It used to be that the end of the year brought only the Christmas rush, but now things have changed. The internet and an increase in seasonality have meant that Halloween is now Christmas’s equal in terms of opportunities for retailers and brands, while a couple of new global events have emerged as well: Black Friday, and its digital counterpart Cyber Monday. In this article, mporium explores how they’ve become such significant moments, and what consumer electronics brands can do to be reactive around them.
The Rise of Black Friday
It may sound scary, but Black Friday is actually a good thing: especially for consumers and retailers. Taking place the day after Thanksgiving, it has, since 1952, been the marker of the Christmas shopping season in the United States. To take advantage of this, retailers have put huge discounts and offers on their stock as they look to lure shoppers to their store. This has led to the rushing and crushing that has been reported on the news for the last few years as shoppers aim to get the best deals ahead of everybody else.
As the internet risen in prominence, Black Friday became more than just an American thing. Social media meant that shoppers elsewhere caught wind of the day and so retailers took advantage. Slowly but surely, shops in the UK started bringing in their own Black Friday deals, leading to the same frenzied shopping on these shores that’s been evident for many years in the US. Estimates for 2017, suggest that UK shoppers will spend £3bn on Black Friday.
Adding to the interest has been Cyber Monday, an online-only extension of the sales that takes place on the Monday after Black Friday. The term was first created in 2005, but it wasn’t until 2010 that it started to truly gain traction. Indeed, so significant did the influence of Cyber Monday become that the digital element started taking over, with many noting that Black Friday and Cyber Monday are now part of a multi-day Cyber Week that prioritises online transactions ahead of those in physical stores. As if to underline this, in 2017 Amazon’s deals will run across 10 days from November 17th to November 26th.
The Reactive Opportunity
With the post-Thanksgiving deal landscape now primarily online, the arena has changed considerably. It’s no longer just a case of establishing a deal and advertising it; now deals can be announced at short notice and can last a set and very short period of time (so called ‘flash deals’). These are hugely popular because they add a certain amount of pressure to the customer’s thought process: if they don’t react to the deal quickly, it may expire before they have a chance to take advantage.
The ability to take advantage of these flash sales is even a major incentive of Amazon’s Prime offering. Prime’s Early Access feature allows people who are signed up to Amazon Prime to get access to new Lightning Deals on the site 30 minutes before anyone else. It’s a small head start in the grand scheme of things, but a significant one. By getting ahead of the game, customers who sign up to Prime can ensure they’re standing the best chance of getting the deals they want.
The battle between customers is replicated by brands. Just as customers are looking to find the best deal, brands and retailers are looking to offer the best deal, luring people into their store with a can’t-miss bargain that will only last a certain amount of time. By finding that perfect deal and offering it at the right time (perhaps when a rival is offering a similar deal or when the product in question is a major talking point on social media or the television), brands can get the attention and make the sale.
A Consumer Electronics Example
Consumer electronics items are always hugely popular at this time of year, so it’s worthwhile using a consumer electronics item as an example. Let’s imagine that a new, high-tech 49 inch HD TV is one of the must-have items of the season – people are desperate to get their hands on it, talking about it online and watching shows about it on TV. Retailer A unexpectedly puts the item on sale during Black Friday – what can other retailers do to get in on this interest and find a way to compete with Retailer A?
The answer is being reactive. If Retailer B also sells the TV, there’s ample opportunity there to offer the item in a different sale – either cheaper or as part of a better deal with another item. If Retailer B doesn’t sell the TV, there’s a chance of finding a similar TV and offering that up in a sale. Whatever Retailer B does, the key is being reactive – using automated tools to monitor mentions on TV and social and produce reactive advertising that captures customers in key moments. This kind of approach is critical in our Micro Moment world, and could be the difference between gaining and losing sales.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are critical times for retailers – especially those in the consumer electronics sector. By being reactive and adapting to deals, trends and popular discussion, brands can steal a march on their competitors and increase sales at this vital time of year.
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