Black Friday is on November 24th and marks the day after Thanksgiving in the US. It is regarded as the start of the beginning of the Christmas shopping period in the United States and has been a trend stateside since the early fifties. The day is infamous as a frenzied day where shoppers aggressively seek bargains in retail stores when prices have been substantially slashed.
The trend reached the UK when online retail giant Amazon offered bargains to shoppers this side of the water in around 2010. Ever since then, it has become a trend in marketing in both Ireland and the UK. Smart Insights reported October 2017 that 76% of retailers will take part in Black Friday and will use it as part of their marketing plan.
Regardless of whether we celebrate Thanksgiving or not, it is safe to say most consumers in the UK and Ireland have started planning for the Christmas period as now that Halloween is behind us. Large retailers have changed over their advertising to a festive theme around this period. Consumers are mindful of their finances and plan out in advance when they will start their shopping and avail of various services in the winter season.
The Central Statistics Office in Ireland has reported that retail sales went up 0.9% from October to November in 2016. Retailers in the Republic of Ireland are now faced with a new challenge in light of Brexit and the decline of Sterling. Therefore, Black Friday could be an excellent opportunity for them to take advantage of this fluctuation (according to Retail Ireland).
For online retail, in terms of e-commerce, it is important to be mindful of a few things in implimenting your digital marketing plan for the winter season – paying special attention to Black Friday and Cyber Monday as important dates within your company’s marketing calender.
Retailers in the US will plan ahead for Black Friday. Emails, ads and promotions are sent out around 8am on Thanksgiving to allow shoppers to plan ahead and be well informed of upcoming deals and sales. Special attention to branding is also important. Be mindful of colours and the message you are sending out within your planned ads. According to Smart Insights, Amazon will begin Black Friday campaigning as soon as November 14th.
Website speed, user friendliness and optimisation and web security
Ensure your website is literally up to speed. Consumers are impatient when online shopping. A smooth, fast and easy experience is essentially why people online shop. Online shopping is a way of avoiding the chaos of in-store queues and crowds. The average website will fully display in 3 seconds. You are at risk of losing a sale if your website is not optimised and fast. Security is also vital at this point and is a major concern for online shoppers. Ensure your site is secure and payment is safe.
SEO is very important during the Christmas shopping season. Be mindful of what people are searching for. According to Smart Insights, “Black Friday” has 200,000 monthly searches in the UK. People are searching for it and your website should be ready to compete with the array of competitors with a similar plan of action. Be clear about the products and services you are selling and what your deals and discounts are. This again, goes back to branding and ads.
The Christmas season starts early in retail. Like your customers and clients, you must also be well prepared for the chaos!