Peak consumer season for Irish retailers has always been in Q4 as Christmas shopping takes hold. In recent years this has intensified due to Irish consumers embracing "Black Friday" and an increase in online shopping. Last year Google searches for “Black Friday” in Ireland showed a +138% year on year (YoY) and “Christmas” went up +41% YoY at the same period proving that many shoppers now started their Christmas shopping early and online to leverage the best deals for Black Friday.
The competition for retailers on Black Friday is red hot for Irish retailers with AIB data revealing that Irish consumers were expected to spend over €25,000 a minute during Black Friday last year. A renewed interest in shopping with Irish brands was also good news for retailers as Revolut reported 71% of its users shopping with Irish stores or websites in 2021, up from 39% the previous year.
What to expect for Black Friday 2022
While Black Friday and the Christmas season is becoming increasingly important, it is also becoming heavily competitive. The last two years have brought a shift in consumer behaviour towards online shopping and businesses have become more and more savvy in leveraging social media and email marketing to capture shoppers' attention. Not only has the competition heated up but the platforms that are so vital for engaging shoppers are constantly evolving too with big changes to Instagram's algorithms and the growth of TikTok.
This means that retailers cannot simply "copy and paste" their techniques for success from last year to this year. It is crucial to stay abreast of best practices, new features and understand customer expectations. That's why our omnichannel experts from StudioForty9 have come together in a recent webinar to share some of their most valuable tips and insights for optimising omnichannel retail for holiday season success.
Check out their top 10 tips below and learn more about their expertise.
10 tips for omnichannel success
Louise Jennings, Growth Manager
Louise heads up the digital marketing and client success departments at StudioForty9. Her mission is to identify opportunities for growth and drive continued success for clients. With StudioForty9 since 2018, Louise is part of the leadership team where she has made her mark by growing out the Omnichannel service offering working with top retailers in Ireland.
Tip #1 from Louise: Make Omnichannel Your Goal
StudioForty9 recently hosted a discussion with Gordon Newman, Founder of Omnichannel Stories. Gordon shared that the key to success with omnichannel retail is coherent communication, customers are looking for and expecting consistency.
In the race to keep up this holiday season, it’s important to ensure consistency across your channels. Take time before you sign off on your strategy for Black Friday and Christmas to ensure you are telling a coherent story throughout your different channels.
Tip #2 from Louise: Leverage Marketplaces
Giant marketplaces such as Amazon may be seen as an intimidating competitor especially around Black Friday but there is an opportunity to leverage marketplaces too. The marketplace model is universally applicable across industries B2B and B2C. Niche marketplaces such as Farfetch can give smaller sellers a competitive advantage.
Annik Dennehy, Senior Marketing Executive
Annik has a passion and an acumen for email marketing to be reckoned with. Working with our top retail clients using the most advanced email marketing technologies, Annik advises on email marketing strategies and techniques as well as managing implementation of email marketing campaigns.
Tip #3 from Annik: Give Customers VIP Treatment
Make your customers feel like VIPs this Black Friday with exclusive access to sale collections when they join your email list. This can be done via social ads, on site pop-ups and landing pages as well as in store via QR code sign up.
Tip #4 from Annik: Lead Generation Post Black Friday
Don’t forget to nurture your newly acquired leads post holiday season. Make the most out of your increased list size and increased first party data to personalise their experience using segmented campaigns.
Brad Kearns, Marketing Executive
Brad has his finger on the pulse for all the latest and greatest strategies for social media marketing. Specialising in Meta platforms Facebook and Instagram, Brad helps clients to navigate the constantly evolving and highly competitive social media landscape with techniques and strategies to win at social media marketing.
Tip #5 from Brad: Leverage First-Party Data
You are sitting on more data than you may realise. First-party data allows you to build large and relevant audiences to market to, and mitigate the struggles of a privacy-first world.
One super easy way to collect first party data is via your Ecommerce store. You can download customer lists of:
- Your top-spending customers (i.e. anyone who has spent 20% above your AOV in the last 12 months)
- Visitors that recently abandoned their cart
- Visitors that recently abandoned the product page
Tip #6 from Brad: Lookalikes
Once you’ve collected enough data you can build lookalike audiences on platforms such as Meta, Google, TikTok and LinkedIn.
