Next month has date in the diary where savvy shoppers are looking for the best deals across multiple categories, including home furnishings. I’m sure you are well aware of Black Friday, which takes place on 24 November 2023, and its sister sales day being Cyber Monday, set for 27 November 2023. As the title of this month’s blog questions, are you promoting Black Friday at your business? If it’s a yes, it would be great to learn what you are doing. If you’ve not thought about it, well, here you’ll see why it’s one promotion to get involved in and some stats on the event itself.
Jumping straight in with some numbers, according to research conducted by SaleCycle, UK consumers spent around £8.7bn during Black Friday in 2022, with just over half at £4.8bn spent online, which was significantly less than the prior year, indicating more shoppers returning to stores. Shoppers are expected to spend big once again, aiming to take full advantage of reduced prices in what is a challenging environment for most households at present. However, for big ticket items such as home furnishings, retailers still need to work hard on marketing strategies.
The competition will be fierce, with the big players most likely spending big on Google Ads with ‘Black Friday’ in it. For the smaller retailer, it will be tough to compete so investing in more localised marketing will probably be the best approach here. We’ll take a look at some top tips shortly, but first, here’s why Black Friday shouldn’t be ignored.
According to residential property data specialist TwentyCi, both Black Friday and Cyber Monday are important in any industry that revolves around retail. Across the entire retail industry, companies slash their prices and a vast number of shoppers go hunting for deals, hoping to snap up some big discounts.
“Many shoppers wait until this sale season to purchase big ticket items at a lower price. Particularly when it comes to furniture and big electrical items, people avoid making expensive purchases in the weeks, even months, leading up to the Black Friday sales. Instead, they save their money to splurge over the sales, knowing they will get more for their money with the deals and promotions.
“When it comes to the furniture industry, the end of Cyber Monday sales sees the start of a short revenue lull too. During the run-up to Christmas, shoppers have holiday shopping on their minds. While the purchase rates for gifts, food and decorations soar, everything else goes on hold until Boxing Day when shoppers return to a more typical shopping pattern. Black Friday/Cyber Monday has even started to overtake the Boxing Day sale period, so if you miss out on the great opportunity these days offer, you are unlikely to catch those sales up for months.”
So, with the shopper mindset in mind, here are some top tips to consider when getting in on the Black Friday act.
Be an early bird
You know the saying, ‘the early bird catches the worm’, well this rings true when it comes to promotional activity. Don’t sit on your hands and sling up ‘Black Friday Sale’ signs a week before the event – it’s too late! Start promoting now. Surfing some national furniture retailer websites, some already have Black Friday information, with others even trying out a data capture process using sign up forms to stay ahead and keep up to date with Black Friday deals. Adopt this for your business. One – it can create potential customer leads. Two – you have a pipeline ready to digest your Black Friday deals. Start being active on social media too and spread the word to increase awareness early and secure initial engagement.
Know your stock
Many retailers see Black Friday as an opportunity to clear old stock in order to introduce newer products in time for Christmas or the New Year. Identifying what products that need to be shifted is crucial before promoting, so it when you start your promotion, it is clear and concise so consumers know what’s in the deal and what’s not. Another option here is focus on specific product categories. For example, you may offer a discount on a sofa as part of longer-term sale, but with Black Friday you could offer a free scatter cushions as a bolt on? Or for beds and mattresses, a free Black Friday pillow set with every purchase? Or it could be completely unrelated and you buy in stock to boost promotions. For example, for every purchase over £ xxx, the customer will receive a Black Friday bottle of some sort – gin, whisky, rum – whatever tickles your fancy.
Do your research
It goes without saying that research in the build up to Black Friday is key. And there are plenty of resources you can use to paint a picture ahead of the sales period. Go back a year and see how the event performed, what worked, what needs improvement, etc. Analysing previous performance over specific periods can be a crucial insight to deliver better future promotions. Don’t forget to take a look at what’s trending too. Google offers a free service where you see what people are searching for online – again over specific periods. Use this data to formulate what potentially could be in demand and what’s not. Implement this into your strategy. Then there’s being savvy with your blurb. Make sure your promotional pages on your website and social channels use appropriate keywords. Ok, everyone will be using Black Friday, but go into some longer form keywords incorporating these two words with other key search metrics you have researched. For example, ‘Black Friday king size mattress sale in Bedford’ is more specific to a local area and product category. Optimising your promotional content will have a much greater impact than just ‘Black Friday sale’, which will most likely get lost in the ether when competing with companies paying for such a phrase.
Echoing the earlier point about being the early bird, this tip is about keeping your discount and sale prices active for a short period after Cyber Monday (perhaps to end of the week) to benefit from any last minute buyers that haven taken the extra time to mull things over. This is where having a data capture form built up before the event can help too with one final sales push.
Track it and measure
During the campaign, it’s always best to monitor how your promotions are performing. You can tweak things if needed but also capture vital data and insight for future promotions too. It’s all part of continuous improvement. Set up dedicated tracking links for social posts that feed back to your Black Friday page or pages, which you can then easily identify in Google Analytics. Monitor stock performance to see what is working and don’t forget to check out your competition to see what they are promoting. It could be an opportunity to offer something different or learn how to improve on a service.
Before I let you go, here’s another slice of data for you to consume. According to the Trusted Shops, the motivations behind UK shoppers who shop on Black Friday include 71% shop for ‘Better deals for buying gifts’, while 40% say it ‘helps spread out spending’, with 34% seeing the sales period as ‘fun shopping’.
Finally, another note to consider is promoting your finance options available. Again, when surfing some of the big nationals in the furniture space, when talking about Black Friday, finance options was always mentioned, which is most likely geared to help alleviate any concerns over big ticket item spend a consumer might have. Worth a thought I’d say.
So, are you promoting Black Friday?