Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2018 have come and gone, and the numbers are mind boggling. Between November 1 and November 26, 2018, online sales hit $58.5b. Black Friday brought in $6.2b, which is 23.6% higher than last year, while Cyber Monday spending reached $7.9b, a 19.7% increase over last year.
Among other elements, successful sales are about offering the right prices at the right place and the right time. You know what discounts you can offer, but where is the right place? Are those the only two shopping days you should be aiming for? What is likely to attract customers to your website rather than another?
Let’s study consumers’ shopping behavior on Black Friday and Cyber Monday this year in order to take away important lessons for the 2019 shopping season (which is closer than you think).
Where’s it happening?
Many shoppers preferred to do their shopping online from the comfort of their home this year, where they could conduct price comparisons and make their orders without being jostled or waiting in line in a physical store. Nevertheless, the “buy online and pick up at store” option increased by an impressive 50% during the 2018 shopping season, meaning that the brick-and-mortar store still has an important role to play. Retailers should keep this in mind, and set out attractive sales displays near pick-up areas.
Which devices are they using?
Smartphones were far and away the most popular shopping devices with an increase of 79% over last year. According to Digital Commerce 360, purchasing via mobile phones on Black Friday constituted 33.5% of all online shopping. So responsive web designs and well functioning apps are a must.
Additionally, you must be able to offer seamless payment options and fast checkout. For example, Shopify recently released a Dynamic Checkout feature which incorporates a Buy Now button on product pages so that the customer can skip the shopping cart and go directly to checkout. Be that as it may, there are still many customers who like to use their desktop for browsing and comparisons, so keep your website attractive and user-friendly, too.
When are they shopping?
While Black Friday and Cyber Monday are undoubtedly huge sales days, many stores have transformed these days into a “Black Weekend.” November 11 (known as Singles Day in China) is a huge global sales day. Alibaba reported that it delivered $30.8b in GMV in 24 hours, with 1 billion packages shipped. What started out as a couple of huge sales days seems to be stretching out to a sales month in anticipation of Christmas. While not all retailers can offer huge discounts over a whole month, they can reach out to customers with coupons, special events and gift cards to generate interest.
How can you attract customers?
Direct traffic drove sales the most in November 2018. It accounted for 27.2% of the sales while paid search came second at 24%, and natural search covered 20.8%. Reach out to your customers directly through customized emails, web push notifications and text messages. Make sure to use SEO optimization because it is key to attracting customers.
Check if you are using the right channels to contact your customers. The increased use of smartphones for shopping goes hand in hand with the use of social media. Analyze your target audiences and determine which social media channels appeal to particular customers. Interact with them personally where you know you can find them, and present special gifts or offers according to predicted or previous shopping habits.
Go digital, stay personal
We don’t need to gaze into a crystal ball to predict that things will get even more digital a year from now. While going digital is a given, you will need to carefully plan your marketing and sales techniques in 2019 to capture your customers at the right place and the right time, and with precisely the right customized message.