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What Retail Marketers Should Expect from Black Friday This Year

For retail marketing, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and all those holiday shopping events will probably blend into weeks before and after winter holidays.

By now, everybody knows that the pandemic turned 2020 into a disruptive year for marketers. Because of that, both retail marketers and customers feel somewhat uncertain about the shopping season before the holidays. In fact, Yahoo.News even answered the frequently asked question, “Has Black Friday been canceled this year?”

Rest assured that Black Friday of 2020 will take place the day after Thanksgiving, just as it always has. Consumers will also still look forward to holiday shopping, even if they approach it differently this year. Learn why the idea of Black Friday still matters and how retail marketing can best prepare for holiday shopping days during a pandemic.

A Retail Marketing Perspective on Black Friday 2020

While Black Friday deals still generate excitement, customers may not miss a lot of aspects of traditional one-day sales events. For instance, stores will probably have social distancing measures in place, so they’ll probably do what they can to discourage the usual stampedes and lines. In fact, many stores will probably push eCommerce marketing more this year to attract a growing number of online shoppers and limit the chance of crowds inside physical locations.

Will Cyber Monday replace Black Friday? Every year, Cyber Monday has stolen a bit more attention from Black Friday. Typically, marketers think of Black Friday as an event for local stores and Cyber Monday as the time to run online sales.

It’s likely that consumers will still look for Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. Still, the two sales days will begin to merge together as retailers look to increase eCommerce marketing to improve sales. Instead of representing a one-day sale, customers will learn to associate these events with the entire holiday shopping season.

To illustrate this, Digital Commerce 360 published some 2019 stats about online sales during the two days:

  • Black Friday online revenue: $7.43 billion
  • Cyber Monday online revenue: $9.42 billion

Even last year, retailers did not necessarily wait until traditional shopping days to push their holiday deals. In fact, they reported revenue of over $4 billion on Thanksgiving and decent receipts on the Saturday and Sunday between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. That’s why some sources have even coined a new term, Cyber 5, to include all five days between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday.

Note that some major retailers, including Walmart and Sam’s Club, have decided to close on Thanksgiving. Also, even last year, Walmart started holiday sales five weeks before Thanksgiving, and Target started even earlier.

Holiday retail tips for Black Friday 2020

With both historical trends and the disruptive nature of 2020 in mind, consider these retail marketing tips for a successful holiday sales season:

  • Plan ahead: In light of all of the dramatic changes and disruptions to retail marketing this year, retailers should not wait to plan for holiday sales. This includes early planning for promotions, inventory, supplies, and employees. Besides social distancing, lots of retailers have also struggled with supply and manpower problems because of coronavirus.
  • Run longer promotions: It’s fine to mention Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and all those familiar sales events, but really, expect the holiday sales season to begin earlier, run over the course of months, and perhaps, even bleed into after-holiday sales for excess inventory. Lots of customers get gift cards for winter holidays, and good deals can encourage them to use them and perhaps, even spend more.
  • Focus on increasing online sales: Vend reported that shoppers didn’t just intend to extend their holiday buying beyond Black Friday, 67 percent of them planned to shop online. That compares to 51 percent in 2019. Retailers need to make certain their sites, shipping methods, and customer service can handle an increase in online visitors.
  • Improve digital marketing platforms: Even though Black Friday or even Cyber Monday may no longer refer to distinct days, lots of folks still use those terms to search for deals. With that in mind, retailers can create targeted pages and social media posts for those terms and then make it clear that the holiday deals will start early this year.
  • Incorporate physical stores and eCommerce marketing into an omnichannel marketing strategy: Plenty of case studies have found that retailers with both brick-and-mortar stores and eCommerce sites do best when they merge them both into their universal sales strategy. As much as possible, have the same sales online and offline, and allow in-store pickup for online orders for items available in local stores. Customers may like to shop online; however, many of them also enjoy having the option to quickly pickup their orders locally.

Black Friday is not dead

Lots of shoppers still enjoy the tradition of post-Thanksgiving shopping for the holidays, and plenty of retail stores have taken very effective measures to ensure safety. Just think of all of the Christmas movies that feature scenes in a festively decorated store. More stores may close or limit shoppers on the Friday after Thanksgiving. At the same time, they can still advertise Black Friday deals by making clear they’re generously starting earlier and finishing later this year.

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