Online is the New Black: Black Friday in a Pandemic

featured image

There’s a lot riding on Black Friday this year. Can it be as big of a success as years gone by, or perhaps even bigger? Or will it fall flat as we have to limit the number of shoppers who can come in to store. One thing is for sure: gone are the days of surging crowds sweeping into shops at 6am, jostling each other to be the first to get the best deals.

Yes, this year’s Black Friday is going to be a very different experience; and now more than ever before, it’s going to to be predominantly online. Google is already preparing for the onslaught of hits on their servers if this Reuters report on their prep for black Friday is anything to go by

COVID has forced many businesses to focus their attention on their online offerings; specifically bringing the importance of e-commerce and e-commerce experience to the fore. So, it’s not really a surprise that we’re facing the prospect of a digital Black Friday, especially when we consider that COVID might have just accelerated the inevitable. 

What can we do to help ensure that Black Friday 2020 is a success for retailers and manufacturers? Well, I firmly believe that the key lies in the experience: creating something that consumers can be excited about and gives a sense of exclusivity that comes with being on that store’s site at the right time. 

Gamify the Discount

Exclusivity is a powerful driver of action: never are consumers more motivated to purchase than when there’s a chance it might run out. However, this kind of strategy can often be swept up online and lost amongst the swathes of competing products available. The best way to bring exclusivity online then? Gamifying the discount.

What does this mean in practise? Well, the idea is to get customers onto your site at a specific time. So give them a reason to be there. Create a promotion that means a certain number of users will be randomly selected to receive extreme discounts if they’re on site at a certain time purchasing Black Friday deals. You’ll garner a much stronger reaction to fewer people winning big, than everyone getting a small but equal share of your discount budget. 

Limited Time Only

On a similar vein, shortening the time when the offers are available also creates exclusivity that will help drive sales. While we’ve seen a number of reports suggesting that retailers are considering extending Black Friday this year – and Amazon has already hit the ground running – you run the risk of consumer fatigue if you extend for too long.

While holding a longer sales period makes sense as it spreads out the traffic coming to store, making it safer and more COVID secure for your in-person shoppers, you can take a slightly different tactic online. Take inspiration from Amazon’s flash sales and create short offer periods for some of your biggest products. This creates more buzz and excitement, as well as increasing the propensity to convert.

Sharing is Caring

Cutting through the noise, especially on social media, is often very tricky over Cyber Weekend – but it can offer you a way to kill two birds with one stone. Incentivising your customers to share their haul online is a great way to increase your reach and direct customers to your e-commerce platform. Send them the assets and details they might need and offer them a prize draw and you could see your Black Friday offers being shared far and wide. 

Delighting the Customer

The single most important part of a good online experience is excellent customer service. Customers have come to expect easy and instant responses to their customer service queries – especially when shopping online – through chatbots, email and, more often than not, social media. A slow or inadequate response is not only a sure-fire way to upset your customers and turn them off, but is a marketing disaster waiting to happen. Investing time and resources into preparing your customer service team to give the best support that they can will be absolutely crucial in keeping your Cyber Weekend running smoothly.

Pre-empt some of the most common questions and problems to create a suite of assets and FAQs to make customer service that little bit easier. You could even add a range of unboxing or how-to videos for some of your key products. The aim here is to aid your support team and make sure you have lots of happy customers on the day; helping to create brand advocates who recommend and support your brand.