When thousands of pumpkins and spooky deals leave the fertile ground of shoppers' inboxes, it is time for retailers to make another final countdown. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are coming, the busiest times for the whole commerce industry.
These shopping holidays, which begin on the last Friday in November, originate mainly in the USA, but in recent years they have also grown in Australia, Canada and other parts of the world. According to a survey by Salesforce, consumers worldwide will spend 1.14 trillion US dollars online during the Christmas period in 2022.
In 2023, Deloitte predicts that shoppers are likely to spend even more, surpassing pre-pandemic levels for the first time. This means a huge opportunity for online retailers of all sizes to drive traffic and increase sales with their Black Friday marketing campaigns.
So, if you are looking for inspiration for your last phase of preparations or ideas on how to boost your Black Friday sales, this article comes in handy. Below is a quick guide for eCommerce businesses with examples of holiday campaigns and helpful tips you can use this year and beyond.
A bunch of holiday shopping predictions to know in 2023
To prepare for the holiday bonanza well, look closely at experts' forecasts on holiday trends and shoppers' behavior patterns. The key findings from the recent 2023 Deloitte Holiday Retail Survey are worth diving in. Here are selected predictions from this report.
#1 In 2023, holiday spending will reach a pre-pandemic level
This year's holiday season is expected to bring 95% of consumers to the store. Customers plan to spend $ 1, 652 which means outpacing the pre-pandemic level for the first time (in comparison $ 1, 496 was spent in 2019 and $ 1, 455 in 2022). Moreover, three-quarters of shoppers are prepared for higher prices as inflation continues to rise.
#2 Gift card is on top in the gift category
Facing higher prices, shoppers want to rely on a safe solution. Since 2020, the most frequently purchased gifts have been clothes and accessories, but Deloitte's predictions show that this time, vouchers will be at the top. On average, customers plan to spend $300 on gift cards.
#3 Black Friday week will attract 66% of shoppers
There is expected to be robust participation rates in promotional events, with a quarter planning to shop on October promotional days and 66% (versus 49%) planning to shop on Black Friday-Cyber Monday (BFCM) week. Consumers will wrap up their shopping in just 5.8 weeks, down from 7.4 weeks in the pre-pandemic era, so retailers might consider limiting their Black Friday promotions in time.
#4 Gift-giving is a priority
Events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the best occasions to find exclusive deals and buy thoughtful gifts for loved ones.
The last survey by the National Retail Federation confirms it. The majority (69%) of responders say that gifts for others are the first thing they buy during the holiday season.
3 Black Friday marketing trends
The retail market is rapidly changing. The consequences of the global outbreak and rising inflation had impacts on shoppers and drove them to be more cost-conscious and start shopping early.
Check out these e-commerce trends, which have been well-established in the retail industry. It is worth taking into account when planning a Black Friday marketing strategy.
Black Friday is not a sprint, it's a marathon
In 2022, 56% of U.S. consumers intended to start their holiday shopping in October and 35% in November.
Black Friday is no longer a single-day shopping holiday. Retailers start with early-bird deals and smoothly continue the campaigns through December.
Similarly, search queries about Black Friday in Google are longer, and consumer interest will spread across 10 weeks (starting in early November to 2 weeks after Black Friday).
According to Google Customer Insights, there are three significant phases of the consumer's experience during Black Friday.
Stage One (the build-up): People don't search for any particular brands and products; they are open to suggestions.
Stage Two (the craze): Shoppers begin to look for more specific products and brands.
Stage Three (the last call): Shoppers continue to search for attractive deals after the actual day, hoping to find more significant price reductions.
So if you started preparation late, you could still target this cohort of latecomers consumers.
Jump on the wave of social commerce
Sales via social media platforms worldwide are estimated to add up to US $2.9 trillion in 2026.
By 2025, eMarketer projects that over 114 million U.S. consumers will spend nearly $1000 on social purchases every year, and U.S. retail social commerce sales will exceed $53 billion.
