Plan Now, Win Later: Preparing for Black Friday

by Keith Noval

 

Graduation has come and gone, and everyone’s out enjoying their summer break. But for retailers, the work is just beginning—it’s time to start talking about the winter holidays.

Consumers spent a whopping $12.3B during black Friday last year, up 2.3% from 2012. While the average consumer spent slightly less than previous years, the combined turnout led to the increase and there is an anticipated growth of 3.9% this year over last. The bulk of these sales came from brick and mortar locations, with mobile sales accounting for only $1.96B of Black Friday sales or 15.9%.

So yes, mobile sales are important and incorporating some aspect of mobile integration into your strategy will give you a good foot up on the competition.  But it isn’t where your focus should be in these planning months.

Now consider another trend that we have seen. Black FriDAY has shifted into Black FriMONTH with sales and specials spanning the last half of November and carrying into the first half of December. The US Government reports that total retail sales in December 2013 were at $431.9B with Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday sales totaling less than 3% of that number.

Understanding that 84.1% of sales came from Brick and Mortar locations over the course of December 2013, it’s clear that all the action is still happening on store floors. Let’s focus on what you can do in store to get your share of that 84%, and don’t forget that everything you do in store will empower online sales.

When encountering a negative store experience, 75% of consumers say that they will walk out of a store.  Couple that with the fact that 70% of Black FriMONTH consumer’s dollars were spent in the first two stores they visited, and the evidence is clear:  Your revenue potential hinges on how your brand is represented in stores.

How can you ensure retail associates are bringing your brand to life?  First, ensure that they are properly trained, and stress the importance of recommendations.  One in three consumers say recommendations are the single greatest factor in their purchasing of luxury items. But Retail associates only know so much and when it comes to recommendations, people like to talk about what they are comfortable and confident with. This means that if you can educate and inform associates on your product, when it comes time, they will recommend your brand more because it’s what they know more about. So get in front of associates early, and stay in front of them longer.

The only recommendation that has a higher value than that of an associate is a recommendation of a friend or family member. Social media can help drive social recommendations your way, provided that your customers are having a positive experience with your brand.  Like many large complicated efforts, if you focus on the little things the big ones will take care of themselves. Focus on creating the best in store experience you can and your customers may become social champions for you.

In addition to being educated, your retail associates need to be engaged and enthusiastic, as 80% of consumers say that interacting with friendly and positive associates has a significant positive impact on their buying behaviors. Therefore, consider a dedicated rep to actively increase recommendation rates and brand awareness by interacting with the store’s associates and customers. This double effort should be used in your most critical geographies.

In summary, experts anticipate more record-breaking sales this holiday season.  To make sure you’re reaping the benefits, prepare now by properly building and training your field presence to:

  • Increase holiday sales
  • Increase brand awareness during the holidays and beyond
  • Encourage consumer social championing
  • Increase sales based on geographies
  • Show a definite ROI

If you have in-house sales expertise, then you’re ahead of the curve. Good luck as you start planning! But if you are looking for a potential sales & marketing partner—one whose experience in this arena spans decades, industries and channels – request our consultative guide (below) so that you know what questions to ask, and what to look out for when evaluating them.

Click here to download the first guide in our series on Optimizing Retail Market Coverage

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Topic: Marketing

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

As a Retail Services Practice Leader, Keith leverages MarketSource's best practices and intellectual property to define success scenarios, model potential performance outcomes, and design and implement sales and service teams focused on increasing our client’s sales and their presence in the marketplace.

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