It's time to change the way retail approaches Black Friday!

Black Friday started in the USA as a post-Thanksgiving sale and has since crept across the globe, making it a huge presence on the high street and online. Shopping fanatics go crazy for it every year as retailers drop their prices to minuscule amounts. The issues with this? Well, we could talk about that all day.

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However, I am not here to go on a rant about the devastating effects of the aptly named Black Friday. I am here to talk about it from a CRM perspective. It's not that Black Friday needs stopped all together, but there is a need to change the way retailers approach it. This is beneficial to them and also to the planet. There is no doubt that Black Friday hugely increases sales, but I certainly have a question around how much it drives incremental sales. Does it just bring people’s shopping forward for something they would have purchased at full price later in the year? Does it attract un-retainable customers? 

Retailers are stuck in a tricky situation. If they take part, they risk losing out on full price sales and have no choice but to heavily discount their goods. In addition to this, increasingly, they risk bad press around the ethical and sustainable questions surrounding the day. But, if they don’t take part, they get left behind and customers are likely to shop with competitors. As customers continue to change the way they shop, is Black Friday becoming an increasingly outdated concept? In our opinion, yes, and the way retailers think about the sale has to be changed.

What can retailers do to differentiate themselves on and around Black Friday? What sort of change is needed? We think the answer lies in the period just after the day itself. Black Friday can be a great acquisition tool, especially for higher end and luxury brands to get new customers in at a lower price point. However, instead of lowering the prices quite so much, let’s take the price point down just enough to get the people who are potentially retainable customers over the line. Then, after Black Friday itself retailers have more room to translate the spike in sales into a long-term increase in customers and revenue.

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We have all seen the headlines around Black Friday for the past decade, huge queues, bad customer experience and awful behaviour from customers and retailers. Online this translates into lots of items being out of stock, slow websites and no way to touch and feel the quality of the products. In a consumer world where personalisation and connection with brands is a priority, how much longer can this go on for? Is this money-driven, unethical and poor customer experience an image that brands want to portray to new customers and a much more conscious generation of consumers?

Historically, around this time customers are in a low-cost mindset, searching for a bargain, making it hard to build a connection with them, especially with the experience they’re likely to have had (explained above). There are two issues with this; one, it is impossible to retain these customers and two, consumers are not going to continue to have this mindset around the day for much longer.

That genuine connection and proper introduction as to how your brand likes to conduct itself, should be a priority when looking at how to approach Black Friday and even more so the time after Black Friday. Turn the experience around, thank customers for shopping with you, tell them what your brand stands for and how happy you are that they found you, encourage them to continue shopping with you. Wouldn't it be nice to have a whole new set of loyal customers just in time for the Christmas rush? 

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How? A handwritten note of course.

Do you have customers you would like to get in touch with after Black Friday, maybe you want to thank them, apologise or encourage them to stick around? Get in touch with one of our experts to see how we can help you achieve your business objectives. 

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If you would like to find out how you can make your customer experience and journey memorable, Click here to book a call with our experts.

Jeannine Rafferty, Chief Customer Officer, Inkpact. 

 

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