Social commerce is an eCommerce trend that has been gaining popularity in recent years, and it looks like that direction will stay the same since it allows shoppers to purchase directly via their favorite social media platforms.
If retailers want to increase their reach, they should go beyond their eCommerce sites and add a product to the shopping apps provided by Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, or Pinterest (depending on which platform customers prefer).
However, it's not a matter of a few clicks.
Before entering the social commerce world, brands need to get deeper into audience segmentation, prepare product listings, and tailor them to the specific requirements of certain social media channels.
Time for green commerce
During the holiday shopping season, sustainability is a priority for above half (55%) of the young generation, Deloitte's experts indicate.
The sustainability trend is gaining significance in retail due to increasing consumer demand for eco-friendly products and ethical practices. Shoppers are more conscious of environmental and social issues, leading retailers to adopt sustainable strategies.
This trend not only aligns with consumer values but also enhances brand reputation, reduces costs, and helps businesses adapt to evolving regulations and market expectations.
Paying attention to ecology when making purchasing decisions is becoming more and more important in all age groups, but it is most visible among generation Z, which are proponents of sustainability, and they influence others to consider sustainability.
6 fool-proof Black Friday marketing strategies and last-minute ideas
Prepare product pages
High-quality product information in online stores has a significant impact on purchase decisions.
Before you schedule marketing activities, it's good to start with the foundation — your product pages and optimize their content and prepare product listings for the holiday shopping season.
Follow these key steps to create rich product content.
- Track uncomplicated or outdated product information on your product pages and product listings.
- Create compelling stories about your products using the best storytelling practices. That includes, first and foremost, writing unique, informative, and engaging product descriptions.
- Optimize product pages' content for search engines.
- Give your customers a voice: include reviews, testimonials, or other social proof.
- Use eye-catching and high-quality product images and more interactive visuals like videos and 360-degree product views. A picture is worth a thousand words, so it's a crucial ingredient of engaging customer experience.
💡 Pro-tip: Automation tools like Product Information Management (PIM) software have completeness score features that help marketing and eCommerce teams identify a lack of product information fast and easily. That's one of many PIM features useful for retailers.
Last minute idea: If you run out of time, focus on strategic pages with hot Black Friday deals and all products used in their up-selling and cross-selling bundle.
The detailed product page in the Zara online store
Create a gift guide
During Black Friday and Cyber Monday, many shoppers purchase holiday gifts, so the best content idea for this occasion will be a gift guide created with your marketing personas and the offer in mind.
This type of buyer enablement content empowers shoppers to make a purchase decision quicker and easier.
To create the guide, dive deeper into your customer segmentation to choose a type of shopper. Then pick the most popular items, segments, and categories; you can also ask suppliers.
A glimpse of the hottest market trends helps you connect all the dots and organize your guide by product categories, budget, age, and gender of shoppers or their interests.
A digital gift guide can be a landing page, an extensive blog post, an infographic, or an ebook. Think about adding videos or gifs to make content more engaging.
💡 Pro-tip: Invite your partners to co-create the gift guide to offer shoppers more variety of product recommendations and boost the reach of the guide promotion efforts.
Last minute idea: Creating graphics with collages of products will be faster than launching a landing page. Use an easy tool like Canva and distribute the graphic guide via social media and e-mail marketing campaigns.
The holiday gift guide on the Chanel website
Start with a hot early Black Friday sale or attract latecomers
Designing a killer Black Friday campaign requires masterful planning. When this very Friday starts, shoppers' inboxes are flooded with e-mails with Black Friday deals. It is easy to drown in this sea of marketing messages. One of the ways to stand out is by experimenting with your timing. As you can learn from Google insights above, many people start holiday shopping even in October, and there are also experts in searching for late sales.
So you have two ways — catch early birds or act in the last call to attract latecomers. When you set your campaigns' time, it's up to you.
