Oh, Black Friday: how we endlessly anticipate your seasonal chaos. This year marks a departure from the recurring feeding frenzy, as retailers are responding to evolving consumer behaviors and shaking up their strategies, potentially redefining the very nature of the annual shopping event. Here’s what you need to know to survive and thrive the changes this season:
- Now more than ever retailers need to recognize how their audiences will want to shop this season. Outdoor gear retailer REI understands that its customer base doesn’t enjoy participating in the chaos of Black Friday shopping, and will close its stores (instead choosing to #OptOutside). H&M will close on Thanksgiving for the first time, allowing store employees to enjoy the holiday with friends and family — and the company even started offering various Black Friday deals nearly a week in advance.
- Even within demographic groups, different preferences and behaviors emerge. For example, of the 93% of millenials planning to shop on Black Friday, 67% of the demographic (18-34) will shop online for Black Friday and/or Cyber Monday. Of older millennials (25-34), however, 1 in 3 plan on pursuing in-store/brick-and-mortar Black Friday shopping experiences.
- According to the NRF, 21.4% of consumers will shop for holiday items on their smartphones this season, with 20% planning to reference their mobile devices to compare availability while shopping in-store.
- CRM and email will play a big part in Black Friday: NRF suggests that nearly 50% of emails sent by retailers to consumers are opened on smartphones. Engaging, relevant email campaigns can create numerous opportunities for mobile marketing/retargeting, while driving traffic both online and in-store.
- Research from Google indicates that peak Black Friday foot-traffic actually occurs mid-afternoon (from 2-4PM), rather than at midnight or in the morning.
- Black Friday is not the biggest traffic day of the season for all types of retail stores, however. Department stores and superstores actually see heavier foot traffic the last Saturday before Christmas!