In just a week, most retailers will close their doors to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. And then promptly re-open them for Black Friday sales. Some say Black Friday has lost momentum. Though far from dead, it’s true the retail holiday is changing. Black Friday has evolved because consumers can shop any time day or night. How can retailers create effective event selling in a 24 x 7 world? They must first understand where Black Friday trends are headed, and then prepare to seize sales. A crucial way to reach shoppers lies in accurate, consistent and consumable product content delivered through a robust product information management (PIM) platform.
Black Friday Trend: A Season of Sales
Black Friday is still important. However, it’s really evolved from a single day to an entire season of sales. This year we’ve seen a flood of retailers offering “early” Cyber Monday and Black Friday promotions. Many shoppers are taking advantage of these deals, while others know that holding out could lead to saving even more of their holiday dollars.
NRF’s 2016 Predictions
Here’s what we know so far. According to the National Retail Federation’s annual survey, conducted by Proper Insights, American consumers plan to spend an average of $935.58 during the 2016 holiday shopping season. Furthermore, thanks in part to improved economic times, NRF expects retail sales during the holiday season (November and December) to increase 3.6 percent over last year to $655.8 billion. That’s good news for retailers (and consumers), but there’s more to the story.
Black Friday Sales Shift to Online Channels
Thanksgiving shopping has become a tradition for millions of American families and the emotional savings “rush” hits home particularly with Millennials. Yet online offers are now as popular as in-store promotions among shoppers. While Cyber Monday has established itself as an important day for retailers, major online sales have leaked into the Thanksgiving day itself and into the weekend and entire holiday season.
According to NRF, department stores and online sites will be the top places to shop this holiday. In fact, online shopping is at its highest ever, up 6.8 percent from 2015. Over 56 percent of consumers will shop online during the holidays, to the tune of $117 billion.
This builds on the momentum of 2015, where 73 percent of shoppers — 75 million people — were in stores on Black Friday, the exact same percent for the amount who shopped online on Black Friday, resulting in the biggest shopping day of the weekend..
Reaching Shoppers When, Where and How They Choose
The latest Black Friday trends reveal that as consumers evolve, so too must retailers in how they connect with shoppers. This means retailers must be ready to reach shoppers when, where and how they choose.
While rock-bottom prices and special offers drive Black Friday sales, a broad new range of shopping options provide value to consumers who seek flexibility, personalization and convenience. Retailers must see the big picture, and be prepared.
Consumable Product Content Plays a Crucial Role in Black Friday Sales
More than ever before, product content plays a crucial role in reaching shoppers and converting sales. Therefore, the success of product launches and short-term holiday promotions depends on making content easily consumed by customers through a product information management (PIM) that delivers content across both physical and digital channels to the touchpoints used by consumers.
Retailers and brand owners must have their products visible in-store and online. Search engine results and accurate, consistent product data are key. For example, GTINs have become the “source of truth” for Google, instead of crowdsourced information. Every piece of data can surface your product at the right time to the right person.
Compelling content is also key. Buyers look beyond basic product specs and pricing. To compete, your product content must tell a story through images, reviews, descriptions, and more. Powerful new tools, such as the Google Manufacturer Center, provide brand owners with advanced product content feeds to reach more consumers. Yet, disorganized data can act as a roadblock. Brands that are currently using a PIM system can easily adapt to these new tools and processes.
Despite Black Friday changes, or perhaps in light of them, we remain positive about the future of this retail holiday season. Retailers, the time is now to work hard to earn every sale.
Talk to EnterWorks about how an advanced PIM platform helps drive sales and margin growth with compelling, differentiated experiences through a single view of content with suppliers, partners, customers, and marketplaces.