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Black Friday

Black Friday + Cyber Monday 2018 = £7bn

The combined revenue to UK retail from Black Friday and Cyber Monday is predicted to have reached £7 billion, according to industry forecasts.

However, there have also been reports that the focus on online has been associated with a decrease in store footfall overs the sales weekend.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) told The Guardian that Black Friday were expected to be up on 2017, which itself saw revenue rise 8% year on yeah.

“Black Friday and Cyber Monday have become a staple fixture of the calendar year and an important one for many retailers,” a BRC spokesman said. “While it is too early to say how retailers have fared on Black Friday itself, we expect the weeks surrounding Black Friday to show some growth on last year. Whether the day itself breaks records will depend on how consumers have responded to the promotions offered this year.”

Deals comparison website Finder.com said it expected punters to spend an estimated £7bn on Black Friday and Cyber Monday purchases, combined.

And a survey by F&C Investment Trust said Britons would be spending £7.7bn over the extended shopping weekend (on top of an eye watering £19.2 million on sales so far this year).

Meanwhile, market analyst Springboard said that Black Friday and the weekend that follows do very little to help the beleaguered High Street.

It anticipated that footfall would drop by -3.7% YOY compared to Black Friday 2017 and by -2.7% over the weekend as a whole.

This follows a decline in footfall on Black Friday 2017 of -3.6%, and -1.1% over weekend, revealing the UK’s appetite for this pre-Christmas spending spree may be wavering.

“Whatever happens on Black Friday, our data over the past few years has established that it brings Christmas spending forward,”| Diane Wehrle, Marketing & Insights Director at Springboard. “This creates a magnet of spending activity at the beginning the peak trading period which then suppresses spending until the final week before Christmas, when consumers take advantage of last minute deals that are likely to be introduced by retailers to drive sales in what is a highly challenging trading climate.”

Black Friday excitement dipped in 2017

A recent YouGov report has revealed that specific sales day events such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday saw a slowdown of engagement in 2017 for the first time since 2014, when data was initially tracked.

Some 20% of people polled said they had bought something online for themselves in 2016 and 19% had bought something as a gift; this fell to 18% and 17% respectively in 2017, indicating the fall in awareness matching the decrease in Black Friday purchases.

68% of those who shopped during sales days in 2016 said they did so either at the same level or even less last time around, indicating a drop in the excitement over sales days.

The data collected by the research suggests that better engagement with 18-24-year olds could be the key to renewed growth with sales days, with awareness coming from online promotion (61% compared to 50%) along with cinema (24% compared to 13%).

More efficient delivery methods were also key to the long-term success of sales days. Data found that almost half of those interacting with sales days in 2017 encountered issues with the availability of items (28%) long delivery times (16%) or technical issues (10%).

Inefficient delivery had the biggest year-on-year increase (5%).

The report recommends emphasising the benefits of Click and Collect as a good opportunity for retailers to encourage shoppers to take advantage of sales day deals, with a focus on ‘budgeting’ and ‘ease of use’. However, data showed that 23% used Click and Collect as an option in 2017 compared to 80% of people who went for home delivery.

Customer queries increase over Black Friday

Customer queries to retailers and logistics partners increased by over 47% during Black Friday week compared to 2016.

The stats come from customer communications platform Gnatta, which manages customer interactions for retailers including ASOS, AO and Missguided. The company saw a record number of customers contacting retailers to handle everything from from stock enquiries to fashion advice.

Increasing numbers of these interactions happened across webchat (38%), a shift from last year when social media accounted for nearly 50% of all queries and webchat for 26%. Social media accounted for 37% of queries this year. This points to a shift towards faster resolution, as customers increasingly expect to receive an immediate response.

Initial estimates indicate that this year’s Black Friday was set to beat all records, with IMRG predicting that sales will be up 9% on 2016.

Gnatta’s figures indicate that final sales tallies will be even higher as customer interactions have increased by 47% over last year.

Jack Barmby, founder and CEO of Gnatta said: “The way customers communicate with retailers is changing. People expect an instant response on any channel. They want a retailer to know about previous conversations they’ve had, and to be able to connect the dots across channels. A good retailer will be able to deliver that. Great customer experience differentiates a brand. If you’re going to sell more products, you need to be able to handle more customer queries, too.

“Retailers need to be ready to deal with customers seamlessly across multiple channels – phone, social media, messenger, webchat, email, the lot.”

