Are you in ecommerce? If so, you’re likely wondering what Black Friday 2023 will bring.
The global cost of living crisis has shadowed uncertainty over this year's peak shopping period. A recent IPA survey has revealed that up to two-thirds of consumers plan to cut back on their Christmas spending this year due to the ongoing cost-of-living crisis.
But is the outlook really that bleak?
Drawing on insights from 2022's shopping trends, I've looked at the cost of living crisis's impact on e-commerce, highlighting emerging 2023 trends and offering strategies to help online businesses remain competitive.
I am also sharing seven key Black Friday Cyber Monday takeaways from a recent event hosted by us (Rainy City Agency), designed to help e-commerce businesses gear up for Black Friday 2023.
Reflecting on E-Commerce Performance during Black Friday 2022
Last year, the initial predictions for Black Friday 2022 were largely pessimistic. So much so that the term ‘Bleak Friday' did the rounds, appearing in several forecaster headlines.
But despite challenging economic conditions, several key ecommerce trends emerged from Black Friday 2022 that paint a more optimistic picture:
- The Shopping Spirit Was Alive: Shopify merchants defied the odds by setting a new Black Friday Cyber Monday (BFCM) record with $7.5 billion in sales – a 19% increase from the previous year. During Black Friday last year, Marc Pettican, head of Barclaycard Payments, said: “Despite the rising cost of living, it's clear there is still an appetite to bag a Black Friday bargain. While shoppers may be tightening their belts overall, some have been holding back on purchases to wait for the sales to start, and others are likely on the hunt for deals for Christmas Gifts.
- Average Order Value Went Up. Another positive trend was the middle order value (AOV) increase. According to SaleCycle, the AOV experienced a notable £17.33 increase compared to 2021.
- Cart Abandonment Rate Dropped. There was a reduction in the number of baskets created, from 866,435 in 2021 to 618,592 in 2022, and a slight decrease in the cart abandonment rate from 18.14% to 17.54%.
- Social Media Promotions Soared: Emplifi, a social media and customer experience platform, reported that brands ran more Black Friday content on social media than any previous year. There was a 40% year-on-year jump in UK brands mentioning the event on Instagram.
- Mobile vs. Desktop Sales: Consistent with the global trend towards mobile shopping, Shopify reported that 73% of sales were made on mobile devices.
- The demographic of Consumers: The most enormous consumers spending last year were 25-34-year-olds and 35-44-year-olds.
E-Commerce Trends for Black Friday 2023
Black Friday falls on November 24th this year, followed by Cyber Monday on the 27th.
If 2022 is anything to go by, despite high inflation rates, stagnant wages, and rising costs – ecommerce businesses should be readying themselves for customers' spending.
The trends from 2022 show the resilience and adaptability of both consumers and businesses – despite challenging economic conditions. However, given the trajectory of this year so far for many online companies – it's unlikely that online sessions and spending will match the levels of 2020 and 2021, when widespread lockdowns kept everyone glued to their screens.
Nevertheless, this doesn't mean that businesses should scale back their preparations. Quite the opposite, they need to be more strategic and creative. Here are some key trends and strategies to consider for Black Friday 2023:
- Intentional Shopping and Preference for Quality: Consumers will approach the holiday shopping season intentionally, seeking higher-quality products that will last and planning to compare prices for the best discounts. Last year, Shopify found that 84% of shoppers surveyed said they'd compare prices before buying, and three in four consumers (76%) Shopify surveyed want to spend on higher-quality products that will last.
- Mobile Shopping Dominance: As seen in 2022, mobile shopping is increasingly becoming the preferred method for many consumers. In 2023, this trend is only expected to grow. Businesses must optimize mobile sites and apps to provide a seamless and intuitive shopping experience.
- Sustainability and Ethical Shopping: More consumers prefer brands that demonstrate ethical practices and a commitment to sustainability. This includes environmentally friendly packaging, carbon-neutral shipping, and ethically sourced products. You want to avoid greenwashing; however, highlighting your brand's commitment to sustainability can help you stand out and attract a loyal customer base.
- Flexible Payment Options: Consumers might prefer brands with ‘buy now, pay later” options at the checkout during a year like 2023 when financial management is top of mind for many.
(As a side note, any e-commerce businesses in the UK might breathe a sigh of relief as they shouldn’t have to contend with the Royal Mail strikes this Black Friday.)
7 Key Takeaways from our recent BFCM Event
Understanding past trends and current economic challenges helps, but adaptability and foresight are the keys to e-commerce success. Even with cautious consumer spending, it's all about enhancing their shopping experience.
Rainy City Agency brought together diverse e-commerce businesses at our recent Black Friday event. Attendees walked away with many insights to help them prepare for the 2023 shopping season. Here are the seven must-know takeaways from the event:
Anticipate and Prepare for Traffic Surges
Before the storm comes the calm, as Black Friday promotions and ads run, a surge in website traffic is almost guaranteed. Ensuring your online platform can handle this uptick in visits without crashing is essential. But this goes beyond having a stable host; things like optimizing media, employing lazy loading techniques, and regular speed tests can make a huge difference.
Always Have a Plan B (And Maybe C)
It's not about expecting the worst but being prepared for any contingency. This entails having backup plans for potential pitfalls like supply chain disruptions, website downtimes, or payment gateway issues. The faster you can pivot during a crisis, the better your business resilience.
Get Ahead with Inventory Decisions
Predicting the ‘hot' items for the season can significantly influence your sales. Historical data, especially from platforms like Shopify Reports, can be invaluable. Early bird decisions about what to stock up on can give you a competitive edge, especially in a supply-chain-challenged world.
