With Black Friday quickly approaching, retailers are hard at work finding ways to capitalize on the end of year shopping rush. Black Friday success is often the determining factor in retailers’ fourth quarter bottom line. In 2013, 92 million Americans shopped on Black Friday alone. On average, each shopper spent over 400 dollars on their holiday shopping sprees.
2014 looks to be even more of a retail boon than last year, especially through online and mobile shopping. Predictions indicate that Thanksgiving will be a record setter for online shoppers accounting for nearly 2.5 billion dollars in sales (up 28%). Black Friday will be the most mobile shopping day of the year, with 31% of digital sales made via a smartphone or a tablet, compared to 21% last year. With Black Friday representing such a huge volume of sales in one day and increased usage of mobile devices, there is an ever-growing need for Black Friday Email campaigns to be more real-time.
Making Email Campaigns Work Best on Black Friday
Email campaigns are key to driving Black Friday sales. An estimated 44% of retailers will be deploying some form of email campaigns focused on The Black Friday weekend. Because of the glut of campaigns, it is necessary that email newsletters function as more than flyers but instead function as real time shopping guides.
Above all else, use functional email merchandising
We have previously spoken about the importance of merchandising email newsletters and how they drive sales and subscriber engagement. On Black Friday weekend, consumers will receive 20-30 different emails from different retailers. All of these emails will scream 30-50% sales but consumers won’t have time to click through each email and browse every retailer’s catalog to find the best and most relevant deals. Putting relevant merchandise in front of customers inside of the email will increase your chances of catching user’s attention and, most importantly, reduce the number of steps to complete a purchase.
Keep your content real time
Most email campaigns will advertise some sort of holiday sale. Because of the high demand during Black Friday, many products sell out quickly. The traditional asynchronous email cycle (design-schedule-deliver-open) simply breaks down when put up against the speed and demand of Black Friday sales. By the time a user opens a statically designed email, the deals inside will likely be irrelevant (either no longer available or sold out). Creating email campaigns that operate in real time provide a number of key advantages:
- Limit frustration of shoppers who may run into sellouts
- Dynamically eliminate poorly performing products and prioritize best performers
- Dynamically expose merchandise that your subscribers may not otherwise discover.
Always remember mobile
We wrote earlier about the importance of mobile marketing. That importance only increases with Black Friday weekend. This Black Friday will be the biggest day in mobile commerce history with 31% of digital sales being made on smartphone or tablet (up 10% from last year). Email campaigns need to be responsive in order to present cleanly on mobile devices.
Beyond presentation, it’s important to think of the user experience. Once the user makes a click, where is the user taken? Be cognizant of whether the user has the app installed and redirect the user to the appropriate product within the app all while making buy action extremely simple. If the user does not have the app, present the user with a mobile-friendly product page and with a simple buy action. Eliminating the need to click through catalog pages would allow for more swift mobile shopping experience and allows customers to check out on the fly.
Lastly, merchandise should be dynamically pre-filtered to account for user location and store availability. Mobile provides retailers the added value of geo-location. A key advantage that both consumer and retailer seek to capitalize on.
In the modern age, it’s not enough to batch and blast your subscribers with Black Friday sale announcements. It’s becoming increasingly important to make your email campaigns function in real-time as many products will sell out quickly. Merchandising algorithms need to be in place to make immediate decisions about which products should be featured for each user. More importantly, as most users now open email on mobile, and with mobile commerce spend projected at all-time highs, the dynamic nature of email campaigns is critical. Users are on the go and your email campaigns need to be on the go with them. This is the only way to get ahead of the competition on Black Friday and be seen above the slew of competitive sales and incentives.