Your large competitors might be blowing their budgets on Black Friday and Cyber Monday advertising, but that doesn’t mean your store can’t cash in on two of the biggest shopping events of the year. Here’s how you too can stand out from the crowd – without breaking the bank.
South Africans spent almost R3 billion during Black Friday in 2018. If you missed out on the hype last year, now’s your chance to grab a slice of the profits when Black Friday comes around again next month.
To maximise profits during this lucrative period, retailers first turned Black Friday into a shopping long weekend, and now into a month-long Black November, according to PwC consumer experts.
“In order to benefit from changing buying patterns, retailers are extending their Black Friday offerings to a week or more leading up to the day and the days thereafter, including the ensuing weekend leading up to Cyber Monday,” say PwC experts.
DID YOU KNOW?
The good news is that statistics show that Black Friday deals don’t impact December shopping. Nielsen South Africa’s Kerith Botha says that Black Friday buying didn’t impact December sales in 2017. Customers didn’t ‘forward buy’ for the Christmas period, and November’s sales didn’t eat into December’s profits. This means that retailers can benefit from Black Friday’s increase in sales without worrying about how it will impact their December revenue.
3 Ways to Maximise Black Friday
South African buyers are sensitive to prices and promotions. As a nation, we’ve learnt to tighten our belts in response to tough economic conditions. The result is that we love a good deal. ‘Price-discount awareness’ naturally focuses on every day and essential products, but it spills over into non-essential products as well. Overall, South African consumers are attracted by large price discounts.
This is the space where Black Friday naturally plays, and you’ll need to offer discounts and value to tap into your customers’ expectations throughout November. If you really want to compete with big retailers though, you’ll win big if you can tap into your customers’ emotions and desires. You can’t beat a big retailer’s ability to discount. But you can make your customer’s feel unique and special.
“Tap into your customers’ fundamental motivations and fulfil their deep, often unspoken emotional needs,” says the Harvard Business Review. “That means appealing to any of dozens of ‘emotional motivators’, such as a desire to feel a sense of belonging, to succeed in life, or to feel secure.”
- Offer better, not bigger
Discounts are good and we already know that South Africans love a deal, but shoppers aren’t just looking to save money. They’re also looking for better shopping experiences. “Consumers are looking for better and better,” says Higor Torchia, country manager for the Europe, Middle East and Africa region at Vend.
How can you add value to each customer’s trip to your store? Consider offering shoppers a different experience. Link November offers to a loyalty programme and give your customers an incentive to save, spend more and earn points.
Remember that once you get their feet through your door and give them a memorable experience, they’ll come back for their Christmas shopping long after Black Friday is over, because you’ll be top of mind, so make each experience count.
- Compete on your strengths
Forget about competing with big retailers – you can excel in your own arena without trying to keep up with the giants. Avoid losses by focusing on what you’re good at and not attempting to match the prices and deals of larger competitors.
“Smaller retailers should compete on their strengths rather than go head-to-head with a deep discounter,” says Astrid van Dorst, MD for CloudAnalysts.com.
“Customers tend to shop in smaller retail outlets because it’s more pleasant and convenient; the owners know them, and the personalised service is second-to-none,” she says. “Sometimes prices are better there too, but it’s not the main thing why shoppers go there.”
Keep this motivation top of mind – your customers have come to you for a reason. Make it personal and memorable (with a few great offers thrown in), and you’ll build a loyal customer base.
- Create hype that will last
Before Black Friday reached South African shores, Christmas was your most profitable holiday. This has changed. Now you need to start your specials earlier and keep them going for longer, without customers losing interest in what you have to offer.
“Black Friday is a one-day event, so it’s vital to create urgency around it,” says Outdoorphoto’s Graham van der Merwe. “So, get in with the hype and add a countdown timer to your website, mailers, in-store marketing and social media platforms.”
Take a leaf out of online-retailer Takealot’s playbook, even as a brick-and-mortar store, by offering exclusive discount newsletter sign-ups with early deal leaks to get your customers on board.
3 Things To Avoid As You Prepare For Black Friday
Making the most of Black Friday isn’t just about what you should do though – there are also some key danger areas to be avoided at all costs. For example, don’t fall into the trap of over-discounting, hoping that enough people will buy into your sales to keep your margins healthy. The only things worse than missing out on shoppers during Black Friday is losing money over trying to compete.
- Don’t sell outdated products
Retailers that try to con their customers into taking old stock off their hands under the guise of a good deal are choosing a quick buck over long-term customer loyalty.
“Black Friday is different from other seasonal sales that aim to sell old stock: This promotion is about selling high volumes of in-demand products,” says PwC.
A shopper who buys a product, only to see the newest version released in your stores just days after the sale, will not only be disgruntled – you may lose their business for life.
- Make sure you’re prepared for the flood of feet
Big discounts attract many shoppers. Your shelves may be stocked, but is your workforce ready for the influx of customers?
Beef up your staff complement during this high-volume period by offering extra shifts to your current employees. Once you know who’ll be working overtime, you’ll have a better idea of whether you need extra hands, and how many temps you’ll require. The best way to avoid chancers is to ask your current employees for trustworthy referrals.
“Experience matters most,” Torchia says. “Discounting can attract consumers, but retailers need to offer a level of service which would get consumers returning to stores.”
Give yourself enough time to train your new staff. Once everyone’s prepared, ensure your schedule has the maximum amount of people available during peak shopping hours to help customers on the floor. Balance out the working hours for each employee to avoid burnout and ensure peak performance during every shift.
- Don’t second-guess participating
Research by Nielsen found that leading brands that didn’t take part in Black Friday promotions lost market share in 2017. For example, Woolworths didn’t run specials that year, while Checkers was flooded with shoppers from opening time because of its discounted items.
Use Black Friday to give your loyalty customers even more rewards. Depending on the loyalty programme you have set up, you can offer extra points over this period or specials like ‘buy one, get one free’. You can also use your Loyalty Programme to incentivise new sign-ups over the Black Friday weekend. Get creative. Your customers will thank you for it.
DO YOU WANT TO BOOST CUSTOMER SATISFACTION AND DRIVE LOYALTY?
Talk to Sureswipe about a cost-effective Loyalty programme. We can assist in customer retention through a platform that helps you communicate directly with customers through email and SMS. Call 0860 200 111 or fill in your details here and we’ll call you.