It's that time of the year again! Black Friday 2020 is fast approaching and store and business owners like you are gearing up.
The long weekend Black Friday-Cyber Monday is slated for 27 November to 30 November 2020.
This means business owners need to put in motion marketing plans to drive their Black Friday sales during that four-day window.
Similarly, consumers are holding on to their cash so they can splurge in the four-day-long-weekend.
But this year, has been both different and difficult for many.
In fact, 2020 has changed more in consumer behavior than any other year or time.
In the past, consumers used to "stick stubbornly to their habits," which made any new technology or need to adapt to innovations a very slow process that called for behavioral change.
However, "the COVID-19 crisis has caused consumers everywhere to change their behaviors—rapidly and in large numbers," says McKinsey and Company in a report.
In the US, roughly 75% of consumers "tried a new store, brand, or different way of shopping during the pandemic," the report explains.
And even though these changes were due to a pandemic, business and store owners, as well as consumer-focused companies, should "find ways to meet consumers where they are today and satisfy their needs in the post-crisis period," stresses McKinsey and Company.
The pandemic has changed the way people think and go about their shopping.
And since the pandemic appears to be a long-term thing (it doesn't look like it's going anywhere), customer habits will continue to change and adapt.
Customers who previously preferred to buy in-store are now worried about their health and the health of those in their households.
Similarly, requirements like wearing masks and social distancing, have reduced the need for certain products and experiences.
On the other hand, they have increased the need for other products, like masks, plastic gloves, disposable tableware and so on.
All this translates to changes as Black Friday 2020 approaches.
This means businesses and store owners need to be aware of these changes and to adapt themselves and their businesses accordingly or their Black Friday sales will suffer.
When it came to all forms of shopping, many consumers and customers were forced to go online.
Grocery shopping was no exception. And here's what a survey by McKinsey and Company of US consumers found:
This suggests that consumers have "jettisoned any previously held beliefs about grocery delivery being unreliable or inconvenient; instead, they’ve been surprised and delighted by the benefits of delivery," the report notes.
The same has happened with at-home exercise beliefs and purchases.
The US online fitness market witnessed a 50% increase in customers between February and July 2020, whereas the digital home exercise market grew by 20% over the same period.
But what does this data mean for Black Friday 2020? And how can businesses use these stats to boost their revenues?
First, let's take a quick look at what previous Black Friday sales data was and what the forecasts are.
It is expected that retail e-commerce sales will hit $4.13 trillion in 2020, according to data by Ecommerce Guide.
Moreover, according to 99Firms’ Ecommerce Statistics for 2020, the global e-commerce market is thriving with forecasts indicating that by 2040 nearly 95% of all purchases will be conducted online.
The number of digital buyers worldwide is projected to surge to 2.14 billion in 2021, from 1.66 billion in 2016, according to a pre-pandemic report by Statista.
Another report by Statista, released August 2020, projects that the e-commerce sales in 2020 (so far) have reached $4.2 trillion – and we haven't even made it to Black Friday 2020 yet!
This figure marks a significant increase from 2014, when e-commerce sales registered $1.3 trillion.
E-commerce sales are set to continue their upward trajectory in the coming years, with 2021 expected to see $4.9 trillion and 2023 set to see over $6.5 trillion in e-commerce sales.
There are a few things to remember when you're gearing up your store or business for Black Friday 2020.
We'll highlight them as challenges followed directly by quick solutions on how resolve these issues with your website or online store.
For starters, data shows that customers who shop online often use their mobile phones to make the purchase.
In fact, data by Statista shows that roughly 49.2% of e-commerce sales in 2020 were carried out via mobile devices.
This marks a 15% growth from 34.5% in 2017.
This means your website needs to be mobile-friendly so that customers can easily browse and complete their purchases.
You can arrange that ahead of the sales surge for Black Friday 2020.
This will help you when you decide to hold discounts or run an end-of-season sale at any time in the future.
An important aspect customers consider when buying from a business is the availability of free shipping.
This, of course, applies to businesses that sell tangible products, not SaaS or online products.
If you're going to offer free shipping, make a note of it to customers.
You can set your free shipping at orders worth $200 or more for example. Or you can limit it by state or distance.
Whatever you decide, just make sure your directions are clear so customers know what to expect.
And if free shipping is something you can provide, don't hesitate to do so for Black Friday 2020.
