Black Friday transformed last year, with holiday shoppers shifting online en masse during the pandemic. Many of the changes in consumer behavior are expected to stick around long-term, but there remains uncertainty about the “new normal” going forward.

That leaves companies a bit in the dark about how best to navigate this Black Friday (and Cyber Monday and Small Business Saturday!). Let’s shine a light on what we know—so your Black Friday marketing strategy will be a success this holiday season.

Black Friday is coming earlier and lasting longer

Even before 2020, the holiday shopping sales push arrived well before Thanksgiving. But this year, Black Friday deals began appearing before Halloween, and they’re expected to last through the holiday season.

What this means for your Black Friday marketing: Once upon a time, Black Friday created a sense of urgency because it was so brief. Now that it has stretched to a month and more, you have to build the urgency yourself. Consider offering:

  • Flash or pop-up sales. Offer limited-time deals for items across your top product or service categories.
  • Prominently display the time left on offers on websites, landing pages, emails, and social media posts.
  • Product supply updates. Let customers know you are running low on a product they put in their cart, so they can make the call before the item is gone.

Customers are shopping and researching online

Although consumers are increasingly returning to in-store experiences, people now want a flexible in-person and e-commerce shopping mix. And no matter your business model (fully D2C or a blend of e-comm and brick-and-mortar locations), the doorway to your brand is through computers, tablets, and smartphones.

What this means for your Black Friday marketing: A robust, polished, and informative digital presence and a multi-channel marketing strategy are essential. Review your website to make sure it provides the details your target customers want to know about your products at a glance. For example, it’s not enough to say your specialized retail brand produces sustainable products. You’ll need to provide transparent, easy-to-grasp information about your green certification and auditing processes. For this Black Friday (and to prepare early for next year!), consider:

  • Concise and clear media buying and paid-search ads offering Black Friday deals to customers who know exactly what they need, as well as those who are in the exploring phase.
  • Social campaigns that direct customers to single-offer landing pages with can’t-resist Black Friday deals.
  • Personalized product bundles targeted to existing customers. Consider someone who purchased lipstick and lip balm from a D2C makeup brand. This customer might be enticed to try other products with a steep discount on a product from another category included in a lip product bundle.
  • Refine your customer service responsiveness. As a quick start, you can improve your engagement with people on your social media sites and review sites. For the long run, you can consider website chatbots to automate answers to common customer questions.

Consumers are willing to try something new

The pandemic shook up consumer habits, and shoppers were willing to try new brands and new buying channels. According to consumer behavior search by McKinsey & Company, about 75% of consumers changed their shopping habits in some way in 2020, and about 40% switched brands. This change in consumer behavior is still in flux.

What this means for your Black Friday marketing: Your company should seize this opportunity with Black Friday marketing campaigns that confirm your value for existing customers—and attract new customers to your brand. Here are some options that can deepen customer loyalty and draw new ones:

Create a Black Friday deal, and then offer a further incentive for signing up for a loyalty program (such as an additional 10% off an order).

Offer “Welcome!” and “Welcome Back!” deals for new visitors to your website, and those who have returned after a period of quiet.

Segment your target customers and work with influencers or micro-influencers to engage this demographic. They can offer a Black Friday promo code within their social media videos or posts to drive new customers to your website.

This year’s Black Friday and holiday season require a bit more flexibility and creativity, but they also deliver new opportunities. Take this year to establish agile marketing processes and refine your customer experience—strategies that will benefit your company into the future.

Need help with your Black Friday or holiday marketing preparations for this year or next? Let’s connect!