tag:econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/coupons-vouchers-discounts Latest Coupons, vouchers & discounts content from Econsultancy 2016-07-12T14:51:07+01:00 tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68058 2016-07-12T14:51:07+01:00 2016-07-12T14:51:07+01:00 Has Amazon Prime Day 2016 made up for 2015’s #PrimeDayFail? Nikki Gilliland <p>Despite some initial fanfare, social media was soon flooded with complaints about laughable discounts and naff products, with consumers gleefully using the hashtag #primedayfail to highlight everything that went wrong.</p> <p>Today, the sales event is back, with Amazon promising even more bargains to tempt consumers.  </p> <p>But has Amazon learnt from its mistakes? Here’s the situation so far…</p> <h3>Who’s eligible?</h3> <p>The clue is in the name. The biggest and best deals are only available to Prime members. </p> <p>With last year’s event resulting in the most Prime sign-ups in a single day (and a subsequent 19m US subscribers since) – the event is clearly just a vehicle to grow Amazon's member base.</p> <p>For regular consumers, this has the power to repel rather than pull people in, especially since the retailer has been intent on hammering home the ‘exclusive’ message on all its main email, website and social media copy.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/6950/exclusive.PNG" alt="" width="700" height="218"></p> <p>It has to be said, there are <em>some</em> deals accessible to all, but they are extremely limited and very hard to find.</p> <p>It took a good few minutes for me to figure out that the ‘Featured Prime Day’ savings were eligible to me (a non-member).</p> <p>And let’s be honest, they’re far from exciting. (Unless vitamins and minerals are your thing...)</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/6942/prime_day_deals.PNG" alt="" width="780" height="243"></p> <p>Ironically, if you’re not a Prime member, you’re the consumer that Amazon probably cares about the most today.</p> <p>However, its heavy-handed targeting means that you might feel more inclined to avoid the whole thing rather than tempted to sign up. </p> <h3>Social promotion</h3> <p>If you follow Amazon on any of its main social media channels, you’ll have seen its attempts at building excitement around the event. </p> <p>A series of countdown tweets and Facebook posts means that the event has been well signposted and cleverly executed.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Only 5 days to go!<a href="https://t.co/pRdR7iWm6z">https://t.co/pRdR7iWm6z</a> <a href="https://t.co/6O9TMNVmmD">pic.twitter.com/6O9TMNVmmD</a></p> — Amazon.co.uk (@AmazonUK) <a href="https://twitter.com/AmazonUK/status/751113558352691200">July 7, 2016</a> </blockquote> <p>While the Facebook ads are slick and well-designed (with a simple and effective call-to-action for a free trial on the main site), the fact that it's so heavily geared around exclusivity surely means that non-Prime members are likely to ignore it.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/6945/facebook_prime_day.png" alt="" width="550" height="588"></p> <p>In terms of emails, I only received one on the morning of the event itself.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/6946/Amazon_email.PNG" alt="" width="780" height="522"></p> <p>Instead of promoting the discounts, I did find it slightly off-putting that it only showcased the products – an obvious attempt to get consumers to click through to learn more.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/6947/Amazon_email_deals.PNG" alt="" width="600" height="772"></p> <p>Whether or not that click converts to a purchase, again, probably depends on Prime membership status.</p> <h3>The discounts</h3> <p>One of the biggest complaints from consumers last year was that the biggest discounts were not properly promoted on the site.</p> <p>Eventually, it emerged that Amazon used a broad algorithm to select the deals, leading to a lot of random items such as tupperware and dishwasher detergent.</p> <p>This year, it’s not entirely clear how it’s been set up, but according to a company spokesperson, Amazon has ‘increased the number of deals and at the same time, increased the volume of inventory behind those deals.’</p> <p>With a dedicated homepage, showcasing a variety of categories and filter options, there is a clear attempt to give the user greater direction.</p> <p>Navigation is simple, with good signposts to point customers in the direction of 'deals ending soon' and 'recommended deals'.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/6949/amazon_homepage.PNG" alt="" width="780" height="654"></p> <p>In terms of savings, there does appear to be a decent amount of products on offer, with the best being discounts being on electronics and home appliances.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/6939/prime_day_deals_tech.PNG" alt="" width="780" height="481"></p> <p>However that algorithm must be working its evil magic again... I also spied far too many irrelevant items for my liking.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/6941/Amazon_deals.PNG" alt="" width="780" height="510"></p> <h3>In conclusion...</h3> <p>It’s probably too early to say for sure if this year’s Prime Day has been any more successful than the last.</p> <p>While clearly an attempt to bag even more Prime memberships, what the retailer fails to realise is that the hype might do more to put people off than draw them in. </p> <p>Similarly, there's already an amusing amount of social media backlash, so Amazon clearly hasn't done much to sort out that algorithm issue.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Thanks <a href="https://twitter.com/amazon">@amazon</a>! This is just what I needed! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/PrimeDayFail?src=hash">#PrimeDayFail</a> <a href="https://t.co/mIiNUs4l6u">pic.twitter.com/mIiNUs4l6u</a></p> — Martin Untrojb (@MEUntrojb) <a href="https://twitter.com/MEUntrojb/status/752805002884898820">July 12, 2016</a> </blockquote> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67841 2016-05-17T14:23:46+01:00 2016-05-17T14:23:46+01:00 As consumers clamor for good deals, discount strategy becomes key for retailers Patricio Robles <p>According to <a href="http://hitwise.connexity.com/05.09.2016_DealSeekingInspire_CD_US.html">a report</a> published by Hitwise, which we must also note is a division of Connexity, one in every 300 searches contains a bargain hunting keyword like <em>sale</em>,<em> coupon</em>, <em>deal</em>, <em>rebate</em>, <em>bargain</em>, <em>discount</em> or <em>clearance.</em></p> <p>Furthermore, these searches have increased by 40% in the past year alone.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0007/4913/dealsearches-blog-flyer.png" alt="" width="470" height="283"></p> <p>Approximately 60% of these searches originate on mobile devices, evidence of the fact that mobile devices are influencing consumers' offline shopping behavior.</p> <p>Not surprisingly, many coupon-related searches are branded, a reminder to retailers that many consumers are still in play even after they walk into their stores.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0007/4912/brandcouponsearch-blog-flyer.png" alt="" width="470" height="313"></p> <p>Interestingly, Hitwise's data reveals that many deal-seekers aren't undesirables that retailers would want to shun.</p> <p>60% of them are women, nearly half have a college degree, and well over a third have an annual income of $100,000 or more.