With eager shoppers treating it as an opportune time to grab a pre-Christmas deal, Black Friday has become one of New Zealand’s biggest in-store and online shopping events. However, after a year of unprecedented disruption, it should come as no surprise that this year’s shopping event could look different. With social distancing measures in place and health and safety concerns not yet entirely alleviated, making the most of the traditional ‘door-busting’ event this year will require a little more planning.
This doesn’t mean that retailers can’t capitalise on what Black Friday 2020 can offer, though. After months of COVID-induced closures, retail spend in New Zealand is on the rise and highstreets from the top of the North Island to the bottom of the South are beginning to resemble their usual bustling selves. As such, it’s still important for retailers to seize every opportunity they can, starting with Black Friday. Here are some ways to make your mark at the start of the 2020 holiday shopping season by capitalising on the November 27 shopping event.
Recognise the growing event
Once seen as a phenomenon with little traction outside North American big-box retail, it’s becoming an increasingly lucrative day in New Zealand’s retail calendar. In fact, sales surged in 2019, with spending eclipsing that of Boxing Day – traditionally the year’s biggest discount day. With New Zealand’s retailers contending first with closures and then social distancing restrictions, we expect 2020’s event – and the excitement it generates – to be significant once again.
Get a foot in the door early
While this year’s Black Friday event will take place on November 27, preparations should start long before, particularly considering the added precautions you might need to implement this year. For shoppers who are still conscious of health and safety measures, for instance, it’s important to ensure they feel safe in your store. Consider reconfiguring your store layout to adhere to social distancing restrictions, have in-store signage to help customers know where to stand, and have sanitiser readily available for shoppers and staff. Once your store is set up, identify the products you’re keen to promote, and any discounts you will offer to get people interested and invested well ahead of time. For instance, with the festive season fast approaching – and Black Friday less than a month before Christmas – consider promoting gift ideas or Christmas decorations if you’re a novelty or homewares retailer.
Encourage shoppers to support local
Making a success of the shopping bonanza is not about challenging big box brands like Amazon at their own game. After all, trying to compete with their eye-watering discounts is financially unsustainable and undervalues your bespoke products. So, instead of offering discounts that don’t even cover your costs, play to your strengths by promoting the bespoke nature of your products and the ‘support local’ sentiment. Talk about the quality of your products and why they make meaningful gifts, share the story behind your business, the materials you use and where they’re from. If your products are New Zealand local, sing about it. By being proud of your brand, both its history and its future, people will likely develop a deeper connection with it.
Rethink the role of bricks-and-mortar
Black Friday is synonymous with images of eager shoppers filling carts and baskets in-store, vying to get a hold of the year’s must-have items. And, despite the COVID-induced rise in ecommerce, the importance of bricks-and-mortar retail hasn’t diminished. Instead, the saviest retailers are those who recognise the importance of ‘omnichannel’ selling, whereby delightful, in-store experiences and beautiful products are bolstered by an effective digital strategy to reach, engage and delight shoppers on every channel they use. An effective omnichannel approach allows you to sync your inventory, sales, and customer data across all sales channels, view online orders alongside in-store purchases, develop loyalty programs and use targeted social media marketing to cater to all customers, minimising the time spent on admin and maximising the potential for added sales and meaningful customer experiences.
While this year might not have transpired quite how you’d hoped, treat Black Friday as an opportunity to not only close the chapter on 2020, but build momentum ahead of a bigger, brighter 2021. So while the end of November might still feel some way off, start early, embrace your heritage and rethink traditional methods of selling, and you might discover a momentous start to this year’s shopping season.
Gordana Redzovski is Vice President for APAC at Vend, the industry-leading Point of Sales and Retail Management platform that lets retailers run their business in-store, online and on-the-go. For more information visit Vendhq.com