When planning for Black Friday 2020, there are things we know and things we don’t know. However, one of the advantages of operating in performance marketing is that the results of our work provide marketers with valuable information about who their customers are and how to make educated guesses about who is behaving like paying customers in the world.
The double blow from Black Friday to Cyber Week is the next cycle we are all preparing for, an exchange of blows for holiday shopping. And don’t forget Prime Day in October. Salesforce predicts the event could steal up to 10% of Cyber Week’s digital revenue. Given this complexity, marketers need a strong performance plan to get the results they want.
According to research by Google for Retail, brick-and-mortar sales rose 4.2% last year. This is modest, but impressive given previous annual declines. Before the pandemic, retail was on its way back. Now it can be assumed that we won’t see any clips from shoppers in stores at 6 a.m. on Black Friday this year. Although shopping patterns have changed, many predict that this annual moment will be the next retail reinvention due to the pandemic.
In the meantime, Cyber Week should benefit greatly. Retailers who set up stores as fulfillment centers make up for the losses in the store. Amazon, Walmart and Target have made major improvements to their ecommerce capabilities. UPS, FedEx and USPS have been here before. You can bet they’ll post record delivery numbers.
What do these factors tell us? It is probably easiest if your dollars are better spent competing for Cyber Monday’s attention than Black Friday. But that doesn’t mean you should put all your eggs in one basket.
Many shoppers will take the bet that there will be fewer people in stores on Friday. Salesforce also forecast that roadside, indoor, and drive-through digital sales will increase 90% from the previous holiday season. Of course, consumers will appreciate messages such as store closure, order status, and pick-up instructions for safety and convenience during the holiday season. Unsurprisingly, 85% of consumers may want notifications of operational updates during the pandemic, based on the same research.
How do you identify these buyers? How do you motivate them to shop safely from you? These are questions that a strong performance store can answer through its campaign testing efforts. But you have to start now if you haven’t already.
And don’t forget that while Cyber Monday shoppers will be numerous, they will be more difficult to reach due to increased digital competition. TV purchases are not the tool they once were as the fall TV lineup doesn’t decrease and the number of sports viewers decreases. The media mix will continue to shift dramatically towards personalization and localization.
Performance marketing is not rocket science, but requires a lot of math, creativity and hard work. Ask your affiliates how many campaigns they are running and how many iterations of campaigns they think it will take to identify key signals to bet on. Chances are that you should be doing more campaign testing today to better understand who your main Black Friday and Cyber Monday targets will be. As volatile as the world is today, success on Thanksgiving, Black Friday and beyond requires these investments.
There are important lessons to be learned as you head towards Black Friday that will impact the rest of the holiday shopping season. It’s been a ridiculous year and while we may not get together in large groups for the holidays, we will certainly use the time to take a break. This means that even more new shopping behavior is emerging.