Once again, “Black Friday” is almost upon us. Some retailers can expect this year’s event to foreshadow customer confidence and brand interest going into 2015. Yet for most retailers, Black Friday’s singular appeal to customers is its ridiculously low prices. Far too many retailers use drastic fire-sales as their primary method of attracting customers and driving sales. Luckily, it doesn’t have to be that way.
In today’s retail world, there are a variety of ways to convince customers to buy. Low prices are clearly one very effective tactic, and plenty of retailers will join in the Black Friday “race to the bottom” by offering huge, profit-destroying discounts. But high above the fray of rock-bottom retail lies the opportunity to create a more enduring, higher margin business based on delivering great experiences that keep customers coming back even after the blow-out blitzes pass.
Black Friday will foreshadow 2015 for some smart retailers because they’ve been focusing and increasing their efforts to create new experiences that will attract and retain loyal customers. If that’s the direction you want your brand moving, you’ll need to identify key customer trends so that you can capitalize on them and put more budget spend there in the coming year.
Brick and Mortar Is Alive and Well
Smart retailers also understand that Black Friday’s brick-and-mortar experience is increasing in importance, not decreasing. Inside the store, retailers have unique opportunities for in-person engagement. Still, retailers need to be able to scale those experiences with technology and techniques that are easy to set up and run. Online retail was more attractive back when people thought online was the only way to automate and accelerate selling. But technology for automating the in-person experience is increasing the value of bringing customers into stores. Watch smart retailers use this channel to rapidly expand beyond today’s norm of shelves, racks, and cash registers.
Mobile Is the New Social (With a Twist)
Social media isn’t dead, but it has changed in nature—where social media was once seen as a channel in itself, it’s now seen as a means to achieve specifically defined goals like brand awareness, idea sourcing, and customer service. During social media’s transformation, mobile technology has taken its place as the “cutting edge” tool for marketers, but with one very significant difference: Mobile integration needs to be done with help from the IT department.
This necessary collaboration will make mobile more pervasive, more cost-effective, and more critical for providing greater customer experiences. Social grew up on the backs of SaaS apps that ran despite the IT department, whereas mobile will run in close collaboration with IT. And taking full advantage of mobile channels will let smart retailers offer better (and surprising) customer experiences come Black Friday.
For years, marketing measurement has been a hot topic, but technology is finally catching up to the promise. It’s helping reveal what really made a customer buy and Black Friday is the perfect opportunity to validate both data and predictions.
With more channels to monitor than ever, knowing how a decision was reached within each and every segment is key to optimizing your marketing spend. Fragmented systems simply raise the barrier to knowing and following prospects through the process of becoming paying customers. Only powerful, cohesive platforms with an ability to “follow the data” can fully support real attribution modeling.
This Black Friday, like last year’s, customers will be motivated by deals and Christmas, but smart retailers will be figuring out which channels and efforts are most effective. To get ahead of the data game, check out TIBCO Engage for Black Friday (and the future).
From brick-and-mortar campaigns to mobile to understanding why a customer buys, marketing success on Black Friday now requires data, not just discounts.