Christmas 2016 was a bit of a mixed bag for retailers, with the ‘new normal’ trading peaks of Black Friday and Cyber Monday now firmly entrenched in consumer’s minds. We remember a little last minute panic as retailers hadn’t hit targets early in the Christmas trading season, but overall the on-and offline high street had done well by the time the alka selzer had stopped fizzing and the New Year’s hangover had receded.
The retail industry has been gearing up for this year’s festive season since July, but after a tough year for some, how do you ensure that Christmas 2017 becomes your game changing season?
The biggest question in retailer’s minds at the moment, is Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Now an established feature of the trading calendar, it’s an event in itself – but how should you approach it and is it right for you?
We’ve rounded up the key ways for you to identify the value of this retail event to your business to help you approach and plan for Christmas differently this year.
SCRUTINISE YOUR DATA
We know, you’ve heard this before, but central to your decision to stay on or jump off the Black Friday / Cyber Monday band wagon is a cold hard look at how it affected your overall Q4, and 2017 sales figures.
Did you genuinely make more because of your early discounting, or did you make the same across the period, just at different points?
The customers that you won over this period, have they gone on to become loyal repeat customers, or did they buy at a discount to be never seen again? You have 3 Qs worth of transactional data to crunch to enable you to make a strategic decision to invest time, energy and product to Black Friday / Cyber Monday.
We’ve spoken to many retailers who are going to resist the temptation of black Friday this year, but behind that decision is a very clear understanding of how potentially damaging (or indeed, rewarding) the effort to take part and get the cut through you want, is.
CAN YOU USE BLACK FRIDAY TO IDENTIFY AND TARGET THE GROWTH OF YOUR DATABASE?
It is possible to use Black Friday / Cyber Monday strategically of course. If from scrutinising your data, you won some customers that did make a positive difference to your business, can you win more look-a-like customers from offering a similar offer than you did last year?
DO YOU HAVE THE TIME AND RESOURCE TO GENUINELY CONNECT WITH YOUR CUSTOMERS WELL BEFORE BLACK FRIDAY?
We know you have an email marketing strategy and you probably have a solid content strategy – but can you, hand on heart, expect your customer’s loyalty this Christmas, or do you risk their heads being turned by a different and exciting brand in the melee of Black Friday / Cyber Monday?
Along with the scrutiny of your transactional data – make sure you know how to really engage with your customers to keep them with you during the festive period. It’s disappointing how many bland marketing messages are seen at Christmas and if you choose to not do Black Friday, then you need a laser focus on your customers and an effective plan to engage, upsell and retain them.
Alternatively, why not just target your existing customers with a Black Friday message? Focus on rewarding them just before Christmas with an added value message to encourage further loyalty.
Retailers don’t have to be beholden to Black Friday & Cyber Monday to win this festive season, but by taking a step back, identifying its bigger picture value to your business and planning to make the most of it, you can make Black Friday work strategically for you, if indeed, you discover it’s right for you and your business at all.