As part of the latest Bdaily feature, retail weekWe heard from Hugh Fletcher, global marketing director and thought leadership leader at London-based integrated creative, data and technology agency, Wunderman Thompson Commerce.
Black Friday is near, but it comes at a difficult time for many shoppers and retailers. Last week the UK went into recession, compounding cost of living pressures being felt across Britain. And a period usually characterized by a flurry of activity will likely look much duller this year, with many unable to spend even if they wanted to.
Black Friday spending could be cut in half compared to last year, dipping to a level last seen when the world was engulfed by the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020. For retailers hoping the peak season could make up for the losses earlier in the year, this will no doubt come as a disappointment.
However, there is still hope for brands to improve their lot during Black Friday and the rest of the high holiday season, and knowing the most effective channels to reach consumers will be essential.
With 57 percent of shoppers reporting that Christmas gifts will be the center of their spending, demand will remain high during the annual shopping bonanza, giving savvy retailers a chance to claim their rights as kings and queens of the high shopping season.
Dominating the market(place):
Cyber Monday has long been touted as Black Friday’s digital sibling, but the line between the two has blurred with more shoppers choosing to forgo the in-store experience in favor of the comfort of their couches.
This year, two-thirds (66 percent) of Black Friday shoppers plan to shop through Amazon, and 76 percent say more of their spending will be online compared to previous years.
This is because online shopping allows people more freedom to find the best deals and discounts with an almost unlimited range, and marketplaces like Amazon and eBay offer shoppers a variety of products and a convenient experience that points Physical sales simply can’t match.
Also, global buyers use marketplaces for inspiration, more than search engines; they can be used to generate sales and as an effective marketing tool for brands looking to stand out from the competition.
Two in five shoppers (40 percent) report finding better deals online than in-store, which is an important consideration in today’s climate. With so many operating on tight budgets, the emphasis on value and thrift will resonate, and there’s no better way to reach money-conscious consumers than online.
The unstoppable force that is social commerce:
However, having a presence in the markets by itself is not enough. Increasingly, shoppers are extending their reach to look into alternative channels, and retailers must match this and adapt their strategies to cover all the avenues in which their customers interact.
Retailers have a litany of channels at their disposal and must capitalize on the relevant ones to meet customer demands. Merging deals and discounts across multiple platforms can build a long-term foundation for reaching millions on a global scale.
That means ensuring that the experience on the site is rich and engaging. While more shoppers may turn to marketplaces to make purchases, a brand’s own website can help. One key avenue to focus on, which is rapidly growing in importance, is social shopping. While it may be more common in Asia, the Western counterparts are starting to catch up.
Globally, around two-thirds (65 percent) of customers say they have made purchases through social platforms before and 53 percent intend to do so more. This demand must be met with a strong social offering that enables a smooth journey from discovery to purchase.
And that’s not to mention making sure the on-site experience is engaging and well thought out.
Making Black Friday 2023 a success:
However, simply using social media channels or marketplaces to communicate with customers is not enough. Challenges remain for retailers, and the secret to overcoming them will come down to better understanding customers.
Transparency will play a big role in winning over customers who were previously disappointed. More than half of consumers (56 percent) said that Black Friday deals can be misleading, and nearly the same number (47 percent) said they were disappointed with last year’s deals.
Fostering a strong relationship with customers is the best way to navigate this, as is being honest about how much items actually cost. The last thing a customer on a budget needs to be saddled with unwanted fees.
Ultimately, you’ll gain a considerate approach to buyers’ needs, compelling them to stop scrolling and click ‘buy’. Any disconnect between retailers and their audience will spell disaster, especially given how critical peak season will be to the survival of businesses.
By matthew neville – Correspondent, Bdaily
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