With much of the UK still in the midst of a national lockdown and the majority of high street stores temporarily closed, the online activity surrounding Black Friday (taking place on November 27th) is set to be higher this year than ever before.
Whilst many price sensitive shoppers will no doubt be enticed by the tempting deals and heavily discounted products global retailers offer in the lead up to Christmas; the ongoing repercussions of the global pandemic and the devastating impact it’s had on independent businesses means that a growing number of consumers will be looking to support smaller brands and retailers this year.
Before the England-wide lockdown, it was estimated £6 billion would be spent in the United Kingdom over Black Friday and Cyber Monday. However, with lockdown 2.0 announced as a month-long measure throughout November, shops deemed non-essential have closed, and shoppers have been forced to turn to ecommerce during this time.
Within the restrictions, click-and-collect delivery options are still permitted but what has been the impact of closing bricks and mortar? Using reliable ONS data, as well as original research conducted by finder.com of average spend per demographic, MRS Digital has calculated the estimated loss of Black Friday UK spend due to lockdown. As it stands, this loss is predicted to be over £1,261,497,936.
It is estimated the total cost of the second lockdown to retailers is £8 billion.
Now that England, Scotland and Northern Ireland will be in full nationwide lockdowns for Black Friday, more and more people will be forced to turn to online shopping during this time. While it may be true that a large proportion of shoppers from certain age groups move to the internet for their online shopping in the lead-up to Christmas, there are still some groups who are more likely to wait until after lockdown to purchase items or have tried to prepare beforehand.
Value, trust and handmade sentiment key to Black Friday battle this year
Insight from Channel Advisor and Diginius based off a survey of 1,022 UK residents, 90% consumers began their Christmas shopping from August through November, whereas only 10% in December, thus favouring retailers that started their Black Friday sales early.
75% of users are looking to do more than ¼ of their Christmas shopping online
Here are the highlights:
- More COVID-19 led downtime lends itself to more time to shop and compare – 70% of users admitted that they will check the price of products on Amazon before placing an order, thus there is clear evidence that price will be the deciding factor this Christmas.
- Google trend research has shown that ideas for homemade gifts have experienced a 10% increase in search volume than this period last year. This might be an indication that people will be spending their additional free time creating gifts with greater sentimental significance than financial value this Christmas.
- Similarly, searches for hampers have increased by 175% and letterbox gifts by 450%, suggesting items that can be gifted ‘remotely’ or from a distance are the theme for this year’s wish lists.
Read more: Christmas isn’t cancelled! It’s just online
Black Friday 2020: How can small businesses prepare themselves this year?
Michelle O’Sullivan, business development director at global affiliate network www.Awin.com, gave the following tips on how UK SME’s still have time to prepare effective sales tactics ahead of Black Friday, to ensure they can drive as much interest to their offerings as possible.
Decide on your promotion
If you are yet to decide on the sort of promotions you are going to be running during Black Friday and in the run-up to Christmas, do this now.
Consider your margins, but also look at what your competitors are offering or have offered in the past and make sure your deals are competitive, or even better, to ensure you stand out. Differentiate by really emphasising what you’re selling and make potential customers aware that it is a one-time only offer. Whatever you do, your messaging has to be clear and concise to cut through all the noise.
Use your own data to inform your strategy
Provided you had an online shop during the Golden Quarter (the three-month run-up to Christmas and New Year) in 2019, it is really useful to use your own site’s data to inform your 2020 strategy. Because who knows your own customers and their buying behaviour better than you?
“Take a look at when traffic to your site started to peak around November and December last year, and time your offer to coincide with this; for example, if you saw lots of traffic coming in the Friday before Black Friday, time your offer to start from then to encourage repeat purchases and jog customers memories.”
If you’re a relatively new businesses and this is the first time you have sold items online during the Cyber Weekend, take time again to look at what some of your competitors are doing and have been doing in previous years, and learn from them.
Consider affiliate strategies
Whether or not you already have an existing affiliate programme, using a publisher to help get your promotions out there can be a useful strategy to help you stand out above the crowd this Black Friday.
Publishers can offer various different methods of exposure, ranging from newsletter slots, to on-site promotions all year round, so shop about and choose the one that is right for your brand.
How are you preparing for Black Friday 2020? Let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
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