With Black Friday officially upon the UK population, despite many retailers having already highlighted discounts for some time already. With online, and especially mobile, spend predicted to increase again this year, some commentators are advising retailers not to lose sight of opportunities in bricks and mortar.
“Black Friday isn’t just a day, it is now potentially the biggest event in the retail calendar, which spans across nearly half of November,” commented Mercaux chief executive Olga Kotsur. “Shoppers have become accustomed to week-long periods of deals; the likes of Amazon, Argos and Currys put their bargains up well ahead of schedule. Industry body IMRG estimates that £7.42bn will be spent online over the peak period, but the importance of brick and mortar stores shouldn’t be underestimated, particularly as customers search for the best offers. Irrespective of the channel, shoppers will be inundated with the latest deals and retailers will fail to draw their attention without a tailored, bespoke approach.
“The peak retailing period is a fantastic opportunity but it is also a lot of noise for the customer to digest at once. In order to separate from competitors, retailers must look to align off and online channels together to create a unified experience. Many customers won’t completely know what they are looking for and retailers should use this as an opportunity to build a long-standing relationship. By enabling sales people with in-store technology, they can help shoppers navigate the complex Black Friday landscape to find the best products and deals for them. What’s clear is that Black Friday is unavoidable, but in the hugely competitive industry, retaining the customer’s interest in the long-term will rely on a personalised approach first.”
Optimove chief executive Pini Yakuel agrees that generating long term relationships is a challenge, but that the majority of spend comes through an existing customer base. “Black Friday is still useful for retailers, generating 4.2 times more revenue than an average shopping day,” he said. “Traditional thought attributes the substantial financial uplift of these days to the acquisition of new customers. But analysis of over 30 million consumers in Europe and America shows that on both Black Friday and Cyber Monday, new customers make up less than a third of customers.
“Retailers are waging a war for the wallet share of new shoppers, but their victory may be hollow. Acquisition of one-time shoppers can be extremely costly, especially around the holiday season when slashing prices is a major acquisition strategy.”
He continued: “According to research by customer relationship experts Optimove, 71% of customers on Black Friday and 74% of customers on Cyber Monday were repeat customers, taking their business to brands they’ve already shopped with in the past.
“Previous research from Optimove highlighted that repeat customers spend on average 30% more over the holiday season than new customers do. Retailers should balance the acquisition of new customers with investment in the retention of existing customers, in order to establish on-going relationships which last until the next holidays come around.”