</p> <p>In fact, these six-figure earners are 19% more likely to search for coupon codes.</p> <h3>Implications for retailers</h3> <p>Retailers shouldn't ignore growing consumer demand for a good deal.</p> <p>As more and more consumers become more savvy and comfortable using their mobile phones, retailers that don't respond risk losing sales to retailers that do respond.</p> <p><strong>So what can they do?</strong></p> <p>Obviously pricing strategy is key. Research suggests that younger consumers are <a href="https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/253582">among the most sensitive</a> to price, and Hitwise says Gen Xers and millennials are the most likely to search for coupon codes.</p> <p>Retailers should address these and other price-sensitive customers directly.</p> <p>Tools like <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/10894-best-buy-fights-showrooming-with-online-price-match">price matching</a>, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66128-consumers-demand-experiential-rewards-from-loyalty-programs">loyalty programs</a>, <a href="https://hbr.org/2015/03/price-sensitive-customers-will-tolerate-uncertainty">uncertainty</a> and rebates can be incorporated into pricing strategy and employed in a targeted fashion to reach specific customer segments.</p> <p>When offering deals, retailers also need to make sure that they <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66984-how-to-get-the-most-out-of-your-online-coupon-campaigns/">get the most from their campaigns</a>.</p> <p>This includes ensuring that discounts are promoted properly on their websites and to customers via targeted emails. Retailers should also ensure that they're not overlooking affiliate channels and third-party services that aggregate coupon codes.</p> <p>The good news is that with smart strategy and good execution, retailers can not only please the bargain hunters in their existing customer ranks, but possibly also drive new customer acquisition.</p> <p>According to Hitwise, those who search for coupon codes are 19% more likely to shop at a store they don't frequent based on a sale, and they're 23% more likely than average to identify themselves as a source of purchasing advice to the people around them.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67731 2016-04-11T14:27:17+01:00 2016-04-11T14:27:17+01:00 Think affiliate marketing doesn’t work for luxury brands? Think again Chris Bishop <p>But no longer. Affiliate marketing has truly come of age.</p> <h3>Isn’t affiliate just voucher codes?</h3> <p>This is not just about voucher codes, cashback and last-click for advertisers, this is part of a holistic approach to digital advertising that promises real and sustained ROI for high-end brands.</p> <p><img src="https://openmerchantaccount.com/img2/whoaretheaffiliates.jpg" alt=""></p> <p>The modern managed affiliate programmes use sophisticated groups of content publishers, including mainstream “offline” publishing houses such as Condé Nast.  </p> <p>This is performance marketing through deep partnership, levered via tenancy, editorial, blogging, email and (yes) incentives like voucher codes or cashback. </p> <p>Partnerships with high volume and niche sites that can deliver the kind of primed-to-buy, long tailed traffic available nowhere else.</p> <h3>Are you at risk of losing control of your message?</h3> <p>No, but…</p> <p>For years affiliate networks and technology companies used the size and scale of the channel as a key selling point, promising brands access to tens of thousands of affiliates.  </p> <p>Given that they worked on tracking fees based upon revenue generated by activity, who can blame them? </p> <p>However, this wasn’t what luxury or designer retailers, already nervous about losing control of their brand’s messages, wanted to hear. </p> <p>Only now, with dedicated, digital agencies selling these solutions as part of a wider media strategy, are brands being given the whole picture.</p> <p>When properly managed, affiliate marketing allows brands to deliver relevant messages to highly-targeted customer segments.  </p> <p>But it’s the size and scale of the networks that makes this targeting possible in the first place.</p> <h3>But isn’t luxury all about exclusivity?  </h3> <p>Why would luxury brands want their valuable name bandied about on affiliate channels with everyone else’s?</p> <p><img src="https://openmerchantaccount.com/img2/chriscarcollection.jpg" alt=""></p> <p>Success in the digital age requires a change in mind-set for luxury brands as customers’ buying cycles accelerate and competition stiffens in every part of the market place.  </p> <p>No longer can scarcity be the strongest value in a luxury brand's armoury, as the array of choice and quality available elsewhere can fill any sales vacuum.  </p> <p>Instead, luxury today is defined by desirability, product excellence, exemplary service and, fundamentally, a brand promise.</p> <p>And affiliate channels are exactly where a brand’s promise, desirability, service and excellence are defined for its target audience.  </p> <p>They are key to the continued success of luxury brands in the digital age and are proven to send ready-to-convert customers direct to online stores.   </p> <h3>Luxury is talked about and bought online more than ever</h3> <p>Deloitte says that 58% of UK millennial luxury consumers buy their luxury goods online. What’s more, 85% of luxury consumers regularly use social media.</p> <p>According to Google one in five luxury purchases happens on the web.</p> <p>And participating in high profile online retail events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday clearly doesn’t dim the lustre of a luxury brand or cannibalize their full-price sales.</p> <p>In 2015 our client NET-A-PORTER saw Black Friday was its highest day for sales that year, with one item sold every second on its website. </p> <p>What’s more, offering deals and vouchering is not regarded as damaging to luxury brands’ reputation by consumers.  </p> <p>In fact, these luxury customers were four times more likely to be searching for deals on Black Friday 2015 than non-luxury customers (Experian).</p> <h3>Do affiliate tactics really deliver incremental sales to luxury brands?</h3> <p>Yes, they do.</p> <p>One of our retailers had always assumed cashback websites would only reach customers already on its files and has little effect on overall profit. We helped them prove otherwise.  </p> <p>A tactical trial conducted with Quidco for the brand found that 86% of consumers that bought their products via the publisher during the trial were “new to file” and their average order value was much higher than the norm.</p> <p><img src="https://openmerchantaccount.com/img2/shopstylesolacelondon.jpg" alt=""></p> <p>For another fashion retailer, working with affiliates achieved over 300 pieces of content coverage in a three-month period which, in turn, contributed to content websites driving 50%+ of the brand's affiliate revenue.</p> <p>Affiliate channels have proved, time and time again, to bring new customers and incremental sales to the table for every kind of brand, particularly those at the very top end of their sector.</p> <h3>Who else is using affiliates?</h3> <p>The roll call of brands that are using the affiliate channel as part of the marketing mix is impressive – Agent Provocateur, Barneys New York, Burberry, Liberty London, NET-A-PORTER to name a few.</p> <p>But if the affiliate channel was just about vouchers and cashback, they wouldn’t be using it.