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Black Friday Session #1: Incorporate omnichannel strategies

09/09/2021 New Industry news

Did you know that 86% of customers are willing to pay more for a great shopping experience?1 People want to feel seen, known, and appreciated by the shops they’re buying at, no matter if online or offline.

Ecommerce is getting more and more competitive, with new ways to engage with customers opening up. Omnichannel strategies - a way of unifying digital and physical shopping environments to provide a seamless experience - proved as the go-to way to keep you in business for Black Friday and beyond.How can you turn this to your benefit with Black Friday on the horizon?

Black Friday - More than a single day

For a long time, Black Friday has been associated with one day of bargain-hunting in crowded downtown areas and retail stores. In recent years, Black Friday has expanded from the high streets to the world wide web and extended to a season-long sales campaign. It now encompasses several weeks of sales marathons, starting with 'Singles Day' on November 11, through Cyber Monday and Cyber Week, up to the Christmas holidays. 

Last year, we saw an increase in transactions of 35% compared to 2019.3 Online shopping especially skyrocketed with an increase of 97% compared to average daily sales earlier in the month.4 Of course, for many customers, the shift to online shopping during the sales season was predominantly to avoid crowds due to the COVID-19 pandemic.5 With bars and restaurants also closed in most European countries, in-store shopping was just not as attractive as before. 

Get ready for Black Friday 2021

This year, the pandemic is retreating, so let's not bury traditional brick-and-mortar stores just yet. People will always want to have the option to go to actual stores, not least because of the interpersonal and hands-on experience and the  festive mood and holiday decor. 

In-person engagement has certainly re-emerged after the COVID-19 lockdowns, but we shouldn’t expect a shift entirely back to physical shopping. Research shows that customers now prefer to mix channels, moving flexibly from one to the other depending on their needs or how they feel most comfortable. 

According to recent studies, 90% of customers now demand omnichannel strategies, and 72% expect businesses to know their purchase history across various channels. At the same time, 85% of European retailers stated that they developed their omnichannel retail strategy in response to explicit demand, while 89% said it was driven by the need to improve customer experience.6 

Best practices

The ideal omnichannel approach aims to create a consistent and seamless customer experience throughout the shopping journey, delivering the perfect interplay between your brand's physical and digital channels and blurring the lines between websites, apps, and stores. Today, customers use an average of six touchpoints in their purchase journey, such as browsing products on social media, looking at them in physical stores, and eventually buying them online. Click-and-collect is a shining example of omnichannel innovation.

Are you ready to embrace omnichannel retail? We have some winning strategies to help you to make the most of Black Friday and beyond. 

1. Connect channels

To create a coherent, aligned experience across multiple channels, collecting customer data and connecting all your databases is vital. This means each customer has a single entry point into your retail ecosystem, rather than separate entries per channel. This gives you comprehensive insight into all payment details and transactions to better understand customer habits and patterns and boost sales.

Options like Click-and-collect and the possibility to try and return online allow customers to put down and pick up their journey, navigating smoothly across channels. 

2. Enhance in-store options

Today, customers have become used to the convenience they know from online shopping and demand instant and on-point service also in physical stores. Any friction, such as long and frustrating checkout lines, can cause potential customers to turn on their heels and walk out to buy somewhere else. 

Self-service checkouts, contactless payments, and enhanced POS systems supporting a wide range of different payment methods are effective ways to reduce the hustle for both customers and retail assistants alike. Enabling customers to browse online, choose or customize their items, pick up in-store – or the other way round – adds value and allows you to create impactful shopping experiences. 

3. Create personalized experiences

Especially for younger demographics, individualized shopping experiences are very important. This might include providing recommendations based on past purchases, offering One-click options, or sending notifications or Second chance emails to remind customers about abandoned carts.

Build a standout checkout for Black Friday

The winners of this year's holiday sales season will be merchants who combine all the perks of online and in-store shopping to create enjoyable and memorable shopping experiences. Stay tuned for issue #2 in our Black Friday series on building the perfect checkout!

With more than 20 years of experience in ecommerce and a variety of tools, features, and digital payment solutions, we can help you adapt to your customers' demands and stay ahead of the market.  

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