For retailers, November signals the looming Black Friday shopping bonanza. No longer solely a North American shopping phenomenon, it’s now a firm fixture on the Australian retail calendar and represents a significant opportunity for retailers to start peak season on the front foot, writes Gordana Redzovski is Vice President for APAC at Vend.
The retail industry is in a healthier position today than it was in March and April, but the ongoing volatility of the situation means that retailers big and small – particularly in Victoria – will have to use all their retail smarts and tech-savvy to achieve strong sales performance. So, marking the start of perhaps the most important shopping season in a generation, here’s how your retail business can capitalise on Black Friday.
The Black Friday effect
Once considered a North American-only event, Black Friday is now a lucrative day in the Australian retail calendar. Vend data from thousands of retailers nationwide revealed that the number of Black Friday transactions increased by almost a quarter (22%) from 2016 to 2018, while revenue rose by over a third (36%). What’s more, 63% of Aussie shoppers in 2019 said they intended to shop at a local retailer on Black Friday. With Australians strong supporters of local businesses and potentially looking to grab a pre-Christmas bargain, combined with pent-up demand in Victoria, we expect Black Friday
Stay safe, start early, sell smart
Black Friday has long been predicated on incentivising as many shoppers as possible to visit your store, but crucial health and safety restrictions must adhere to this year. To assure shoppers, many of whom remain conscious of health and safety, that it’s safe to visit your store, you’ll need to communicate the measures you’re implementing in advance. For retailers in Victoria, there are precautions you must take and policies you must follow. Failure to do so can result in heavy fines, so ensure that PPE and sanitiser are available, capacity restrictions are adhered to and posters and decals are added to the walls and floors so people know what to do and where to stand at all times.
Then, determine what products might be popular or any surplus stock that you want to shift and promote them, along with any discounts to grab shoppers’ attention. Making the most of the day is about getting your audience’s attention well ahead of time through impactful marketing and eye-catching social media posts. To grow your potential customer base, you could even consider a social media giveaway if people reshare your post or tag a friend.
Black Friday is notorious for heavily-discounted items, but that’s not to mean that your business needs to do the same. Matching eye-watering discounts that you might see on Amazon is financially unsustainable and undervalues your bespoke products. So instead of offering discounts that don’t even cover your costs, play to your strengths. Promote your bespoke products and the ‘support local’ sentiment. Talk about the quality of your materials and why they make beautiful gifts for meaningful people, and share glowing reviews and the story behind your business, the materials you use and where they’re from. Be proud about your business, what it stands for and why, and you may notice your customers’ affinity to it grow.
A seamless, sophisticated sales strategy
While Black Friday is synonymous with images of packed shop floors and overflowing carts, through the right strategy you can add a method to the madness. Retail no longer exists exclusively on shop floors, but assertions that eCommerce will soon swallow bricks-and-mortar shopping are untrue. Instead, the savviest operations today are actually ‘omnichannel’, in which bricks-and-mortar and eCommerce seamlessly align, to cater to every shopper, however they shop.
While omnichannel may sound like a strategy for the future, it’s a strategy for the present, through which an effective, targeted eCommerce presence enhances and extends the delightful experiences and beautiful products you provide on your shop floor. For example, list your in-store inventory online, implement loyalty schemes, introduce click and collect and use targeted marketing to promote your products, shipping options, returns policies and everything else your customers need to know ahead of Black Friday.
While many retailers will be keen to see the back of 2020, Black Friday and the peak season that follows it could ensure the year ends on a high. So prepare now, implement safe, savvy operations and delight your customers, and you may find that when you close your door at the end of Black Friday, you do so with vim, vigour and optimism in your step.
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