</p> <p>These brands know the value of curated conversation and content-led buzz to their brand; they are finding new and exciting ways to engage through affiliate marketing.  </p> <p>Crucially, they are realising that careful planning, targeted partnership and innovative execution ensures the biggest ROI alongside an extension of digital PR.</p> <h3>The lessons of affiliate marketing</h3> <ul> <li>Luxury affiliate marketing is happening... if you’re not doing it, you’re already losing out.</li> <li>Luxury consumers are savvy, switched on and impulsive – take advantage of that.</li> <li>Be led by the data and use experts to help you execute the highest quality campaigns.</li> <li>Choose who manages your affiliates carefully – your brand’s success will live or die by their experience both within wider digital marketing, the specific affiliate channel and naturally their knowledge of your brand / sector.</li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67534 2016-02-19T12:51:23+00:00 2016-02-19T12:51:23+00:00 From checkout to conversion: How to prevent basket abandonment Georges Berzgal <p style="text-align: justify;">Whether the customer is shopping in-store or online, a poor <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/customer-experience-statistics/">customer experience</a> is likely to result in an <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/63466-nine-case-studies-and-infographics-on-cart-abandonment-and-email-retargeting/">abandoned basket</a>.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">So, how can you prevent valuable online customers from straying from their shopping baskets?</p> <h3 style="text-align: justify;"><strong>1. Keep it clear and simple</strong></h3> <p style="text-align: justify;">Many customers are time poor, easily distracted, and perhaps most notably, have a wide-range of other brands vying for their attention.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">A complex or lengthy checkout process could send them running to your competitor. Today’s <a href="http://www.netimperative.com/2015/12/clunky-checkouts-causing-online-retail-woes-infographic/">average checkout process is five pages long.</a></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><em>Wiggle's checkout</em></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/2149/wiggle_checkout.png" alt="" width="615" height="326"></p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Too many steps will frustrate the customer, which may result in an abandoned basket and lost revenue.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Implementing a step-indicator, which gives customers a clear view of their progress, will help manage their expectations during the entire process.</p> <h3 style="text-align: justify;"><strong>2. Minimise queuing time</strong></h3> <p style="text-align: justify;">Bricks and mortar shops try to prevent customers from waiting in a lengthy queue to make a purchase.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">The same attitude must be applied online. A ‘<a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65457-be-our-guest-a-guide-to-ecommerce-guest-checkout-best-practice/">guest checkout</a>’ option reduces processing time, enabling customers to complete the purchase without being required to register or set up an account.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">A third (33%) of retailers don’t offer this, which has a direct impact on the number of sales they convert.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Of course, capturing customer data via registration is important to enable engaging communications and personalised offers in the future.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">You should consider presenting both options and offer incentives for customers to complete the longer registration process.</p> <h3 style="text-align: justify;"><strong>3. Avoid last minute, unexpected surprises</strong></h3> <p style="text-align: justify;">At this critical stage in the customer journey, you should do everything to encourage the sale, and avoid presenting the customer with any unexpected costs at the last minute.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">The continued growth of promo codes, providing free shipping or money off, are <a href="http://www.retailgazette.co.uk/blog/2015/03/23041-voucher-code-use-grows-43-in-12-months">a powerful way to encourage customers to purchase.</a></p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Reduce the risk of disappointment at checkout by allowing customers to apply codes early in the process. This may also create additional revenue as customers realise they can get more for their money.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><em>Mulberry's single page checkout</em></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/2151/Mulberry_s_single_page_checkout.png" alt="" width="615" height="635"></p> <p style="text-align: justify;">You also need to avoid exposing customers to sticker shock. More than a third (38%) of online retailers are guilty of this.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Hitting customers with total costs at the end of the checkout process could put them off the purchase if the price is higher than they expected.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Whilst the majority of retailers display shipping costs on the first or second page of checkout, there remain a few who still don’t reveal the rates until page five.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Display a preview of the shopping basket and associated costs, including shipping costs, as early as possible during the checkout process and provide the opportunity to adjust their preference.</p> <h3 style="text-align: justify;"><strong>4. Remind customers what they are missing</strong></h3> <p style="text-align: justify;">There are many other reasons shoppers may abandon their shopping basket, and even if you address the majority you will still face abandoned baskets.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">However, that does not mean the sale is lost. Commerce marketing automation makes it much easier to follow up with the customer to re-engage them.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Sending <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64167-basket-abandonment-emails-why-you-should-be-sending-them/">automated abandoned basket messages</a> is an effective way to recapture the customer’s interest and remind them why they visited your site in the first place.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">In fact, a basket reminder strategy can recover <a href="http://www.essentialretail.com/essential-ecommerce/article/566a9cf6c983b-third-of-retailers-dont-offer-guest-checkout-leading-to-basket-abandonment">as much as 25% of abandoned revenue</a>. Yet, a surprisingly high number of retailers (59%) don’t do this at all.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">A small number (22%) send only one reminder, even though experience shows that a series of messages is more effective.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">If you keep customers happy at checkout, and personalise the messages to those that abandon their baskets, you can go a long way toward becoming the retailer that customers come back to again and again.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67159 2015-11-09T12:06:27+00:00 2015-11-09T12:06:27+00:00 Are we doing Black Friday in the UK or not? Chris Bishop <p>This year, there’s definitely a bit of Black Friday backlash in the air.  </p> <p>Fuelled by snobbery and perhaps a British stiff upper lip, some Marketing Directors seem to think it’s all a bit tactical and beneath them.  </p> <p>Others are just counting the death toll resulting from all this madness. For a chilling glimpse at the collateral damage of retail rage look no further than <a href="http://blackfridaydeathcount.com/" target="_blank">BlackFridayDeathCount.com</a> </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/8822/john_lewis_black_friday.png" alt="" width="606" height="300"></p> <h3>For or against Black Friday?</h3> <p>In reality the arguments for and against UK brands observing Black Friday are finely balanced. Some of the naysayers, like John Lewis’s Andy Street, really do have a point:</p> <blockquote> <p>It is not in the industry’s interest to focus so much trade onto one day. You want more steady trade and obviously you want more of it at full price.</p> </blockquote> <p>But as Black Friday looms and retailers anxiously wait to see what will happen, it’s worth considering the arguments on both sides:</p> <h3>The case for getting stuck in </h3> <ul> <li> <strong>It’s hard to ignore.</strong> Black Friday is predicted to be a £1bn trading day (Salmon, Experian and IMRG all say so).</li> <li> <strong>Consumers love it.</strong> 96% of Black Friday’s 2014 purchasers said they were <strong>happy</strong> or <strong>very happy</strong> with what they bought (via Retail Week).</li> <li> <strong>It’s the big one!</strong> IMRG estimated £810m was spent online on Black Friday last year – the biggest ever day for UK online sales. For those that missed the analysis Econsultancy and Hitwise did last year, here are the <a href="https://docs.google.com/a/econsultancy.com/file/d/0B0IZM8gxECK6Y2lQYkpkV3dHaUE/edit?pli=1" target="_blank">Black Friday traffic statistics for all major UK retailers</a>.</li> </ul> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/8823/house_of_fraser_black_friday.png" alt="" width="578" height="417"></p> <ul> <li> <strong>It’s a global gold rush</strong>. Not just in the UK and US. The phenomenon in spreading to Asia and Africa; a client of ours in Nigeria received a staggering 1,440% year-on-year increase in online revenue with a <a href="http://techloy.com/2014/12/03/record-breaking-numbers-and-statistics-from-the-konga-yakata-sales-infographics/" target="_blank">domestic version of Black Friday activity</a>.  </li> <li> <strong>The big spenders will be out in force</strong>. Luxury consumers are 4.7x more likely to search for Black Friday (Experian).</li> <li> <strong>Don’t disappoint.</strong> You risk disappointing your customers if you don’t engage.</li> </ul> <h3>The case for holding back</h3> <ul> <li> <strong>Black Friday cannibalises Christmas sales.</strong> According to e-Digital Research 30% of UK online shoppers say they’ll buy on 27 November this year - compared to 8% last year.</li> <li> <strong>Margin. What’s the cost?</strong> If you go for it, sales might increase, but will consumers ultimately spend more? Discounting often comes at a cost to margin.</li> <li> <strong>For retailers demand can prove too much.</strong> Site outages, slow page load and annoying queuing systems are not going to endear you to your customers. In 2014 Tesco, Argos and Boots reported problems with their websites on the big day. You need IT platforms that can perform under the heaviest of peak loads.</li> <li> <strong>What about supply chain bandwidth?</strong> Are there enough lorry drivers? Can demand be met? Don’t forget that customers will be disappointed if logistics melt and delivery is slow or muddled.</li> <li> <strong>Needy is not a good look. </strong>Jumping on this particular band wagon can appear rather... tactical.</li> </ul> <h3>Which way will we jump?</h3> <p>There seems to be real uncertainty about whether British brands are going to ‘go for it’ in 2015, or if there’ll be an uneasy stand off over who’ll blink first. This is what Home Retail boss John Walden said in October:</p> <blockquote> <p>Trading at Argos during this year’s important Christmas season seems less predictable than usual, as both retailers and customers determine whether to repeat last year’s unusual Black Friday patterns.</p> </blockquote> <p>So whether or not you’re planning ‘to do’ Black Friday this year, it seems the best way to deal with this encroaching American tradition is to adopt the best in British traditions – approach calmly and be prepared.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/8826/argos_black_friday.png" alt="" width="800"></p> <h3>11 quick tips for a trouble-free Black Friday</h3> <p><strong>1. Have a plan and stick to it.</strong></p> <p>Retailers can approach Black Friday in one of several different ways.  </p> <ul> <li>Plan A: We are not doing Black Friday.</li> <li>Plan B: We might do Black Friday if Debenhams do.</li> <li>Plan C: Okay change the homepage, we’ll put a few things 20% off.</li> <li>Plan D: F$%k, ASOS &amp; Selfridges have joined in, launch the Black Friday missiles!</li> </ul> <p>Whatever you decide make sure everyone in the business knows you have a plan(s) - and what it is.</p> <p><strong>2. Know your limits.</strong>  </p> <p>Do you know your capacity? Have you forecasted targets? Have you thought about website load, stock, supply network, warehouse, click and collect?</p> <p><strong>3. Have you got a contingency plan?</strong>  </p> <p>What can you switch off? Can you slow down orders? Do you need to offer only mainland delivery, can you just concentrate on London?</p> <p><strong>4. Timings.</strong></p> <p>What time will the sale go live? What time is the TV ad scheduled for? What advanced notice will staff and customers receive?  </p> <p>Statistics show 7am to 10am on Black Friday, and 7pm to 10pm on Cyber Monday will be the peak traffic times.</p> <p><strong>5. Mobile.</strong>  </p> <p>Black Friday will be the peak day for mobile transactions, with predictions of 23% on mobile device (Adobe).</p> <p>Ensure your mobile marketing, website and app are fully prepared.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/8825/debenhams_black_friday.png" alt="" width="800"></p> <p><strong>6. Prepare your marketing.</strong>  </p> <p>Consistency across all channels is key.  </p> <p>Don’t just rely on your email database or a few tweets. Amplify across all marcoms and especially digital - affiliate, display, PPC, SEO (yes SEO!) and social all need to be aligned.  </p> <p><strong>7. Prepare your media budget.</strong></p> <p>How scalable is it?  What if one big affiliate is performing well, how do you further incentify to push harder, do you have a contingency PPC budget if the demand continues?</p> <p>What opportunistic marketing can you do? Hijack a brand that isn't? Or their TV advertising via the second screen?</p> <p><strong>8. What’s your product/sale mix?</strong>  </p> <p>Have this agreed well in advance. Hourly discounts? Percentage off? Hot Hero products? </p> <p><strong>9. Upsell and cross-sell.</strong>  </p> <p>Don’t forget your basic sales principles in all the excitement. Use peak traffic periods to sell bundles, sell the accessories that goes alongside the hero product.  </p> <p>Push both gifting and self-purchase (gifting for yourself).</p> <p><strong>10. Plan and rehearse.</strong>  </p> <p>Across your business, your media agencies and all relevant third parties – rehearse what you’re all going to do – allowing margin for error…</p> <p><strong>11. On the day...</strong></p> <p>...have all the <a href="https://twitter.com/7thingsmedia/status/538331609767100416" target="_blank">key people together</a>. Agree and know accountability, prepare for regular and short communications on activity.