The holidays are often the busiest time of year for DTC brands. While some consumers shop super early or late, most officially begin their holiday shopping on Black Friday.
Each year, mobile holiday shopping grows in comparison to desktop and offline sales at brick-and-mortar stores. Thanks to COVID-19, shoppers are even more inclined to shop from the palm of their hands for a calmer, safer shopping experience.
“One of the indicators for the holidays from Meredith’s research is a continuing e-commerce boom, extending a major shift that began with the outbreak of COVID-19.” – WARC and Meredith
How brands adjust their eCommerce and social commerce (S-commerce) strategies this holiday season will greatly impact their annual bottom line.
Black Friday and the Current Consumer Spending Trends
Trends that Will Shape Black Friday in 2020
In our Influencer Marketing Holiday Guide 2020, we found a few major trends that will influence how consumers behave this holiday season.
Image via Businesswire
First, nearly ¾ of surveyed shoppers claimed that they planned to take their shopping online. These numbers are confirmed by studies from experts at the Association of National Advertisers’ (ANA) 2020 Digital and Social Media Conference. With a global pandemic that remains uncontained, this trend comes as no surprise.
Also, shoppers hope to access better deals by starting their gift shopping earlier in the year. Some of the reasons consumers have decided to act sooner is due to inventory scarcity earlier in the year, as well as hopes for early bird discounts. 2020 has been a financially difficult year for most.
Third, last-minute runs to the store are out of the question this year. Over 60% confirmed that they would complete their last-minute purchases online.
Redefining Holiday Shopping
Retail brands with a strong online presence and online-only DTC brands are bound to outperform previous years. Consumers have not stopped spending – they’ve just adjusted their approach.
“The crisis has prompted a surge of new activities, with an astonishing 75 percent of US consumers trying a new shopping behavior in response to economic pressures, store closings, and changing priorities. This general change in behavior has also been reflected in a shattering of brand loyalties, with 36 percent of consumers trying a new product brand and 25 percent incorporating a new private-label brand.” – McKinsey & Company
Leading eCommerce distributors such as Walmart and Amazon couldn’t keep up with demand in 2020 Q1 and Q2. As a result, these big name brands have taken steps to downplay some of their digital footprint to replenish inventory and retain consumer trust.
New DTC brands are stepping up and offering new holiday gift ideas, along with thoughtful solutions to the health and economic difficulties that have plagued 2020.
Black Friday vs Cyber Monday for Online Shopping
In the minds of many consumers, there may not be many gifts left after Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Tenured DTC brands approaching the holiday season understand that holiday sales success comes down to these two critical holiday shopping days.
Last year, consumer spending on Cyber Monday exceeded Black Friday by two billion dollars. Since experts predict that shoppers will be active earlier in the season, retail brands should expect some of these purchases to begin as early as late October.
Nevertheless, consumer holiday spending year-over-year still shows that many procrastinate, or at the very least, finalize their gift shopping as Christmas and New Years approach.
Best Social Channels for Black Friday Buyers
With the rapid rise in mobile shopping in 2020, holiday shoppers are getting more ideas from friends, family, and influencers. Social media platforms are increasing their ability to offer shoppable posts and S-commerce features.
Consumers can see products and services in action, claim limited-time offers, and checkout within social channels such as Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and even TikTok. These intuitive S-commerce tools allow brands to showcase their products with more authentic, lifestyle content, often including a suite of products in a single shoppable ad.
Marketing Strategies for eCommerce and Black Friday
A “same old” approach to Black Friday promotions is unlikely to perform as it did in previous years. Consumers are spending more carefully and are concerned with long-term value.
Push Boundaries to Stay Competitive
DTC brands will likely have to try new things this year, to include bigger discounts, greater product selection, or more noteworthy experiential campaigns.
Sneak Previews on New Products
Brands can get a heads start on holiday sales events by announcing new product lines with sneak peaks. Depending on how excited consumers are, brands can even offer pre-sales events so that people can reserve their gifts before products sell out.
Start Promotions Early
Experts predict holiday shopping to begin earlier in 2020. As important as Black Friday has traditionally been for retail shoppers, very little about 2020 has been typical. DTC brands need to make plans now if they want to perform well in time for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Pair Killer Discounts with Eye-catching Content
Social media is a vibrant marketplace. This reality gives your brand more opportunities to showcase your promotions with meaningful content. And one of the surest ways to create eye-catching content is to partner with influencers.
How to Use Influencer Marketing for Your Black Friday Campaigns
Influencers are social media power users that maintain vibrant online communities of likeminded consumers. Even brand ambassadors with less than 1,000 followers can generate authentic brand excitement and holiday sales.
Use All of Your Social Channels
When searching for influencers and brand ambassadors, you can start on those social channels where you are already active. The more social channels you incorporate, the greater your exposure.
Leverage Your High Performing Influencers
Approach your top performers first. These influencers know your brand, and they can help you generate excitement among their followers more easily.
