Most South African retailers have invested heavily in their preparations for the Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend at the end of November. But some may be concerned that this shopping extravaganza may cannibalise their Festive Season sales.

Brendon Williamson, head of sales and marketing DPO South Africa, gives online retailers some insight into how they can benefit from the opportunities of Black Friday and still make each of the 26 shopping days between that day and Christmas really count.

Black Friday, and more recently Cyber Monday, have captured the imagination of the South African consumer. Stats from PwC show that two in three South Africans participated in Black Friday in 2018. A significant increase from the 54% participation rate in 2017. Despite a lacklustre economic climate, there are a number of factors pointing to solid growth in 2019.

This year Black Friday falls after what is payday for the majority of consumers. What’s more the presiding sentiment from retailers is that they are gearing up for sale days before and after the official weekend, capturing a larger percentage of the disposable consumer budget.

While the more prudent shopper will make use of the November shopping holidays to buy their festive gifts, the fact is that by the time December rolls in, many South Africans will have blown their gifting budgets. More importantly, convincing these bargain bingers to pay full price for your products and services will be harder than ever come the summer holiday season.

The best way to deal with this new normal is to embrace it

Get in early, hit them hard

If there is a limited amount of spend, retailers need to make sure they stake their claim early on. But it’s also important to remember that staking claim is not simply transactional. The November shopping days act as excellent branding opportunities. Converting ad spend is a good end-goal, but by running promotions and getting them seen on as many media platforms as possible means your brand becomes more visible. Retailers can also use the opportunity to create a strong brand connection like offering a free gift with a customer’s first purchase, or use discounts as a way to get traffic onto your website and then activate a long-term retention strategy.

Keep them interested

Using mailers with personalised messaging tailored to the various types of customers is important. Creating a specialised offer for first-time customers; frequent shoppers; those who haven’t ordered in a while; and those who have shown previous interest but haven’t made a purchase all present opportunities. Also, re-engaging Black Friday customers with retargeting advertisements via Google display or search ads, e-mail, and social media like Facebook and Twitter to draw them back to your shop is a good tactic.

Focus on what shoppers really need

Creating value is more than just the satisfaction of saving a buck. Having a holiday e-commerce strategy driven by price alone will not necessarily secure you repeat customers. It’s important to find new ways of creating perceived value for your clients. Flexible payment plans for big-ticket items, and free shipping are ways to let your shoppers know you value their support.

Close late, open early

No matter how compelling Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales may be, there will always be last minute shoppers panicking just before Christmas. To close these deals offer them attractive last-minute holiday sales and ensure you have negotiated an expedited shipping deal with your logistics company.

Make it easy to find the Pay button

One of the best ways to increase your opportunity is to ensure your website is mobile friendly. Many a deal will be done while people have a spare ten minutes to browse their phones. Make sure your customer journey is seamless, no matter what device shoppers may be using.

Festive shopping doesn’t end on December 25

One of the three biggest days for shopping-related online searches is the day after Christmas. Those who have been given gift cards are eager to use the spare time in the holidays to make their purchase. Attract these customers and boost your profits through well-timed post-holiday sales of the older inventory. Using scarcity tactics like stock levels or other customer interest to inspire action will ensure you capitalise on these lucrative days.

Final thoughts

Online shopping has become the preferred method for many consumers. In fact, earlier this month, Gartner predicted that consumer spending via digital commerce platforms will continue to grow over 10% year-on-year through to 2022. It has even suggested that by 2024 the World Health Organization will identify online shopping as an addictive disorder. While no one wants to take advantage of consumers, making sure your business is prepared for the opportunities throughout the festive season, and not just Black Friday, is the best way to futureproof your company.
DPO PayGate is a proud Partner of the NSBC.