Previously, Black Friday through Cyber Monday used to set retailers expectations when it came to holiday sales. However, the availability of deals and increasing shopper flexibility from ecommerce throughout the holiday season has extended the shopping season from Black Friday right up until December 24. According to the research firm ShopperTrak, sales on Black Friday decreased 10% this year, with a total of $10.4 billion compared with last year’s $11.6 billion. There is no need for retailers to hit the panic button quite yet as many analysts are still projecting a 3.4% revenue increase y-o-y from last holiday season.
Below are a few emerging trends that retailers should keep an eye on with added commentary from those of us at Cp of who shopped (or did not shop) over Thanksgiving weekend.
Trend Alert: The holiday shopping season is expanding beyond Thanksgiving weekend.
Last year, December 23rd trumped Black Friday as the biggest shopping day of the year and this year, major retailers like Amazon and Wal-Mart have been rolling out Black Friday-caliber deals since November 1. Savvy consumers recognize that they no longer need to fight the crowds to get a good deal.
“No shopping—too much a hassle. There is always a deal 24/7/365.”
“I know that I am going to get a good deal no matter when I shop. I am in no rush to do my holiday shopping.”
Retailers Response: Today, retailers are blasting consumers with discounts. As consumers, we have been conditioned to wait to buy until a product goes on sale, meaning there is a little sense of urgency to make a purchase during the holiday season. One way retailers can combat this is by creating limited time offers or a new deal throughout the 12 days of Christmas shopping.
Trend Alert: Stigma of Black Friday is forcing consumers to stay home & shop through digital channels.
There is a growing consensus among consumers that there is a social stigma associated with Black Friday. According to the retail tracking firm ShopperTrak more consumers are turning to mobile to avoid going in-store.
“I did Cyber Monday on Black Friday.... no way I was going to fight the masses.”
“I refuse to go into a shopping establishment on Friday because the crowds are too much and people are rude while shopping.”
Retailers Response: Prepare a unified engagement strategy on all fronts – storefront, ecomfront, and mobilefront. Despite many retailers creating silos between their online and in-store operations, consumers view the retailers as a single brand. They do not think of Brand X’s brick and mortar as any different than its online presence. As a result, the responsibility rests with the retailer to marry the in-store and direct channels to create a synchronous consumer experience.
Trend: Those who shop on Black Friday / Cyber Monday are MORE likely to churn but also SPEND more money.
Yes, you read that correctly. Despite high volumes of Black Friday and Cyber Monday shoppers churning more frequently, these consumers had their credit card (Apple Pay?) in hand, and were ready to shop. Consumers who made their first purchases over the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend spent 12% more than other consumers throughout the year.
“I did order one item on Cyber Monday. It was something I needed and I received an email with a 30% off and free shipping offer. I ordered online as soon as I saw the message.”
“There were a couple items in particular that I had in mind that I was trying to shop around for the best deal.”
Retailers Response: Black Friday / Cyber Monday shoppers usually go in with a game-plan and are ready to open their wallets. This means that retailers should be ready to think about ways to extend their shopping habits. One tactic for doing so is capturing the consumers’ email and placing them through a Welcome Series with engaging and informative content to help drive repeat buyers.
In sum, the lesson from this holiday shopping season is to stop spamming consumers with promotions and start engaging in a tactful manner that begins to build relationships not just a transaction. By focusing on the consumer’s experience and how they plan to engage with your brand, this will allow you to build strategies that are focused on revenue generation.