Black Friday: How Can Retailers Capitalise on Peak Periods by Improving Customer Experience?

History of Black Friday

The popularity of post-Thanksgiving shopping started in the 1950s. People had begun calling in sick the day after Thanksgiving in order to get a head start on their holiday shopping. This became such an issue that many businesses decided to give their staff an additional day off instead.

However, it was not until the late 1980s that Black Friday became linked to post-Thanksgiving sales. The event would mark the day that retailers move into profit after months in the red. Since then, American shoppers have historically done half of their holiday shopping on Black Friday.

Black Friday signifies the start of holiday shopping

Black Friday Peak Period Lengthens

Seen as the start of the holiday shopping season, the Black Friday sales period has grown longer over the years. The first extension was into a long weekend with ‘Cyber Monday’ and then to a two-week period with retailers discounting in the week before and after Thanksgiving.

Understanding the logistical nightmares that come with a short discount period, many retailers are now starting their Black Friday sales as early as mid-November, stretching the discounts right through to Christmas to minimise disruption.

UK Adoption of Black Friday

Brought to the UK by Amazon in 2010, UK retailers were hesitant to jump on board with the discounts and deals of Black Friday.

We all remember the disaster in 2013, when Asda held its own Black Friday sale, resulting in disruption in their stores and fights between customers over TVs and gadgets. This event catapulted the shopping day into British retail and the popularity has grown significantly since.

But how popular will the event be this year? PwC predict that 52% of British consumers are planning to buy something during Black Friday. The average spend is predicted to be £224. Experts believe the fact that it falls after payday this year will influence shoppers and increase spending.

Topshop is just one of the UK retailers who started their Black Friday sale early

How Can Retailers Capitalise on Peak Periods After the Sales End?

Customers expect to receive the same customer service during peak periods, as they receive throughout the remainder of the year. Sadly however, this is often not achieved. In fact, more often than not, customer service levels take a dive during peak periods.

So how can retailers ensure each peak is as successful as it can be to justify the upheaval? And more importantly, how can retailers use these peak periods to create loyal customers that will continue to purchase all year round?

During these peak periods, retailers usually see purchases from up to 5 times more shoppers than usual. Imagine if this influx of business was converted into repeat customers – the increase in overall revenue would be significant for any retailer.

So how do you engage with these new customers in order to turn them into loyal ones? Simply put: post-purchase communication! Currently, most retailers are waving goodbye to their customers after they purchase, instead allowing third party carriers to communicate during delivery. In fact, in our recent UK E-Commerce Shipping Study 2020: Fashion Edition, we found that 93% of retailers ignored the customer after checkout.

This is shocking when you consider that a customer is most engaged during delivery. Retailers are therefore leaving the largest marketing channel available to them, untapped.

Retailers Can Take Back Control

By taking back control of the post-purchase, retailers can engage with their customers in a multitude of ways. First, you can keep the customer up-to-date on the location of their parcel by sending proactive, relevant and branded communications. Second, you can direct them back to a white-labelled Track & Trace page, hosted in the retailers online shop. Both communication channels come with a huge potential to cross and up-sell additional products to a customer when they are at peak engagement with a retailer’s brand. Or, go one step further and offer them additional discounts. These marketing tactics are perfect for encouraging another purchase immediately.

The best part? These emails see open rates upwards of 60%. Our most recent analysis showing an average open rate of 82% for tracking emails. Considering that traditionally a successful email marketing campaign sees open rates between 15% and 25%, these numbers are even more astounding.

Customer Experience during Black Friday
Proactive, relevant and branded post-purchase communications.

Why is Post-Purchase Communication an Important Topic for Retailers?

By removing boring carrier comms from the customer journey and replacing them with branded and personalised ones, retailers can create engaging and enjoyable delivery experiences.

Whilst this is a great strategy all year round, it’s particularly fruitful during peak periods as this can be the catalyst that turns all the hard work to drive additional sales into a major customer relationship management drive. By taking control of post-purchase communication during peak, retailers will see their repurchasing, retention and loyalty rates sky rocket.

UK Black Friday online spending reached £1.49bn in 2018, with an even big number predicted for 2019 – that’s a lot of potential customers to turn into loyal ones!

Black Friday Customer Experience
Black Friday can be about more than just big sales.

If you’d like to know more about how parcelLab can help you take control back of your post-purchase communications, schedule a demo here.

About the Author: Katharine
Katharine is Head of Marketing Communications - EMEA. An avid shopper, Katharine is passionate about helping retailers understand the importance of efficient post-purchase communications. When she isn’t looking for the latest trends for our blog, Katharine loves discovering new restaurants in London.