By James Dye, Managing Director UK & Ireland at Talon.One

With Black Friday around the corner, retailers are putting the finishing touches to their campaigns. But Black Friday isn’t just a chance to increase sales and get overstocked products out the door: with careful planning, it’s also an opportunity to engage and retain new customers for the months to come.

With holiday spending between November and the end of the year predicted to increase by 3.7% compared to 2022, there’s more opportunities than ever to maximize sales during and after the festive period. Below, we offer five tips to turn Black Friday shoppers into long-term customers.

Be disciplined about your discounts

Offering discounts and rewards on future purchases is at the core of many brands’ retention strategies. But retailers often end up giving very broad, very steep discounts – and that can have a big impact on margins.

Instead of running website-wide or category-wide discounts, retailers can focus on personalised promotions per customer segment. Research from Boston Consulting Group, for example, shows that redirecting 25% of mass promotion spending to personalised offers would increase ROI by 200%. Being more precise about your promotions also ensures you’re not offering discounts to customers who would have bought from you anyway, or to “bad” customers that cost you money – for example, those with very high return rates.

Treat Black Friday as an opportunity to onboard customers to your loyalty programme

Loyalty programmes are an excellent way to move customers from the acquisition to retention phase, with McKinsey data showing 64% of loyalty program members are more likely to purchase more frequently from a brand. By offering rewards that offer real value to shoppers, you can build emotional loyalty and turn them into repeat customers.

Black Friday is a fantastic awareness and acquisition opportunity for your loyalty programme, particularly for first-time buyers. It is a good idea to highlight your loyalty programme in your Black Friday marketing or within the checkout process, and clearly communicate its benefits so your customers understand the value they’re missing out on.

Don’t overcomplicate your personalisation strategy

In his book The Person in Personalisation, ecommerce advisor David Mannheim states that “every year promises to be the year of personalisation, but no year is”. In fact, it’s probably the most unfulfilled promise in marketing. Case in point: for this year’s Prime Day, a colleague’s main offers revolved around women’s’ swimming shoes and car seats. As a childless, carless man in a landlocked city, these offers missed the mark on every count.

If you’re a retailer that’s still struggling to get personalisation right – like many retailers are – start simple. You can begin by cleaning up the basics: no more random product recommendations, and no more recommending items people have just bought.

A simple way to integrate personalised recommendations that are relevant and useful to shoppers are to highlight items related to the one they’ve just purchased: if someone has just bought a new hoover, for example, there’s a high chance they’ll be interested in hoover accessories, attachments, or other cleaning items.

Make your offers stand out with gamification

After Black Friday, shoppers are often flooded with promotions and loyalty programme offers. It can be really hard as a retailer to rise above that noise. But gamification is one way to do that: that means integrating game-like elements in a non-game context, and getting creative with the way you reward shoppers. This can be as simple as offering a progress bar within the purchase process, or as complex as building a mini in-app game like a spin the wheel game offering prizes.

Make sure your stack is ready to handle increased traffic and transaction volumes around Black Friday

For online shoppers, there’s nothing more frustrating than a website that’s slow to load or that places them in a digital queue for hours. But even the smallest amount of latency can have a big impact on the buyer’s journey: more than ten years ago, Amazon shared a case where they estimated that a mere 100-millisecond delay in page load time results in 1% decrease in sales.

To give shoppers the best possible experience – and make sure they come back after Black Friday – identify any pitfalls ahead of time. A website is only as fast as its slowest service, so you might speak with your vendors to understand how they’re ensuring low latency and carry out extensive load testing.

Offering Black Friday deals is a time-honored tradition that sets retailers up for a bumper Q4. But to unlock Black Friday’s full potential, businesses would benefit from a more comprehensive strategy that goes beyond short-term profit goals – and instead also includes retention strategies to foster long-term loyalty.

Looking for more insights on nurturing customer loyalty?

Talon.One’s eBook: Definitive Guide to Customer Loyalty, covers the psychology behind brand loyalty, and offers best practices for building an effective loyalty programme.

Published 08/11/2023

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