</p> <p>React quickly to issues and schedule breaks for all the various teams.</p> <h3>So, what’s the verdict?</h3> <p>Opinion may be divided on whether or not Black Friday and Cyber Monday are welcome additions to the UK retail calendar.  </p> <p>The jury is still out on whether it is good or bad for sales, logistics and, ultimately, customers.</p> <p>But the momentum is such that it <strong>may be difficult to abstain</strong>.  And if you do, <em>what if your closest competitors don’t?   </em> </p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/66984 2015-10-08T10:30:18+01:00 2015-10-08T10:30:18+01:00 How to get the most out of your online coupon campaigns Ido Ariel <p>But how you employ them can be just as important as their actual use.  What follows is a compilation of best practices for offering coupons, so you can derive the greatest benefit. </p> <p>It discusses how to structure coupons, when to use them, how often and in what manner. Follow these suggestions and your coupon campaigns are sure to become an effective marketing tool.</p> <h3>1. Properly structure and segment your coupons</h3> <p>To optimize the usefulness of coupons, it's important to know how to structure them.</p> <p>There are several elements which must be decided: the amount of the discount, the length of its validity, the amount of the cart to which it applies and the types of items or services to which it applies.</p> <p>All of these can be defined with a personalization engine.</p> <p>By segmenting your coupons and offering different types for different situations you enhance their effectiveness.</p> <p>For example – for carts of greater value offer bigger discounts, increasing the chance of a sale.</p> <p>You could offer 10% discounts to shoppers with cart contents over $100, but only 5% to all others.</p> <p>If you have overstock of a certain item, you can offer coupons for only that product. You can even decide that a coupon only applies to a certain region.</p> <p><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/7470/best_practice1.png" alt="" width="565" height="387"></p> <h3>2. Use them when shoppers display exit intent</h3> <p>If a shopper is heading out the door without making a purchase, make one last effort to seal the deal.</p> <p>Display a pop-up with a coupon offer so that it will be presented to the visitor when she is about to abandon the site.</p> <h3> <img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0006/7471/best_practice2-blog-flyer.png" alt="" width="470" height="340"> </h3> <h3>3. Incorporate them into your email marketing campaigns</h3> <p>Include coupons in all types of email campaigns – promotional, retargeting and newsletters.</p> <p>With <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/63466-nine-case-studies-and-infographics-on-cart-abandonment-and-email-retargeting/">cart abandonment</a> so pervasive you need an effective response. Luckily, given a little persuasion, shoppers who abandon their carts are ripe for conversion.</p> <p>Retargeting abandoners with an email that includes a coupon is a proven way to get them to convert. When clicked on, these coupons take shoppers back to the site where they are automatically applied.</p> <p>If you're worried about creating expectations of discounts among your customers, segment your coupons by cart value, only offering markdowns on larger sales.</p> <p>You can also use <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64116-a-b-testing-software-recommendations-from-four-ecommerce-experts/">A/B testing</a> to experiment with different discount amounts on different cart values to find what works best for your store and visitors.</p> <p>Another good idea is to include coupons in your email newsletters. When clicked on the visitors are directed to your site where a banner or pop-up appears restating the coupon offer. </p> <h3> <img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/7473/best_practice3.png" alt="" width="337" height="204"> </h3> <h3>4. Use auto-applied coupons</h3> <p>To encourage former customers to return to their site, ecommerce marketers issue specialty coupon codes through email campaigns.</p> <p>Although the coupons create a small short-term loss, the retailer expects to recoup that by motivating long-term loyalty from these customers.</p> <p>Unfortunately, discount shopping sites often get wind of these private codes and post them publicly beginning a dangerous chain reaction.</p> <p>The code is soon posted on many other sites and a tidal wave of unwanted discount seekers begin to visit your store. At this point, the goal becomes mitigating losses.</p> <p>Merchants now have a difficult choice – deactivate the code and risk damaging your image with your loyal customers or leave the code up and suffer a large monetary loss.</p> <p><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0006/7474/best_practice4-blog-flyer.png" alt="" width="470" height="211"></p> <p>This serious problem can be easily solved by doing away with coupon codes altogether and using instead auto-applied coupons. Clicking on one takes the customer directly to the site and automatically applies the coupon for them. Now no codes are needed.</p> <p>Segmenting your coupons further insures they are used only by the targeted customers.</p> <p>Another common problem is lost coupon codes. Many shoppers forget where they placed their coupons, rendering them useless and endangering the sale.</p> <p>Here the auto-coupons can help as they automatically apply the coupon directly from the email, so shoppers don’t have to remember the coupon code.</p> <p>A third reason to do away with coupon codes is jealousy. When shoppers who don’t have codes see the coupon box, they believe other customers are getting a better deal and feel cheated.</p> <p>As a result, they may leave your site. For all these reasons, auto-applied coupons are your best answer. </p> <h3> <img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/7475/best_practice4-1.png" alt="" width="326" height="115"> </h3> <h3>5. Reinforce email incentives on your website</h3> <p>When visitors enter your site through clicking on a coupon in an email, they should see a reinforcement banner or pop-up restating the coupon offer and informing shoppers that the discount will be applied automatically, saving them a hassle.</p> <p><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0006/7477/best_practice5-1-blog-flyer.png" alt="" width="470" height="482"></p> <p>You can also greet them with a welcome back message.</p> <p><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/7478/best_practice5-2.png" alt="" width="673" height="316"></p> <h3>6. Create urgency</h3> <p>The best time to get shoppers to use their coupons is when they first access them. Make sure they use them by creating urgency at the moment of access. </p> <p>This can be accomplished by including a countdown clock informing shoppers how much time they have until the offer expires.</p> <p>Another way is to offer a limited number of coupons with a counter displaying how many are left. <img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/7479/best_practice6.png" alt="" width="582" height="207"></p> <h3>7. Use coupon offers to capture emails</h3> <p>Shopper emails are gold for ecommerce marketers allowing them to continuously engage shoppers and retarget them.</p> <p>Present a pop-up offering first-time visitors your newsletter and a discount in return for giving their emails. </p> <p>Embed an auto-applied coupon in the reply email, so when the visitor revisits the site, the promised coupon is automatically applied.