No stampedes, but Black Friday boosts High Street footfall

UK retail footfall on Black Friday was up +0.95% on 2016, with 42% of retailers experiencing footfall growth.

The figures comes from the Ipsos Retail Performance Retail Traffic Index (RTI), which monitors the number of individual shoppers entering over 4,000 non-food retail stores across the UK.

Director of retail intelligence at Ipsos Dr Tim Denison commented: “The scenes in stores up and down the country thankfully didn’t repeat the chaos and madding crowds of 2014 – however, retailers will be happy to see some controlled growth on last year’s footfall.

“There had been much conjecture this year about whether Black Friday would be a hit or miss with UK shoppers, and many retailers followed the lead of their US counterparts, extending their promotional campaigns over two weeks or more, which did risk diluting the impact of the event.”

Fortunes were mixed, which reflected the varying emphasis retailers gave to online or in-store campaigns in their Black Friday strategy. Following the success of online and mobile sales last year, many retailers sunk more time and effort into their digital campaigns.

Denison continued: “The million pound question on everyone’s lips now is how will Christmas shopping fare in the wake of the Black Friday promotional campaigns? Last year, sales were pulled forward by the increased November activity, and as we move into December, we’re expecting to see a repeat of last year’s pattern with footfall slow to build, after Black Friday has taken the stuffing out of bargain-hunters, but we’re predicting a resurgence of activity in the last week before Christmas.”

To read more about Black Friday download the Ipos Retail Performance White Paper here

Which? warns that not all Black Friday deals are what they seem

Research by consumer group Which? has revealed that not all Black Friday’s deals are as good as they seem, with 60% being available for the same prices, and in some case cheaper, in the period leading up to the event.

The research also found that half of the 35 most popular tech items, personal and home care, were available for cheaper at different times of the year.

Which? has urged consumers to conduct thorough research ahead of purchasing items as offers start to be announced, along with favouring retailers who offer a price promise.

Discussing the figures, Which? managing director Alex Neil said: “Our research shows that although Black Friday can offer some great discounts, not all offers are as good as they seem.”

“It’s easy to get swept along by the hype and excitement on the day, so we recommend doing some preparation and research to help make sure you really are getting a good deal when shopping in the sales.”

Items included a 4K 55-inch Samsung Smart TV on a Black Friday deal for £849, advertised as saving £400 on its retail price at electrical retailer Currys.

However, the TV was found to be £50 cheaper 29 times in December, January and April, and £79 cheaper at least 18 times in May.

Commenting on the findings, a spokesperson for Currys said: “The Black Friday sales period has become an established part of our promotional calendar alongside January Sale and Bank Holiday weekend offers.

“Last year, Currys PC World alone featured around 4,000 products reduced as part of our Black Friday campaign with many items being their lowest ever price at that point in time.

“The fact that some of these were then reduced further in the months after that period is simply us continuing to offer our customers great value throughout the year.”

Black Friday: Amazon to open London pop-up store

Amazon has confirmed that its epic Black Friday sales promotion will run for 10 days, and will feature its first-ever UK pop-up store which will open from November 21st until Black Friday.

The store will be located in 13 Soho Square, Central London, and will be open from 12.30pm until 7.30pm each day.

Shoppers can visit the store and view the best deals from the online retailer’s Black Friday sale, whilst taking part in various workshops during the event with the chance to win prizes.

Visitors will also be given the opportunity to sample new product and get gifting and lifestyle advice from in-store experts.

“We’re making Black Friday more fun than ever by holding our first-ever Home of Black Friday pop-up in central London,” said Amazon UK country manager Doug Gurr.

More shoppers head online for Black Friday

More people are expected to shop online than ever before for this year’s Black Friday deals.

Black Friday Deals Online, a website that works by connecting consumers with stores and brands participating in the annual discount day, recently conducted online studies, revealing that 90% of people aged 18-44 who are planning to make Black Friday purchases, will do so from the comfort of their home or desk.

Preeti Vadgama, marketing director of Black Friday Deals Online said: “Black Friday is a time of year that induces excitement and dread in equal measure. While the prospect of receiving great deals just before Christmas is an exciting one and means people can get some great price reductions on things for their loved ones, the thought of heading to overly-crowded stores filled with ruthless shoppers can be a daunting one.”

