By David Griffiths, Senior Product Marketing & Strategy Manager, Adjuno.
It’s that time of year again. Retailers should now be in full swing with their Black Friday and Cyber Monday preparations as they look to build on the success of last year’s shopping phenomenon. In fact, Black Friday brought in $6.2 billion in online sales last year, a growth of 23.6%, with over 165 million people shopping over the weekend.
These statistics are no surprise: retailers have become well-accustomed to the Black Friday weekend frenzy. Years of success - or failures - have shown that when it comes to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, retailers need to make sure they have the right stock, in the right place, at the right time. Previous years have shown that it’s not just about the point of purchase, but the delivery and returns process too. But 2019 has seen a change. The rise of the conscious consumer means that retailers have had to shake up their current strategies in order to stay relevant and show their customers that they are taking valuable and actionable steps towards becoming more sustainable - and this will extend to Black Friday.
With research showing that a third of consumers will choose to buy from brands they believe are doing social or environmental good, retailers can no longer afford to compete purely on price this Black Friday. So, why has Black Friday become more than just a bargain-hunting game for consumers?
Evolving shopping habits
From sustainable clothing lines using organic clothing to reducing the carbon footprint, preventing over-stocking and eliminating the use of hazardous chemicals, retailers have made big strides in their sustainability efforts this year. Because of this, retailers declaring ‘their lowest price ever’ ahead of Black Friday sales won’t be enough to excite all consumers this year. Although there will still be consumers who head to their nearest big electrical store in search of a new TV with 90% off, many consumers will be on the hunt for retailers who can offer them more than just a bargain.
These consumers will be looking for retailers who are allowing shoppers to trade in last year’s purchases in exchange for vouchers, or who are telling their shoppers exactly how they have reduced the amount of packaging in their warehouses to make their entire supply chain more sustainable. This year’s Black Friday weekend provides retailers with a chance to showcase that their products are worth more than a flash sale, and instead are of high quality and will deliver the brand’s promise.
Retailers need to differentiate themselves from each other and one way to do this is ensuring they highlight the ethical credentials that come with their product; whether it’s the manufacturing process behind the TV, the materials used to make the clothes or the measures taken by the entire company to reduce waste across the organisation. However, as customers will be checking out faster than ever on Black Friday, retailers need to ensure that this information is readily and quickly available, through signage in store and through notices online. This will help to appease both types of customer: the bargain hunter and the conscious consumer.
Rising above the battle on price
For today’s shoppers and retailers, Black Friday has always been about which retailer can offer the lowest price. This year, however, retailers need to be prepared to think about how they can compete and differentiate themselves on more than the bagfuls of items that consumers leave stores - or check out online - with at the cheapest price, and more about what the brand itself can offer the sustainability agenda. For the conscious consumer and the retailers looking to further their own sustainability efforts, this year’s Black Friday will be more than just a bargain.