Posted by Bojana Lazarevska on 27 Nov, 2019
What started out as a one-day event has now turned into a week-long affair as stores continue to capitalise on the holiday season.
In the UK, overall sales have continued to rise, with a report by the Centre for Retail Research, VoucherCodes, stating the forecasted spend will be 3.4 percent more than 2018. However, this doesn’t necessarily bode well for brick-and-mortar traffic, which is forecasted to decline by 0.2 percent, while online sales rise by 8.3 percent.
There’s no denying the impact of Cyber Monday either, which kicked off in 2005 as a way for online stores to compete with traditional stores during the Black Friday weekend. This dedicated eCommerce day has now started to surpass Black Friday as consumers’ preferred shopping day, due to the convenience of digital shopping. This puts brick-and-mortar shops at a disadvantage, particularly if they don’t have a digital strategy to expand their offering. So, how can traditional stores compete with the online market?
Why Businesses Should Digitally Prepare for Black Friday
In 2018, Black Friday accounted for 14.8 million online sales. There is no denying that online shopping makes up a significant portion of all shopping done during this weekend. Major retailers and small businesses alike are all affected by this trend and should prepare a digital execution to drive sales.
The holidays are a crucial time for retailers, as most of them expect to make 30 percent of their annual revenue during this time. A Finder report showed that 56 percent of UK consumers will do their shopping online. In order for traditional retailers to keep up with these trends, they need to focus on having a digital strategy, as well as good deals in-store.
Are You Ready?
Connecting online and offline experiences helps brands reach their audience more effectively. A report by marketing and sales analytics solutions company, Periscope by McKinsey, showed that many shoppers wanted their in-store experiences to be digitally enhanced. These enhancements include things like self-checkout to minimise queues, and special discounts or offers sent directly to their phones.
Traditional stores should have a well thought-out approach to enhance the customer’s experience of their brand, and this includes providing a digital and a multichannel experience. Here are a some tips to ensure your business is ready for Black Friday:
Have a Mobile Strategy
Mobile devices accounted for 67 percent of all digital traffic in 2018, up by 61 percent from the previous year. Most importantly, mobiles actually affect how customers shop even when they are in physical stores. Shoppers usually search for additional information about a product on their device, which influences their decision to buy.
Including chatbots or virtual assistants on a mobile app can increase a brand’s conversion rate, as they can offer personalised recommendations or additional products to shoppers. eMarketer stated that we can expect to see global mCommerce sales to reach $4.058 trillion USD by 2020, representing 15 percent of all retail sales. This means that retailers who invest in mobile can usually expect to see a higher return on investment.
A mobile presence puts you in front of the customer, on a device they use on a regular basis. When Domino’s Pizza developed its mobile strategy, the business saw an increase of 44.5 percent in online orders alone.
The brand identified that its customers wanted a multichannel experience, and by improving its mobile performance, Domino’s was able to deliver one with some very positive results. Its mobile offering has even earnt the brand Mobile Marketing Brand of the Decade at the 2019 Effective Mobile Marketing Awards (EMMAs).
Having a mobile strategy also ensures you can reach your customers on multiple touchpoints. So, although you might attract new customers through a responsive website, a mobile app will better address returning customers (as they will have the app on their phone at all times) and make it more convenient for them to continue to buy from your store, even after the Black Friday sales have ended.
Create a Seamless Experience
The importance of listing products where consumers are spending most of their time cannot be ignored. A seamless experience helps to merge online and offline channels. That’s why, for this Black Friday, retailers should consider being present in both worlds.
A multi-touch retail strategy goes beyond brands having a presence online. Multichannel retail means that brands sell across all channels, whether that’s brick-and-mortar or social media, and connect the dots between all of these platforms. The focus is on designing a cohesive user experience that transcends online and offline spaces.
As Hubspot put it, a multi-touch experience is:
The ability to deliver a seamless and consistent experience across channels, while factoring in the different devices that consumers are using to interact with your business.
This approach has its focus firmly on the user, providing shoppers with what they want, when they want. For retailers, this means that they’re going to receive payment from many different sources, increasing their revenue.
Oasis is a UK fashion retailer that fuses its eCommerce site, mobile app, and brick-and-mortar store in one simple and seamless shopping experience. Upon entry into one of its physical stores, shoppers will find sales associates armed with iPads that can give them on-the-spot, up-to-date product information.
The iPads double as cash registers, making it easy for customers to pay from anywhere in the store. If something is out of stock, staff can instantly place an online order and have the item shipped directly to the customer’s home.
The Oasis app works to supplement its in-store and online experiences. It notifies users of the brand’s latest offers and trends, sends them inspiration from social media – which then leads back to its own stock – gives information on other shoppers’ ratings, and allows users to “swipe right” if they like a certain product.
Providing personalised, multichannel experiences like these can be crucial for a successful Black Friday. Brick-and-mortar stores need to push the boundaries and think beyond offering discounts, and toward tailoring digital offerings.
Even providing more digital solutions in-store will increase declining footfall in retail. Timing is everything, so providing these options as early in the customer’s shopping journey as possible will ensure you stay ahead of the competition.
For help or advice on how you can disrupt the digital landscape this Black Friday, get in touch with one of our team members today.
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