The busy holiday season is just around the corner and this year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM) is looking to be a year of opportunity for merchants to recoup some of their lost profits from the past 18 months. Due to lockdowns, people are shopping online more than ever however, consumers are once again starting to enjoy local in-store shopping, giving merchants the benefit to attract both audiences.
Navigating BFCM and holiday sales can be challenging this year with supply chain issues and stock levels affecting consumer confidence; however an increase in flexible payment options and ways to shop provides more opportunities for merchants to ‘win’ the sale.
Being prepared and implementing our top tips for this week’s BFCM sales provides merchants with an opportunity to end the business year strong.
BFCM isn’t just a weekend, it kicks off the shopping season
Whilst many consumers are kicking off their holiday shopping earlier this year and trying to secure some hard to find items to avoid out of stock disappointment, shopping online continues to be the main way for savvy shoppers to grab a deal this BFCM weekend.
In a 2021 holiday trends study by Justuno, shoppers surveyed said that they were most likely to do their holiday shopping across the Black Friday (52.74%) and Cyber Monday (58.23%) sales. According to a new report from Shopify, leading up to the BFCM period, almost double the amount of Australian shoppers plan to shop online in some capacity (90%) when compared to those planning on shopping in-store in some capacity (54%).
With many challenges posed in 2020-21, merchants have created new ways to sell online with some small businesses changing their product offering entirely. With BFCM sales helping merchants to bounce back, commencing Black Friday sales earlier in the week and continuing some type of promotion post Cyber Monday may help small businesses gain traction and increase sales in the lead up to Christmas.
Focus on customer retention just as much as growth
BFCM is an amazing opportunity for small business owners to create relationships with new customers as well as retain and reward existing ones. In 2020, traditional brick-and-mortar consumers were forced to shop online due to lockdowns and restrictions. As a result, they now understand the digital landscape, know how to comparison shop and can easily scour multiple websites to find the best deal in the market.
When it comes to BFCM, merchants of course want to be acquiring new customers rather than one time buyers but having strategies in place ensures they become long term repeat customers.
However, it is crucial to continue focusing on pleasing your loyal customers and leveraging these existing customer relationships. Additional discounts, a gift with purchase or free shipping may be just some of the techniques to further reward existing customers who are already brand advocates, overall ensuring customer retention.
Social Media is your friend this holiday season
Given it’s been almost 2 years since some families have been reunited, emotional shopping and finding a gift that shares a personal connection with the recipient is at an all time high. This means small businesses need to tap into a consumers’ emotional side with their marketing campaigns by creating memorable and emotion-driven content.
Consumers are increasingly turning to ‘social commerce’, a major trend influencing holiday shopping this year. They are looking for connections and engagement more than ever before across a variety of social media platforms including Instagram, Facebook, even TikTok! A recent survey by Shopify showed that younger BFCM shoppers (ages 18-34) are more likely to purchase an item directly from social media this year in Australia (27%) and New Zealand (25%) when compared to those ages 35+. Consumers want to invest in your brand values as well as your products, and social media plays a huge part in converting consumers from everyday platform followers to lucrative shoppers.
Increasing awareness and demand for your products or service across multiple social platforms by offering compelling yet emotional BFCM deals, will help to reach new audiences and boost overall sales.
There is still support for local and independent businesses
Google searches for “support local businesses” have grown by over 2000 times year on year since 2019 which shows a continued desire for BFCM shoppers to support local and independent businesses.
Three in five (60%) shoppers plan on purchasing BFCM items from locally-owned stores and around a quarter of shoppers in Australia (25%) and New Zealand (29%) plan to spend more than last year on independently owned businesses stemming from a rise in ‘shopping local’ due to Covid-19.
But consumers want more from a business if they are going to buy local. They want a connection, a relationship, a sense of community and some good feelings on the side of their purchase. As a small business, it is important to continue to engage with your local community through collaborations with like-minded businesses or rewards programs for loyal customers. Ensure to provide BFCM offers that encourage shoppers to return to your small business over larger chain stores.
Overall, this BFCM weekend, being prepared and focusing on the customer through a variety of techniques outlined in this post will help ensure your small business has the opportunity for continued growth as we kick off the busy shopping season.