Whilst it may still be heavily dominated by its US creators and met with a little skepticism at first, make no mistake, Black Friday is rapidly catching up across the pond.
According to the Business Report, 2015 saw UK shoppers taking advantage of the bargain sales ahead of Christmas, spending more than £3.3 billion over Black Friday weekend.
As a testament to its rise to prominence, online shopping in the UK recorded its biggest day of retail activity ever (in 2015). One of its biggest Black Friday beneficiaries that year, Amazon, sold more than 7.4 million items during the day.
The flow-on effect from Black Friday is also quite staggering, with ‘Cyber Monday’ now taking advantage to entice ‘last chance’ sales.
Last year’s sales figures saw Cyber Monday pick up more than a third from 2014, with £968 million over the course of the day. That was up 34 per cent from last year’s total of £720 million.
The results also saw a boost of 60 per cent online traffic higher on Cyber Monday than on a normal day last year, traffic between midnight and 8am was up nine per cent on 2014.
Asserting itself as the number one date in the shopping calendar, Black Friday in its current format is the much heralded ‘hero’ day for any shopfront retailer. However, without a digital presence in today’s climate, it can be a seriously wasted opportunity.
The modern online consumer or a ‘smarter’ shopper I like to refer to them, is a lot more switched on and harder to convince when it comes retailers clambering over each other to present their best bargain sales.
I think one of the most important weapons in the online vendor’s arsenal is the ability to really get a good snapshot of who your consumers are.
The capability to collect and store customer data such as age, gender, interests, purchasing history and time of year is crucial knowledge when formulating deals and planning ahead based on our background knowledge.
In order to deliver a true IoT experience, retailers are beginning to cotton on to this trend, introducing new technologies and pathways to connect with their customers on a more personal level.
Innovative location-based marketing via your mobile is one key tool being widely implemented. If you are around London this Christmas, Covent Gardens would be well worth checking out as the area transforms into the world’s first augmented reality (AR) retail district in partnership with pioneering AR and visual discovery app Blippar.
The Blippar app is offering digitally enhanced product offerings to its users in the local area, working with retailers to recommend their favourite product gifts, exclusively through the app while combining ‘life-like’ elements.
Another resourceful implement is being able to pre-plan your next visit to catalogue retailer Argos’, for instance, by using their app to check their instore stock levels to avoid any frustrations, enabling you to find an alternative store or order online if stocks are depleted.
This is where online shopping has given a fresh injection to the concept and given consumers a more informative approach as to where, when and how you spend ahead of this coming Christmas.