Halloween is on Sunday, which means that the holidays are just around the corner. And if the idea of smashing your pumpkins and breaking out the yule log fills you with more panic than joy, it might be because you’re a product marketer—and Black Friday is just a month away.
If you have anything to do with the retail industry, you know that Black Friday is more than just an after-holiday opportunity to veg out on leftover turkey. The day got its infamous nickname from 1950’s Philadelphia police officers who dreaded the tryptophan-fueled shoppers that flocked to the area stores, clogged the streets, and got into brawls over discounted toys, and it’s continued to be the nation’s biggest shopping day of the year since. Now, the first part of the colorful moniker is more associated with business slang for turning a profit than the dread of law enforcement, and it represents what is, for most, one of the most important opportunities to make customers out of prospects.
The truth is, Black Friday can contribute heavily to your bottom line, whether or not it’s a “make-it-or-break-it" day for your business, and you owe it to your potential customers to take it seriously. Which begs the question: what are you doing to ensure you’re set up for maximum Black Friday success, both this year and in the years to come?
Adapting to the Current Landscape
As was the case for almost every aspect of nearly every industry, 2020 represented a series of unique challenges for Black Friday. Shoppers chose to stay home rather than waiting in tightly packed lines, but that didn’t mean they weren’t spending their hard-earned dollars: according to Adobe, online shopping surged 22% to record $9 billion. It’s a promising statistic for retailers who were unsure if the far-from-average year would have a detrimental impact on their bottom lines.
However, for many, the hope of a brighter future was enough to cobble together a short-term solution for last year’s holiday shopping conundrums, rather than completely redesigning an online-based retail strategy. After all, we’d all hoped that in 2021, things would be back to normal. Unfortunately, we now know that’s not the case. Not only are we still facing yet another health crisis as a result of the delta variant of COVID-19, but supply-chain issues have added yet another hurdle to the already stressful uncertainties that most retailers are faced with during the holiday rush. Research has also shown that a lot of shoppers simply aren’t interested in returning to the “good old days.” A study by Drive Research showed that almost 50% of consumers who chose to forego in-person shopping last year did so because they didn’t think it was worth the hassle anymore, as opposed to staying home due to health or safety concerns.
So, how do you not only provide a suitable online alternative for the consumers who will be spending Black Friday surfing their iPads from the comfort of their couch, rather than deal-dashing from store to store? And, perhaps more importantly, how do you stand out from the sea of other online retailers?
First: You NEED an Online Presence
In 1998, Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks starred in a remake of the beloved black-and-white classic, “The Shop Around the Corner.” In “You’ve Got Mail,” they play sparring business rivals who are unaware that they are each other’s anonymous online pen pals—Joe Fox, the heir to the “big-box” super bookstore chain, and Kathleen Kelly, who has inherited her mother’s small children’s bookstore in a rapidly gentrifying location on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. After Kathleen’s store is threatened by the existence of a new Fox Books around the corner (and its discount wares, which are far more appealing to the local clientele), she and Joe make the transition from acquaintances to rivals to friends and ultimately end up in a relationship as a result of their online banter. Unfortunately, Kathleen’s shop is the single casualty of the film.
Just over 20 years later, the premise of “You’ve Got Mail,” is no longer feasible in a modern setting. And, ironically, the internet is to blame. Had the movie been set today, an online connection probably wouldn’t be cast as the hero in the story, but the villain. I mean, we all witnessed the fall of Borders in 2011, right? The odds of Fox Books making it to 2021 without completely restructuring are slim, to say the least.
That’s because, while twenty, (even ten!) years ago, online e-commerce was considered to be fairly rare for most mid-sized and small businesses, now, nothing could be farther from the truth. We are in the midst of yet another shift in consumer behavior, which means that e-commerce is no longer “nice to have.” It’s “need to have.” Not taking advantage of online opportunities can be the kiss of death for many retailers, regardless of their product. Don’t believe us? Consider the following statistics from NetSuite:
- “An estimated 1.92 billion people worldwide purchased goods or services online in 2019 — about a quarter of the world’s total population.
- Global retail e-commerce sales surged 27.6% during 2020, eMarketer estimates, due largely to the COVID-19 pandemic, reaching an estimated worldwide total of $4.28 trillion.
- By 2023, e-commerce will account for more than $6.5 trillion in sales, representing 22% of all global retail sales.”
The numbers are clear: You NEED to take advantage of online shopping habits. If you don’t already have a strong e-commerce platform in place, now is the time to get one. Holding on to hope that consumer habits will regress simply isn’t a useful way to spend your precious time--just ask Kathleen Kelly.
Second: Find a Way to Stand Above the Crowd
You know you need e-commerce to be successful in today’s retail landscape. But, did you know that there’s more than one way to connect with your customers online? If you’ve been following us for any length of time, you probably know that we’re huge advocates of livestream shopping, and for a good reason: it’s the future of e-commerce.
With verbLIVE, you don’t have to embrace the sterility and anonymity of typical online shopping. Our livestream platform revolutionizes online shopping, merging an online, real-time shopping experience with the social intimacy of an in-person visit to the store. Viewers can interact with the host, ask questions, and click to purchase without ever leaving the stream, so you can make sales while their interest is at its highest. You’ll even receive an in-depth breakdown of data after each livestream event, allowing you to make the data-driven decisions you need for enhanced sales success.
The best part? verbLIVE is for everyone! Whether you’re a solo entrepreneur or a multi-billion-dollar business, we have a scalable solution that will meet your needs, on Black Friday and every other day.
Third: Optimize Your Black Friday Strategy
You have an online presence. You’re using verbLIVE to take advantage of the livestream shopping boom. And now, you’re ready to take your Black Friday strategy to the next level. To get started, here are just a few tips for getting the most out of your holiday promotions.
- Get organized: Before you do anything else, you’ll want to have a place to store all of your marketing assets in a way that makes them easy to find and share. This can include social images with links to purchase, videos highlighting promotions, catalogs, and more.
- Rely on social Images: Catchy holiday promo images can be used to drive traffic to your site, drive interaction with a post, or enable the poster to build rapport with his or her audience.
- Keep everyone in the loop: Sending consistent announcements can engage your field, make them aware of available assets, and encourage sharing.
- Optimize your team training: Nothing can derail a campaign launch quite like a lack of communication. Making sure everyone is on the same page and has a detailed understanding of products and processes is the most efficient way to prepare your field for a smooth Black Friday.
Apart from verbLIVE, the Verb app has a number of other features that can boost your Black Friday sales, including solutions for all of the above. It’s an incredible resource for helping your field increase sales conversions, especially during the holiday season.
Verb App Case Study: Why You Need Verb
See how one 11-year-old company with $150 million in annual revenue utilized the Verb app to huge success:
- 4,500 app users
- 10,304 social shares from the app
- 70,000 click-throughs from shared links
- A 40% INCREASE IN CLICKS TO WEBSITE VS PRIOR YEAR
Get Your Sales in the Black this Holiday Season
Like we said before, the numbers don’t lie, and you owe it to your organization to take full advantage of the biggest shopping day of the year. If want to learn how Verb can help you make this Black Friday your most successful one yet, reach out for a demo today.
About the author:
Wife, supermom, foodie, and talented critic, Heather Hanson, is a skilled veteran in copywriting, editing, creative writing, and social media outreach. She brings a lot to the table with Verb and has been recognized by our company as our National Treasure