Black Friday is already the most popular holiday shopping day, and this year, it set a record for online sales. Axios reported that $9 billion dollars were spent online on Black Friday, which is up 2.3% over 2021, as brands are pushing out overstocked inventory at steep discounts and every customer is looking for gifts.
On the heels of the holiday, Merkle’s client delivery teams shared the top trends they noticed around Black Friday and Cyber Monday this year.
New Trend: Early Access to Black Friday Deals
As shoppers grew weary of inflation through the end of the year, many brands opted to start their deals at the beginning of the month. With this extension, brands who ramped up media spend before Black Friday capitalized on earlier shopping interest to drive additional revenue. There was also less of a lull between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, with deals available throughout the entire weekend – leading to more shopping demand than expected on Saturday and Sunday.
Some stores, like Target, closed their stores on Thanksgiving and maintained normal shopping hours on Black Friday. This led to less crowded stores since some deals were available on the other days of the month. Closing for the holiday and sticking to normal business hours the day after meant employees had more time with their loved ones, as well as wiping away the tradition of 4 A.M. doorbusters.
New Trend: Social Commerce/Influencers
Forty-eight percent of online orders came from mobile phones during America’s largest shopping holiday. Brands were anticipating this and met customers right in the palm of their hand with messaging from influencers and strategic placement of social commerce. Abercrombie & Fitch teamed up with influencers to provide an additional coupon code that stacked on their Black Friday sales. Apps like LTK help influencers and brands drive conversion by driving shoppers right to the item their favorite influencer is talking about.
Many brands chose to also incorporate SMS in their Cyber Week strategy. Those most successful in their use of SMS got straight to the point by focusing on identifying themselves and sharing the discount at the beginning of the message. The drawback of trying to get attention when everyone is shopping is several brands sending SMS messages at the same time and overwhelming their audience.
Shoppers can expect two things when Cyber Week rolls around: sales and emails about sales. A great channel for speaking to shoppers on a personal level, email truly shines during this time. Some smaller brands sent out personal invites or discounts to their shoppers. Since so many items were on sale for longer periods, urgency felt over-used for those that had shorter promotional windows. Instead, sharing which day the sale ended would convey the necessary information to encourage shoppers to convert. Keeping a countdown for last-minute shoppers that includes windows for shipping creates a helpful experience for those less prepared. Inboxes can get overwhelming quickly so brands who chose to communicate who they are and their discount as clearly as possible could cut through the noise.
Automation Fueled Positive Media Performance
Heading into this holiday season, there was uncertainty about how much inflation would impact shopper behavior. Automation played a key role in helping brands adapt quickly to changing consumer patterns and powered efficient scaling of ad spend and account changes.
Cyber Week brings out the creativity in brands to catch the attention of thrifty shoppers and this year was no different. Standing out from the crowd can be as easy as sending at a different time while getting straight to the point.