</p> <p><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0006/7480/best_practice7-blog-flyer.png" alt="" width="470" height="429"></p> <h3>8. Use them cautiously</h3> <p>Use your coupons sparingly. You don’t want your customers getting used to receiving discounts from you.</p> <p>So set a long blocking time between emails that include coupons (say 30-60 days). This is especially true for sending coupons to those who abandoned in the past or who converted from a previous campaign.</p> <h3>Conclusion</h3> <p>Used correctly, coupons can be a great way to augment conversions. This means employing a variety of best practices.</p> <ul> <li>Optimize their effectiveness by properly structuring and segmenting them.</li> <li>Deploy them at optimal moments, such as when shoppers display exit intent or in your retargeting campaigns.</li> <li>To ensure they get used, employ auto-applied coupons which also eliminate the need for problematic coupon code boxes.</li> <li>Increase their chances of getting used by creating urgency with countdown clocks or limited amounts.</li> <li>Use your coupons to capture emails and use them sparingly to avoid creating expectations of discounts.</li> </ul> <p>If you follow these simple rules you are certain to maximize the effectiveness of your coupon program and derive the greatest benefit from your coupon campaigns.</p> <p>Good luck!</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/66956 2015-09-24T14:45:00+01:00 2015-09-24T14:45:00+01:00 How consistent should desktop and mobile experiences be? Patricio Robles <p>In <a href="https://blog.paribus.co/2015/09/20/the-double-whammy-of-being-poor-making-less-and-getting-charged-more/">a blog post</a>, Paribus, a company that aims to help consumers get money back when products they purchase online drop in price, pointed to an interesting example of how desktop and mobile experiences can vary in significant ways.</p> <p>When Paribus began investigating why one of its users never seemed to apply discount codes to his orders even though they were prominently displayed on the websites he was ordering from, it noticed that those discount codes weren't prominently displayed on mobile.</p> <p>In fact, at one point in time on the Banana Republic website, a 40% discount code wasn't displayed to mobile users at all.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/7261/gap-deal-no-deal1.png" alt="" width="634" height="433"></p> <h3>Oversight, discrimination or smart business?</h3> <p>As Paribus sees it, this had a discriminatory effect. The customer "had no idea he was being charged 40% more than everyone else," Paribus' Eric Glyman argued.</p> <p>Of course, it's entirely possible that the issue was the result of oversight.</p> <p>When adding content to a responsive site, there's always the potential that something will be missed, resulting in content not being visible across all resolutions.</p> <p>And even when content is displayed across all resolutions, screen real estate can dictate that it's displayed more or less effectively, as can be seen in other discount code examples. </p> <p>It's also possible that Banana Republic made a conscious decision not to display the discount code in question on mobile. For example, it's conceivable that in some instances, a retailer would opt to provide greater incentives to only some users based on the knowledge that it didn't need to provide those incentives to others to get the desired results.</p> <p>Just as <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65327-why-dynamic-pricing-is-a-must-for-ecommerce-retailers">dynamic pricing</a> has <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/62699-online-price-discrimination-a-surprising-reality-in-ecommerce">been the source of controversy</a>, such behavior might leave a bad taste in one's mouth, but it increasingly takes place in some form because it's smart business for companies to use data to optimize their results.</p> <p>At the end of the day, it's clear that there's often a strong rationale for there to be differences between desktop and mobile experiences, but that doesn't mean companies shouldn't be thoughtful about just how different they allow these experiences to be. </p> <p>Retailers don't succeed solely by maximizing individual transactions. They succeed when they maximize customer relationships, and the lifetime value of those customer relationships can easily be affected over time if customers have drastically different experiences based on the devices they prefer to shop with.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/66919 2015-09-14T09:25:00+01:00 2015-09-14T09:25:00+01:00 Four steps to help build customer loyalty in retail Ritchie Mehta <p>I’m a regular visitor to the various mainstream coffee chains that sprawl our high streets. While holding a client meeting at one of these establishments, we got talking about the all singing, all dancing Starbucks Rewards program...</p> <p>“I can redeem my points anywhere in the world… they even give me a free coffee on my birthday!” I heard rather enthusiastically.</p> <p>So, I asked, “you must be the biggest Starbucks coffee drinker ever?”. “Nah, I don’t actually like their coffee!”</p> <p>The conversation struck a cord with me as so many organisations constantly churn out offers and rewards as a way to entice customers back through their doors, when surely a more holistic approach should be taken. </p> <p>There is certainly a place for the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66904-do-retailers-really-need-a-customer-loyalty-program">loyalty program</a> lever but for me it needs to be the icing on the cake rather than the cake itself.</p> <p>It’s simple, if you can get customers to love your brand for what it stands for and what it delivers (earned loyalty), they will only appreciate you more when you give them great offers to spend more time with you (bought loyalty).</p> <p>So to do this, organisations should consider winning ‘earned’ before ‘bought’ loyalty to be sure to create stickier relationships. Here’s a four step guide to doing just that:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/6995/earned_bought_loyalty-blog-flyer.png" alt="" width="470" height="350"></p> <h3>1) Align your brand and customer’s values</h3> <p>As a foundation, your brand purpose must align and resonate with that of your audience and be demonstrated in everything you do. </p> <p>This will ensure you stay relevant and favoured in the eyes of your customers, leading to an increased emotional connection.</p> <p>Starbucks didn't do itself any favours by being embroiled in the tax avoidance issue that goes against one of their core values to ‘connect with transparency, dignity and respect’. After a massive boycott the brand is still recovering and many customers have not returned to its doors.</p> <p>So to create ‘earned’ loyalty, its important for organisations to reflect on their brand position and determine if it is both clear and truly aligned to their target market. </p> <p>At the end of it, all other activities flow from delivering the brand promise so it’s important to get right.</p> <h3>2) Propositions must meet and exceed customer requirements</h3> <p>The second stage of ‘earned’ loyalty is to ensure your value proposition spot on. It must align to your customer’s wants and needs, otherwise no matter what else you do, they will not come back for more.