After all free shipping is something customers love so why not attract them by providing exactly what they need but on your own terms?
"Most online customers prefer to pay with credit cards," says 99Firms.
Make sure you provide multiple payment options for people coming to your store, whether online or offline, especially for Black Friday 2020.
And try to have credit card as one of those options. You can include other cashless payments if they can support your business and customers.
You can even offer cash on delivery for customers, but prioritize credit cards.
These multiple options will encourage customers to buy from you.
People stop spending in anticipation for Black Friday.
It's good news that that customers are holding on to their cash so they spend it later.
What this means for you as a business owner is that you should begin your Black Friday advertising early.
Starting early is key here because it grabs your customers' attention.
It's recommended that Black Friday announcements and ads start at least a month before the long weekend.
Search Navigation is very important for online customers.
It's only natural that customers don't want to keep scrolling and searching for the products they want to buy.
A 2018 report showed that 61% of online shoppers said that easy and simple search navigation was a major attribute to buying from an online store.
Constantly prioritize your search and navigation options on your website or online store.
This should be the case whether it's Black Friday or any other sales-focused holiday.
It's also one of those aspects, which if done now can boost your sales during the holidays and afterwards.
Many online buyers are affected by product reviews.
And according to Statista, product reviews are the second most important element for online buyers.
If you're on Shopify or WooCommerce or if you have an online store, try to integrate a product review app or software to help customers leave reviews and to help others see those reviews.
You can check out our list of must-have Shopify apps, which include a product review app.
Customers are bombarded with sales and offers everywhere, which makes the competition fiercer for businesses, like yours.
It's no surprise that Black Friday offers are among the most tempting for consumers.
But they do pose a challenge to businesses: Massive competition.
A great way to go about that is to have something that attracts customers to your store and retains on the long term.
This something is called a loyalty program.
It's been often said that customers who know you are more likely to buy from you.
In fact, data shows that through customer retention, you can increase your sales at lower cost than acquiring new customers.
This also applies to Black Friday.
But how can I as a business owner do this?
There are a number of ways to build this type of retention, while also creating some excitement for your customers.
One of the easiest and least expensive is through loyalty marketing; that is by creating a loyalty program.
You can easily integrate one with your store or website.
Gameball offers just that – and more. Our loyalty programs have a game-like feature that's exciting to customers.
We've got levels, missions, and challenges that store owners, like you, can use to get customers to double their points and:
When customers are enrolled in a loyalty program, they begin accumulating points for every action they do and every purchase they make.
As a store owner, or online business owner, you get to determine the value of those points.
For example, you can decide that 100 points translate to $10 for the customer's next purchase.
Or you can decide that 1,000 points equal $10.
You can also set up challenges, allowing them to double on points, when they perform certain actions, designed by you.
These challenges prompt customers to buy more or visit certain sections in your store, and so on.
Loyalty programs, also known as rewards programs, allow you, as a business owner, to decide what the rewards will be.
We mentioned that free shipping is a highly desirable option for many customers.
You can provide a free shipping reward option when customers accumulate a specific number of points or when they spend a specific figure on your store.
"When consumers are surprised and delighted by new experiences, even long-held beliefs can change, making consumers more willing to repeat the behavior," says McKinsey and Company.
When done correctly, loyalty programs not only help businesses retain customers and increase sales, but also create happy, loyal customers.
In other words, these programs increase customer satisfaction and customer delight.
They make customers enjoy their experience with you, which means customers prefer your store over your competitors'.
Providing a great customer experience during Black Friday 2020 means that customers will come back to your store in Black Friday 2021, Black Friday 2022, and so on.
Black Friday 2020 is definitely going to be a different experience this year.
How different, we'll have to get there to find out.
But if the pandemic has done anything positive, it has made customers more willing to spend online or at least make online orders.
This is definitely a change from previous years.
How will this affect Black Friday 2020?
We've yet to find out, but as the data shows, we can expect higher sales.
We might see the forecasted $4.2 billion or maybe a lot more.
But businesses need to first resolve their store or website issues in advance. You need to ensure that customers don't face any of the above problems and enjoy a seamless and exciting experience in your store.
Don't forget to check out Gameball’s loyalty programs, where you can enjoy a 14-day free trial for your business and ensure that your customers are enjoying their unique experience.