Black Friday Cyber Monday 2020: How are brands and retailers handling this shopping season?

October 13, 2020
Black Friday Cyber Monday sales are an absolutely crucial part of brands’ and retailers’ selling strategies. Every year, millions of shoppers across dozens of countries line up at their favorite stores, or they’re bookmarking products to purchase during the shopping extravaganza.
Black Friday Cyber Monday 2020 - not quite the same.

A study from Morning Consult found that only 12% of US shoppers plan to shop in-store for Black Friday and 52% don’t intend to participate at all. Depending on which countries you sell in, things might be a bit different but it seems shoppers are going to behave very differently this shopping season.
It looks like even the cute, trendy pop-ups won’t transform the shopping season. So how are brands and retailers adapting to this very unusual shopping season? Let’s find out.

More sales days across more channels

It’s official. Many major brands and retailers will be turning Black Friday and Cyber Monday into a weeks-long event. Prime Day will also be thrown in the mix - Salesforce even predicts Prime Day will steal up to 10% of Cyber Week’s digital revenue. So this year, businesses will really think long-term and consider the whole shopping season. Since no one really knows how shoppers will behave, it’s important to not just pay attention to Black Friday but the days before, and the weeks after.
And since shoppers will be in much longer funnels, across more channels and campaigns, there will also be many more touchpoints. This season will be multichannel to the maximum degree. Multichannel ads, offers, and ease will be crucial. For example, a shopper might make a purchase online, but want to return in-store. The only way to ensure shoppers are happy this season is to give them complete seamlessness from one channel to the next.
"Black Friday lines won't disappear but we expect lines of consumers waiting for store openings will be replaced by long queues of cars eagerly waiting for Buy Online, Pickup Curbside purchases to be placed in their vehicle.” Stephen Baker, vice president and industry advisor for The NPD Group
(And BOPIS is just one piece of the multichannel puzzle!)

Driving urgency without creating burnout

Black Friday is all about the emotion. The hectic excitement is what makes it fun and even drives sales. So what happens when businesses have to sort of diffuse that energy and spread it out over weeks or months? The excitement factor is gone.
Brands and retailers are going to look for new ways to create urgency.
  • Influencer-specific sales: Influencers will have their own follower base. It might be tempting to use influencers for general sales and just let them “do their thing.” However, their audiences are each unique, and with a little extra thoughtfulness, businesses can create a much stronger connection with them.
  • Flash sales around a certain theme or product line: How do you ensure shoppers pay attention to your sale? Make it stand out. If shoppers have two months of sales across all products, many will get overwhelmed or put it off. Specific time frames with specific sales can help increase urgency (as well as excitement!).
  • Digital shop windows: Window shopping. Browsing. “Just looking.” One reason shoppers love Black Friday is the ability to look around and see all the sales. It’s a visual experience. By turning your website or sales channels into dynamic, inspiring shop windows, you can keep shoppers excited. Plus, when a shopper lands on that page, it can be much easier to connect your store with their seasonal shopping plans.
  • Unique pre-sale campaigns: Black Friday is important - but so are the many days before it. Now that businesses will have numerous flash sales, it’s important that each has its own dedicated campaign and messages.
  • Tailored product images & ads: You most likely have a set of product images that are tailored for BFCM. But what if these could be tailored to the specific sale of the day? Dynamically tailored images ensure that shoppers are always surprised as well as informed.
  • VIP programs: How much more likely are you to make a purchase if it comes with free shipping? By pairing free shipping with signing up for a rewards program, shoppers will not only be happy with the free shipping, they can also be informed about upcoming sales (while knowing they already have free shipping included 😉).
  • Temporary deals: How do you keep shoppers on their toes? This isn’t just about creating pressure, it also creates an inspiration and unique desire to make purchases.

“Know your audience” and know what they need

Shoppers will also likely make some pretty unusual purchases. And there’s one example I really love: toy sales for MGA Entertainment have fallen 20%. This is the company behind brands like L.O.L. Surprise! and Bratz dolls. But that’s not the end of the story. The companies trampolines and $1,600 playscapes have nearly tripled in recent weeks. It seems shoppers aren’t exactly spending less, they’re just spending differently. As MGA chief executive Isaac Larian said:
“Families aren’t going to the movies or the theater or to Disneyland, so they’re using that money for entertainment at home. Whether it’s slides, bouncers or play houses, we can’t keep them in stock.”
Businesses this year will strive to pinpoint exactly which products in their vertical are selling. How has the pandemic impacted shoppers, perhaps causing them to push pause on certain products that they really want or to purchase unusual items they might not have otherwise considered.
This information will make it easier to pinpoint where to send advertising dollars and resources.

The most important thing this Black Friday Cyber Monday season? Understanding.

Every good marketer or salesperson knows that what really matters is the audience. This year will be different for them as well, so it’s important to anticipate their needs, blockers, and what will bring them a little joy this season. That extra step (whether it’s a great multichannel experience, targeted promotions, or engaging imagery) will make a huge difference this year. New call-to-action
Hannah Augur
Senior Content Creator