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How top-performing Black Friday marketing campaigns will look this year

Is the Black Friday of yesteryear officially “dead” in 2020? It’s hard to imagine lines of people vying for the last big-screen TV with so much societal uncertainty and unrest in the world. Yet, in some ways, the isolation and added anxiety have made Americans want to shop even more as a source of comfort. The average adult plans to spend $400 on Black Friday sales this year, representing almost one-third of the estimated total holiday season expenditure ($1,300). 

The top-performing Black Friday marketing campaigns are likely going to be running longer and more technologically-driven compared to years past. Perhaps this year you can just think of it as “Black Friday Month” or “Black Friday Season.”

How 2020 Black Friday Marketing Campaigns Will Look

Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Fran Horowitz summed up the game plan best: “We will lean into digital like we have been all year. It’s a good time to be an omnichannel retailer.” Due to the pandemic, we are likely going to see extended promotions focusing on the right products for the right people at the right time. Here are some of the trends to expect from 2020 Black Friday marketing campaigns:

1.The Deals Will Be Online, but Consumers Prefer Omnichannel Shopping. 

According to a recent Shopkick survey, 71% of holiday shoppers will shop both online and in-store, compared to 9% who will do all their shopping in-store and 13% who will do all their shopping online. Occasional online shoppers plan to buy from big-box retailers like Target, Walmart, Macy’s, and Kohl’s, while online-only shoppers plan to find their gifts on Amazon, Etsy, eBay, Wayfair, and Overstock. 

More than a quarter of holiday shoppers will purchase their gifts only online this year, compared to 4% of those surveyed who said they’ll do all their shopping in-store. However, it seems most Americans are willing to do a combination of the two, with 19% saying they’ll head into a store “if the discounts beat those offered online.”

Also due to the pandemic, many big-box retailers have already announced plans to be closed for the Thanksgiving holiday, instead offering a week of deals before or after. No doubt, successful retailers will also be pitching Buy Online Pickup In Store (BOPIS), curbside pickup, and same-day local delivery services to court mobile shoppers. Personalized recommendations will be used in the hopes of increasing the shopping cart size of virtual shoppers much like “impulse buy” racks in stores. Pushing the sale of gift cards is another great way to increase order size, as most people spend more than the gift card’s worth

2. Remaining Retailers Will Use the Opportunity to Pick up Former Competitors’ Market Share.

The list of major retailer bankruptcies is ever-growing. Where will all of these retailers’ loyal shoppers go? “Why not to us?” wondered Kohl’s CEO Michelle Gass, who explains: “We know down to the ZIP code level what that overlap is, and often, these stores are in close proximity. We use geo-targeting, specifically, and personalized marketing to go after these customers.” 

Gass said their holiday campaigns will address customers’ current circumstances with increased emphasis on cozy comfort home items and practical gifts, in addition to the usual toys and active sports categories. Omnichannel marketing that transcends in-store circulars, email, mobile text, video, and website offers will be at the heart of any campaign, but the precise offerings are fluid and subject to change based on how early shopping indicators unfold. Top-performing brands will study which neighborhood retailers have folded during the COVID-19 pandemic and fulfill the newly-formed gaps. 

3. Price Won’t Be Everything as Other Differentiators Emerge.

In the past, solely focusing on a trending item for a hugely discounted price was a can’t-miss Black Friday marketing campaign tactic. This year, it’s predicted to be a little more complicated. 

For the first time ever, Shopkick surveys revealed that a “personalized customer experience” has overtaken “price” as a key differentiating factor for consumer loyalty. Similarly, ShipEarly found that 86% of shoppers said they’d pay more for a better brand experience. They’ll be looking for exclusive products and services, better return policies and credit financing, faster shipping, and convenient mobile checkout. 

4. Investments Will Increase in Alternative Shopping Experiences.

Retailers have already invested millions of dollars into building up websites with virtual try-on capabilities, “see it in my room” virtual reality, and more direct lines of communication with prospective buyers like one-on-one consultations. 

Rather than crowding people inside shopping malls, retailers are also experimenting with open-air pop-up shops in parking garages by appointment only. This is an exciting way to replicate in-store experiences in a lower-risk setting. 

5. Omnichannel Technology Will Be Deployed to Continue to Unify Online and Offline Shopping Channels. 

Marketers will employ easy, affordable technology to drive dollars in both online and offline channels this holiday season, especially during Black Friday. Brands looking to succeed cannot focus solely on offline or online strategies. With so many consumers demanding certain shopping options, such as same-day curbside pickup, BOPIS, the ability to order unavailable inventory online, and the means to have a complete shopping experience on any device of their choosing, retailers and brands must create a unified strategy that meets consumers’ expectations. Shoppers may still be uncomfortable shopping the way they’re used to, so it’s more vital than ever that retailers and brands meet consumers wherever they’re most comfortable shopping. 

black friday marketing campaigns Working with an omnichannel tech partner can help tie together online and offline marketing campaigns. For instance, Shopkick is a mobile app that fosters engagement and builds loyalty along the entire path to purchase by offering users reward points (“kicks”) for interacting with a partnering retailer or brand—whether it’s watching a branded video, stepping into a particular store, scanning the barcode of a particular item, or making a purchase in-store or online. Unlike other comparable models, shoppers are rewarded for their attention, engagement, and loyalty, rather than solely for making a purchase, which often leads to one-time sales rather than long-term customer relationships. Once enough are earned, these kicks can be redeemed for gift cards of the shopper’s choosing. 

We can look to Kraft’s partnership with Shopkick during the busy holiday season as a prime example of the value a carefully curated Shopkick campaign can provide. Kraft partnered with Shopkick for a holiday baking campaign to boost the sales of some of its brands’ popular baking products. At home, Shopkickers engaged with inspirational recipe content, which built pre-shop consideration and kept the products top-of-mind before their trip to the store. Once in-store, kicks were awarded for locating the items at-shelf and scanning their barcodes, with bonus kicks awarded to anyone who purchased all three products. More than half of the purchases were unplanned, and the campaign received 18M+ impressions. With an average of 27% of scanners converting to purchase, the Shopkick holiday campaign resulted in a 7.6:1 return on investment (ROI).

Ready to Make Your 2020 Black Friday Marketing Campaign a Success?

It’s been a heck of a year, but Americans are expected to embrace holiday shopping in a fairly predictable way, albeit not necessarily in a traditional shopping manner.

The dynamic state of our society will need to be adequately addressed and catered to in 2020 Black Friday marketing campaigns, reassuring consumers that they can still enjoy a personalized, fun holiday shopping experience through whatever channel(s) makes them feel most comfortable.

Strengthening omnichannel strategies, adopting newer, virtual technologies, and emphasizing a personalized experience will all be key to generating successful 2020 Black Friday marketing campaigns. 

Want to make sure your 2020 Black Friday marketing campaigns will hit the mark? As a partnering retailer or brand, we will provide you with the platform and tools to create an omnichannel strategy that will foster engagement with new and existing customers, expand your reach, and fortify consumer loyalty. To learn more, read our success stories or contact Shopkick to get started on your holiday campaign now! 

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Image courtesy of PopTika