Mette Kuhlmann Frandsen

3 key trends for Black Friday 2018

Halloween is almost over, and we look towards the holiday season and not least Black Friday and Cyber Monday. It’s now the competition for winning the customers starts.

But what to expect from Black Friday in 2018? Will it become different than last year? Will be break the records once again? We look into 3 key trends for Black Friday and input to how retailers can prepare for the big day.

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1. e-Commerce will be huge

The days are over when people get up early to wait in line in front of stores on Black Friday to get the best offers, according to Twice, who also tell that sales move online. In a survey from Blackfriday.com among 1,500 Americans, shows that 68% will shop online. The message is the same in an article from Retail Dive. They also point out that mobile becomes even more important when doing holiday shopping.

Increasing online sales is the reason why we hear a lot about cyber security in the media. But besides ensuring a secure website that also show the visitors that they can trust the site, retailers need to be prepared for the increased number of visitors and transaction. If the webshop does not run smoothly, all other initiatives about customers experiences are destroyed and we risk losing customer loyalty. The lesson is to be in control of your technology.

 

2. Stores become experiences

Is the rising e-Commerce the end of bricks-and-mortar stores? Not necessarily, but there’s a trend that stores will become something else. At Retail Dive they write about stores that’s turned into experience centers. It means that interior, store layout, assortment and staff become more important. Doug Stephens, founder of Retail Prophet and author, tells:

“That means employing data from customers to know what to sell, and to rethink stores as distribution points for experiences more than for products."

The reason why people go to the store is all about experiences. The same article from Twice lists the primary reasons:

  • the ability to browse and find new gift ideas (55 percent);
  • the ability to see/touch products for quality (52 percent);
  • enjoy the store decorations and holiday atmosphere (30 percent);
  • it’s a social activity to be shared with family or friends (21 percent); and
  • the need to get presents quickly (20 percent).

Store experiences will create breeding ground for sales online and why consumers will choose your webshop before others that sell the same goods.

 

3. Delivery is crucial

In 2017 delivery of goods became an even more important parameter. The customers don’t want to wait days to get the new handbag – especially if they are running late when buying presents. Therefore, delivery can never be too fast. Even though it can be difficult for smaller retailers, they must find a way for get their products to the customers fast and cheap, says Retail Dive.

Stores are up against giant as Amazon and Alibaba, and some places they ship products within less than an hour. Therefore, it can be necessary to look at Amazon as a new sales channel for get products sold and delivered fast.

 

The trends for Black Friday is not that different from ordinary business. The real difference is the campaigns. Black Friday is today not one day, but for some the whole weekend and maybe the entire week. It can feel like a marathon because retailers must rethink their campaign strategy, writes Retail Dive. Retailers can’t afford to put all their eggs in one basket and only focus on the one day but need to think about strategies that attract customers throughout the entire season and the changing customer needs from the weeks before Black Friday until Christmas. It’s important to look into the customer journey and adapt campaigns, stock, assortment etc. to attract customers on the right time and provide a great experience at all time.

Another trend is about Super Consumers. It’s consumers that spend more money than the average consumer and they don’t care about holiday sales, but spend a large amount of money throughout the year, according to Eddie Yoon in an article for Retail Dive. He points out that clever retailers should run events and campaigns targeted towards this specific consumer group. This idea question whether Black Friday will remain, when events and campaigns run all year and remove the special concept of Black Friday. Will Black Friday remain the largest shopping event of the year? Time will show.

 

It’s difficult to stay up-to-day with the fast development within retail and often the development is moving faster than it can be implemented into your business strategies and processes. The technology is key here. Get more insights about how technology can help meeting the customers rising expectations for retailers in our blog post customers’ sky-high expectations that in the real world only are supported by stop gaps.

Read blog post: Consumers expect absolute cohesion but get stopgaps