Just four Friday’s before Christmas Day, Black Friday is known as one of the biggest shopping days ahead of the festive period. But what impact has the Covid-19 pandemic had on how Black Friday will run this year?
Black Friday goes way back.
Back in 1869, when the gold market crashed and Wall Street barons were left bankrupt, they declared it a ‘Black Friday’. Back then, ‘shops in the US recorded their accounting details by hand, they noted profits in black and losses in red.’
When shop’s accounts were “in the red”, for most of the years following 1869, after Thanksgiving came around they would later go “ into the black” when customers bought a significant amount of discounted products.
Since then, the date has been renowned as the best shopping day before Christmas. Retailers have been known to publicise never-before-seen prices, that are seemingly too good to be true.
This year, Black Friday falls just 4 Friday’s before December 25th and as with previous years, on the last Friday of November, a day where most will receive their payslip.
In a year where we’ve seen some of the most unprecedented events and an unpredictable change in the retail climate and customer behaviours, what are we expecting this year?
Deloitte’s Ian Geddes, Head of Retail for North South Europe at Deloitte, commented: “Promotional Black Friday events have kick-started discounting in the Golden Quarter earlier than ever this year, as retailers attempt to draw in shoppers amid falling consumer confidence.”
In a recent report published by Deloitte, they said:
- ‘34% of UK consumers plan to buy the majority of presents in November’
- ‘Despite increasing online sales through the year, 60% of UK consumers would prefer to shop for Christmas in-store’
- ‘Retailers are already advertising up to 70% off goods. What is clear is that Black Friday discounting is no longer a clear-cut, single day of promotions, but an extended period, with many of this year’s sales lengthening to over a fortnight. In some instances, up to three weeks.’
PWC added that although 88% of shoppers will do all of their Christmas shopping online this year, spending on Black Friday itself is likely to fall 20% year on year.
Whilst McKinsey believes Black Friday will be “the biggest shopping day of the year” for 2020, with “56% of shoppers intending to make purchases on the 27th November” – a 20% increase on both Cyber Monday (39%) and the last week before Christmas. (38%).
What does Apadmi predict?
We chatted with some of our digital experts to see what they’re expecting during this locked-down Black Friday.
Jignesh Lad – Digital Designer
Jigz is one of our long-serving Digital Designers here at Apadmi. He’s been involved in the creative stages of our client projects across the retail and wealth management landscape.
What will be different on this year’s Black Friday?
Although the flurry of customers getting up early and queuing outside of retail stores to get their hands on discounted tech, clothes and kitchen appliances will be thinner than in previous years, customers will still be doing this, but instead, online.
Black Friday is predicted to be run over a longer period this year, to maximise on online shopper behaviours and the increased screen time found off the back of the 1st Covid-19 lockdown. Retailers could expect to see online queues and increased mobile users thanks to the convenience of mobile apps and bespoke user experiences.
An area that shouldn’t be overlooked during this year’s Black Friday season is site loading speeds. Retailers (or their tech teams) should check their site is both web and mobile optimised. They should also ensure their checkout process is as sleek as possible. With a limited time to checkout on certain purchases, the last thing shoppers want right now is a laggy, unorthodox customer experience that jeopardises their purchases.
For Black Friday we recommend that retailers integrate the following:
- Payments – By integrating Apple and Google pay (or equivalent digital payment providers) customers can pay with the personal data saved on their device.
- Microcopy Communication – While customers can’t ‘grab and go’ in-store this Black Friday, slow delivery times and lack of communication off the back of online purchases will lead to customer dissatisfaction. Integrating Microcopy will help to advise customers on longer delivery times and reassure them in the event of high demand delays.
Raveen Panesar – Account Director
We welcomed Raveen to Apadmi just over a year ago and she has since become a key member of our client services team. She’s responsible for managing internal and external client teams to coordinate successful project delivery. Raveen has recently become our first Account Director!
What’re your thoughts on Black Friday this year?
It’s starting much earlier this year; I’ve been receiving comms across social media, web and email marketing as early as late October! Mostly, pre-Black Friday sales and messaging around ‘beat around the Black Friday rush’ being the primary CTA.
What advice would you give to retailers?
I think the key advice we would give is to not deviate from standard practice, just to try and be different. There’s a reason why standard practice is so successful and why everyone has their basket situated top right in both mobile and web portals! There’s lots of psychology around user experience design so we don’t want to go against the users’ perceived cognitive loads.
Consumers want convenience shopping online – they can’t go out, so they don’t want their online shopping experience to be frustrating when making that all-important purchasing decision. They’ll still be getting an adrenaline rush when they get that hot deal – it’ll just be from the comfort of their sofa and not a jam-packed store!
Patrick Cavanagh – Senior Software Engineer
Pat joined us as a graduate developer and has since become our resident expert within iOS best practice and getting the most out of our AWS partnership with retail giant Amazon.
Predictions for retailer activity this Black Friday?
I guess everyone other than Amazon will be trying to make their voices heard! And Amazon will probably be selling every Alexa device under the sun at a ridiculous discount hoping to upsell everything else.
What will you be looking for?
Hot deals! As with everyone who’s been fortunate enough to still have their jobs after this year; I’ve got a little bit of cash surplus owing to the lack of doing anything for the last few months! So I’ll be on the lookout for some good deals!
What do you expect to see from online retailers?
I suppose for most sites, they’ll be trying to drag people away from Amazon, so their messaging and action buttons will be pretty compelling to drive traffic and make sales.
A technical aspect that won’t automatically pull people towards shops, but will make their shopping experience smoother, is digital payment offerings. I know that the convenience of buying something without needing to get my wallet, and merely using my Face ID makes life a lot easier!
Simple, effective payment and user experience will drive customer satisfaction during this year’s Black Friday.
If you would like to further discuss Apadmi’s Black Friday forecast and find out how we can help you stand out, contact us here.