Black Friday: Ready to Reap

It is safe to say that Black Friday is one of the most important retail trends to take South Africa by storm 4 years ago and it has grown in magnitude ever since. This American trend used to be associated with thousands of people sleeping in tents on sidewalks waiting for stores to open, but they have since been replaced by eager consumers waiting by cellphone lights for the clock to strike 12:00.

With the festive season fast approaching, it’s the season where consumers are geared towards spending and they are psychologically predisposed to bargain hunt. If the offering is great, they often find themselves spending money on things they don’t need by purchasing what is perceived to be a “once in a lifetime deal”.

The holiday season has traditionally been associated with an increase in sales, however, since the arrival of Black Friday and Cyber Monday there has been a definite shift with the season moving earlier with 2 weeks and most retailers experiencing a pre-season spending slump before the last-minute Christmas shopper’s stream in. If not planned and executed well, most businesses will lose out on the opportunity to clear excess stock or launch new and revolutionary products to refocus and excite before the festive madness.

The retail sector has been given the gift of an expected, exciting event and with some smart worded campaigns they can get their business ready to cash in:

BE THE EARLIER BIRD

Research has shown that most holiday shoppers start researching in early November and therefore your campaigns should be equally geared for an early launch. Well planned messaging and keywords can increase your SEO and set you up well into the new year. This is truly the time for David to stand up to Goliath with micro enterprises giving the retail giants a run for their money. Notifying consumers through well placed sponsored social media posts and well worded direct mails can be a cost-effective strategy that is easy to execute. Creating urgency with a countdown or an offer expiration can lead to higher conversions.

Advantage: There are great templates available where bespoke messaging can get you well on your way to Go Social

Note: Customers are expecting huge discounts and are price-sensitive on Black Friday, so you really need to discount aggressively and have exceptional offers to really get the advantage.

ALWAYS ON(LINE)

Black Friday sees equal numbers in online and onsite shopping. There has been a gradual shift on Cyber Monday with more than 56% of purchases now done online. Your brand is more than a specials banner on your website and whether it is an onsite or online customer experience, it should be as easy as “one-click”. From walk-in and sign-up to swipe, it should be user-friendly and supported by a real-time customer-centric approach including teams who can advise and assist with requests.

Advantage: There is a high level of excitement and people are treating others (and themselves) to early Christmas presents.

Note: Having a mobile presence is critical and you need the capacity to serve the customers you attract. If your website crashes, packages don’t get delivered or you run out of stock – this could be more damaging than good for your brand.

CARPE DIEM. AND THE NIGHT

For most consumers and retailers alike, Black Friday starts at midnight the day before and a smart, well-worded campaign launched at pumpkin hour can give you an additional competitive edge that is so needed when everyone is focusing efforts. Having staggered offerings launching in the hours thereafter will keep the customers coming back for more.

Advantage: If you get it right, this is a great opportunity to get rid of that old inventory and clear out some stock.

Note: Returning buyers should not be mistaken for loyal customers – they might just be really good at hunting down bargains.

When it comes to international events like this, bigger is always better and your messaging, discounts and service should reflect that.

Remember, don’t settle for a famine when you could be sitting down for a feast.

Since 2011, we have provided businesses with innovative, flexible and convenient alternatives to traditional business loans. Business owners still identify access to working capital as the single biggest challenge that they are faced with. Being responsible for 50% of the country’s GDP and contributing to over 65% of employment, we are devoted to partnering with small to medium-sized businesses to grow the South African economy. This is where we can help and we are proud to have partnered with more than 5000 SME’s in providing funding of more than R1.25 billion to date.

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