“Luckily, our website offers an alternative to this. We make it possible for shoppers to browse products and services from a number of retailers all in one place, making it easier than ever to receive great discounts without having to even step foot out of the house. The survey found that a vast majority of shoppers aged 18-44 will be shopping online for Black Friday, and our website is the perfect destination for those types of consumers.”

The online survey was conducted by YouGov, an international internet-based market research and data analysis firm, and also revealed that 93% of shoppers taking part in Black Friday, aged 25-34 would purchase online, demonstrating a shift in the way that younger consumers are choosing to buy from their favourite retail outlets.

Guest Blog, Milana Saric: The retailer’s guide to last minute Christmas social advertising…

The Christmas holiday season is often far from the most wonderful time of year for retail marketers. Sales success can seem as elusive as finding the perfect gift for the pickiest person on your gift list.

Pressure around holiday marketing builds for good reasons. Many retailers make more than half of their sales and profits in the three months leading up to Christmas. In 2015, UK holiday sales rose by 2.3 per cent from £74.26 billion to £75.96 billion, buoyed by the growth of events such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

With consumers facing seasonal messages and advertisements from all directions, it takes careful planning to execute campaigns that will break through the noise. It’s important to provide a seamless cross-channel experience because, in the UK, 70 per cent of social media time is spent on smartphones. And you’ll have to spend. The days of relying on organic social media to deliver your message are long gone. To convert specific audiences into buyers you will need paid social media: the vastness of its reach, its finely tuned targeting and array of compelling ad units.

To boost your social advertising for the final weeks, here are some tips on making your social Christmas campaigns sing like the King’s College Choir:

Timing

Even though we’re close to Christmas, online is at its peak, and is still a key time for driving awareness and increasing product consideration. With the extra time off, consumers are in a much more relaxed state-of-mind; and will spend more time browsing and shopping online.

Pinterest is an important tool during this phase of the season, with audiences using the platform to plan their holiday activities, as well as to research and bookmark gifts for themselves, family, and friends. Facebook and Instagram are additional platforms to reach audiences at scale and drive them to your site to browse.

Pre-Test

In the final run-up to Christmas there’s a huge opportunity to test. See which products and messaging audiences respond to in order to focus on top-performers when sales start. Leverage the audiences you have already driven to your site and dynamically retarget users based on product pages they have viewed. Put the right items in front of shoppers at the right time.

Messaging

Throughout, focus on driving awareness and engagement by promoting valuable content that’s shareable. Then move people further down the funnel with consideration and conversion-led content with strong calls-to-action that will prompt them to act on their purchase intent. From Black Friday onwards, an important sales period – and a lot of retailers are still continuing the discounts, messaging should be much more conversion-focused.

On Pinterest, build content that is helpful and informative. Focus on how your brand’s products and services solve challenges for consumers. For instance, you could have Pins with themes such as ‘6 office party outfits’, ‘Tips for buying wearables for your loved one’, or ‘Party planning guide.’

For Twitter, create infographics that include valuable sale shopping tips. This kind of shareable content will increase engagement as well as organic reach. Capitalise on the season’s buzz by using tweets to tap into live conversations about the holidays.

Snapchat’s Snap Ads, completely viewable, full-screen video, provide an extremely powerful video experience. Capture attention with short, concise video (3-7 seconds) that showcases your key holiday brand story.

Don’t be afraid to run experiments. Splashes of colour can have thumb-stopping power so play around with various options without compromising your brand identity. A/B test ad types against one another depending on your goals.

Targeting

Target users based on their online and offline purchase behaviour with third-party audiences from data providers such as Datalogix and Acxiom. These audiences can be synched to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts and activated across your campaigns.

Start with broad targeting and narrow down the audiences once you’ve gathered sufficient learning. Use CRM data to re-engage lapsed customers and ensure they are aware of your latest offering and/or promotions.

Develop a retargeting strategy to leverage audiences that have recently visited or purchased from your website or engaged with your brand’s content on social media.

Tap into custom audience segments offered by social platforms and third-party data providers for targeting. Snapchat is one platform that has released audience categories – Snap Lifestyle Categories – to reach users based on how they engage on the platform. These include fashion and style gurus, film and TV fans, foodies, sports fans, and more.

Ad Formats

Video is the most powerful way to drive awareness for products/services and is no longer just a landscape experience. Snapchat led the way with vertical video, a format that allows a brand to take up 100 per cent screen share-of-voice. Facebook has also begun to offer a vertical video unit.

For online sales, use Facebook’s lead ad and Twitter’s lead generation unit to grow awareness for a sale and incentivise users to subscribe to receive information.