💡 Pro-tip: Get inspired by Kohl's pre-Black Friday time-limited campaign. The brand started early to be ahead of the competition and combined this strategy with things that Black Friday shoppers love — affordable deals and free shipping.
Last minute idea: Who said you can't launch Black Thursday or bring Black Friday back to life in December? Surprise shoppers by activating promo codes or discounts for loyal customers after the proper day.
The early-bird Black Friday campaign on Kohl's website
Establish your own holiday
Everyone knows what Black Friday is all about: retailers prepare to start the competition, and shoppers wait to catch the best deals.
Why not go against the flow and redefine that day, celebrating it differently?
An inspiring example is IKEA’s Green Friday campaign, created in the spirit of sustainability.
On this day, IKEA offers to buy back clients’ old IKEA items of furniture and resell them to someone else who needs something used.
This way, you can save more on Black Friday and participate in a circle better for the planet. Brave move.
If you don’t want to go that far and protect your most prosperous day anyway, you can make it a bit unique and more sustainable.
Customers will appreciate it as more people plan to change their shopping habits to reduce a negative impact on the environment.
💡 Pro-tip: Use Black Friday to do something good. Think about donating a percentage of your Black Friday sales to a fundraising initiative.
Last minute idea: Do you have an offer or services dedicated to small businesses or solopreneurs in your portfolio? Have a special offer for them on Small Business Saturday, the holiday day after Black Friday.
Plan personalized e-mail campaigns
E-mail marketing is still one of the most effective marketing tools. Plan your campaign and test different options that might bring great results. Don’t forget about personalization. Here are some ideas you can include.
- Think about your local customers: your brands’ VIPs, and send them a newsletter with a special offer.
- A few days before, send a short teaser of your Black Friday campaign to prepare your subscribers for that occasion. You can set a countdown timer to create a sense of urgency.
- Send last call newsletter to remind about the start of Black Friday sales.
💡 Pro-tip: According to Adobe report, 42.4% of Black Friday eCommerce revenue came through smartphones (about $3.7 billion). Be mobile-first in all your marketing activities, including e-mail marketing.
Last minute idea: Analyze your past Black Friday and other holiday campaigns to find out what worked. Recycle well-performing ones with a catchy subject line and a creative approach. Swedish cosmetic brand FOREO is a great example.
Black Friday newsletters by FOREO
Use the power of omnichannel
Omnichannel is a new black in digital commerce and is here to stay for good.
It is based on providing a consistent and seamless brand experience for customers at every possible sales touchpoint (online and in-store).
According to Omnisend, “marketers using three or more channels in a campaign earned a 494% higher order rate than those using a single-channel campaign”.
Nailing omnichannel requires centralized product information and syncing all marketing and sales channels, so you will be able to reach your customers on channels they use at right time and with a relevant personalized message.
💡 Pro-tip: Offer customers the flexibility to choose how they can interact with your brand on Black Friday and holidays by merging all online shopping experiences and offering various delivery options.
Last-minute idea: Run a last-minute campaign in search engines and preferred platforms on social media. Highlight on copy and graphics what you offer to let consumers know that it is a special Black Friday deal.
Sephora omnichannel retail marketing on holiday sales
Have a great Black Friday! But after, do not slow down the pace too much, there are many more holidays to celebrate :)
Get ready for the next sales peaks with Bluestone PIM
With the merge of Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the holiday season in December, the end of the year is always full of shopping madness. Later, however, it is not quiet at all; there are seasonal sales and occasions such as Valentine's Day, Women's Day, and many more.
That means a lot of opportunities to attract your customers with special offers. Use this seasonality to increase sales, following four categories of holidays: major, geographical, shopping, and fun holidays.
Our extensive guide might help you, bringing a solid dose of inspiration and practical tips.
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Editor’s note: This post was originally published in November 2022 and has been updated with the latest information.