</p> <p>As an example: on a recent visit to Soho, I walked into a very reasonably priced all-you-can-eat buffet. The quality of the food was terribly disappointing to the point I even got resentful paying the reasonably priced price tag. </p> <p>The real kicker came at the end when I was handed a half-priced voucher for my next visit. Would I ever go back to redeem it? I’ll let you decide.</p> <h3>3) Deliver an exceptional and novel experience</h3> <p>The final stage in the ‘earned’ loyalty category is to deliver an exceptional experience. </p> <p>If you can meet a consumer's wants and needs AND deliver it in a place (digital or physical) that is convenient to them AND in a way that is aligned to their tastes, they will make you a regular thing.</p> <p>I recently had my first experience of immersive theatre at Alice Underground Wonderland (sadly its now finished for the year), where the experience was second to none and exceeded all expectations. </p> <p>It encapsulated the audience, made you anticipate what was around the next corner and took you into its own world for that space in time. </p> <p>I ended up taking another set of friends two weeks later and even paid for the premium tickets the next time around. If only brands could replicate these emotions, clearly in their own way. </p> <h3>4) Giving customers that little bit extra</h3> <p>The final step in building loyalty is to generate ‘bought’ loyalty. </p> <p>This is where you offer incentives, rewards and surprises to encourage repeat purchase and re-visits. </p> <p>There are some great programs out there, my personal favourite being the Nandos loyalty app. It’s simple and hence effective, as you always know how far away you are from your next free chicken. </p> <p>But if I didn't associate with the brand (Cheeky Nandos!), love the food and enjoy the experience, the app would simply not exist on my phone.</p> <p>So all in all, it's a simple equation to building stronger customer loyalty: '3 to 1' - Three steps to building ‘earned’ loyalty and one step to building ‘bought’ loyalty. To me, it should be in that order.   </p> <p><em>You can learn even more about customer experience at our two day <a href="http://bit.ly/1M8uMOA">Festival of Marketing</a> event in November. Book your ticket today and see how you can create a customer-focused culture.</em></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/66668 2015-07-16T16:05:00+01:00 2015-07-16T16:05:00+01:00 Four ecommerce tech trends to watch in 2015 Jen Todd Gray <p>Although it's one of the most important times for driving revenue, the holiday season is difficult for brands to set themselves apart from competitors and connect with customers in meaningful ways. </p> <p>Therefore it’s important for marketers to harness emerging technology to drive customer engagement.</p> <p>From receipt validation to building sharable content, brands have more tools at their disposal than ever before as they prep their strategies for the biggest spending season of the year.</p> <p>Let’s take a look at how brands can use current technology trends to help them rise above the noise during December.</p> <h3><strong>Integrated wishlists</strong></h3> <p>Brands are making it easier than ever for customers to share their favorite finds with loved ones with wishlist functionality integrated into their websites, apps and social channels.</p> <p>Capitalizing on the success of social networks like Pinterest, brands need to allow customers to seamlessly share desired wishlist items across Twitter, Facebook and email, taking the guess work out of holiday shopping and drawing more eyes on (and directly to) company offerings.</p> <p>Amazon recently made headlines with its <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64793-amazonbasket-is-it-anything-more-than-a-gimmick">Twitter integration</a>, which allows consumers to tweet their favorite items with a designated hashtag to have the product added to their Amazon Wish List. </p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/iAm6pa9hPKA?wmode=transparent" width="640" height="300"></iframe></p> <h3><strong>Receipt validation</strong></h3> <p>Just because a brand made the sale doesn’t mean they should stop there.</p> <p>Brands must create ways throughout the holiday season to reward customers for their continued loyalty. Receipt validation in particular has grown easier than ever thanks to mobile integration.</p> <p>Customers can simply scan or upload photos of receipts of recent purchases for the chance to win prizes, earn rewards and more. This not only delights shoppers, but allows marketers to track consumer trends. </p> <p>Last January, Clorox invited customers to enter a $1,000 monthly sweepstakes by submitting a receipt showing purchases of two Clorox products. Customers could also win additional entries for daily site visits to keep the excitement going past the sale.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/5240/clorox_reciept.png" alt="" width="389" height="630"></p> <p>Validation campaigns like this heighten sales, provide opportunities to build CRM data, while using a 'chance-to-win' call-to-action to keeps brands top of mind.</p> <p>By inviting customers to submit receipts, brands are also presented with a plethora of customer data, allowing them to fine tune campaigns and product offerings.</p> <h3><strong>Apple Watch</strong></h3> <p>After much anticipation, the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66342-the-apple-watch-bringing-marketers-closer-to-customers-than-ever-before">Apple Watch made its debut in April</a>, allowing marketers unprecedented connections to their customers.</p> <p>Since then scores of brands have jumped onboard, creating apps that engage with customers on a hyper-personal level.</p> <p>Recently, Degree deodorant launched its Sweat This, Not That app, <a href="http://www.mobilemarketer.com/cms/news/advertising/20297.html">a 30-day fitness challenge for Watch OS</a> that invites consumers to complete personalized workouts each day.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/5241/fitness_app.jpg" alt="" width="420" height="525"></p> <p>Sporting goods brands can follow in Degree’s footsteps by prompting users to complete daily fitness routines in exchange for timely coupons and the chance to win a holiday shopping spree.</p> <h3><strong>Mobile countdowns and geolocation</strong></h3> <p>Mobile devices have given retailers accessibility to driving in-the-moment in store visits. Target’s Watch OS app allows users to build shopping lists on their Apple Watch and then guides them to items when in-store based on their current locations. A great idea to create themed holiday shopping lists and delight frazzled customers.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/5242/target.png" alt="" width="400" height="680"></p> <p>Brands can also utilize geolocation features by creating mobile countdowns to major holidays.</p> <p>Invite customers to visit stores to receive exclusive timely deals. Each day, share a new mobile coupon while customers are in-store. They have to be there to receive it!</p> <p>Select random days to supplement the campaign with text-to-win initiatives with prizes presented in certain day parts. By using geolocation to reward in-store shoppers with coupons, brands can direct shoppers to sections that may not be hot while driving excitement about the holiday shopping season.</p> <p>By thinking strategically about how emerging trends can play a role in seasonal outreach, marketers can continue to bridge the gap between brand and consumer and ensure that the holiday season is as merry as can be.