Black Friday marks the beginning of the holiday shopping season, featuring exclusive post-Thanksgiving deals and discounts across businesses. In the past, people woke up before dawn the Friday after Thanksgiving and lined up outside stores to snag the best deals. However, the digital age and lasting impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have forever transformed this retail holiday, extending the shopping window both in-store and online throughout the entire Thanksgiving week. But have you ever wondered how Black Friday came to be?
During the mid-20th century, the city of Philadelphia witnessed an influx of tourists and suburban shoppers who would come to the city the Friday following Thanksgiving in anticipation of the annual Army-Navy football game held that Saturday. It was during this time that retailers noticed a surge in holiday shopping, driven by discounted merchandise, that turned their financial accounts from “red” to “black.” Consequently, after a couple of years, the name “Black Friday” was coined, earning its place in retail history.
With each passing year, Black Friday takes on a new face, reflecting evolving trends and demands. As we look ahead to Black Friday 2023, retailers and businesses need to be well-prepared for the changing consumer preferences and retail environment. Here are our key predictions and some valuable tips to help retailers successfully navigate the Black Friday frenzy.
1. Prepare to Meet Increased Demand
Retailers can expect to see eager consumers stalking the best deals, but because preferences have shifted to online shopping, much of the rush will be at their virtual doorsteps. The National Retail Federation’s poll from last year suggested a record of 196.7 million people shopped during Thanksgiving weekend, with roughly 87.2 million consumers shopping online. To meet this heightened demand, stock up on popular items and optimize your website for the expected surge in traffic. Efficient inventory management is vital to prevent stockouts. And don't underestimate the power of responsive customer service for handling inquiries and potential issues.
2. Enhance Your Eco-Friendliness
The growing wave of eco-conscious consumers will be on the lookout for retailers who promote sustainability and reduce their carbon footprint. Forrester reports 34% of US online adults are strongly influenced by companies’ commitment to be environmentally responsible. To cater to eco-conscious shoppers, consider offering eco-friendly packaging and sustainable delivery options. Make your commitment to environmentally responsible practices a highlight of your Black Friday offerings.
3. Reduce Online Return Issues
According to Salesforce, 13% of holiday orders were returned last year. With the increased shift to online shopping, the rate of returns is expected to remain high. Understanding the reasons for these returns is critical for a successful Black Friday. Analyze the reasons behind customer returns and proactively address common issues. Today, more than 60% of customers expect companies to meet all their needs. Offering a seamless and user-friendly return process can significantly reduce the impact of returns. Clearly defined return policies and excellent customer support are essential components of reducing the return rate.
4. Social Media Promotion Is Key
In the digital age, social media continues to be a powerhouse for marketing and promotion, and Black Friday is no exception. Not only do 43% of social media users identify as ”social media shoppers,” but 71% of users are more likely to purchase products based on social media referrals, so a strong social media presence is essential. Establish a compelling and active presence on popular platforms, create engaging content that resonates with your audience, and use targeted advertising to increase visibility.
5. Prepare for Cyber Monday
Cyber Monday, following Black Friday, remains a significant shopping day with its own separate demands. Last year, Cyber Monday sales were higher than any other day during the holiday shopping season. Capital One projects sales revenue will reach a total of $13.7 billion on Cyber Monday this year compared to $11.3 billion in 2022. To keep up with demand, make sure you have enticing discounts, maintain well-stocked inventory, and provide a seamless online shopping experience. Cyber Monday shopping makes up 5.34% of all holiday shopping revenue, so make the most of this opportunity by being well-prepared and delivering on expectations.
Black Friday 2023 promises to be another whirlwind of sales and consumer activity, driven by evolving trends and changing preferences. Retailers need to adapt to these shifts in the digital age to stay competitive and meet customer expectations.
If you’re looking for assistance with your digital strategy for Black Friday and beyond, we're here to help. For expert guidance on how to make the most of this critical shopping season, contact us here.