Why You Need to Rethink Black Friday Promotions

Black Friday Sale date marked on a calendar, November 25 Friday, 2016. The traditional Friday after Thanksgiving date is the kick off date for retailers for Christmas retail, the biggest Christmas shopping date of the holiday season. Close-up photography in vertical format of a calendar page.

Black Friday is almost here, which means it is time to talk about why online retailers might not want to focus too much on Black Friday promotions.

According to the JDA 2016 Consumer Survey, consumers aren’t necessarily looking at e-tailers to provide them with doorbuster deals this Black Friday. Based on the survey’s results, “year-round discounting by retailers and new e-commerce sales days have lessened the appeal of Black Friday for consumers.”

Let’s talk about what this means for your e-commerce business and how you can develop an effective promotional strategy around this change in perspective.

Creating a Promotional Strategy That is Valuable for Both Online Retailers and Consumers

For those of you thinking you are off the hook for Black Friday, think again. Just because consumers are not interested in waiting around for special sales on one pre-designated sales day does not mean they do not still want them. You have got to think more broadly—like a year-long strategy for offering customer-minded promotions.

As an e-tailer, you understand the power of the internet. Moreover, as a master of the online shopping space, you have got to understand why your consumers are there, too. It is about:

  • Convenience
  • Time efficiency
  • Avoiding the stressful crowds
  • Getting special deals for being a loyal customer (something that’s not so easy to get in person)

So, let’s focus on some ways you can create a well-balanced and consistent promotional strategy that aligns with consumer expectations, starting this Black Friday.

Free Shipping Promotions

Consumers are finicky about shipping costs. While 46 percent will pay for premium and rush shipping, most still want you to offer it for free. Since free shipping all year is not always practical, look at the data from previous years to determine when you can afford to run these promotions. You may be surprised by what you find.

Non-Traditional Holiday Promotions

Consumers expect e-tailers to offer promotions on Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Labor Day weekend, and so on. However, that is not good enough anymore. Break away from the traditional sales holidays and plan to offer longer promotional timeframes around the holidays that are more convenient for your customers.

You could also launch promotions around unconventional holidays (like November’s Pet Awareness Month if you sell dog supplies).

Seasonal Flash Sales

There is one e-tailer that comes to mind for consistent season-related sales—and that is Victoria’s Secret. Their semi-annual sales offering is well-known and eagerly expected by their customers. And you know what? I bet they do a great job of cleaning out old inventory then, too.

If you go this route, end your promotional prices with magic number nine since it is shown to increase conversion rates.

Threshold Promotions

It does not matter if the discount is based on a percentage or a dollar amount. Tell your customers, “If you spend X amount of dollars with us, we will take X percent off your purchase.” Alternatively, you could offer free shipping instead. Just offer these discounts when it makes sense for you financially.

Email List Promotions

Exit-technology promotions do not just work for bloggers trying to keep visitors on their site—it works well for online retailers too, and is a great year-round strategy. If someone is about to leave your site, launch a pop-up advertising a special offer if they sign up for your email list. You will get their contact information, which you can use for future promotional efforts and product announcements, and also potentially get an on-the-spot purchase out of it.

While it is always a good idea to plan ahead—especially for the holiday shopping season—consumer habits and mindsets are changing. This means that online retailers need to change their promotional strategies to better align with customer expectations.

This revamped approach will provide your customers with added convenience, more flexibility, and better value for their shopping experience; ultimately, boosting their trust and loyalty to your brand. As a bonus, you will have a more predictable means of planning promotions, clearing out inventory, and boosting sales.

About Endicia

Endicia is a leading provider of internet-based postage services that make it easier and more affordable to ship parcels through the U.S. Postal Service®. We know that shipping can be complex and our goal is to simplify your shipping operations so you can focus on doing what you do best. Visit us at www.endicia.com to learn more.

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