In terms of increasing product consideration, ad formats such as Carousel Ads on Facebook and Instagram and multi-product tweets on Twitter are very effective in showcasing multiple products and enabling storytelling. Promoted Pins are powerful because so many users actively save Pins to come back to the content later. They’re also a huge traffic-driver, so use keyword targeting to ensure users searching and planning on Pinterest find your products.

 

Milana Saric is the client strategy director, EMEA at Adaptly and has a wealth of experience helping advertisers to execute digital marketing strategies and drive brand awareness on social media. She is responsible for clients across the entertainment, fashion and retail sectors.

Black Friday shoppers took six days to complete online purchases…

Shoppers in the UK, US and Australia took a total of six days to complete their online Black Friday purchases, according to analysis compiled by Rakuten Marketing.

Analysing display, attribution and affiliate data factors, the research found the purchase journey generally commenced on the previous Saturday and, although Black Friday tends to cause a 20 hour cut in the total time taken to convert compared to an average weekend, shoppers still took an average of 142 hours to finalise transactions; from their first online interaction with a brand to the checkout stage.

Furthermore, shoppers took to discount publishers with their searches for the best deals, even when brands offered discounts on their websites directly. Rakuten Marketing saw 42 per cent of its conversions on Black Friday through cashback sites such as TopCashBack and discount sites including VoucherCodes.co.uk. 

Megan Dado, regional senior director of Rakuten Affiliate Europe at Rakuten Marketing said: “Although there’s certainly a shorter journey to purchase, shoppers are less impulsive on Black Friday than brands might think. Like every other day of the year, they are still researching products and where they’re going to find the best deals in advance. Shopping sites like ShopStyle perform well because publishers optimise the consumer experience in accordance with these key dates.

“Black Friday only means big sales if brands have a complete view of a customer’s journey. Armed with insights about where shoppers are discovering their brand and where they eventually purchase, marketers can work out how to distribute their marketing spend effectively.”

A shortened customer journey around Black Friday is most apparent in the number of online advertisements consumers viewed before making a purchase. Whilst the average number of impressions across retail sectors including fashion, technology and beauty is just over 22 during an average weekend, Black Friday consumers view less than five ads before transacting.

The biggest difference can be seen in electronics and jewellery. Although it usually takes the average consumer as many as 54 ad impressions before making a technology purchase, the number of ads they need to see on Black Friday drops by a staggering 90 per cent to six impressions. For the jewellery sector, the drop is 86 per cent from 30 impressions to only four.

On average, consumers in the UK took 16 per cent less time in reaching the point of sale during Black Friday week, whereas this is only a 14 per cent drop for the US.

Christmas and January sales to be dampened by Black Friday…

More than two-thirds of consumers plan to take full advantage of Black Friday deals, which kick-starts the surge of Christmas shoppers, but consumers anticipate a curb in spending through the month of December and in the January sales. 

As it’s revealed that 62 per cent are planning to use Black Friday (November 25) as an opportunity to buy discounted presents, a survey by retail and brand consultancy, The Market Creative, found that 26 per cent of shoppers anticipate they will spend less money in December. 

Analysts suggest the impact on spending is likely to run into early 2017, as 28 per cent of shoppers said the introduction of Black Friday and Cyber Monday had made them less interested in the January sales, due to generally better and more attractive offers. 

Sue Benson, managing director at The Market Creative said:”Scenes of frenzied shoppers battling for bargains have influenced our perception that Black Friday deals are shorter and deeper than other sales. Coupled with our desire for instant gratification Black Friday could well be a retailers dream period as they get much-needed pre-Christmas sales in early.  
 
“But it’s not all good news. The Christmas and January sales have traditionally been the most lucrative for retailers and Black Friday has dragged spending forward. Consumer wallets are finite, so we’re seeing December full-price sales and profits cannibalised. Another watch out is the discount strategy involved, if merchandise isn’t shifted how low are retailers prepared to go in the traditional Boxing Day and January sale period?”

Although Black Friday has changed the Christmas shopping habits of younger generation consumers, the trend was less apparent among older age groups. Of the 18-24 year olds surveyed, 83 per cent plan to take advantage of Black Friday deals and 86 per cent will buy discounted Christmas gifts. However, 47 per cent of shoppers over 65 plan to buy something and just a quarter will buy Christmas presents. 
 

Access the full report here