Knowing when to advertise around seasonal events is essential to running a business and driving sales — whether you focus on Black Friday, Boxing Day or both!
But how has consumer behavior changed over time? We take a look at what Black Friday and Boxing sales look like with the help of Cleveland College of Art and Design, who offer digital arts degrees, to find out more:
Are Black Friday sales booming?
British stores adopted the Black Friday date in 2010 to drive sales — ensuring that what once was an American-only day would boost business around the country. In 2010, Amazon introduced ‘Black Friday discounts’ to its British consumers, which then had a snowball effect. Now, most retailers around Britain battle for consumer attention — and whether they’re successful or not comes down to their advertising techniques.
Black Friday is a day that consumers now expect to happen, and this is an advantage for retailers as it’s a date saved in everyone’s calendar. It proves the perfect opportunity for consumers to get goods at a discounted price. November is the new December! Consumers are looking for the best deals that will potentially go towards Christmas presents for loved ones — and that third cousin who buys for you, so you feel obliged to return the favor! Whatever the scenario, Black Friday has managed to market itself organically in the minds of British consumers.
£1.23bn was spent in 2016 on Black Friday, which surpassed 2015 records with over a 12% increase. The day after saw shoppers spend £561m with sales that continued across the weekend. Sunday saw a higher result of spend in Britain with consumers cashing out £676m. Cyber Monday, which has close ties to the Black Friday event, saw £968m worth of shopping.
According to Ometria, orders placed over Black Friday went up by 9% this year compared to 2016. The same source said that revenue increased for companies by 10% over the Black Friday weekend showing that this is a great marketing opportunity for businesses. In terms of advertising, mass emails accounted for 50% more total revenue than usual.
Sales at John Lewis, a leading department store in Britain, increased by 7.2% — showing a £214m income over Black Friday weekend. Products that sold well included those relating to beauty, with sales going up to 27.5%. Electrical products went up by 9.3% and women’s fashion by 8.3%.
Are Boxing Day sales losing the match?
Britons love getting discounted products and taking them into the new year — saving them a fortune and allowing them to stick to their ‘less spending’ new year’s resolution. This is an event that happens across different British territories, too. However, many people believe that the introduction of Black Friday in the UK has had a huge impact on Boxing Day sales.
Similar to Black Friday, the Boxing Day sale craze that was once the most popular day of sales organically marketed itself into the minds of British consumers. And just like Black Friday, Boxing Day sales have made its mark in the mind of British shoppers. But has the rise of interest in Black Friday led to diminishing anticipation for Boxing Day sales…
A 9% drop from 2015 showed that less shoppers went out to get the best deals on Boxing Day, with only 23% of people going out in 2016. Is it possible consumers already snapped up the best deals from the Black Friday sales that occurred a month earlier? The research shows that this was the likely cause. Boxing Day sales in 2016 had dipped by 6.7% on 2015’s results. This included clothing stores, where they had a small drop of 3.2%.
When should businesses advertise around specific events?
There are different ways that you can approach how you market your business around specific events across the year — but it’s vital that you get it right first time.
It’s important to start with email marketing and communicating with your current newsletter subscribers first. They were kind enough to give you their details, now it’s your duty to give them a light and ‘exclusive’ reminder that your store will be providing sales on the corresponding date that you’re wanting to promote.
Making sure that you encourage your email list members to keep looking at their inbox is important, entice them by announcing that you will be giving away a discount code in your next series of emails — creating an ‘exclusive’ club for your listees. After you’ve sent your first, the news that your store will be offering discounts will travel through word of mouth and potentially get coverage from bloggers and seasonal discount posts by larger publications. We recommend that you start your email advertising at the beginning of November for Black Friday and mid-December for Boxing Day sales, which doesn’t give your consumers too much of a long wait. According to Custora, 25.1% of Black Friday sales originated from email marketing, showing that this is a beneficial way to influence an audience.
To ensure that you don’t end up at the bottom of an inbox, send your emails at an appropriate time which can resonate with your customers who are perhaps in different time zones. It’s also important to use language which will equal an action such as “Save the date!” or “Add this to your calendar”. Remember that you could create a segmentation for different customers, those who have been loyal and those who are relatively new — the same campaign targeting two types of people in different styles.
Using social media platforms can be powerful when advertising. With 2.07 billion of monthly active users on Facebook, 800 million on Instagram and 330 million monthly active users on Twitter — it would be a mistake to ignore the huge opportunity that comes with a free platform that provides the potential to reach millions of people. When it comes to advertising, start organically and reach your current followers. As the date comes closer, whether this is the 24th of November or 26th of December, start paid promotions to increase awareness for the deals that you have. Using influencers is another good way to get brand recognition, however, this is highly dependent on the type of industry you are operating in.
We advise that you prepare early so that you’re ready to go once the date gets closer. Once you start advertising, people will be able to become more familiar with your brand and start looking at reviews. Online reputation becomes crucial at this point, as 97% of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business and 85% of consumers trust online reviews as if they were coming from a friend.
Author: Alexandra Dalton is a copywriter at Mediaworks since September 2016. After graduating in a degree in Media, Communications and Cultural Studies from Newcastle University in 2016, Alexandra began her career at Mediaworks as a Digital Marketing Executive for six months, before becoming a Copywriter where she now uses her creative streak to produce unique, quality content for a range of clients from a variety of industries.