How retailers can make the most of the annual shopping events


This article is brought to you by Retail Technology Review: How retailers can make the most of the annual shopping events.

By Nathan Lomax, co-founder and director, Quickfire Digital.
Black Friday. Singles Day. Cyber Monday. Amazon Prime Day. White Friday. El Buen Fin.
All are popular shopping events across the world (White Friday in the Middle East and El Buen Fin in Mexico if you were wondering), which are seemingly revered and reviled in equal measure by merchants.

And depending on which media you consume, you could be forgiven for believing these events are more important than ever - with consumers spending more in 2022 than in the previous year - or that they’re nearing the end of their usefulness.
As with pretty much everything in retail, and life, nothing is black and white, and the truth lies somewhere in the middle.
Clearly, sales and promotional events can be a valuable weapon, but if planned or executed poorly then sub-standard results will follow.
The Black Friday phenomenon arrived with a bang in the UK from across the pond in 2010 and shook up the traditional sales cycle in the build-up to Christmas. But amid ‘fake sales’ and operational headaches, it has been dispensed by some big names such as Next, Primark and Marks & Spencer.
However, done right, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the rest remain powerful tools in your arsenal.
Cutting through the noise
Despite the naysayers, and some big names opting out, the likes of Black Friday remain important events for many, many retailers. And that means plenty of marketing competition for eyeballs and fingertips. Even if you’re using your first-party email database for such promotions, you’ll still be competing against other brands’ emails and marketing channels. Customers’ spend isn’t infinite, particularly during this cost of living crisis.
Standing out from the crowd is crucial. And that means getting creative, so consider how to approach your:

  • Social media videos and adverts
  • Subject-line messaging in emails
  • Google paid search copy

Catching the eye or preventing further scrolling is what you’re after here. A subject line of ‘Black Friday savings of up to 25%’ just isn’t going to cut it whereas ‘Free shipping on everything for the next 48 hours’ might just stand more of a chance.
Here, we’ve picked out a couple of examples for inspiration:
Penguin Random House’s Hotline Bunch holiday email broke down their large catalogue to provide a hand-picked selection of books to buy. All done in a super fun way. This approach taps into the idea that providing shoppers with less choice will increase conversion rates.
Jewellery brand Twojeys created a super-slick Black Friday video, using employees and guests, which resulted in 5,000+ orders in the first 24 hours after going live. While this type of campaign might not fit into every business’ budget, thinking laterally about what you sell and how that can be translated into a creative story can attract the right attention.

7 practical ideas to reap the rewards

Tip #1 - Make a product plan
Decide which products you are going to discount and select a few premium ones to grab attention and draw people in. Consider those with the biggest margins; ones you can afford to sell at a reduced price. Don’t be tempted by only trying to shift old stock - this tactic won’t work, but these products could be used as add-ons or in bundle offers.
Tip #2 - Collaborate to accumulate
Try partnering with affiliate or lookalike brands that are also keen on reaching your audience. This would act as a nice surprise for your existing customers and add a new angle for your advertising and emails.
Tip #3 - Use referral coupons
Create limited-time referral codes for customers to gain extra discounts on their purchases and encourage new buyers to your store. Referrals are a great way to encourage new shoppers.
Tip #4 - Create a landing page
Showcase all your discounts in a dedicated area, just as you would a regular sales category. However, different to a regular sale and particularly if you have a large volume of products, keep your seasonal event to a tighter range so as not to force customers to scroll through numerous pages.
Tip #5 - Think hourly flash sales
Schedule adjusted levels of discount at different times of the day to entice people back to your site more than once. Use a countdown timer to build a sense of urgency if customers want to take advantage of your very best deals.
Tip #6 - Give a little extra
Provide a free gift for every purchase over a certain amount or a related product at a discount if a certain basket value is reached.
Tip #7 - Reward loyal fans
Run a special promotion for existing customers, send them a code via email and set it to one-use only. You might want to create a separate landing page for them so they can see the full range of discounts they could benefit from.

Key takeaways

  • Get creative with all marketing tactics; not just TikTok
  • Lateral thinking will help you draw attention
  • Map out your product plan and website requirements in good time.

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