Presentation Matters: Holiday Branding
First impressions last. Your online storefront aesthetics, from seasonal-themed banners to specialized collections, can guide and help entice visitors to purchase. Think about your main navigation menu. Is there anything that can be changed or added to help guide visitors to certain products faster? Like specific gift collection pages.
Mobile is Not Just an Option
Mobile shopping isn't just trending; it's dominating. Ensuring your store is not only mobile-responsive but mobile-optimized is vital. This means easy navigation, quick load times, and a seamless checkout process tailored for the smaller screen.
The Checkout Experience Can Make or Break a Sale
A customer's journey doesn't end once they've selected their products; it concludes when they've successfully checked out. Every step in this process should be super smooth. Offering various payment options, guest checkouts, and features like address autofill can enhance user experience and reduce cart abandonment.
The Art of the Upsell
When a customer is already in the buying mindset, that's your cue! Strategic in-cart and checkout upsells can boost sales. And it's not just about pushing more products but about intuitively recommending complementary items or highlighting promotions that add genuine value to their purchase (stocking fillers, anyone?!).
Meet Rainy City Agency
Rainy City Agency is a Shopify and Shopify Plus design and development agency based in Manchester, UK. The agency, founded by Rebecca Worsley, helps brands worldwide scale on Shopify and Shopify Plus. The sponsors for our brilliant event include Advanced Commerce, Yotpo, Reveni, and Bolt Digital – all of which offer innovative solutions for e-commerce businesses.]
Crafting a Strategic Approach to Black Friday 2023
In e-commerce, Black Friday's bustling energy echoes reverberate far and wide, crafting a symphony of opportunities and challenges. The question is, how can businesses navigate through the cacophony of competing sales and emerge victorious? The answer lies in a strategic approach that intertwines the threads of consumer behavior, technological advancements, and marketing finesse. By weaving a tapestry that encapsulates the essence of consumer desires and twisting it with a robust digital strategy, businesses can create a masterpiece that captivates shoppers and translates into tangible sales and lasting customer relationships.
The Symphony of Consumer Desires and Ethical Shopping
Imagine a world where every purchase tells a story, a narrative that goes beyond mere transactions and delves into ethical practices and sustainability. This is not a mere utopia but a burgeoning reality, as consumers increasingly lean towards brands that echo their values and principles. The melody of ethical shopping is harmonious, intertwining the chords of sustainability with the rhythm of conscious consumerism. It's a melody that resonates, creating a symphony that not only appeals to the ethical sensibilities of consumers but also crafts a narrative that is both compelling and authentic.
Mobile Shopping: The Rhythmic Pulse of E-Commerce
Mobile shopping has emerged as the rhythmic pulse that propels e-commerce into new dimensions in the digital arena. It's a dynamic and pervasive rhythm permeating every facet of the online shopping experience. From the initial browsing to the final checkout, the mobile shopping experience is a journey that is both seamless and intuitive, crafting a user experience that is not only satisfying but also conducive to repeat business. This rhythm is expected to amplify in the crescendo of Black Friday 2023, orchestrating a melody that will resonate across the vast expanse of the digital marketplace.
Navigating the Crescendo: Adapting to the Ebb and Flow of Trends
As the tides of Black Friday approach, businesses must navigate through the ebb and flow of emerging trends, steering their strategies in a direction that aligns with the currents of consumer behavior. It's a journey that requires adaptability, foresight, and a keen understanding of the digital landscape. From the surging waves of mobile shopping dominance to the undercurrents of sustainability and ethical shopping, businesses must sail adeptly, harnessing the winds of change to propel their strategies forward and ensuring that they not only survive the storm but emerge triumphant amidst the competition.
The Encore: Ensuring Sustainability Beyond Black Friday
The curtains may close on Black Friday, but the encore is where businesses can truly shine, ensuring sustainability and continued success in the competitive e-commerce arena. It's about crafting a narrative that extends beyond the one-off deals and transient sales, weaving a story that resonates with consumers on a deeper, more meaningful level. By embedding sustainability principles, ethical practices, and customer-centricity into the very fabric of their strategies, businesses can ensure that the applause reverberates long after Black Friday, crafting a profitable and legacy moral.
Navigating through the intricate melodies of Black Friday 2023, I immersed myself in a symphony of opportunities, challenges, and emerging trends. From the harmonious chords of ethical shopping to the rhythmic pulse of mobile commerce, the landscape was dynamic and multifaceted. As I sailed through the ebb and flow of consumer behaviors and technological advancements, I realized that the key to triumph lay in a strategic approach that was adaptable, foresighted, and deeply rooted in understanding the digital marketplace and resonating with consumers on a profound, meaningful level. The encore, ensuring sustainability and principled profitability beyond Black Friday, emerged as the crescendo, encapsulating the essence of a compelling and authentic strategy.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Black Friday still relevant for e-commerce businesses in 2023?
Black Friday continues to be a pivotal event for e-commerce, offering a significant boost in sales and a unique opportunity to engage with a broad customer base.
How has the cost of living crisis impacted Black Friday shopping trends?
The cost of living crisis has made consumers more cautious and discerning with spending, often seeking out the best possible deals and showing a preference for brands that offer value for money.
What role does mobile shopping play in Black Friday 2023?
Mobile shopping is anticipated to dominate Black Friday 2023, with a significant portion of consumers preferring to make purchases via mobile devices due to the convenience and accessibility it offers.
How are businesses adapting to the trend of sustainability during Black Friday?
Many businesses embrace sustainability by offering eco-friendly products, utilizing environmentally conscious packaging, and highlighting their ethical practices in marketing campaigns.
What strategies can e-commerce businesses employ to stand out during Black Friday?
E-commerce businesses can leverage strategies such as offering early bird deals, utilizing mobile-specific messaging, and focusing on personalized email campaigns to capture consumer attention and boost sales during Black Friday.