Lookalike audiences are algorithmic audiences driven from data you feed it. The audience is comprised of people who most similarly match the attributes, demographics and behaviours of the data you input (i.e. top spending customers list).
Use these Lookalikes to build an audience of brand new people who have never engaged with your brand, while cutting the cost of warming them up.
Natalie Bader, Client Success Manager
Natalie’s mission is to help clients to succeed at Ecommerce. Savvy to the most effective methods in Ecommerce growth, Natalie provides clients with advice and guidance on continually improving customer experience and achieving revenue growth.
Tip #7 from Natalie: Christmas Gift Guides
When it comes to finding the perfect gift, a gift guide will help make the selection process for your customers, easier. The content inspires and is valuable so likely that readers will share with friends and family, and can also help you achieve many of your marketing and sales goals.
They make for excellent social media posts and can be utilised in email marketing campaigns to re-engage with subscribers, and drive traffic to your website.
Gift guides have also been shown to lead to higher conversions: generating 48% higher sales compared to other promotional emails.
And gift guides aren’t just for Christmas, they’re easily adaptable to every occasion and can be utilised throughout the year to boost sales of seasonal products.
How to Create a Gift Guide:
- Understand your customer audience; review your data and develop personas from your findings.
- Create collections that resonate with your target audience.
- Use eye-catching festive imagery and showcase your gift wrapping services.
- Leverage SEO.
- Include an FAQ.
- Utilise the opportunity to cross-sell and bundle, or personalise the experience with a Build Your Own Gift Box concept
Tip #8 from Natalie: Capture Last minute Shoppers
So, the window for nationwide home-delivery has past, but it’s December 23rd and there are still last minute shoppers that can be captured in one of two ways.
Implement Local Store Pick-Up - It’s the perfect way to bridge the online and traditional bricks and mortar experience and shoppers are also more likely to purchase additional items in-store when they’re collecting their order. However, for this strategy to work well, you need to ensure there is a seamless synchronisation of online and in-store product inventory.
Gift-Cards are an effective way to capture last-minute shoppers and extend that window of time to purchase all the way up to christmas day. Make sure they’re visible on the main navigation and any seasonal collection pages and optimise your merchandising by setting a rule that this is always the first product to appear in festive collections.
Hollie Piper, Marketing Executive
We know that content is king when it comes to Black Friday and Christmas, and Hollie is here to be your queen of content optimisation! Making sure your content reaches and resonates with your audience is what Hollie does everyday for our clients.
Tip #9 from Hollie: Be Creative & Consistent
Creative is a key lever in determining brand performance. 56% of a brand's sales lift from digital advertising can be attributed to the quality of the creative, so make sure you are staying on top of your game.
Optimise your marketing strategy for omnichannel performance, meaning that your designs are coherent across the board. Utilise high quality, recognizable branding & design at every touchpoint along the customer’s journey, to build brand trust and encourage conversions by staying at the forefront of your users mind. This includes using variations of the same design on your organic social media, your paid ads, email campaigns, website banners and in-store marketing.
Tip #10 from Hollie: Use Video
Don't be afraid to experiment with video. Audiences are now spending on average 19 hours a week watching videos online, so it is not something to skip out on! People often view content on the go, so we would recommend shooting videos of 15 seconds or fewer. Make sure your content is designed for both sound on and sound off- if the viewer decides to watch with sound off, make sure they are getting your vital points via captions or subtitles. Make sure you get across your brand within the first 3 seconds, you need to be instantly recognizable to the customer.
When creating quality content, a simple but pivotal tip is to always optimize for mobile first. This is the mode that most of your customers are going to be viewing your content from this holiday season, so make sure you are using the right ratios eg full screen content for your Instagram stories, and make sure you are always shooting in the vertical.
Need help optimising your omnichannel strategy?
Develop strategies for long term success with your omnichannel marketing with the help of our specialists at StudioForty9.
Image credit: Claudio Schwarz, Brett Jordan, Ben White on Unsplash