Trial New Black Friday eCommerce Tactics During Back-to-School Season

We are starting a series of articles on business insights — what should marketers and e-commerce businesses do to stay in the game and attract new paying customers. In this article, we will shed some light on what kind of hints from Back-to-School season can be applied to Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday, on 23 and 26 November — and the week of sales after — might seem a while away, but for eCommerce retailers, the madness of the holiday shopping season is soon going to arrive.

Right now, in the U.S., we are in the middle another busy shopping season: Back-to-School (BTS).

Parents across the country, whether they have kids in pre-school or going off to college, are buying everything from uniforms and trainers, to healthy snacks, along with new lunch boxes, laptop computers and of course, stationary.

For retailers with products aimed at the K-12 and college student market, this is the second busiest season of the year. The National Retail Federation is projecting $30 billion of spending in 2018, with that going as high as $84 billion when you factor in back-to-college spending.

Now is the time to perfect your Black Friday and Cyber Monday tactics, with this year’s takings set to exceed a record $19.62 billion that was spent in 2017, according to Adobe Analytics figures.

What retailers can learn from BTS season

For the last few years, the Field Agent Back-to-School Report sets out predictions and learnings that online and offline retailers use when planning BTS campaigns. It’s a valuable insight into the minds of parents across the country, and therefore worth reading for anyone involved in selling products or services to that market.

In this years report, price sensitivity featured even more heavily than in previous years. 80% of parents agree that BTS spending “is a strain on my personal budget.” According to Deloitte’s 2017 BTS survey, parents spent around $532 on average, a figure that is expected to increase again this year, with 20% of spending decisions still undecided.

Parents visit more retailers than ever before. Visiting over five brick-and-mortar stores and shopping online isn’t unusual anymore. Price, in part, is driving the choices consumers are making. More parents are taking a multi-channel approach, with curbside pickups, click-and-collect (in stores) and purchasing using an app more popular now than ever. Going to one or two stores is no longer the norm, suggesting that brand loyalty has taken a hit to the necessity of bargain hunting.

Key takeaways for Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Now is the time to get your marketing and promotional activities ready. Big retailers such as Amazon and Walmart have a huge advantage, so use every channel to leverage traffic and conversions when the time comes.

Use the months beforehand to increase your database. Conversion rates are still far higher via email than any other channel, so give customers — especially new ones — an incentive for joining, and encouraging others to join your database when they share links across social channels. Small offers and incentives now could generate huge returns during busier sale periods.

Customers aren’t as loyal as they were a few years ago. Price sensitivity is again taking a precedent over loyalty, so the only way to generate long-term profits from Black Friday and Cyber Monday is to sell in volume and encourage customers to come back. Loyalty schemes used to be a good way to encourage repeat business; however, legacy schemes generate poor returns.

Give customers loyalty rewards that align with modern needs and ways of shopping. With digital, blockchain-backed systems, you can have a loyalty scheme that encourages social sharing, cross-promotional activities from other retailers who are part of the same scheme, and a rewards system that is easy to use for retailers and customers. On average, eCommerce brands that use our system generate an extra 17% revenues from customers who keep coming back.

Having your marketing ready to roll alongside a loyalty scheme that generates returns is the most effective way to get ready for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, after BTS madness is over.

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