The end of November brings two major retail holidays: Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Marketing expert Simon Gall joins Shopware in interview and lends his insight on how to unlock the potential of this colossal retail season.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are fast approaching – what exactly are these events?
Like Halloween, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are phenomena that have swept from the United States to Europe. Black Friday is traditionally always the day after Thanksgiving and is considered the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season. Retailers outdo themselves year after year with bargains and discounts, enticing customers to shop early - sometimes even as early as midnight. As such, it’s hardly surprising that Black Friday has maintained its position as the most profitable day for shopping in the US retail industry. In the US, Black Friday takes place mostly offline in stores. The following Monday has developed into the online counterpart – Cyber Mondays – in order for online retailers to offer similar discount opportunities.
Black Friday was introduced to Europe retailing in 2006. To this we thank Apple, who were the first to bring their Black Friday discounts from the US to Europe. Since then, more and more retailers turn to the potential of Black Friday with increasingly strong retail campaigns. However, unlike in the US, the European Black Friday takes places primarily online. Therefore, Cyber Monday is less popular in comparison to the online version of Black Friday.
So it’s more of an American phenomenon – how large are the trends in Europe?
Europe has a long way before it approaches the dimensions of the American Black Friday. However, the interest steadily increases every year, for both retailers and consumers. For instance, the search requests on Google have nearly doubled within the past few years lone, from around 100,000 in 2009 to 800,000 in 2014 (keyword: Black Friday). I expect this year to also see a significant increase.
What should retailers know about Black Friday?
It is important to know that Black Friday isn’t organized by any central authority. Actually every retailer has the right to organize their own summer and winter closeout sale, similar to the likes of Black Friday.
Do you have any specific tips for retailers preparing for Black Friday or Cyber Monday?
The first step should always be to check their own shop infrastructure and, where appropriate, increase server capacity. Nothing is more frustrating than a shop that’s brought to its knees on the day of because of slow page load time. Next, retailers should plan their discount campaigns well in advance. Think early on whether to hold a sale with reduced prices, discounts off an entire product assortment, or if you want to highlight the reduced rate of specific products.
Then depending on the discount campaign, you should create a separate shop category or Shopware Shopping World. At best you are using high-quality advertising images that clearly relate to Black Friday or Cyber Monday. Perhaps a name like "[Store Name] Black Friday”. You can use a live countdown to announce the start of the discount campaign.
In addition, the shop owner should publish their Black Friday marketing through every marketing channel. Send a newsletter to all of your customers, create a new SEA campaign, switch your banner display and post your discounts on social media. Should your marketing activities not be managed in-house, be sure to notify your agency well in advance.
What can I do to make my shop stand out amongst the competition?
At best, you can focus on one particularly exceptional sale. Should your competitors offer a similar sale amongst a sea of others, theirs will likely be lost in the mass of offers already being offered on Black Friday.
Since Black Friday in Europe takes place primarily online, specific campaigns would be able to link the online and offline world. For instance, this year retailers could give some deals where online vouchers can be redeemed only in stationary stores.
You run your own Black Friday portal. Can you briefly describe how this works?
Exactly – since 2012 I have operated Germany’s first Black Friday portal. After seeing the interest increase year by year in Germany, I decided to launch a portal that collects all of the Black Friday deals being offered throughout Germany. Since then, every year we gather the best deals available online and publish them on Black Friday, exactly at midnight. Interested retailers can send us their discount campaigns in advance along with the details concerning their deal. More information on deal submission can be found here.
About Simon Gall
Simon Gall is an independent online marketing consultant, specializing in SEO / SEA and manages Shopware shops arktis.de and Weisshaus. Since 2012, Gall has been running Germany’s first Black Friday portal.