You can also brainstorm your holiday influencer campaigns with those influencers you trust. If there’s one thing that influencers do well, it’s connecting with audiences. You don’t just want to discount your products and sell out of inventory. The key is to have influencers help you promote the value of your product line and nurture long-term brand loyalty among those consumers that take advantage of your Black Friday sales event.
Let Your Influencers Give the Sneak Peeks
Giving your influencers “dibs” on your holiday products is a great perk to nurture stronger relationships with your influencers and ambassadors. More importantly, these influencers can help you publicize sneak peeks to engaged consumer audiences.
Give Influencers Early Access to Discount Codes
Just as you gave your influencer team VIP access to sneak peeks, you should do the same with holiday discount codes. This benefit allows your influencers to stock up and share more about your brand on social media.
Consider Seasonal Changes in Your Buyer Personas
A critical task when marketing to Black Friday customers is to recognize that most shoppers are looking for gifts for friends and family. As such, your marketing team will need to consider changes to your buyer personas.
Your influencers can be a valuable resource for this step. Not only are they shopping for others, but they are also providing gift ideas to members of their online community.
Target Your Audience for the Holiday
Holiday marketing means targeting shoppers who are shopping for others. Instead of shopping for men or women of different ages and demographics, brands should be targeting individuals shopping for their parents, parents shopping for their kids, and so on.
Create Multiple Messages for Your Possible Audiences
Your target audience may have several different people shopping for them. For example, one person can be both a parent and a grandparent. When trying to reach your target audience’s gift givers, it’s critical that you create personalized messaging relevant to each group.
It’s a good idea to discuss these messages with your influencers as you launch your holiday campaigns. They can help you craft relevant content from various angles to grab attention from these different groups.
Select the Right Channels for Your Holiday Audiences
As you alter your buyer personas for the holidays, it’s important to remember that the social channels you use most could also change. You can recruit influencers on these channels and grow your brand awareness as you aim to reach your target audience’s gift givers.
Black Friday Killer Influencer Campaigns
Many approaches to Black Friday promotions that have worked in the past are still relevant today. Here are just a few of our favorites.
Tubby Todd makes body care products for babies with sensitive skin. A critical part of their marketing mix is their brand ambassador program.
Knowing that the holidays are a critical time of year for DTC brands, Tubby Todd plans in advance for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. In a recent Brands Working Remote Talking Influencers, co-owner Andrea Faulkner Williams discussed how they approach their holiday sales events.
What They Did
Andrea sent gift boxes with a holiday greeting card to her top ambassadors with products that she wanted to promote that year. These Tubby Todd gift boxes arrived before Black Friday so that ambassadors had time to use the products to share with their audiences.
For those ambassadors that didn’t share in time for Black Friday, Andrea contacted them to encourage them to share in time for Cyber Monday.
All ambassadors that agreed to share received a 50% off credit to shop on the Tubby Todd store.
Why It Worked
Tubby Todd enjoys strong relationships with all members of their ambassador program. With gift boxes and discount incentives, most ambassadors were happy to share and promote the brand for holiday sales events.
This influencer campaign approach during the holidays allowed ambassadors to show genuine excitement and offer gift ideas to fellow parents, grandparents, and friends.
MeUndies is a DTC online brand that makes comfortable underwear for men and women. They are active on social media, namely Facebook and Instagram.
One of the brand’s favorite things to do is create virtual events for consumers and influencers. Last year, they combined Black Friday and Cyber Monday into a weekend-long holiday virtual shopping event.
What They Did
MeUndies hired DJs, sent e-vites, and hosted the weekend event over Facebook. Not only did invited followers join, but they also invited their friends. Influencers simultaneously promoted the event which resulted in dance competitions and an astounding 25% conversion rate.
Why It Worked
Because MeUndies had experience with virtual events and an influencer team, they effectively combined what they did well into a holiday experiential marketing event. Thanks to engaged followers and influencers, the weekend event produced amazing word-of-mouth and user-generated content.
Kopari Beauty creates skin and beauty products from coconut oil. Not only are they passionate about health and sustainability, but they manage a vibrant community of influencers on social media.
Recognizing how difficult it can be for family members to shop for one another, Kopari partnered with their influencers to help followers build gift and wish lists.
What They Did
Influencers created their own holiday wish lists of Kopari products and shared those lists online. They also incorporated affiliate links and discount codes. Followers used these lists as inspiration for highly-recommended products from authoritative consumers.
Why It Worked
Wish lists are easy to make until someone puts you on the spot and asks you what you want for Christmas. But when your favorite influencer recommends a product you love, you can pass the suggestion on to those shopping for you. That is why influencer gift lists are so popular around the holidays.
And by adding discount codes and affiliate links, Kopari was able to convert not just influencer followers, but also influencer followers’ loved ones – those tasked with gift giving.
Conclusion: Drive the most revenue this holiday season and incorporate influencer marketing into your marketing strategy.
Influencers are more than social media personalities – they work hard to earn trust from their followers and deliver value in every piece of content. By partnering with influencers for your Black Friday sales events, you will generate authentic excitement, wider brand awareness, and convert at record rates.
And if you utilize influencer gift giving and other affordable techniques, you’ll lower your holiday marketing costs and achieve higher returns.