The way Australians shop has changed since restrictions to curb COVID-19 have been in place. Foot traffic in shopping malls and strips has plummeted — in the week starting April 6, it was down 93.6 per cent compared to the same time last year, according to Kepler Analytics. So how will this impact Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Xmas shopping this year and what do companies need to consider.
Black Friday is a retail sales day, commencing the Friday after Thanksgiving Day in the United States. Americans use it as an opportunity to get Xmas gifts for less. Black Friday 2020 falls on November 27, which is the first Friday after Thanksgiving. The event tends to span the entire weekend, culminating with Cyber Monday.
Over the last few years, stimulated by online retailers, Black Friday sales have gained in popularity in Australia. In 2019 Amazon Australia recorded its biggest shopping day on Black Friday. For Australians who shop online, particularly bargain hunters, Black Fiday is a very important day of the year. Because of the pandemic a lot more Australians are shopping online.
With social distancing restrictions still in place, the Xmas shopping period is unlikely to offer much relief to physical retailers who have been impacted by the pandemic. Retail has been hammered by the global pandemic, and research from GlobalData predicts the Australian retail market to decrease 3.2 percent in 2020, wiping AU$17 billion off the retail market.
“Retailers have an opportunity to take advantage of Black Friday to revitalise poor sales performance and to minimise the impact of subdued Xmas and boxing day shopping”, says Philippe Guichard, Entrepreneur, Innovator and Product Designer, D2 Design. The competition will be tough, however, as most retailers and ecommerce providers will be targeting consumers with a range of discounts, promotions and marketing campaigns.
Black Friday deals tend to cover a wide variety of products and services, with retailers slashing prices on everything from electronics to home wares, clothing to cleaning supplies. We can expect more will be on offer this year as retailers compete for the eyeballs of consumer looking for great deals.
During lockdown, many businesses had to reinvent themselves, focusing on ecommerce and how they could take their in-store shopping experience to the internet, so they did not lose touch with their customers. In the coming weeks and months, their need to maintain a strong online presence will be paramount.
The ability to stand out from one’s competitors will be a major challenge. Online and digital platforms will be flooded with promotions, discounts and various marketing messages. To cut through the marketing noise retailers need to think about how they can better engage with their customers by delivering personalised information about relevant products and sales discounts.
For small to medium business it will be particularly difficult to have your voice heard. “You may want to consider partnering with other small businesses in your local area to run joint promotions. By leveraging your combined strengths and audiences you can offer customers a greater range of personalised discounts and promotions”, says Guichard. The greater the number of participating businesses, the more tempting your promotion will be for shoppers.
Ensure your website and social media platforms are up to scratch. Is your website fast and easy to navigate, with a clear information structure highlighting your range of discounts and promotions? How easy is the check-out process?
Logistics and delivery maybe an issue. In August, Australia Post struggled to keep up with deliveries of online orders. You might want to ensure that people can obtain their items via “click and collect”.
Mostly importantly, start planning now! The more you prepare for Black Friday and Xmas the greater the chances of success.