Peak season is drawing ever closer, and as retailers emerge from a summer that saw sales growth slow to recession levels (Guardian, July 2016), the pressure is on.
However, it hasn’t been total doom and gloom. Amazon’s second ever Prime Day sold more than $2 billion of merchandise on a quiet July Tuesday. This strategy of ‘picking it’s own peak’ is one to learn from.
We’ve examined the key trends from the summer, and come up with 3 tips that retailers should keep in mind as Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Christmas all approach.
1. Take advantage of the halo effect
While Amazon clearly had success offering discounts to their members, it wasn’t the only business to win. Our recent research into Black Friday revealed retailers stand to benefit from the surge in traffic on the day, even without running associated marketing campaigns. This was also evident on Amazon Prime day— across the top 25 UK retailers, online traffic increased 22% year on year over the 24 hours, totalling 35.4 million website visits overall (SimilarWeb, July 2016).
Savvy electrical retailers reaped the benefits of this by running concurrent marketing campaigns such as Dixons Carphone’s 10 day super sale (Retail Week, July 2016). Amazon themselves sold 90,000 TV’s and the top 20 selling items were all within the electronics and computing categories.
The halo effect on other retailers is evident from the numbers, with spikes in online traffic at:
- Carphone Warehouse - 47.4% increase
- Currys - 38% increase
- PC World - 20% increase
Even if you don’t offer discounts, have something to encourage browsers to become buyers. Free delivery, or limited edition products can capture attention as well as using urgency and social proof tactics to dial up the fear of missing out.
2. Keep them coming back for more
One of the major benefits of Prime Day is customer loyalty, with Amazon describing it as a way of saying ‘thank you to its members’. The value of Prime customers to Amazon is clear, with customers not only paying the monthly or annual subscription fee, but also doubling the amount they spend on the site after becoming a member (Deutsche Bank, 2015).
Acquiring new customers throughout the Q4 peak is a priority for many retailers, but not enough understand if this is a wise investment i.e. do these customers become valuable in the long term?
Running analysis looking at new visitors acquired on Black Friday, we found that some industries leave a lot to be desired when it comes to loyalty. Some, such as Gifting, saw very low percentages of returning visitors, while others such as Luxury saw a surprising amount of loyalty compared to their average customer base from new visitors on Black Friday. Understanding who these customers are will be key to ensuring you can target them with loyalty strategies to keep them coming back.
3. PYOP - Pick your own peak
Amazon has taken picking their own peak to the extreme by avoiding peak season altogether. Others have followed suit, such as Walmart owned and Amazon competitor, jet.com launching a ‘big cart birthday bash’, an 11 day discount bonanza to mark it’s one year anniversary (Time.com, July 2016), but some argue that this may impact sales, bringing forward timing on when customers will buy Christmas gifts.
The phenomenon of ‘Christmas creep’ has been around for a while and the emergence of these out of season discount days demonstrates that retailers are seeking to do whatever they can to differentiate, going so far as to extend discounts through the whole of November, or extending Black Friday discounts to a week.
As the discount landscape becomes fragmented retailers need to stay true to their brand and their customers. This might mean opting out of it altogether, as we’ve seen with fashion retailers such as Jigsaw and Ted Baker (Retail Gazette, January 2016). Or it might mean getting more creative with your customer experience to keep people coming back across the holiday period, as we saw with luxury lingerie retailer Journelle’s christmas campaign.
Interested in finding out more?
Understanding the impact of days like Prime Day and Black Friday is the only way retailers will be able to evaluate what works for them in a shifting landscape. Qubit's recent report, Black Friday and beyond, examines this in-depth, providing insights across 5 different retail categories, as well as recommendations based on their findings.
Qubit is the pioneer in delivering data-first customer experiences. By bringing together analytics, data and experience management, their digital experience hub offers a blank canvas for businesses to defy tomorrow's expectations. Their infrastructure is built from the ground up to deliver an integrated workflow, so that teams can work more fluidly together and intelligent customer experiences can be delivered across every brand touchpoint. They’re trusted by the biggest brands in ecommerce including TOPSHOP, John Lewis, Emirates, Uniqlo and Staples. To date, they have received over $76 million in funding from Goldman Sachs, Accel, Sapphire Ventures, Balderton Capital and Salesforce Ventures.