It wasn’t the Grinch that stole Christmas last year – it was Black Friday. The US-born shopping event prompted a 1.3% rise in November sales in the UK, while volumes fell by 0.9% in December, as shoppers tightened their purse strings and held back from festive cash splashing. Of course, this isn’t to say that we didn’t spend over the Christmas period; instead, the figures are simply further evidence that Black Friday (and Cyber Monday) has an increasingly important role to play as a retail revenue driver.
And it’s not just these two shopping events. Thanksgiving in the US and Singles Day in China should also be circled in red felt tip pen on the calendar of every global brand – especially those with a strong ecommerce presence and a drive to expand their footprint into foreign markets.
Events such as these are huge opportunities for brands, but a failure to prepare in advance and ensure you have the right tools in place could mean your name hits the headlines for all the wrong reasons. Unfulfilled orders, sites not being able to handle peak traffic and out-of-stock products displaying as available to shoppers – all of these things can result in a loss of sales and disgruntled consumers who take their wallets and shopping wants elsewhere.
So, what do shoppers want from a seamless Singles Day/Black Friday/Cyber Monday/Thanksgiving/Christmas ecommerce experience? And how can brands ensure they can deliver? Let’s take a look…
- Accurate availability of products
Most of us have experienced the frustration of finding a product on a website and adding it to your shopping cart, only to be told it’s out of stock when you reach the checkout page. It’s a pain at any time of the year, but if you’ve found (and subsequently lost) that ‘perfect’ Christmas present in a Black Friday sale, the experience is even more grating.
In addition to real-time stock level information, retailers and marketing teams also need instant access to brand assets. This enables teams to quickly find imagery and product descriptions of items which are in stock, to replace or suggest as alternatives to those which have sold out.
- A convenient shopping experience
When Black Friday sales open in the ecommerce world, dedicated shoppers will come flooding through the metaphorical store doors, all wanting to pick up the best bargains as quickly as possible. This means being able to find the colour, size, type and quantity of product easily and efficiently. If this process is complex or convoluted, shoppers will go elsewhere.
As for the retailer? They must be able to edit, deliver, and re-organise digital brand assets just as quickly and just as effectively. There’s no use launching a new Black Friday promotion on a certain product line if your marketing team can’t easily locate the images and product descriptions needed to accompany the sale launch.
Retailers need a single, central repository for all of this content, allowing them to quickly upload, find, approve, and utilise brand assets – and match the speed at which some of their customers will be trying to bag bargains!
- Familiarity and trust
According to a recent study, 88% of consumers agree that trust is extremely important when deciding where to shop. Sometimes shoppers like to be surprised, and others (like during time-limited Black Friday sales), just want familiarity of experience and confidence that we’ll get the quality we know and expect from the retailer we’re shopping with.
Retailers and their marketing teams therefore need a way to easily safeguard their brand reputation, and ensure that each and every brand asset is of the highest quality. Poorly-lit photos, typos in product descriptions, or a logo in the wrong colour shade are unlikely to inspire trust (and encourage spend) among shoppers. A digital asset management tool should allow users to control access permissions, and establish clear management and approval processes for assets.
Black Friday 2019 is almost upon us, but do not fear! Instead, use this year’s event to reflect on what worked well, what needs improving, and the steps your brand should take to ensure you’re prepared for peak demand, expectant shoppers, and massive sales potential in the future. Shopping events such as these are the ideal time to deploy a single digital asset management tool, which will make the Black Friday 2020 experience for shoppers (and the management and creative processes for your teams), smooth, seamless, and enjoyable.
Credit: Sairah Mojib, Head of Marketing, EMEA, Widen