Retail insights

Is Your Brand Ready for Black Friday Madness?

How prepared are you for the droves of ready-to-buy customers coming to your stores in just a couple of weeks? We have three methods you can employ to fuel your success on the busiest day of the year.


The most anticipated shopping season is upon us! Turkeys are cooking, sleigh bells are ringing, and credit cards are being put to good use. One third of annual retail sales occur between Black Friday and Christmas, and the kick-off of the season  — Black Friday — is just around the corner.

Our three-step guide tells you what you need to do before customers step through your doors, what to do when they’re actually in your store, and what to do afterward. Remember: smart local marketing campaigns live on well after the consumer has left your store, thanks to insights.

But first, some fun facts:

  • Ever wonder how, or why, Black Friday began? It’s all thanks to Christmas parades. Retail giants like Macy’s and the Eaton’s centre capitalized on all of the heavy foot traffic at their store windows by advertising the can’t-miss holiday sales. The symbolic coming of Santa at the closing of the parade inspired everyone to get ready for Christmas — and get into stores.
  • In 1939, Franklin D. Roosevelt issued a Presidential proclamation to have Thanksgiving fall one week earlier every year to effectively lengthen the holiday shopping season. A big win for retailers.
  • The term Black Friday has its origins in a handful of historical events, but as relating to the shopping extravaganza, it’s said to have developed in Philadelphia and Rochester, where police officers used the term to describe intense crowds and traffic congestion due to holiday shopping.
  • Now, for some stats: from data collected by the NRF, over 102 million people shopped over the 3-day Black Friday weekend in 2015, spending an average of $299.60 per person. The year prior, Americans spent a whopping $50.9 billion overall.

Before the Madness Begins: Perfect Your Listings & Conduct Research

This one is straightforward, and it’s the foundation to success: update your listings to match your Black Friday hours! This is low-hanging fruit you should pick right away. You want customers to know you have extended hours for the holiday — so Google doesn’t show the dreaded “Now Closed” when you’re actually wide open for business. Better yet, you need your local listing information 100% accurate to ensure out-of-towners in your area to celebrate Thanksgiving know where to find you.

Next, check your Local Insights so you can extract data on what the busiest time of the day is for each of your locations, and see who is coming into your store and when. You might be surprised at what you find: see more college-aged kids checking into your brand’s stores than you thought? Then perhaps you should plan for offering an additional discount for customers who show their student cards. Not only will the data help you prepare in-store (what products should be on display?) and offer discounts catered to the people who are actually visiting your brick-and-mortar, you can also target your SEM campaigns around specific times of high search volume.

The Company has Arrived! Embrace Omnichannel for Optimal in-store Targeting

Once snubbed as an industry buzzword, omnichannel marketing is the way of the future for retailers and something you need to capitalize on this Black Friday. Insights that you garnered in step one will let you know what product or service you should be pushing, and at what time: think of this as a retail experience thoughtfully curated to each visitor. You can even tailor the experience for each location, and create specific moments designed to please the types of customers coming through the door. For example, do you see that spike in college-age students happening between 6pm-9pm in your city-centre locations? Do you think they’ll benefit from some laptop accessories to prepare for the impending finals season? Looks like a three-hour flash sale is in order!

Conversely, if you see that stores in rural locations are more popular with an older demographic (34-45), perhaps you should push a different product — do you have a last-minute offer for Pinterest-worthy table accessories to spruce up this year’s holiday dinner? Or do you have the best idea for the last-minute shopping man who hasn’t found the perfect gift for his wife yet? Use insights to launch campaigns in stores where you know certain products will be in high demand.

In all instances, if your brand has a points card or you have your client’s email address, you can further enrich your O2O marketing funnel by following up with complementary products — (“Love your new Apple product? All Incase covers are 25% off tomorrow only!) — once they’ve returned home.


It’s Not Over Yet: Don’t Stop Believing in the Data

Black Friday is over — but the holiday shopping craze has just begun. If you get in the mode of constant data collection, you can gain incredible insights about your consumers. Insights are the most effective tool for ultra-targeted marketing campaigns that you can execute after the holidays. Some may consider January a slow retail season — but if you target the right products to the right consumers at the right time — your ROI will prove ‘em wrong.

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