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/66302 2015-04-10T10:07:00+01:00 2015-04-10T10:07:00+01:00 How Black Friday stole Christmas Ben Stroud <p>The use of attitudinal analytics is rooted in the idea that customer experience drives customer satisfaction which in turn influences their future behaviours. </p> <p><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/1833/Black_Friday_Blog_Img1.png" alt="" width="600" height="132"></p> <p>In other words; when a visitor logs onto your website, how they perceive (and ‘experience’) that site will influence how satisfied they are.</p> <p>If the visitor manages to achieve everything they set-out to do, and encounters no problems along the way, then they are likely to be highly satisfied - and will be more likely to return to your site and carry out a purchase! Simple notion right? </p> <p>In November 2014 there was a dramatic rise in the number of customers visiting websites with the intent to purchase.</p> <p>So many, in fact, that November’s traffic rivalled December’s volume with so many punters looking for bargains ahead of Christmas. This was <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65847-all-the-stats-you-need-from-black-friday-cyber-monday-2014">down to Black Friday.</a></p> <p>But isn’t buying online, and buying early meant to be less stressful?</p> <p>Typically a period that sees the most traffic by far, you would expect shoppers in December to record the lowest yearly satisfaction. However, purchase intenders’ satisfaction was at its lowest during November.</p> <p>Perhaps that’s why they call it <em>Black Friday?</em></p> <p><em><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/1834/Black_Friday_Blog_Img2.png" alt="" width="600" height="317"></em></p> <p>Since the weekend of Black Friday came over from the United States, November has become an even more important month for businesses to consider.</p> <p>With lots more customers flowing into their websites intent on bagging a quick bargain, it becomes ever-more important to sustain a high level of customer experience - otherwise you’re going to be upsetting a lot more people a lot more than usual.</p> <p>Famously Black Friday was the cause for much upset within IT departments (and board rooms!) across the country last year.</p> <p>With a massive increase in traffic and purchase intenders, basket services and bargain pages were clogged up; they were simply <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65828-black-friday-takes-out-some-major-ecommerce-sites">unable to cope with the activity</a>.</p> <p>The weekend of frenzied deals caused November to be the biggest month for customer’s being unable to complete their purchases.</p> <p><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/1835/Black_Friday_Blog_Img3.png" alt="" width="600" height="291"></p> <p>A whopping<strong> 12% experienced technical issues, from slow loading times to full page crashes.</strong></p> <p>In general, we used to put up with slow loading times but, as many reports have highlighted, the demand for smooth and reliable websites is ever increasing. All of a sudden then, these technical disasters could mean abandoned baskets, lost conversions and a damaged reputation.</p> <p>A customer that is unable to achieve what they set-out to do, or suffers significant resistance along the way, is going to be less satisfied. As a result of all the issues surrounding Black Friday, customers were left more disappointed than usual. B</p> <p>ut will the customer accept Black Friday as an excuse for poor website performance? </p> <p><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/1836/Black_Friday_Blog_Img4.png" alt="" width="546" height="424"></p> <p>Evidently not. These two examples reflect a common trend across the retailers that participated in Black Friday.</p> <p>Their customers not only had a less satisfying experience, but were less likely to return. What’s more – the more the satisfaction decreases, the more their likelihood to purchase next time decreases.</p> <p>Of course, this has to be weighed up against the increased short term revenue jump.</p> <p>In a brick-and-mortar shop, if you can’t get down the discount aisle or access a till you wouldn’t consider sticking around. The difference? On the web you don’t have to smile awkwardly to the cashier on the way out. </p> <p>In addition to all this, some <a href="http://www.v3.co.uk/v3-uk/news/2389394/m-s-online-christmas-sales-fall-despite-strong-black-friday">online sales suffered</a> in December due to sales success from Black Friday which resulted in a backlog of orders, where the backlog extended delivery times of up to 10 days.</p> <h3>Black Friday 2015? </h3> <p>Bosses in the industry are split over Black Friday ever happening again. The head at Marks &amp; Spencer says Black Friday is here to stay, get used to it.</p> <p>However, John Lewis managing directors have said it is not in the industry's interest to focus so much trade onto one day – they want more steady trade and more at full price.</p> <p>The Entertainer recently revealed that it has <a href="http://www.retail-week.com/sectors/general-merchandise/retail-week-live-the-entertainer-has-already-ordered-this-years-black-friday-stock/5072873.article">already ordered stock</a> ahead of this year’s November rush. It is clear Black Friday shifted seasonal selling patterns and requires careful balancing of sales and margins.</p> <h2>So, what should retailers do ahead of the coming storm?</h2> <h3><strong>1. Support</strong></h3> <p>If a retailer plans to open their doors to Black Friday they must be prepared to support whatever issues they face as a result of it.</p> <p>Supporting purchase intenders in different areas will reduce their likelihood to abandon a purchase – perhaps a live chat function or a holding page in times of technical issues.</p> <p>Where and how a retailer supports their customers and infrastructure will be unique.</p> <h3><strong>2. Listen</strong></h3> <p>Only through listening to the voice of customer can a retailer hope to improve their customer’s future behaviours.</p> <p>By prioritising problems with the customer experience the savvy retailer will address issues most relevant to the customer during this busy period, and thus have the greatest impact on customer satisfaction.</p> <p>Perhaps complete transparency when your website is expecting technical problems would stop purchase intenders exiting the site in frustration, or maybe it’s worth investing in a more reliable payment page.</p> <p>When it works, the more satisfied customers will be more likely to return to your site in the future. Of course you will need to measure what works and what doesn’t…</p> <h3><strong>3. Review</strong></h3> <p>Retailers should employ measures to evaluate and review Black Friday’s impact on their sales and customer experience year-on-year.</p> <p>This doesn’t just apply to the digital space – it is important to consider the multiple channels your customer can interact with your business. With Black Friday looking to become more popular as the years go on, all channels will suffer as a result (click &amp; collect, in-store, call centres etc.)                           </p> <p>The fact is - Black Friday reshaped the Christmas trading period for retailers who took part.</p> <p>Those who pay attention to the customer experience, and iron out existing issues which could be exacerbated during peak trading, will be actively preventing themselves from the problems associated with Black Friday.</p> <p>Ultimately, this may determine the difference between success and failure.</p>