Last year, Black Friday sales hit an all-time high of $7.4 billion. But, this year things might feel a bit uncertain. 2020 has turned out to be expected, to say the least.
Although turbulent, 2020 has opened a huge potential for growth for ecommerce brands big and small. Forbes reported that the pandemic has accelerated ecommerce growth by four to six years. And, some major brands have seen a 300% growth in web traffic over lockdown.
Naturally, now would be the time that ecommerce marketers everywhere would be putting their holiday marketing plans in motion. But with the uncertainty every day brings, it can be difficult to navigate and decide where to begin.
To clear things up, we asked seasonal shoppers for their thoughts on the peak period this year. To get the full analysis, download our Peak 2020 pack.
Or, keep reading to see the results of our research and what it means for you.
- Customers will still be shopping. Despite the holiday period looking different this year, consumers will still want to shop in seasonal sales
- Your existing customers will return to your brand. While the peak period is notoriously a prime time to acquire customers, it will also be the perfect time to retain your existing shoppers too
- The opportunity for brand discovery will be up. Shoppers say they will be looking on social media and at emails for deals and discounts
- Your advocates will be your best acquisition tool. Over the peak period this year, more customers are willing to leave recommendations and to share your brand with their loved ones
- Online shopping will be bigger than brick-and-mortar. In-person traffic has fallen as more shoppers get confident with shopping online. This trend will continue into the peak period too
1. Customers will be shopping
Despite economic uncertainty, consumers showed that they will still have an appetite for the seasonal sales and will by actively looking for deals.
- 33% of the customers we spoke to are waiting for the sales to purchase certain items
- 53% of shoppers will be on the lookout for deals and discounts over cyber weekend
This opens a new opportunity for ecommerce merchants to work hard to retain their existing customers and to acquire a new shopper base.
2. Your existing customers will return to your brand
Our research showed that customers will return and shop with their favorite brands or where they’ve shopped before:
- 48% of customers said they will shop with brands they know and trust over the seasonal sales
- 52% said they will prioritize brands where they have points and rewards waiting in their account
- 36% said they will shop with brands that share their values
This is good news as the probability of successfully converting an existing customer is between 60 and 70%. This is because they already trust your brand. And, if you keep your existing customers satisfied over the sales period, they’ll remain loyal to you long term.
Set yourself apart from the competition this year by showing the value of your brand. This way customers who already know your store will return to you over the competition.
Start by offering your discount-driven customers a free gift with their purchase. Or, give them an exclusive experience unavailable to others.
3. The opportunity for brand discovery will be up
When we asked customers how they’ll be finding discounts and deals this year,
- 39% said they will spend more time browsing on social media
- Only 25% said they will not open emails from retail brands during seasonal sales
This year, meet your customers where they’ll be looking. Social media feeds and emails are the perfect channels to engage with your customers and establish emotional connections. But, over the seasonal sales, this space will be crowded.
To boost social interactions, incentivize your customers to follow you on social media ahead of time. This way, when you post about your seasonal discounts, you’ll be more likely to appear on their feeds.
You should also use social media to broadcast what your brand stands for. If you’re an eco brand or have an opinion on big-picture challenges, use your social channels to let your followers know about it. Check out the LoyaltyLion Hall of Fame to see how leading brands, like Edgard & Cooper are achieving this.
Then, with your email marketing focus on personalization. By adding components (such as your customers’ first names, their account status or personalized product recommendations) to emails, you’re showing them that you care about them on an individual basis. This will make sure your emails stand out over generic ones in their inbox.
4. Your advocates will be your best acquisition tool
What’s positive is that this sales season consumers will want to tell others about your brand.
- 38% of those we surveyed said they will recommend products and brands to friends this year
- 33% said they will leave reviews – up 12% from when we asked the same question last year
This is valuable as both these channels show new customers that you’re a brand that can be trusted. An added bonus when “too good to be true” discounting can turn customers off.
Encourage more conversations around your brand by increasing referrals and reviews. You could start by rewarding customers loyalty points when they complete these actions. They’ll then be more likely to return to the brand again to spend those points. Learn more about how a loyalty program can improve your referral marketing here.
5. Online shopping will be bigger than brick-and-mortar
Due to the pandemic, more consumers will be shopping online rather than in person:
- Only 31% of customers inted to visit physical store locations over the seasonal sales this year
- 51% said they are more likely to use Google (or another search engine) to find deals and discounts
This opens a new opportunity for online brands. They need to get inventive with how they maintain the human touch online over the peak period this year.
First, use tools and technology to deliver top experiences that set your brand apart. For example, you could give your top spending customers virtual styling sessions over Zoom.
You should also work to make your online and offline channels complementary, rather than competitive. With a loyalty program you can let customers spend their points and claim rewards both in-store and online.
Time to get started
By acting on these findings sooner, rather than later, you’ll be able to retain and acquire more customers over the peak period this year. Access our Peak 2020: A new lens for loyalty pack to get ahead on retention this discount season.
About the author
Mollie is a Senior Content Marketing Executive at LoyaltyLion. After graduating from UCL in 2016, she has worked both in-house and at marketing agencies providing expertise in content for both B2B and B2C clients. At LoyaltyLion, Mollie manages our content, making sure our readers get the best quality resources about customer loyalty and retention.
This article originally appeared by our friends at LoyaltyLion.