, Cyber Monday, and especially Black Friday are the days that are eagerly expected by the retailers all around the western hemisphere, especially in the UK and US. Unfortunately, many retailers don’t seem to be able to devise a successful strategy to make these days work in their favour.
This happens for various reasons, but all the cases, in the end, fall back to a few reasons:
• Not understanding the different types of shoppers
• Decreasing brand authority
• Focusing on the wrong customer base
• Repeating mistakes
Different types of shoppers
You have to understand that there are 2 basic types of shoppers – those who plan everything in advance, and those who shop on impulse. Treating them all ion the same way will not get both groups to make the purchases. Although it is necessary to adjust the strategies for both, the results will come if you do everything properly.
While regular shoppers plan their Black Friday and Cyber Monday purchases, the impulsive ones make their decisions in a split second. It means that the 1st group will spend some time working on the research for their purchases, and they will take time to understand your portfolio and make their picks. They are not likely to make last-minute decisions, and their choices have been made long before those days.
Impulsive shoppers will be drawn by the festive atmosphere, or they will be reacting to the event. It means they will not spend any time researching, and they will buy things on the fly. Every offer they like is likely to turn into a sale, and there is little use of being oriented towards competitiveness.
The bottom line is simple. You need to address those two groups differently. While the standard shoppers would appreciate a timely reminder of the forthcoming seasonal sales, and you will be able to draw a lot of revenue from that approach, it will have no effect on the seasonal shoppers at all.
The key is to split your efforts in two different directions. The best way is to simply use your mailing lists on all shoppers since you have no way of knowing which of them falls in any of the two groups. The only thing that needs to be done is to set 2 different campaigns. The first newsletter campaign should be aimed at those who plan their purchases, and although it will miss the target with impulsive ones, the 2nd wave will remedy this shortcoming.
The 2nd group should be aimed at with a different campaign that will take place a day before the Black Friday, with consecutive emails during that day, and on Cyber Monday as well. Additionally, all paid marketing efforts during the very event should all be targeted towards impulsive shoppers. This combination of approaches should produce far better results than any of the previous strategies you used.
Decreasing brand authority
Brand authority is one of the key factors for successful retailing. If the shoppers perceive you as a decent vendor that provides quality goods at reasonable prices, there is no need to go for the overkill during the peak season.
This is quite a common mistake, and many retailers make it while trying to get the most out of these 2 days. That key mistake usually reflects in huge discounts that are spread all over the portfolio.
Simply put – this is a wrong approach. If you make everything available at huge discounts, the shoppers will think that you have been ripping them off for the entire year before that, and they will be right to think so. The best way to avoid this is to stick to the lower discounts for most of your portfolio. You could, of course, use more aggressive discounts on items that are not selling too well, or the ones you have in stock for too long time.
Wrong customer base
There are two types of potential customers at your disposal – those who made a purchase with you and those who haven’t. Most of the retailers make a cardinal mistake and focus all their efforts on new customers.
This often results in huge marketing expenses aimed at new customers. Enormous amounts are spent both on Google and on social media for these purposes, and it produces rather slim results in most of the cases.
Instead of trying to reach those you haven’t been able to reach so far, you should focus on your existing customer base as the primary target group. These people already made a purchase, and if you address them on time and in the right way, they will make a purchase again. Not only that this is a safer and better-converting option, but it is also a rather cheap one compared to its alternative.
This does not mean you should not aim for the new shoppers, but you need to shift the priorities in order to minimise your expenses and maximise sales. Of course, this does not apply to the new vendors that don’t have a customer base yet, but even in those cases, it is not the best of ideas to target the new customers with huge marketing budgets. Everybody is doing it at that time, and you will have some trouble getting on top. The key is to keep your spending under control.
Sometimes doing too much is not good, especially in the marketing segment. The latest researches have shown that most of the shoppers are coming to your website using mobile phones, and if your website loads too slowly, they will look elsewhere and simply never come back.
How this implies to the specific case of Black Friday and Cyber Monday? It is simple. Many retailers manage to pull off a great marketing campaign, their websites get crowded, and are not able to support such traffic due to low connectivity and hardware resources. Others often have a lot of broken URLs and a lot of redirections and it all slows down the websites, especially their mobile versions. An end result is a huge number of bounces and each and every one of those customers is lost for good!
Make sure your website is developed properly, and make sure your connectivity and hardware resources can answer the needs of the increased traffic, and you will be more than happy with the results.
The worst thing any business owner can do is not drawing lessons from their previous failures. Unfortunately, this happens quite often and it has some pretty damaging consequences. People tend to deploy the same tactics year after year, and they disregard both the changes that happen in the marketing sphere and their previous mistakes.
A good way to counter this bad trend is to use your analytics system and roll back the data from the previous year. Then, you can compare your current campaign and the real-time results with the results from the previous year. It is surprisingly effective and can give you a good overall insight into your current efforts. If you remember exactly what you did last year, it is quite easy to split test the approaches and determine what works the best in your case.
If you stick to this advice and organise a well-developed marketing campaign, Black Friday could turn out to be the brightest day of your business year!